Dates: October 22-23
Getting In: Night-bus from Amritsar (700 INR)
Accommodations: My first night I haggled a 1200 INR double room down to 500 (I entered into a solemn promise with the manager not to tell anyone). The second night I stayed at Pineview Guesthouse; 300 INR per night for a single room with attached bathroom. I don’t recommend. The room was moldy and the hot water didn’t work.
Do: The Tsuglagkhang Complex comprises the Tsuglagkhang — the main temple of the Tibetan people — and a Tibet museum that is meant to be excellent but was unfortunately closed during my visit. There are also many meditation and yoga centers in the area. I’ve heard good things about the programs at Tushita. The Dharamshala International Film Festival is held annually in November.
Eat: Black Tent Cafe (McLeodGanj). Good coffee and selections of western and traditional viands, usable WI-FI, friendly staff, and very reasonably priced. Tibetan Kitchen. I have not had a whole lot of Tibetan food, but I can safely say that the Thenthuk (a Tibetan pulled noodle soup) was outstanding — by the far the best I’ve had. Prices were also very reasonably at approx. 100 INR for a huge bowl of soup, certainly fitting for meal. Located the main square in McLeodGanj.
Dharamshala is most-well known for being the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile. (Actually, his holiness resides in Gangchen Kyishong, a suburb just up the hill from Dharamshala.) Located in the foothills in the Himalayas among thick coniferous forest, Dharamshala has become a popular location for tourists to trek, participate in yoga and meditation workshops, volunteer, and learn about the Tibetan people in exile. Travelers rarely stay in Dharamshala proper, instead making a beeline for the tourist hub of McLeodGanj, which features eateries catering to Western appetites and bazaars selling trekking equipment and Tibetan goods. Many of the volunteer and learning institutions are also in or around McLeodGanj.