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Meaning ‘spiritual dwelling’, modern day Dharamshala is just that. Generally when travellers talk of coming here they mean McLeod Ganj, the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the site of the Tibetan Government in Exile. The impressive monastery in which hundreds of maroon robed monks reside is a unique visit. The closest thing you will find to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the smells, rituals and chants remain the same as they have been for hundreds of years. However, in our opinion Mcleod Ganj is something of a tourist trap and for the most pleasurable visit we advise staying outside of this thoroughfare. Our pick of the best places to stay in Dharamshala are located in the peace and tranquillity, outside of town.
Today Dharamshala has become an international centre for Buddhism and mediation, in much the same way as Rishikesh has for yoga. There are many schools in which to learn the art of meditation or Buddhist teachings, however the Tushita Meditation Centre is the most revered.
The Tsuglagkhang Complex is the main focus for visiting pilgrims. Including Tsuglagkhang (the main Tibetan temple) itself, the Namgyal Gompa as well as an excellently curated Tibetan museum. Well worth a visit.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Dharamshala are all an idyllic retreat in rural Himachal.
For an eco escape
- Upholding some impressive green credentials Hotel Eagles Nest is ideal for those looking for an eco break. With wonderfully idiosyncratic accommodation and a few on-site ponies it is great for all the family.
For total relaxation
- Dedicated meditation rooms and an on call Ayurvedic doctor are what sets Grace Hotel apart from the rest. Owner Yogeshwar Mahajan ensures that guests enjoy an unforgettable stay at his 200-year-old family abode.
Still not sure which to book? From eco break to total relaxation browse through our list of the best places to stay in Dharamshala to start to plan your trip. Widen the net and explore all our recommendations in Himachal Pradesh, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Dharamshala
Grace Hotel 14 rooms from £67Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh)
With the densely forested Dhauladhar range for a backdrop this 200 year old manor house enjoys 360° views. In the hands of the Mahajan family for generations is provides a relaxing stay away from the bustle of Mcleod Ganj, including meditation rooms. Cuisine is Asian and rooms are Tibetan inspired.Local markets - The Tibetan market is a great place to pick up locally made gifts and trinkets.Sights nearby - Mcleod Ganj and Gangchen Kyishong are just 4kms away.Great walks - The Kangra Valley provides varying levels of treks.Birdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.
Hotel Eagles Nest 8 rooms from £102Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh)
Located in the quiet village of Dharamkot away from this bustle of town is this family run eco property. With eight rooms, each individually and thoughtfully decorated it provides an intimate stay. There is a comfortable sitting room and home cooked food is served. Plus plenty of on-site activities.Back to Nature - Located in bucolic Dharamkot this property is surrounded by deodar forest and the sound of birdsong.Birdwatching - There are 556 species of birdlife - step out with your dedicated naturalists for help spotting them.Sights nearby - A trip to Mcleod Ganj and Gangchen Kyishong is a must.Local markets - Good for local colour.