Dwelling in Dharamshala
Discover what you are missing out on ( but shouldn’t) in Little Lhasa
Spiritual abode” describes Dharamshala perfectly. It is the seat of Tibetan government in exile, home to one of the most famous spiritual leaders in the world, the Dalai Lama, and a pious destination for Hindus given the numerous temples peppered across the district. But while most tourists make a beeline for McLeodganj in hopes of meeting the Dalai Lama in person, the other stretches of Kangra Valley lay forgotten. Not many know that probably the oldest dated fort in India rests silently barely 20 kms from the main Dharamshala town and that the Dhauladhar range offers spectacular landscape for adventure sports like paragliding, trekking, kayaking and even mountain biking.
The historical Kangra Fort sits atop a mountain at the confluence of Banganga and Patalganga rivers, which together would have built a formidable barrier against intruders. The fort was built by the royal Rajput family of Kangra, the Katoch dynasty, but bears marks of a turbulent history and of many attempts that were made to conquer it. They say Kangra belongs to the one who owns the fort. The lure of power often invited attacks by notoriously ambi- tious rulers like Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhamad bin Tughlaq, but it was Mughal emperor Jehangir who held the reigns finally. The audio guides, available both in Hindi and English, create a vivid imagery of bygone period and a leisurely walk in the fort may take over an hour to complete.
Just 80 kms from Dharamshala lie the twin towns of Bir and Billing, considered amongst the best sites for paragliding and cross country flying in the world. While Billing is the take- off site, Bir, nestled by the Dhauladhar range, is the landing arena. Adrenalin junkies should not miss the chance of trying the huge range of aero sports that these two locations offer.
But if history, adventure sports or spirituality do little to make head out to Dharamshala, then picture yourself away from the city, under a massive cloud portal, breathing in the chilly mountain air and walking between the lush green tea gardens. Little Lhasa is definitely worth a weekend visit.
Seeped in history: The Kangra Fort was built by the Katoch dynasty