Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Have You Been to This To-Be Smart City?

The residence of a renowned religious leader and peace advocate.

A tourist destination for years thereon.

Now, nominated to be a smart city under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Smart Cities Mission.

Over the years, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh has been the go-to hill station for thousands of Indians. Not only does it offer a respite from the turmoil of everyday city life, but it also allows visitors the chance to sit back, relax, and simply be content even while they are doing absolutely nothing.

One can either fly to Dharamshala or reach the town by car. Road trips are usually fun; however, if you plan on traveling from Delhi to Dharamshala by car, Google claims that you will be stuck on the road for a minimum of eight hours. As driving during the daytime is your safest option, it would do you good to leave during early morning or latest by afternoon so that you arrive in time for dinner.

Ask the receptionist at the hotel what things there are to see in Dharamshala and he will rattle off names of hiking trails, mention McLeod Ganj and the Dal Lake, and suggest that you visit St. John in the Wilderness on your way up.

McLeod Ganj: by far the best place of all to visit in Dharamshala. Located in the Kangra district of Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj is a treasure house of wonders. Whether it is the marketplace enticing you with its intricate handicraft or the monastery beckoning you to enter and be witness to an overwhelming calm, this place is a must visit for anyone who has come as far as Dharamshala. Walking in the streets of McLeod Ganj, you will notice maroon-robed Buddhists monks flanking the path, beads in hand, and in their own thoughts.

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You will notice the rows of vibrant scarves dotting the stalls in the marketplace. And, if you look closer, you may also see fellow human beings amongst the strange faces calling out to you, "Fine, you can have it for 200. Last price! The Dal Lake is also a welcoming spot. Though there is not much to do there, one can certainly experience serenity while exploring the rocky areas nearby, which offer a view of the far off mountains. If you wish, you may also take a stroll on the sidewalk that encloses the lake.

If anything, one can be ensured that Dharamshala is truly an emblem of peace. One does not need to claim so for it to be true; it just is. And, as with every other place you travel to, when you leave, you will leave a piece of yourself in Dharamshala, as well. Even if you go there and do absolutely nothing, you can be confident of returning with a sense of satisfaction and tranquillity. So, if you ever feel like going into seclusion or wish to escape the worldly life, rest assured, Dharamshala is the way to go. After all, there must be a reason why H.H. the Dalai Lama made it his place of residence.

Written by Priyanshi Sheth
"Namaste!" from a creative, Indian soul who aims to keep herself motivated as she writes, travels, photographs, and thereby, shares her knowledge.

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