Dharamshala and its neighbouring territories were once ruled by the ancient Katoch Dynasty of Kangra. The original inhabitant of this place was the Gaddis, a tribal community. In the early 18th century the area was invaded by the Gurkhas who established their army base at Kangra (later moved to Dharamshala). The British in the mid-18th century confiscated this area. The Gurkha Regiment fought bravely against the British but was defeated. After victory, Dharamshala became a popular hill station for the British during summer. The British wanted to make Dharamshala their summer capital; however, after the Kangra valley earthquake in 1905, they made Shimla as their summer capital.
Dharamshala became a major Tibetan area since 1959 when the 14th Dalai Lama had to leave Tibet and settle here. In May 1960, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was moved to Dharamshala. Many Tibetan refugees took shelter here and later settled down in the area. In the last three decades, the Tibetans have built many religious, educational and cultural institutions in and around McLeodganj, for the preservation of their culture.
Tibetan influence infused with the colonial origin and breathtaking beauty of the Kangra valley, makes Dharamshala the most sought after locale. Dharamshala stands out amongst other hill stations ins India. As you gaze down on the green valleys and look up at the snow clad mountains that merge with them, the vast beauty of Dharamshala embraces you. It is a no holds barred battle of the eye with the scenery and one wonders how much the eyes can behold this quiet rhapsody of Mother Nature.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Dharamshala is famous internationally as the "Little Lhasa of India", after the Tibetan capital city
- Founded by the British between 1815 and 1847, Dharamshala remained a low-profile hill town till the influx of Tibetan refugees along with the Dalai Lama since October 1959. India welcomed the religious leader and offered him and his people sanctuary and a place to stay in Dharamshala