Dharamshala is located in the Kangra district and is a neighbor to the mighty Dhauladhar mountains. Back in the days when the Britishers ruled India, they adored this city for its pleasant atmosphere. Even today, you can find remains of colonialism here along with the same spectacular weather.
Lower Dharamshala is well known for Kotwali Bazaar and other markets while upper Dharamshala is famous for Dharamkot and McLeodganj. Dharamshala is a city, a hill station, and a great destination for travelers. Even if you are on a tight budget, there are plenty of decent and inexpensive accommodations and restaurants here. Get ready to find out how you can plan a Dharamshala - McLeodganj tour under 10K.
Visit here during the summer season, that’s from March to June, to experience the best of Dharamshala. The weather will be warm and crispy, which is great for exploration. If summer is not possible, then the winter season is also a great option. The snow brings out a different side of Dharamshala which is also worth exploring. Just know that the winters here can be too cold for some people and might cause discomfort.
Also Read: Dharamshala Travel Guide
If you are heading to Dharamshala in the summer, carry clothes that protect you well from the sun. Carry good sunscreen as well. If your trip is in winter, pack your jackets and woolen clothes. There could also be heavy snowfall in this season so you’ll need gumboots. Don’t worry, you could easily rent these here.
There are many decent hostels here that’ll provide you with a bed in a dorm for around INR 450 to INR 650. Here are some options:
Facilities Offered: 6-bed mixed dorm and single-bed capsule, swimming pool, in-house activities, cafe, bar, laundry services (chargeable), parking (chargeable), and breakfast (chargeable).
Address: Village - Rawa, PO - Kareri, Up Teh - Drini, Dharamshala
Price: Starts from INR 650 (6-bed mixed dorm)
Facilities Offered: 6-bed mixed dorm, 4-bed mixed dorm, community activities, cafe, bonfires, laundry services (chargeable), breakfast (chargeable), parking (chargeable), and bicycle rental.
Address: Upper Dharamkot, Dharamshala
Price: Starts from INR 450 (6-bed mixed dorm)
If you don’t want to share your room with other people, then you can find budget hotels for less than INR 1,500.
Facilities Offered: Breakfast and dining (chargeable), laundry services (chargeable), and rentable parking space.
Address: Khara Danda Road, Sudher, Dharamshala
Price: Starts from INR 1,300
Facilities Offered: Free parking, dining and breakfast (chargeable), bonfires, doctor on call.
Address: Near Tibetan Herbal Clinic, Shiv Nagar, Gharoh, Dharamshala
Price: Starts from INR 1,200
Facilities Offered: Swimming pool, free parking, breakfast and dining (chargeable), doctor on call, and bonfire.
Address: Near Bhagsunag Temple, P.O Bhagsunag, Dharamshala
Price: Starts from INR 1,400
Also Read: 7 Budget Stays In Dharamshala
For breakfast, we recommend you get something from your hostel or hotel. Once that is out of the way, you get on with exploring the city. There’s no lack of eateries here. You can have a decent meal for less than INR 400 and yes, you can expect food from a variety of cuisines.
This place is a lot more than a bakery. It’s also a multi-culinary restaurant. You can find Tibetan food along with your favorite Chinese dishes and all of the Indian classics like chicken tandoori, paratha, and more. They also offer a wide variety of fruit juices, coffee, and slushies.
Must-haves: Cappuccino, cinnamon bun, caramel cake, aloo paratha, and chicken korma
Address: Bhagsunag main Chowk, near taxi Stand, Bhagsunag Road, Dharamshala
An eatery that offers its patrons a clear view of the Bhagsu waterfall. Their menu is a mishmash of dishes from multiple cuisines. There are noodles, pizzas, burgers, sizzlers - you get the idea right? No matter what your preference is, you’ll find something to relish here.
Must-haves: Chicken momos, vegetable and cheese sandwich, watermelon juice, and paneer butter masala
Address: Bhagsunag Road, Dharamshala
It’s a warm and homely cafe and restaurant that offers a range of cuisines on its menu. Chinese, Punjabi, Italian, and Israeli, you will get it all.
Must-haves: Paneer butter masala, chicken thenthuk, vegetable burrito, and chocolate Nutella momos
Address: Upper Bhagsu, near Pink White Hotel, Dharamshala
While these are great options, be sure to taste those delicacies that this city is known for. We are talking about Tudkiya Bhath, Chha Gosht, Kullu Trout Fish, and Thukpa.
Also Read: Experiencing The Food In Dharamshala
Listen to the loud gushing water and feast your eyes on this creation of nature. It is one of the most visited tourist places in Dharamshala and we totally get why. The waterfall starts from the Dhauladhar Valley's base and falls from a height of 30 feet! Seeing it up close is a pure thrill and it is totally safe. You can take a dip here but know that the water can sometimes be super cold. The famous Bhagsunag temple is located just 15-20 minutes walking distance away from the waterfall. The temple is ancient and is dedicated to lord Shiva.
