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Dharamshala Travel Guide:

Introduction
Dharamshala is a city in northern India. It was formerly known as Bhagsu; it is the winter seat of government of the state of Himachal Pradesh and the district headquarters of the Kangra district.
McLeod Ganj, a village within Dharamshala municipality, is the home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government.

History
Before the Raj

From the earliest times until the British Raj, Dharamshala and its surrounding area was ruled by the Katoch Dynasty of Kangra. The Katoch Dynasty is said to be the oldest serving Royal Family in the world. The Royal Family still keeps a residence in Dharamshala, known as 'Clouds End Villa'.
The indigenous people of the Dharamshala area (and the surrounding region) are the Gaddis, a predominantly Hindu group who traditionally lived a nomadic or semi-nomadic (transhumant) lifestyle. Due to the lack of permanent settlements in the area, some Gaddis lost their seasonal pastures and farmland when the British and the Gurkhas arrived to settle.

Geography
Dharamshala has an average elevation of 1457 metres (4780 feet). The area covered by Dharamshala is almost 29 kmĀ².
Dharamshala is located in the Kangra Valley, in the Dhauladhar mountains, and became the capital of the Kangra District in 1852. It is accessible from Pathankot which is 120 km away. The nearest railway connection to Dharamshala is Kangra. The nearest airport is Gaggal at Kangra, which is just 15 km away. There is a daily flight from Dharamshala to Delhi.
The town is divided between McLeodGanj or Upper Dharamshala (which retains a British colonial atmosphere), and Lower Dharamshala (the commercial centre). Upper Dharamshala (elevation about 1,700 m or 5,580 ft) is about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Lower Dharamshala by road and is some 460 m (1,510 ft) higher.
Dhauladhar means "white ridge" and this breathtaking, snow-capped range rises out of the Kangra Valley to a height of 17,000 feet. They form a treacherous range creating unpredictable weather, but passes of 8,900 feet provide route for the herdsmen of the Ravi Valley beyond. The Kangra Valley is a wide, fertile plain, criss-crossed by low hills.
Dharamsala is divided into two very different parts. Kotwali Bazaar and areas further down the valley are called Lower Dharamsala, while McLeod Ganj and surrounding areas are known as Upper Dharamsala. McLeodganj is nine km by bus route and four km by taxi route up the hill from Kotwali Bazaar. While inhabitants of Lower Dharamsala are almost all Indians, McLeod Ganj is primarily a Tibetan area. McLeod Ganj is surrounded by pine, Himalayan oak, and rhododendron. The main crops grown by local Indians in the valleys below McLeod Ganj are rice, wheat and tea.

Description
Dharamshala is a city in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley and is surrounded by dense coniferous forest consisting mainly of stately Deodars. The suburbs of the town includes -- McLeod Ganj, Bhagsu Nath, Forsyth Ganj, Naddi, Kotwali Bazaar (the main market of the town), Kaccheri Adda (government offices such as the court, police, post etc.), Dari, Ramnagar, Sidhpur and Sidhbari (where the Karmapa Lama is based
The village of McLeod Ganj lying in the upper reaches is known worldwide for the presence of the Dalai Lama. On 29 April 1959, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama established the Tibetan exile administration in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie. In May 1960, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was moved to Dharamsala. Since then, the Dalai Lama along with his people have been residing in Dharamshala.
Dharamshala is the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. Following the 1959 Tibetan uprising there was an influx of Tibetan refugees who followed the Dalai Lama. His presence and the Tibetan population has made Dharamshala a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, including students studying Tibet.

Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium (DCS) is a cricket stadium of international reputation, which serves as the home ground to the Himachal Pradesh state cricket team and also for the IPL team Kings XI Punjab to a limited extent. By virtue of its natural backdrop, it is one of the most attractive cricket stadiums in India. In addition to Ranji matches, some international matches are also planned to be held here. Recently a match between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Superkings held here in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama graced the match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium in Dharamshala.[15] The snow capped mountains can be easily viewed throughout the year. An additional feature is the Dharamsala College nearby which is surrounded by pine trees on one side.

Dharamshala Today
Several thousand Tibetan exiles have now settled in the area, and most live in and around McLeod Ganj in Upper Dharamshala, where they have built monasteries, temples and schools. McLeodGanj is sometimes known as 'Little Lhasa", after the Tibetan capital city, or 'Dhasa' (a compound of 'Dharamshala' and 'Lhasa'). It has become an important tourist destination with many hotels and restaurants, leading to growth in tourism and commerce.
Dharamshala is also the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh. The Secretariat is at Sidhbari, near the Chinmaya Tapovan Ashram, and the winter sessions of the Government are held there.

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