Dharamsala is situated in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies on a spur of the Dhauladhar range, the Pir Panjal region of the Outer Himalayas; and commands majestic views of the mighty Dhauladhar ranges above, and the Kangra Valley below. Dhauladhar means "white ridge" and this breathtaking, snow-capped range rises out of the Kangra Valley to a height of 5,200 meters (17,000 feet).
The Kangra Valley is a wide, fertile plain, criss-crossed by low hills. The scenery touched the heart of a British official who wrote: "No scenery, in my opinion, presents such sublime and delightful contrasts. Below lies the plain, a picture of rural loveliness and repose... Turning from this scene of peaceful beauty, the stern and majestic hills confront us... above all are wastes of snow to rest on."
People all over the world flock to McLeod Ganj to receive blessings and teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Western and Indian tourists and scholars come here to see the rebirth of an ancient and fascinating civilization. The high altitude and cool weather contribute physically to this recreation of the original Tibetan environment.
Dharamsala pulsates with the sights and sounds of old Tibet. Though certainly more modern, life is basically Tibetan in character. Shops strung out along the narrow streets of McLeodganj sell traditional Tibetan arts and handicrafts and the aroma of Tibetan dishes lingers in the air.