Dharamshala is a popular hill station located in the Kangra district known for its idyllic surroundings amidst pine trees, tea gardens and snow capped mountains. It is also home to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. The word Dharamshala means, an inn attached to a temple. Dharamshala’s history has been influenced greatly by both Hinduism and Buddhism. Several monasteries were built in the 8th century by the Tibetan immigrants who settled here, though some slowly gave way to Hindu structures. The Hindu inhabitants of the region are the Gaddis also known as shepherds of Himalayas. Dharamshala was developed as a summer retreat for the British and their troops, who had seized control of the town in 1848. It later became the administrative capital of Kangra in 1852. However, its days of glory were short lived, as the town suffered a serious setback and the loss of many lives with the earthquake of 1905.
Divided into upper and lower towns with a difference of some 457 meters (1,500 ft) between them against a background of snow-capped mountains. Forests of giant conifers meet carefully cultivated tea gardens at the beautiful resort of Dharamshala which stands on the spur of the Dhauldhar range. The mountains enfold the three sides of the town and the valley stretches beyond to the south. Known for its scenic-beauty amidst high pine trees, tea gardens and other timber-yielding trees vying with one another for height, calmness and serenity. Dharamshala’s altitude varies between 1,250 meters (4,400 ft) and 2,000 meters (6,460 ft). The snow line here is perhaps more easily accessible than at any early morning’s start. Now the seat of his holiness, Dalai Lama, Dharamshala is evocative of imperial days in places like Mcleodganj and Forsythe Ganj. Wrecked by an earthquake in 1905, it rose like a phoenix from the ashes, more resplendent than ever steadily acquiring a pride place among tourist attractions in Himachal Pradesh. When Tibetan exodus began, they first went to Dalhousie but later shifted their colony to Mcleodganj in upper Dharamshala. Since 1960, when it became temporary headquarters of the Dalai Lama, Dharamshala has risen into international repute as “The Little Lhasa” in India.