Dharamshala Vacation Guide- Best Time To Visit And More
Dharamshala is a picaresque town in Himachal Pradesh and over the last decade, it has gained tremendous popularity as a famed holiday destination. The beauty of the place is mesmerizing and it is as calm and serene as it can be. It is a haven for backpackers and trekkers but families come here as well. You will get to visit a number of sightseeing places and will have a deeper understand of the Tibetan culture. You can visit Dharamshala round the year and yet each season has something special to offer in this amazing land.
The summers in Dharamshala are extremely pleasant and this is when the maximum number of tourists visits this hill city. The month from March to June make the mountains come alive but you will find a very different kind of crowd here than what you see in the cities.
Dharamshala is surrounded by hills on all sides and there are a number of trekking trails leading away from it. It is such a pleasant walk up those trails and even if one is not comfortable with heavy trekking or has only recently joined the trekker’s club, there are a number of easy trails to follow. The trails lead through shaded mountain paths and one can see the flowers in full bloom, that are not to be seen in any other part of the country. There are scores of mountain trees and the air is full of the fragrance of the pine and deodars. The sunset and sunrise morning walks will leave you feeling refreshed.
The summers see the tourists lining up in front of the stalls selling delicious and authentic Tibetan food. While the food can be enjoyed at any other time of the year as well, owing to a huge number of tourists in the summer, there are far greater varieties of dumplings and momos to be seen. There are also broths and thukpa and you will start the day on a very happy note.
The Tibetan Museum is open for longer hours during the summers and if you are fortunate you may also catch the Holy Dalai Lama in town, who has made this region his home. You should be fortunate if you get to listen to his teachings first hand and you will surely have a whole new outlook on life once you have attended his session. You will be able to explore the temple and the museum with ease and in comfort during this time of the year and will surely gain a better understanding about the culture and the life of the Tibetans and the life of the Tibetan refugees.
In the summers, college goers usually descend upon the hills to go camping and it is a pleasure to be able to sleep under the stars at night. The Triund trek is open at this time. This is not possible to do during the monsoons or the winters due to the rough weather or the extreme cold. However, be sure to book your camping spot well in advance because a lot of trekkers and hikers come here during this time. Your tour operator will be able to book a good spot for you. You can light a bonfire and camp in the open but be sure to carry woolens because even though these are the summer months, the night temperatures can still be quite chilling. If you are traveling with your group of friends then this is the best time to bond and reminiscent about good old times.
If you are in time for the Buddha Purnima, you will get to witness firsthand how the Tibetan community makes preparation for their biggest festival here. The roads are decorated with brightly colored prayer flags and you will truly enjoy the sights and sounds of the region. If you are in time, you might also catch a match at the Dharamshala cricket stadium.
Monsoon in Dharamshala
Once the summer months are over, the large number of tourists slowly starts to leave the hills. Families who come here for vacations have to leave because the schools and colleges of the kids start to reopen. Monsoons in Dharamshala can be heavy from time to time but are not downright torrential. Nevertheless, those who are not locals could still find some difficulty on getting around on the wet mountain tracks.
If you are planning to visit Dharamshala in the monsoons, be sure to carry a raincoat and a good pair of waterproof boots which will provide extra grip on the mountain slopes. It is practically impossible to get around on the hills without them. One of the advantages of visiting this hill station in the monsoons during the off season is that you will not have to wait in queues for anything and you will understand the true serenity of the mountains, which is impossible to get a feel of with all the cacophony of the tourists around. When you are visiting the temples or the Buddhist monasteries or the residence of the Dalai Lama, you can have a look around at your own pace and no one will rush you.
In case it rains very heavily and you are stuck indoors, one of the best things to do in Dharamshala is to practice meditation. While it can be done in any other time of the year, the summers are mostly good for engaging in outdoor activities. The monsoons create a beautiful ambience outside and there is something very magical about the lush greenery all around. You truly feel nature’s presence and it is the best way to invoke your own spirituality as well. The tourists leave the majority of the places deserted after they have left and so will get the peace and quiet that is very much required for meditation.
If nothing else, you will get to enjoy a most relaxing time in Dharamshala during the monsoons. There are a number of writers and authors who come to Dharamshala at this time of the year to think in the peace and quiet and they go back with amazing results. You will get to experience the same level of tranquility here as well.
If you stay a little beyond the monsoons, till the month of October, you will get to experience Diwali in the hills and it is truly a special experience. The lamps are lit in every home and shop and once you reach a vantage point, the hillside glows and twinkles in the dark after sunset. It is such a unique sight to witness and will be one of your lasting memories.
When you are in Dharamshala in the winters, you will experience a whole new kind of winter for sure. The tourists, who come here, visit the hill station to enjoy the snow. However, trekking and camping is not allowed generally in the months of November to January, or when there is heavy snowfall. You need to acquire the permits to go camping and trekking.
Dharamshala gets a truly Bohemian vibe in the winters and a number of hippies to come here during this time. The sky is crystal clear and you can clearly see the stars watching over you. The time around Christmas and New Year gets busy as a large number of tourists come here. The tea is one of the best things to experience at this time of the year when you wake up in the mornings. There are some colonial era churches nearby and they are beautifully lit during this time. The evening mass is truly heavenly and it seems the mountains also resonate with the music of the choir. In case it snows, one can experience a white Christmas and it is one of the dreamiest experiences ever.
The momos and the thukpas are definitely more welcoming than at any other time of the year. You will also have the opportunity to shop to your heart’s content and you can pick up leather jackets, shawls, stoles, and mittens at really affordable rates. You can also buy Tibetan handicrafts and the rugs, carpets, paintings and thangkas make for great gift items.
Hence, no matter what time of the year you visit Dharamshala, you will always have some special memory or the other to bring back with you. You will soon be planning your next trip to this beautiful hill station of Himachal Pradesh.
Hey! I'm Gauri. Sagittarius by birth, clumsy by choice. An engineer turned writer. Loves animals tolerate humans. Has a thing for pizza and old books. Expertize in awkward conversations and creepy smiles.
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