Location: Bhagsu Nag waterfall pathway, Bhagsu Nag, Dharamshala
Timings: Every day - 7 am to 9 pm
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
This one is easily going to one of the most beautiful stadiums you have ever seen. HPCA Stadium is perched at a height of 1,457 meters above sea level and is surrounded by mountains, lush greenery, and idyllic homes. Along with its dreamy views, it is also a massive venue that can seat up to 23,000 people!
Location: ITI-Stadium Road, Jawahar Nagar, Dharamshala
Timings: Every day - 9 am to 5 pm
Duration: Less than 1 hour
A visit to Dharamshala is a treat for all senses - vibrant sunsets, clean air, delicious food, a cool atmosphere, and warm people. The city has a wholesome vibe to it. Now it’s time to make way for its most beloved part, McLeodganj!
Bus: There are many public buses that leave from the Dharamshala bus stop throughout the day. You can find the stop at Kotwali Bazaar road and the fare will be around INR 30 for a one-way trip.
Taxi: A seat in a private taxi to McLeodganj will cost you around INR 250 to 350.
Ropeway: No, this is no mistake. This ropeway will take you from Dharamshala to McLeodganj and back in a matter of minutes! It will literally take you five minutes to reach McLeodganj at the cost of INR 425 and INR 650 for a round trip. The rides start at 10 am and are available till 5 pm. Here are the addresses for both stations.
Dharamshala Station - Near Bypass Road, Kotwali Bazaar, Dharamshala - 176215
McLeodganj Station - Temple Road, McLeodganj - 176219
Well, here you are! While your time in Dharamshala must have been amazing, you’ll get to experience the best that this city has to offer in McLeodganj. It has more hotels, eateries, and places to see. Most importantly, this is also the spiritual center of the city as it is the home to the Dalai Lama. His Holiness and his followers left Tibet to escape the tyranny of the Chinese government in 1959 and found solace here. So get ready to witness Tibetan culture, more of that delicious food, great weather, and much more.
Also Read: McLeodganj Travel Guide
McLeodganj is a part of Dharamshala, so you can expect the cost of accommodation and stay to be similar. A shared room in a hostel will cost you around INR 400 to INR 700.
Facilities Offered: 6-bed mixed dorm, 4-bed mixed dorm, 4-bed female dorm, laundry services (chargeable), in-house activities, parking (chargeable), and breakfast and dining (chargeable).
Address: Pink House, Jogiwara Road, opposite Yongling School, McLeodganj
Price: Starts from INR 700 (6-bed mixed dorm)
Facilities Offered: 6-bed mixed dorm, 4-bed mixed dorm, breakfast and dining (chargeable), bonfire, doctor on call, and game room.
Address: Near Vaishno Temple, La Vaca India, Upper Bhagsu Nag, McLeodganj
Price: Starts from INR 700 (6-bed mixed dorm)
Facilities Offered: 4-bed mixed dorm, movie room (chargeable), indoor games, doctor on call, paid parking, and breakfast and dining (chargeable).
Address: Opposite Vaishno Mata Mandir, Bhagsunag, Mcleodganj
Price: Starts from INR 650
If staying in a hostel is not your cup of tea, do not worry. There are many comfortable hotels at affordable rates of approximately INR 500 to INR 1,000.
Facilities Offered: 4-bed female dorm, 4-bed male dorm, breakfast and dining (chargeable), laundry service (chargeable), and community activities (chargeable).
Address: Next To Tipa Dharamkot Road, Village Bhagsunag, Post Office McLeodganj
Price: Starts from INR 520
Facilities Offered: Free parking, apartments with a kitchen, and breakfast (chargeable).
Address: Above Manu Adventures India, Bhagsunag, Dharamkot Road, McLeodganj
Price: Starts from INR 1,000
Facilities Offered: Mixed dorm, bicycle rental (chargeable), laundry service (chargeable), free parking, and breakfast and dining (chargeable)
Address: Bhagsunag Road, 176219 McLeodganj
Price: Starts from INR 700 (mixed dorm)
As we said before, there are lots and lots of restaurants here to choose from and many of them will cost you less than INR 400 for a meal.
Your visit to McLeodganj is incomplete without tasting some authentic Tibetan food. So head to Norling and feast on delicious thukpa, thentuk, and a lot more. Its menu is not just limited to Tibetan dishes, they also serve popular items like desserts, salads, and sandwiches.
