Dharamshala, a hill station in Himachal Pradesh, is a Hindi word for “Spiritual Dwelling”. Also the headquarters of Kangra district, which is 18 km away, the city is divided into two sections, lower Dharamshala and upper Dharmshala. The main attraction of this city is Mcleodganj, a suburb of upper Dharamshala.
Places to Stay
Finding accommodation in Dharamshala is not a problem as the city has sufficient budget hotels which offer great tour packages at affordable prices. Hotel Snow Crest (Tariff – Rs. 1000), Pine View Hotel (Tariff- Rs. 1000), Hotel Staywell (Tariff - Rs. 700), Seven Seas Hotel (Tariff - Rs. 800) are some of the popular hotels near Dharamshala bus stand.
Hindi, Tibetan, Pahadi or Kangri and English are the main languages of the area.
A large number of events and festivals are celebrated in Dharamshala. The festive season begins with Haldi festival followed by Lahori in mid-January. One of the most important festivals of Dharamshala is Losar Festival or The Tibetan New Year which is celebrated between February and March .Other such events are the Saka Dawa festival, Prashar Fair held during the summer season, Dal Fair in August and the International Himalayan Festival around December.
Places of Interest
There are several places of tourist attraction in Dharamshala. Some of them are Dal Lake (11 km away from lower Dharamshala and 3 km away from upper Dharamshala), McleodGanj or upper Dharamshala, Triund (20 km), Chamunda Devi (15 km) and St. John’s Church (8 Km from lower Dharamshala).
How to Get There
The nearest airport to Dharamshala is Kangra airport (10 km). Other airport which is situated near Dharamshala is Gaggla airport (13 km) from the hill station.
The nearest railway station is in Pathankot situated at a distance of 85 km from Dharamshala.
There are buses plying daily from Delhi, Manali, and Kangra. Various bus operators provide excellent services with best prices available like Joy Travels and Bus India. Numerous travel websites provide discount coupons for bus booking frequently to their customers.
Mandi district is one of the central districts of the state of Himachal Pradesh. This town is located on the banks of river Beas. Mandi derives its name 'mandi' or 'market' as it was a major trade route from Ladhakh. It is a major transit route to Kullu-Manali and other adjoining places from NH-21 and NH-20. Raw-silk and the rock salt mines at Drang and Guma are the special features of Mandi.
Places to stay
Some of the good budget hotels in Mandi are Munish Resorts (Tariff – Rs. 1200), Hotel Manjul Mandi (Tariff – Rs. 1450) and Hotel Visco Resorts (Tariff – Rs. 1600).
People in Mandi converse in Mandyali and Mandyali.
The famous festival celebrated in Mandi is the Mandi Shivaratri Fair (February). It is an annual fair that is held for seven days starting with the Hindu festival of Shivaratri)
Places to Visit
Mandi is renowned for old stone temples and their range of fine carving. Because of this, it is called the "Varanasi of the Hills." Places to see in and around Mandi include Bhootnath Temple (900 meters from bus stand), Rewalsar Lake (23 kms from bus stand), Joginder Nagar (56 kms from bus stand), Sunder Nagar (24 kms from bus stand) and Sunken Garden (550 metres from bus stand).
How to Get There
The nearest airport to Mandi is a small domestic airport at Bhuntar (75 kms).
The closest railhead to Mandi is in Kiratpur (125 kms).
Mandi is approachable by road from Shimla, Chandigarh, Pathankot and Delhi. Himachal Pradesh State Road Transportation (HRTC) and private operators run busses from major cities to Mandi. Some of the private bus operators that offer good experience for passengers include Raj Himachal Holidays, Heera Himachal Holidays, Himachal Volvo Tour and Mangalam Travels. Making use of bus booking online offers are the best way to save money while travelling.