My friend has been telling me for a long time that being a native of Dharmshala, I am obligated to write about my hometown. I think he is right and it is time I wrote about my hometown. I am not going to write about how to get there and the usual things, you can find it in numerous sites. I have a few of my favourite places where I love to go in Dharmshala. These places are not just tourist spots but experiences in themselves. In case you are not able to find these places, feel free to ask the locals they are always more than happy to help. So, here I am sharing “Five places to experience in Dharmshala”.
Walking down the temple road in McLeodganj, you can easily miss this place, passing it for any other coffee shop. But one must not miss it, especially if you take your coffee seriously. They use the same coffee machines like everyone else but it’s the way they make the coffee that makes this place different. Here the coffee is made, to your taste.
This is the place where you will get what’s called and is, Dry Cappuccino. If you are one of the few who relish the black coffee, you’ll find a perfect cup here, sans the residue that is always the problem. For people who like to experiment with their coffee, feel free to ask, the person at the counter would be happy to oblige. This place also serves some lip-smacking snacks and eatables, but that would be for you to discover.
Nature Walk in Dharamkot
Everyone has at one time or the other toyed with the idea of leaving the world and wander in the woods. If you want to experience it without giving up the real world, then head towards Dharamkot, just a kilometer from McLeodganj. You can drive till this point or you can walk from Bhagsunag. From Dharamkot one way goes towards Triund and other is the road less travelled.
This path leads through dense forest where nothing exists but you and nature. In winters you could be walking in the clouds and in summers you could experience the serenity of the woods. Invariably, a walk on this path will make you spiritual, inspiring you to think about the deeper meaning of life and existence. It may also teach you the true meaning of Inner Peace. To know what it brings out or what you soak in, you will have to walk on the path less travelled.
Have you ever wondered what would it feel like to be, On Top of the World? A chosen few do know and they didn’t have to become billionaires, they just went to Dharmshala. Roughly, four kilometers by road from Dharmshala city is Indrunag temple on a hilltop. Standing there you will have the high and mighty Himalayas on one side and the beautiful Kangra Valley on the other.
This is one place where you can sit and contemplate the lessons of life. The spiritual awakening that started during the walk in the woods carries on here on top of the hill. The tranquillity of the place helps you understand the meaning of peace and being one with the nature. Here, one can have three-sixty degree view of nature. Once you see, snow-clad mountains, tea gardens, trees bearing flowers of different colours, step-farms of the hills, rivers, valley and clear blue sky, all in one gaze you are bound to fall in love with nature. This is the place that makes you want to live again because by now, you know that, Life is Beautiful.
The reason one goes to a hill station is to sit and relax in a quiet place where you can be one with the nature and listen to the water flowing. After visiting any of the places above, one understands the beauty and importance of silence. Espresso Bar on Khanyara road is surely the place where you can sit quiet and listen. Built on the bank of river Manjhi at the foothill of a mountain, this is the perfect place to spend time with yourself.
Espresso Bar is famous among the locals and the tourists alike. Solitary souls, young couples and families, all come here to spend quality time. It’s a perfect place to relax and laze. Here, you can quietly enjoy the sumptuous food from the menu or spend the whole day reading a book with a drink by your side and the sound of flowing water in the background. If you forgot to bring a book along, there are quite a few in the bookshelf to choose from. Coffee aficionados should ask for The History Of Coffee, compiled by the owner himself. You can sit by the pool or dip in, to beat the summer heat. To know about history and geography of Dharmshala talk to the owner, a retired army officer. By the end of the conversation you would feel that you have made another friend. If at the end of the day you feel you cannot have enough of the place, he also provides home stay with bed and breakfast by the name of Santushti Home Stay.
You cannot see a mountain by standing on top of it; you have to view it from a distance to enjoy the beauty. To claim that I have seen Dharmshala, you have to see it from The Cliff, Rooftop Restaurant of Blossoms Village Resort which is a few kilometres away from the main city of Dharmshala in village Sidhpur.
The moment you reach the rooftop restaurant and see the scenery, you cannot help but feel awe for the pristine beauty of Dharmshala. Sit outside with your feet up and be one with the nature, gazing at the mountains. With hands behind your head and eyes closed, soak the sun while cool breeze touches your skin. Remember Gulzar’s lines, “Jaado ki narm dhoop aur aangan mei laet kar, aankhon pe kheech kar tere aanchal ke saaye ko, aundhe pade rahe kabhi, karwat liye hue”. This is the place to enjoy Fursat ke raat din. Another thing you get to see in Dharmshala that the city residents have read about, but rarely get to see is – Stars. I realised this after I left Dharmshala. A thing that I would strenuously recommend you to experience from The Cliff is the wonder of nature called ‘Moonrise’. I have no words to describe it. It can only be felt and witnessed as an experience of a lifetime. Make sure it’s a full moon night to get the best.
A perfect place to end the day, do ask the chef for some authentic Himachali dish. Here the chef cooks with love and the staff serves with a smile and a warm heart. Somewhere during your dinner the owner will surely come and greet you, gracefully carrying on the tradition of hospitality of the hills.
With this I wish you a lifetime experience in Dharmshala. Bon Voyage.