Dharamshala Itinerary: A 5-Day Journey through Mcleodganj & Dharamkot

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Are you planning a trip to explore the beautiful places in Himachal Pradesh? Then Dharamshala can be the perfect starting point for you. The exquisite beauty of lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and lush greenery will leave you in awe and offer an experience like never before. Every year Dharamshala welcomes thousands of tourists to indulge in exciting treks, witness the Tibetan culture, taste and relish authentic food, and visit the peaceful monasteries.

Ready to embark on an adventurous journey? Delve into the unique 5-day itinerary covering places like Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Dharamkot, and Dhanaulti. From the best places to visit in Dharamshala to things to do and more, we have got everything covered. Let’s dive in! 

Dharamshala itinerary
5 Days, Dharamshala Itinerary

How to Reach Dharamshala?

Your exciting trip starts from Dharamshala. So, you have to reach this hill station first. There are several ways to reach Dharamshala. Depending on your convenience and budget, you can select the best option. Delve into the most prominent ways! 

By Air: If you want to save time, traveling by air is an ideal option. The nearest airport is the Kangra Airport at Gaggal, which is just 14 km from Dharamshala. You can find regular flights plying between Delhi and Kangra and reach your destination in nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes. The average cost will be INR 4,000. 

By Rail: The nearest railway is Pathankot, which is nearly 85 km away from Dharmshala. If you are traveling from Delhi, you can take an overnight train and save time for exploring the place in the daytime. 

By Road: In case you want to spend quality time with your friends and family and enjoy the scenic views, traveling by road is a smart move. Dharamshala is well-connected by road with places like Delhi, Shimla, Kullu Manali, and more. Choosing to travel by bus is indeed a budget-friendly and convenient option. If you are traveling from Delhi, the distance between the two places is nearly 470 km.

To cover the distance by bus, it will take you approximately 9 hours and 50 minutes. The cheapest bus ticket is nearly INR 1164. Make sure to choose a reliable bus service provider like Zingbus that can offer you on-time services, the lowest price guarantee, and access to premium lounges. 

Day 1: Arrival at Dharamshala 

Dharamsala Tourism: All You Need to Know Before You Go (2024)

Set against the backdrop of the Dhauladhar Range, Dharamshala is indeed one of the most serene and scenic hill stations in India. Nestled in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, the city is located at an elevation of 1457 m above sea level. It boasts a perfect blend of Kangra and Tibetan culture and oozes a unique charm that is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. 

Morning: Check in at the Homestay at Dharamshala 

Once you reach the city, the first thing you have to do is look for the best homestays in Dharamshala. You will come across plenty of options. For instance, you can choose to stay in Moon Walk, which is located at a distance of nearly 7.5 km from the HPCA stadium in Dharamshala. From free private parking to family rooms and access to a balcony, you can find all essential amenities at this place. The average charge is nearly INR 1,750 per night. 

On the other hand, if you looking for more budget-friendly options, the McLeod Ganj Dairies Homestay is one of the best homestays in Dharamshala. Situated at a distance of around 12 km from the HPCA stadium, this homestay offers bicycle rentals, airport transfers, and other facilities. The cost of this homestay is nearly INR 890 per night. Other options for the best homestays in Dharamshala include Sahaj Homestay Naddi, White Rabbit Guest House, Himalayan Homestay, Mountain Vista, and more. 

After you arrive at Dharamshala, you can head to the homestay you have booked. Be sure to make prior bookings at the best homestays in Dharamshala to avoid last-minute hassles. Once you check in, have your breakfast and unwind yourself to get rid of the tiredness due to long travels. 

Afternoon at Dharamshala: Explore Nearby Place

After relaxing for some time, you can wake up refreshed, and get ready to explore the top places to visit in Dharamshala. If you are a cricket fanatic, head to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium. Whether there is any match in the stadium or not, you can visit HPCA and appreciate the Tibetan style of architecture on the main stand. Besides that, you can enjoy the scenic views of the place. 

Next, you can visit the War Memorial in Dharamshala. Situated amidst the pine forests of the city, the memorial was constructed as a tribute to the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the honor of their motherland.

