THE SHRINE OF BHAGSUNATH
Just 300 meters from Spring Valley Resort, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, is the ancient temple of Bhagsunath. The temple complex comprises of a Shiva temple, fresh water springs, a swimming pool and a waterfall. The waterfall as well as the magnificent Dhauladhar ranges and glacial peaks are visible from the rooms of Spring Valley Resort itself. The legend says that King Bhagsu built this temple after seeking forgiveness from the Snake God. It is believed that Nag Devta was raged in anger as King Bhagsu stole water from the sacred Nag Dal Lake here. Later, the king repented and built the temple in reverence to Nag Devta. According to another legend, this shrine was the patronage of a specific Gorkha community called Bhagsuwala (after the God Bhagsunag). It is also believed that these rulers built the two pools of water here with tiger-head spouts. A double-storied wooden house for pilgrims was also built by them.
Originally home to the semi-nomadic Gaddi tribe, McLeod Ganj is today the residence of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. This mid 19th century place was developed as a British Garrison. The place was developed as an important administrative point for the whole Kangra valley. Today the place has developed as headquarters of the exiled Tibetan Government. The impressive monastery has larger than life sized images of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloketeshwara. McLeod Ganj, McLeodGanj, or Mcleodganj, is a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It has an average elevation of 2,082 meters (6,831 feet). McLeod Ganj was named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, a Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, while the suffix Ganj is a common Hindi word for 'neighbourhood'.
Dharamkot is 1/2 kilometer from Spring Valley Resort, located on the crest of a hill where lies this attractive picnic spot, which presents a panoramic view of the Kangra valley and Dhauladhar ranges. Surrounded by lush green Deodar trees and beautiful landscapes, Dharamkot village in McLeod Ganj is a famous tourist spot. The village is placed over a hilly region and it offers majestic panoramic views of the scenic Dhauladhar and Kangra District. The mighty imposing Dhauladhar hill ranges are burdening this hamlet. This is an eco-friendly picnic spot renowned for its natural beauty and the picturesque settings. There are many resorts offering breathtaking and luxurious accommodation facilities in Dharamkot. You will be offered fully-furnished and spacious rooms. You can get the beautiful views of nature from the privacy of the rooms.
Triund is 9 kilometers from Sprig Valley Resort in McLeod Ganj. Triund is a popular picnic spot at a height of 2827 meters. The area is on the foothills of the Dhauladhar ranges and is 17 kilometers from Dharamshala. The snow line starts at Ilaqua, which is 5 kilometers from Triund. The breathtaking view of the mountains and the valleys makes Triund an ideal picnic spot and trekking destination. 18 kilometers from Dharamshala, Triund lies at the feet of the perpetually snow-clad Dhauladhar, at the height of 2975 metres. The tracks from Rawa, Dal Lake, Dharamkot and Bhagsunag meet at a ridge known as Galu temple (2130 meters) which has a small shrine and water point. After the snow, the trek rises abruptly waving through 22 curves making the ascent tiring and difficult. On the way one can spot many birds and wild animals.
Set amidst the pine groves is a war memorial, built on the entry point to Dharamshala, to commemorate the post-independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh. A web of narrow paths and landscaped lawns lead to this monument. War Memorial adorns the entrance to the great, old, holy city of Dharamsala. The memorial is placed in a perfect place of peace, amidst the lush-green pine trees, to pay tribute to great war heroes from Himachal Pradesh in the post-independence era. The war memorial is beautifully decorated and attractive with green lawns and artistic landscapes. This is a revered location to show patriotic feelings of visitors to the memory of the great sacrifices.
KANGRA ART MUSEUM
This treasure trove of the Kangra valley’s arts, craft and rich past displays artifacts that date back to the 5th Century. The museum also includes a gallery of Kangra’s famous miniature paintings and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items. Kangra Art Museum is a unique museum in India displaying the artifacts of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. This is a treasure of Kangra valley's cultural past, crafts, arts and other ancient artifacts. Kangra Museum encloses a gallery consisting of miniature paintings of Kangra's rich past, pottery, rare coin memorabilia, sculptures and anthropological materials. It has a varied collection of tribal jewellery, embroidered costumes and wood carvings. A section dedicated to contemporary artworks adds to the attraction of the museum.
ST. JOHN'S CHURCH
One of the most poignant memories of the British Raj is the church of St. John, situated in the wilderness. This charmingly dressed stone church is located just 1 kilometer away from McLeod Ganj. Under the shade of Deodar branches, a memorial has been made over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamshala in 1863. St. John in the wilderness is an Anglican church dedicated to Saint John, built in 1852, located near Dharamsala, on the way to McLeod Ganj, at Forsyth Gunj. Set amidst deodar forest, and built in neo-gothic architecture, the church is known for its Belgian stained-glass windows donated by Lady Elgin (Mary Louisa Lambton), wife of Lord Elgin. Its churchyard is the final resting place of Lord Elgin, who served as Governor General of the Province of Canada and oversaw the creation of responsible government in Canada, and later, while in China, ordered the complete destruction of the Old Summer Palace. He became Governor-General and Viceroy of India in 1861 during the British Raj, though he soon died in Dharamsala on November 20, 1863, and was buried here.
