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Upper Dharamshala vs Lower Dharamshala: What to expect in 2 amazing places

The Himalayan spiritual town of Dharamshala in Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh is pretty much world famous for various reasons, the top being it is where the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama resides.  It’s also home to the highest cricket ground in the world.  

This is the perspective created in your mind when you read about the place on the internet, that it’s a cool happening Himalayan town or city. But in reality, the town is split up into two parts – Upper and Lower.

They are two different regions within the town of Dharamshala, located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

McLeodganj town view

All that you read and want to explore when you reach the town falls under the Upper section which is mainly the towns and villages of Mcleodganj, Bhagsunag, Dharamkot and Naddi. Even St John’s church in the wilderness, Triund Trek and Dal Lake all come under the Upper section of Dharamshala. 

So what’s there to explore in Lower Dharamshala? 

To be honest, there isn’t anything other than the cricket stadium and main stream shopping streets. It’s also a lot warmer and hotter in lower section, since it’s at a considerably lower altitude roughly  4780 feet above sea level. The days are extremely hot and dry, while the nights are pleasant. 

Musician in McLeodganj

Lower region is a commercial city which has malls, movie theatres and everything you would expect from a city. So honestly, don’t fuss around while planning a trip to the town on the places to visit and add lower Dharamshala to your blueprint.

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No matter what you plan, don’t add Lower region to your travel list if you are a backpacker completely skip it. The cricket stadium can be done on a day visit which will take less than a couple of hours to visit that’s if you are a cricket fan. 

It is located at a lower altitude and is primarily a commercial and residential area. It is divided into several neighborhoods like Kotwali Bazar, Kachehri Adda, and Sidhpur. Lower Dharamshala has a more local and traditional atmosphere compared to Upper Dharamshala. It is known for its cricket stadium, also known as the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, which has hosted several international cricket matches.

McLeodganj at dawn

The best time to live in lower Dharamshala is when there is a cricket match, since that’s the only time the place comes to life from the tourist point of view. For the rest of the year, it’s just a regular bypass. 

We are penning down this article after living six days in lower Dharamshala. 

Upper Dharamshala – what is there

Upper region, also known as McLeod Ganj, is situated at a higher altitude and is the administrative center of the region. It is known for its Tibetan influence and is the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile led by the 14th Dalai Lama.

Upper Dharamshala is home to several Tibetan monasteries, including the Namgyal Monastery, Tsuglagkhang Complex, and Gyuto Monastery. It also boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous art galleries, cafes, and handicraft shops. McLeod Ganj is a popular tourist destination and attracts many visitors interested in Tibetan culture and Buddhism.

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This vs that

Both Upper and Lower regions offer different experiences to visitors. While Upper region is known for its Tibetan cultural heritage, Lower region provides insights into the local lifestyle and offers a more authentic Indian experience. Visitors to the town often explore both areas to get a holistic view of the town.

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