As you walk through the memorial, you will see three huge walls of black marble on which the names of the martyred soldiers are etched. The memorial is also home to replicas of guns, airplanes, and war tanks that were used during the war. While entry for children up to the age of 5 years is completely free, individuals above that age need to pay an entry fee of just INR 20. 

After visiting these places, you can head to a nearby restaurant to have your lunch. If you want to enjoy Indian food, Organic Thali Café is the perfect choice. On the other hand, if you are willing to try Mexican, Indian, Italian, or Chinese cuisines, head to Chef’s Farmhouse. Apart from these, other places to eat include My Kitchen, Strings Café, Queenie’s Oven Green Café, and more. 

Once you are done with your lunch, you can visit the Kangra Fort and explore the ancient architecture that was home to the royal family of Kangra. The fort features three temples, a small museum, and several other structures. Climb up to the watchtower and enjoy the mesmerizing views of the green surroundings nearby. 

Evening: Visit Some More Places and Shopping

When it is nearing sunset, trek up to the Kareri Dal Lake and witness the glorious sunset. Spend some peaceful time away from all the chaos and in the lap of nature. Besides soaking in the views of nature, you can enjoy boat rides, and seek blessings at the Shiv Temple. 

Other activities to do in Dharamshala may include visiting the Kalachakra Temple and experiencing the divine aura. The beautiful temple is not just known for its eye-catching architecture but also for the fine Tibetan Thanga paintings that you will find on the walls and columns of the temple. Moreover, paragliding is also one of the best activities to do in Dharamshala. Feel the adrenaline rush and glide through the skies of Dharamshala like a free bird. 

Once you have explored the place to your heart’s content, you can go for some shopping. Check out the local shops for Tibetan shawls, brass statues, carpets, handicrafts, and other products. You can shop them for yourself or buy them for your loved ones back at home.

Night: Return to the Homestay Location and Rest

After exploring so many places to visit in Dharamshala, you must be completely tired and exhausted. So, once you are in your homestay, have your dinner, and get some restful slumber. Having good sleep will help you get charged up for the next day. 

Day 2: Leave For McLeod Ganj

Wake up to a bright morning and soak in the enthralling views around you. Have your breakfast at the homestay in Dharamshala, pack your bags, and leave for McLeod Ganj.

Morning: Reach McLeod Ganj and Explore the Beautiful Places 

McLeod Ganj is located at a distance of nearly 5.3 km from Dharamshala. So, you can easily book a bus or hire a shared taxi and reach your next destination within 30 minutes. Starting early in the morning will provide you with sufficient time to explore more places to visit in McLeod Ganj and make the most of your trip. 

Once you reach McLeod Gang, you need to look for the best homestays. Some of the best homestays in McLeod Ganj include Vista Traveller, Redeem Café & Homestay, Live Free Hostel, Yoga House, and One More Night Hostel and Community Living. Depending on your needs, preferences, and budget, you can choose the perfect homestay from the available options. 

Check in to the desired homestay, keep your luggage safely, freshen up a little, and get ready to discover the places to visit in McLeod Ganj. First, head to the Tsechokling Gompa, which is located at a distance of only 200 m from McLeod Ganj. It is one of the most popular monasteries in the region and is well-known for its cultural significance.

After the Gompa, you can head to the St. John Church. It is also referred to as the St. John in the Wilderness and is situated just 1 km from the McLeod Ganj. The Anglican church was built back in 1852 and has been dedicated to Saint John The Baptist. Witness the British style of architecture at this place and seek blessings of the God. 

Next, head to the Dalai Lama Temple Complex, which is 2 km from McLeod Ganj bus stand. It is a Buddhist monastery and is a popular religious center for Buddhist pilgrims around the globe. The complex also houses the Tibet Museum, Photang (residence of Dalai Lama), Namgyal Gompa, and Tsuglagkhang Temple. In this monastery, the monks are provided with training to effectively perform the rituals connected with the holy shrine. 

Afternoon: Lunch and Explore More Places

Are you hungry and want to delight your tastebuds with some delectable cuisines? It’s time to head to the nearest places to eat in McLeod Ganj and have your lunch. While you might come across plenty of options, some of the top choices include Namgyal Café, The Punjabi Café & Restaurant, Welcome Café, and more. Based on the type of food you want to eat, you can select the right restaurant. 