Must-haves: Mutton momos, thukpa, thentuk, lowa khasta, and ginger lemon honey tea
Address: Dolma Chowk, Jogiwara Road, McLeodganj
This is an eatery run and managed by monks. It is one of the few vegetarian restaurants in McLeodganj, but it does offer some egg dishes. Shangrila is known for offering authentic Tibetan dishes at affordable rates and that too with good portion sizes. They offer chili sauce that you can use to spice up something if you want.
Must-haves: Spinach momos, thukpa, cauliflower manchurian, and ginger tea
Address: Jogiwara Road, McLeodganj
This might not come as a surprise, but they offer amazing Tibetan dishes with some Chinese delights. Do not miss their delicious momos. Along with authentic Chinese and Tibetan dishes, they also serve the items that we all grew up eating like chicken masala, chicken biryani, sandwiches, and more.
Must-haves: Mutton momos, shafta, chilly chicken, thenktuk, and ginger lemon tea
Address: Jogiwara Road, House Number 1 Main Square, McLeodganj
This is a church that’s frozen in time. Built back in 1852, it's a fine example of mesmerizing neo-Gothic architecture. This church is dedicated to John the Baptist and is surrounded by the Deodar forest. St. John in the Wilderness looks absolutely stunning, but also desolate. You will be surprised to know that it is very much functional and well taken care of. From its stained windows to polished wood and oil lamps, the place oozes elegance.
Location: Road to Naddi Village from McLeodganj
Timings: Every day - 7 am to 6 pm
Duration: Less than an hour. The Sunday mass takes place in English at 10 am and the Hindi mass takes place at 11 am
It is also known as "Dalai Lama's Temple” because it’s the monastery of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. It is from here that all the crucial Tibetan ceremonies are performed. There are hundreds of monks here who preserve the traditions and rich culture of Tibet for future generations and visitors like you. This is a great opportunity to see a different culture up close. If you want to meet Dalai Lama, remember that you need to get an appointment first.
Location: Temple Road, McLeodganj
Timings: Every day - 5 am to 8:30 pm
Duration: Around an hour
It is a serene piece of blue water that reflects the deodar trees that surround it. Sitting near the lake and watching the clouds go by can easily relieve you of worries. If you feel like doing more than sitting here, know that boating is also an option, and that too for around INR 50. Do not go swimming here though, as the lake is known to have snakes.
Location: Dal Lake Mcleodganj Road, Forsyth Ganj, McLeodganj
Timings: Everyday - 7 am to 8 pm
Duration: 1.5 hours. More if you are going for a boat ride
McLeodganj is known for its Tibetan influence, and that culture adores its art forms. You are going to find several interesting things to buy here at its local markets like Jogibara Road Bazaar, Kotwali Bazaar, and McLeodganj Central Square. Maybe you’ll find a stunning showpiece for your room or some interesting memorabilia for your trip. There will be things like exquisite metal crafts, wall hanging, woolen shawls, bags, jewelry, prayer flags, mandala paintings, wooden carvings, carpets, and thangkas.
Location: Multiple markets
Timings: Markets are usually open every day from 10 am to 8 pm
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Planning a trip from Dharamshala to McLeodganj for under 10k is easily possible. You get to stay in decent hotels with the necessary facilities, eat mouth-watering food, and explore fascinating sites. If you can stretch your budget, then spend on extending your stay and not on costlier accommodation and food. Remember that the best of Dharamshala is located in McLeodganj, so prioritize your itinerary and expenses accordingly. Have a fun trip!
Which Is The Best Time To Visit Dharamshala?
The time from March to July is the best because the temperatures hover between 22°C and 35°C. So it won’t be too cold or warm. You’ll get to see the natural beauty of Dharamshala at its best during this period.
Are 2 Days Enough For Dharamshala?
No, you won’t get to visit all the amazing places or soak in the aura of this place properly. Try to give at least three days to yourself in this city to truly enjoy it.
How Expensive Is Dharamshala?
Dharamshala is not expensive as you have enough budget-friendly options in the town. You can find decent accommodation for around INR 650 and your daily meals for less than INR 800. Your only other expense will be traveling, which isn’t very costly if you’re using public transport.
Is Dharamshala Better Than Manali?
It's really a matter of preference here. Dharamshala is more peaceful and spiritual, this is where you get to experience Tibetan culture. While Manali is considered to be more beautiful, it snows more here, and it's great for those who want to participate in outdoor activities.
How Much Is The Ropeway Fare In Dharamshala?
The ropeway costs INR 425 for a one-way ride and INR 650 for a round trip.
Why Is McLeodganj Famous?
The main reason for its popularity is that it is home to the Dalai Lama. That’s not all, McLeodganj is also known for its monasteries, museums, and lakes.
Is There Snowfall In McLeodganj?
Yes, it snows in McLeodganj during the winter months of December to February.
Is Dharamsala Safe At Night?
Yes, it is. We would still advise you to stay in lit areas and be aware of your surroundings. Try to avoid empty areas whenever possible.