Where do people in the Northern part of India head out to for a vacation? Well, its the usual Manali, Shimla, Dalhousie, Nainital, Dehradun or Dharamsala? And this is what makes them a hotbed for tourists from all over the world with luxury resorts, cafes serving exotic food and adventure companies mushrooming in every nook and corner. But these are the things that make us stay away from these destinations. However, during our Himalayan road trip, we decided to visit Dharamsala.
Why? Well, Vidur had childhood memories of visiting Dharamsala and was looking forward to revisiting them during our trip to Himachal. It had been 15 years since his last visit here with his parents so we decided to make quick stop for a couple of days. Staying in Dharamsala was not an option because the destination has become so popular that it is dotted with long traffic jams, crowded streets, and incessant honking. We were looking for a hotel outside the city though not too far from it and stumbled upon Blossoms Village Resort, located just 8 kilometers away.
The home of Buddhism in India, “Dharamsala” means “a spiritual dwelling” and in Hindi, it means a rest house for travelers. Dharamsala gained prominence in 1959, Dalai Lama settled here after escaping from the Chinese government. Over the years, the tiny town has evolved into a major city in Himachal Pradesh, an important tourist hub and is a very popular hang-out for foreigners, backpackers, and tourists from all over the county. The most prominent tourist attraction in Dharamsala is the Tsuglakhang Temple or the Dalai Lama Temple and is visited by millions of people every year.
Blossoms Village Resort is nestled at the base of the Dhauladhar Ranges and you can witness gorgeous sunsets setting the backdrop for paragliders on their way down to their landing site! This property is a premium hotel surrounded by mesmerizing views, peaceful locale, and manicured gardens which makes it an ideal place for those looking to visit Dharamsala yet avoiding its crowd!
It was a bright and sunny day as we drove our car through small, winding roads and reached the resort, overlooking the Dhauladhars and next to some paddy fields. The staff greeted us with a smile, completed our check-in formalities and escorted us to our room on the 3rd floor. The room was quite plush and the best part was the view of the mountain ranges right outside our sit out! Tired from the drive, we decided to spend the day in the room as we dined on Mutton Rogan Josh, hot flavored rice, and perfectly made rotis!
The next day we decided to drive into Mcleodganj and revisit some memories Vidur had but instead got stuck in a traffic jam lasting an hour, at the entrance of the market. Disappointed at the commercialization and unchecked development of the place, we decided to find something quieter and headed to Norbulingka Institute instead since it was located 3 kilometers from the resort.
The Norbulingka Tibetan Institute is dedicated to preserving Tibetan art and culture producing museum-quality artwork that has been passed down from generations spanning many centuries. Apart from the temple and a museum, the institute is also home to The Hummingbird Cafe, that serves vegetarian international cuisine, beverages, and dessert. It’s quite a popular joint for the young crowd as it is located in a very calm and peaceful locale, with fluttering prayer flags all around!
Heading back to the resort, we made our way to the rooftop cafe as we had heard a lot about their milkshakes. The view from the top is absolutely mesmerizing as you can witness serene sunsets, sipping on cold coffees and just relaxing with a cool breeze blowing by. It’s a great way to unwind and spend quality time with your family in a place that provides privacy, relaxation and top notch service!
Here’s our list of 5 best things to do while in Dharamsala.
Kakeri Lake Trek
Visit Norbulingka Institute
Paragliding at Bir Biling (Details here)
Dine at Taste of Tibet, near Norbulingka
Kangra Fort visit (Don’t forget to take the audio guide)
If you are looking for other hill stations in North India, click here!