Just 4-kilometers from Dharamshala, Norbulingka was established to preserve and teach ancient Tibetan arts. The shady paths, wooden bridges, small streams and tiny water falls make this place look like heaven. Here one can see the wooden carvings and the thangka paintings, golsithing and embroidery being done. The nunnery close to the institute is a place where women are taught the advanced levels of Buddhist philosophy. The Norbulingka Institute, was founded in 1988 , by the present 14th Dalai Lama at Sidhpur, near Dharamsala, India, dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan language and cultural heritage. The institute is located on a vast expanse of lush green land of about seven acres. The area is maintained as an eco-friendly location with many ponds, gardens and bridges. The buildings for library, temple, workshop, studio, college, guest house and all other facilities are constructed without cutting any of the trees in the area.
These are the rock temples from which the place derives its name. Kunal Pathri is a 3 kilometers flat walk from Kotwali Bazaar. Kunal Pathri is a small town near Dharamsala. The major attraction here is the temple of Mata Kunal Pathri, dedicated to local goddesses. This place is surrounded by dense tea gardens and is a perfect place to have a nature walk. The temple premises offer a good view of Dhauladhar Range and low lying lawns. Kunal Pathri rock temples are located in Dharamsala near Kotwali Bazaar. These are ancient temples in the Kangra region developed for offering prayers by tribes. Kunal Pathri is an ideal location to have a secluded stay amidst scenic beauty.
On the way from Pathankot, 41 kilometers from Dharamshala are the unique cave temples with stalactite and stalagmites dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated at a distance of 41 kilometers from Dharamshala and can be approached by road. High on the ridge of the cave are ruins of a palace and baradari (audience hall) of Lehna Singh Majitha, Governor of Kangra Hills during the Sikh rule.
Fifteen richly carved monolithic rock temples sculpted in the splendid style of the Kailash temple at Ellora and dating back to the 8th Century are to be found at Masrur, just 15 kilometers south of Kangra. Images of Ram, Sita and Lakshman can be found in the sanctum of the main temple. Known for its monolithic rock-cut temples, Masroor is 38 kilometers from Kangra Town. There are 15 rock-cut temples in Indo-Aryan style and are richly carved. It is a unique monolithic structure in the sub-himalayan region and is a protected monument. The main shrine contains three stone images of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. The temple complex is located on a hill and also has a large rectangular water pond. The view of snow clad Dhauladhar is amazing from the temple premises. The nearest visitable places includes Pong lake near Nagrota Surian, 10 kilometers from Masroor and hot water springs at Tattwani village, on the bank of Gaj rivulet near Salol village on Lunj- Gaggal road, 15 kilometers from Masroor. It is accessible from Gaggal (30 kilometersm) on Nagrota Surian link road and 22 kilometers from Ranital road.
Set amidst a sylvan surrounding is a rest house, located in the cool depths of the pine grove. Surrounded by green open meadows and forests of tall oak and pine at a height of 3250 meters is situated the picturesque Kareri Lake, which is just 13 kilometers from the rest house and 22 kilometers from Dharamshala. Kareri Lake is a high altitude, shallow, fresh water lake south of the Dhauladhar range approximately 9 kilometers north west of Dharamshala in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh. Its surface is 2934 meters above the sea level. Kareri lake is best known for being a trekking destination in the Dhauladhars. Snow melting from the Dhauladhar range serves as the source of the lake and a stream, Nyund is the outflow of it. Since the source is fresh melting snow and the lake is shallow, water visibility is very high and in most places, the lake bed can be seen.
Named after Nurjehan the consort of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir, it has an ancient fort and an exquisitely carved Krishna temple. Nurpur is also famous for its fine Pashmina shawls and textiles. Nurpur is famous for an old fort and a temple of Brij Raj. Nurpur acquired its name in 1672, when Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor named it after his wife Nurjahan. Built in the late 16th century by Raja Basu the Nurpur Fort is massive and sprawling. It spreads across a long flat plateau forming the western end of the ridge and bears signs of great architectural designs. The fort overlooks the Jabhar Khud, a tributary of the Chakki rivulet and the vast valley formed by it. Earlier name of Nurpur was Dhameri, later changed to Nurpur after Empress Nur Jahan, who took a fancy to the beautiful valley. Inside the palace walls are deep niches, decorative arches and the faint signs of some paintings. The northwest walls of the fort have some deeply carved panels showing animals. Particularly graceful are the bulls in their various actions like pulling a cart, or walking in a file; there are also figures of men, women, children, the kings, gods and goddesses and birds. The overall impact of the fort is one of awe and wonder.