(Last Updated on : 18/10/2013)
Dharamsala is a beautiful town in the Kangra
district of the northern state of India, Himachal Pradesh
. It is situated in the upper folds of the Kangra Valley in the Dauladhar range of the Himalayas at a height of 1457 metres (4780 feet ) above mean sea level. Being a popular tourist destination the town has a good communication network. The nearest airport is the Gaggal Airport located at a distance of 13 km. from Dharamsala. The nearest railway station is the Pathankot Railway Station.
The town is separated into the upper Dharamsala called Mcleodganj, the middle Kotwali Bazar and lower Kaccheri area that are located at different altitudes. Surrounded by dense pine and deodar forests, tea gardens and beautiful hill Dharamsala covers an area of 28 sq. km.
Upper Dharamsala or McLeodganj is the residence of the Buddhist spiritual head Dalailama and is also an important learning center. The entire place bears resemblance to Tibetan culture and traditions and hence it has earned the sobriquet 'Little Lhasa'. Since ancient times Dharamsala is connected to Hinduism and Buddhism. In the colonial period Dharamsala became the administrative capital of Kangra District in 1852 and a popular destination of British officers to beat the scorching Indian summers.
The best time to visit Dharamsala is from May to October as the climate is enjoyable during the summers and drops below freezing point during the winters and the place is covered with thick snow. The Tsuglagkhang Complex at Macleodganj, the official residence of the Dalai Lama, the Namgyal Monastery and the Chinmaya Tapovan are ideal tourist destinations.
Other sites of interest are St John's Church, Maharana Partap Sagar, Norbulingka Institute, Nurpur Fort, the Dal Lake, and Dharamkot. This area is well suited for trekking. Visitors coming to Dharamsala can also enjoy fishing in the river Beas between Nadaun and the Pong dam. Dotted with a number of Hindu temples, Dharamsala is a major Hindu pilgrim center, like the Kalchakra Temple, Chamunda Devi Temple, Masrur (rock temple) and the Brajeshwari Temple.
According to the 2001 census report, Dharamsala had a population of 19,034 inhabitants. Males constitute 55 % of the population and females 45% of the population. In Dharamsala, 9% of the population is less than six years of age. Dharamsala has an average literacy rate of 77% which is higher than the national average of 59.5%. The male literacy rate is 80% and, female literacy rate is 73%.