A solo travel guide for visiting Dharamsala in India
Thinking of taking a solo trip in 2019? Dharamsala, in India, could be the perfect place. Surrounded by cedar forests on the edge of the Himalayas, this pretty hillside city is home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile. Attracted by its spirituality, many people visit to try some yoga in Dharamsala, soak up its rich history, and be truly at one with nature.
There are many places to just be outdoors and take in the beautiful vibration here, as well as plenty of other things to see and do. The Thekchen Chöling Temple Complex is a spiritual center for Tibetan Buddhism, while the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives houses thousands of precious manuscripts – and both are well worth a visit for cultural buffs.
Solo travellers to Dharamsala will be sure to meet friendly people whilst visiting the area, and they will more than likely invite you to spiritual classes, on hikes or excursions – so you’ll rarely have to worry about going it alone. Even so, there is plenty to do if you do fancy a truly solitary break. Here is what you can do while you’re in Dharamsala by yourself.
Visit the Tsuglagkhang Complex Dalai Lama Temple
If you are coming to Dharmasala, you will, of course, want to visit the Namgyal monastery of the Dalai Lama – his personal monastery, which is located in the upper part of the McLeod Ganj, where most of the Tibetan people settled. The lower part of Dharamsala is primarily inhabited by Indian people. The Namgyal Tantric College, within the confines of the large monastery area, is where the Dalai Lama performs rituals, and is a beautiful place to visit by yourself. You can find a sense of great peace here.
Trekking the Kangra Valley
Trekking enthusiasts are certain to meet some wonderful people by joining a walk in the Kangra Valley. The one day tours begin from Dharamsala and take you on a scenic adventure through the Western Himalayas, in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Along the way, you’ll see an incredible gorge and the Masroor Rock – made up of temples that were cut out from the rock that date all the way back to the eighth century and are a breath-taking sight to behold. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to bond with the other people on your tour – a great way to make travel buddies and often, friends for life.
If you’re visiting the Kangra district, you will reach a small hill station along the way, sitting prominently near the Dhauladhar ranges. The ranges are incredibly breathtaking, towering over you at nearly 3,000 metres high. Trek through beautiful forests and up a steep mountainside on this truly exhilarating tour. When you go back to Dharamsala, you’ll have stories to share with other visitors, too – and everyone knows that it’s what travelling is all about.
Spend some time alone at Bhagsu Falls
If you’re happy spending time alone, then a long and scenic walk to Bhagsu Falls could be just the way to spend a day. Meander along the peaceful trail in silence, then take a much-needed dip at the waterfall to cool off. The waterfall cascades into a perfect rocky pool that’s perfect for taking a swim in.
Meditation at the Gyuto Monastery
For a truly relaxing and rejuvenating experience in Dharamsala, head to the Gyuto Monastery, where you can partake in daily meditation. Often, you’ll be in silent meditation, so it’s the perfect activity to embark upon alone. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of this truly special place whilst feeling the connection to yourself and the universe that surrounds you. It is the Buddhist order which focuses on ethics and discipline to feel that true spiritual fulfillment.
Yoga in Dharamsala
If you’re looking to engage in a spot of yoga during your time in Dharamsala, then you certainly won’t have to look very far. Karma classes, as per the eight limbs of yoga, are very popular here, and are well worth a go if you are up for the challenge. With a range of ashrams, schools and studios offering the practice, the teachers are highly skilled and passionate about what they do.
To participate in a yoga class in such a deeply spiritual place will change your practice forever; you can even train to become a yoga teacher yourself here, if you’re so inclined. Whether you’re a complete amateur or a seasoned yoga pro, take some time out of your trip to give it a go. The community is all about loving kindness, so you’ll feel like you’ve found a family from afar.
Dharamsala is a safe place to visit if you’re traveling solo. Some might believe that India is dangerous, and although that can be true of the larger cities if you don’t keep your wits about you, you can go out later at night in Dharamsala without feeling uncomfortable. A place of great peace, people are very genuine and caring in this wonderful Indian hideaway – so make it top of your solo travel list for 2019, and you won’t regret it.