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Dharamshala popularly known as the Scotland of India, is one of the 80 hill stations established by the British between 1815 and 1847 and has one of the most spectacular settings for a hill station is closest to the perennial snowline and is built along a spur of the Dhaula dhar ranges. The town varies in height from 1250 meters at the bazaar to 1768 meters at McLeodganj. Dharamshala is surrounded by deodar forests and provides a superb view of the great granite mountains that almost over chang the town.

About 10 kms. away from Dharamshala is McLeodganj which has a strong Tibetan influence. Monks in deep red are a common sight in this town and it is the headquarters of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama settled here after his flight across the Himalayas following the Chinese invasion of Tibet in oct. 1959 The Tibetan community has tended to take over the hospitality business and provide cheap and clean hotels and small friendly restaurants, The following words might help you in having an exchange in Tibetan.

Tasgu dekej - (hello,good luck)
Thukje-chey - (Thank you)
Thukhe-sik a - (please)
Gong-thag - (sorry)
Ssoo-den - (Good - bye)
Jaa - (Go)

The Namgyal Monastery with the Centre of Tibetan Studies, is known as little Lhasa and is a major attraction in McLeodganj This cathedral opposite the DakauLama's residence, resembles the center of the one in Lhasa and is a 5 minute walk from the main bazaar. It contains large gilded bronzes of Buddha, Avalokitesvara and Padmasam-bhava. Dalai Lamas often leads the prayers when he is in residence and if you sign up at the security office an audience with him is possible. The other major attraction is the Church of St. John in - the wilderness which has attractive stained glass windows. Lord Elgin, one of the few viceroys of British occupied India, to die in office, is buried here, according to his last wish, as it reminded him of his beloved native Scotland. The Nechung Monastery in Lgangchen Kyishobn has Tibetan library with a good rang of books, magazines & photo-copying facilities and a museum. The central Tibetan Administration Offices are situated here and you can also attend lectures & classes on Tibetan culture and Buddhism.

Walks : From McLeodganj there are a number of interesting walks like the 2 km stroll to Bhagsunag which has a spring and a temple or to Dharamkot 3 kms., has very fine views. If you feel energetic enough, you can continue on towards the snow line. 4 kms. from the McLeodganj bus stand is Dal Lake, the site of an annual fair held in September. It is a pleasant walk to the lake. At the foot of the Dhauladhar is Triund which is an 8 km trek. A further 5 kms. is the snowline where a Forest Rest House is situated. At an altitude of 1983 meters is Kareri village, a picturesque spot where a rest house is located in the cool depths of a pine grove. The beautiful Kareri Lake., further away from this spot is set amidst green meadows and forests of tall oak and pine..
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