Once you are done with your lunch, sit back and relax for some time. Then you can again start looking for things to do in McLeod Ganj. Head to the Bhagsunath Temple, which is 2 km from the McLeod Ganj bus stand. The temple is dedicated to the local deity named Bhagsu Nag and Lord Shiva. Adjacent to the temple building, there are a series of pools. Many visitors and Buddhist monks enjoy baths at the pools. If you are visiting this place in the month of September, you can get to witness the annual fair of the region. 

Next, you can visit the Bhagsunag waterfall, located at a distance of 3 km from McLeod Ganj. It is a mid-size waterfall that cascades down from a height of 20 m. Many tourists enjoy swimming across the cold water and gain a refreshing and pleasant experience. It is one of the best activities to do in McLeod Ganj and an excellent way to beat the heat of summer. 

Evening: Shop for the Bizarre Things at the Local Markets

If you are a shopping enthusiast, you can spend your entire evening shopping at the local markets. Some of the top shopping areas of the region include Mcleodganj Central Square, Kotwaali Bazaar, and Jogiwara Road.

At the street shops of Jogiwala Road, you find a variety of Tibetan rugs, carpets, and exotic sculptures. On the other hand, if you want to go for souvenir shopping, head to Jogiwara Road. The Mcleadganj Central Square is popular for its Thangka paintings, wooden carvings, and handicrafts. 

Night: Return to Homestay and Rest

After shopping for 3 to 4 hours, return to your homestay in McLeod Ganj. Enjoy the delicious dinner and get some quality sleep. However, if you are still not tired and want more memorable experiences, you can opt for stargazing. It is one of the most delightful activities to do in McLeod Ganj for all types of travelers. Sleep below the clear skies and keep gazing at the countless stars above. 

Day 3: Reach Dharamkot and Prepare for Triund Trek

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Wake up early in the morning, pack your bags, and get ready to leave for Dharamkot, which is approximately 6.3 km from McLeod Ganj. So, it will take nearly 20 to 30 minutes to reach the destination. You can book a shared taxi or cab and reach Dharamkot. Try reaching the place by 9 am in the morning. 

Morning: Find the Best Homestay and Trek to Triund

While there are several places to visit in Dharamkot, it is popular for Triund trekking. The trek is indeed one of the best things to do in Dharamkot. Once you reach Dharamkot, look for the best homestays that can provide you with top-notch experiences. Some of the best homestays in Dharamkot include Om Tara Homestay, River View Homestay, Backpackers Inn Homestay, and The Mountain & Sunrise View. 

After you check in, rest for an hour. Have your breakfast, get ready at 10 am, and prepare for the trek. It is recommended to eat light food to avoid any issues during the trek. Make sure to pack all the essentials along with sufficient food and water as you may not find food places along the path. 

Afternoon: Trekking and Appreciating the Beauty of Nature

For beginners, the trek will take nearly 4 to 5 hours. It is best to maintain a comfortable pace to explore the trail in the best possible way. Do not forget to capture the scenic views of nature and click some Instagram-worth pictures. You will get an opportunity to peek through the dense forest and reconnect with nature. 

When you feel hungry, you can stop by in the middle and grab some snacking items from your backpack. Be sure to stay hydrated to avoid falling ill during the trek. 

Evening: Complete the Trek and Witness the Sunset

By sunset, you will reach Triund. Capture the beautiful sunset and soak in the breathtaking views that you will surely remember for a lifetime. You can take some rest in your tent as you have been trekking for several hours. 

Night: Enjoy Dinner and Rest

On the star-studded night, you can get together around the campfire and share interesting stories. Once the story-sharing sessions are over, you can enjoy a scrumptious dinner and retire to your tent for some peaceful sleep.

Day 4: Return to Dharamkot

Morning: Enjoy the Sunrise at Dharamkot

If you want to enjoy the sunrise at Dharamkot, make sure to wake up early in the morning. Besides the sunset, the sunrise is also something that you shouldn’t miss out on this memorable trek. The view of the changing colors of the sky as the sunrises is beyond words. Such a view is sure to take your breath away. After witnessing the sunrise, you can have some light breakfast, and prepare to retrace the steps back to Dharamkot. 

