This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Dharamsala.
Dharamshala is the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh, a state within India. Previously known as Bhagsu, and alternately spelled Dharamsala, this city is world-renowned as the residence of the Dalai Lama. Situated within the upper Kangra Valley, Dharamshala is overshadowed by the Dhauladhar mountains and covered in thick forests.
In Hindi, Dharamshala is a type of sanctuary. In actuality, the city is a sanctuary for thousands of Tibetan exiles who collectively have recreated a miniature of the Tibetan capital Lhasa within their sanctuary, lovingly referred to as “Dhasa.” Many tourists travel to the city to study its Tibetan community by visiting the Tibetan Museum as well as Tibet World. The latter is a center where monks and Tibetans get to interact with visiting foreigners, exchanging language classes for yoga sessions, among other activities. The center also offers hostel accommodations.
The budget traveler is fortunate because there are several hostels within Dharamshala. Besides the Tibetan establishment, there are family-owned hostels scattered around the city. Whether you wish to walk along trails through the lush woods, shop within the commercial area, or be close to public transportation for onward travels, you can find an optimally situated hostel in Dharamshala. Look for titles such as “homestay,” “house,” and “backpackers” in order to locate as many hostels as possible. You likely will enjoy amenities such as complimentary meals as well as blankets, heating, and warm showers.
Once you have stowed your belongings safely within your hostel, you can easily walk or take a bus or train to your sightseeing destinations. Be sure to visit the Dalai Lama Center if you are a fan. Bhagsu Waterfall is a beautiful photo opportunity for nature lovers. Adventurers will enjoy spending a day hiking Triund Hill. For an afternoon of souvenir hunting, visit lower Dharamshala’s Kotwali Bazar, markets, and malls.
For travel between Dharamshala and just about anywhere else, Dharamshala Gaggal Airport, buses, and trains provide easy connections.
Written by local enthusiast for Dharamsala hostelsJakob Lombardi