Afternoon: Reach Dharamkot and Explore Nearby Places

You will reach Dharamkot from Triund in the afternoon. You can head to your homestay in Dharamkot, have your lunch, and take a rest for at least one hour. If you want to make the most of your trip, you can think of exploring more places to visit in Dharamkot

When in Dharamkot, you cannot miss out on visiting the Himalayan Therapeutic Studio. Indulge in some yoga sessions and enjoy the therapy. Other places to visit in Dharamkot include Masroor Rock Temple, Devi Himani Chamunda, and more. Apart from that, if you are looking for activities to do in Dharamkot, paragliding is indeed a great option. 

Night: Shopping and Leave for Dhanaulti

Once you have explored the places to visit in Dharamkot, you can head to the shopping areas and grab some local stuff for your near and dear ones. Then return to your homestay, rest for some time, pack your bags, and book a bus for Dhanaulti. Look for buses that leave Dharamkot in the late evening or at night. 

The distance between Dharamkot and Dhanaulti is nearly 273 km. So, it will take approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes to cover the distance. Be sure to pack some food items that you can have for dinner on the way. 

Day 5: Reach Dhanaulti and Explore the Exciting Places

Morning: Find the Best Homestay and Have Breakfast

Once you reach Dhanaulti, you must find the best homestays in Dhanaulti. Some of the best homestays include Shivalik Homestay, The Grand View Resort, Kanatal Cottage and Camp, and more. Check in to the homestay of your choice and rest for a while. After you wake up refreshed, you can have your breakfast and get ready to explore the top places to visit in Dhanaulti

Afternoon: Explore the Must-Visit Places

Head to the Eco Park, which is located 1 km from the city center. This place can allow you to enjoy the panoramic hill view. Next, you can visit the Dhanaulti Adventure Park. It is one of the places that offers several activities to do in Dhanaulti.  From zip line to sky walk, paragliding and rock climbing, there are plenty of things you can enjoy at the park. 

If you feel hungry after indulging in so many activities, you can head to one of the best places to eat in Dhanaulti. Some of the top options include Café Ivy, Into The Wild Café, Wild West Café & Restaurant, The Forest Café, and more. 

Evening: Visit Some More Places and Engage in Shopping

If your train or bus back home is at night, you can explore some more places in Dhanaulti. Head to the Tehri Dam to immerse yourself in a calm and serene environment. This place boasts ultra scenic views of the majestic hills in the backdrop of waters. Spend some time enjoying the beauty of nature closely. 

Besides the dam, you can also visit the Dashavatar Temple. The temple belongs to the Gupta Empire and boasts wonderful architecture with beautifully carved panels. Moreover, the walls even have inscriptions of the Vaishnava mythology. After visiting these places, you can shop for some local stuff and try out the local street foods. 

Night: Leave Dhanaulti

Now, you have reached the end of your 5-day trip. Head to the bus stand or railway station to return to Delhi or the preferred place. If you are booking a bus service, make sure to choose the reliable bus service providers with an on-time guarantee and the lowest price guarantee. 

Best Time to Visit Dharamshala

If you are planning a trip to Dharamshala and other nearby places, mid-February to mid-July is the best time. The spring and summer seasons are pleasant in these regions and can provide you with the best experiences. However, if you can thrive in the chilly winter months, you can also plan your trip at that time and enjoy the beauty of the place. 

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India is home to several other breathtaking places that are waiting to be discovered. So, without any delay, plan your trips to beautiful destinations and create memories that are worth remembering for a lifetime. Need assistance with planning your perfect travel itinerary? Fret not, our experts are always ready to help!

All you have to do is fill out the online form and provide us with your unique requirements. Our local specialists will go through them carefully and prepare a custom itinerary for you. Get the best itineraries and plan memorable trips!

How difficult is Triund Trek?

Triund Trek is considered to be an easy-grade trek. So, even if you are trekking for the very first time, you will not have any difficulty and enjoy the experience to the core.

What is the specialty of Dharamshala?

Dharamshala is a popular hill station that is known for its tree plantation, trekking trails, and spiritual center.

What are the famous food items in Dharamshala?

Dharamshala is well known for foods like momos, sidu, thukpa, kalaadi, dham, and tandoori trout. Do try out their local food items for an authentic experience. 

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