Planning a Trip
There's a Tourist Information Office (tel. 01892/22-1205 or -1232; Mon-Sat 10am-1:30pm and 2-5pm) in McLeod Ganj, but you'll be hard-pressed to squeeze anything worthwhile out of the lackluster staff; you'd do better to make inquiries at your hotel. CONTACT is a free monthly newsletter distributed in and around McLeod Ganj. Although its primary aim is to promote Buddhist issues, it also carries up-to-date information and advertisements regarding cultural events and activities likely to be of interest to foreign visitors. If you are here for massage, meditation, alternative healing, yoga, or Tibetan cooking classes, this publication will point you in the right direction. Also visit www.dharamsalanet.com.
Getting There & Around
It's possible to drive from Shimla or Chandigarh to Dharamsala, and there are two great overnight options along the way -- choose between Taragarh Palace, outside Palampur, or The Judge's Court, in Pragpur. The most pleasant way to get to the Kangra Valley directly from Delhi is by train (driving by car takes almost 12 hr.). The overnight Jammu Mail from Delhi allows you to rest up before hiring a car for the scenic 3-hour road trip from Panthankot to Dharamsala (80km/50 miles). Another option is to fly -- Air Deccan operates daily to Kangra's Gaggal Airport, 15km (9 1/3 miles) from Dharamsala. In Dharamsala, you will find it easy to get either a taxi or auto-rickshaw. (Auto-rickshaws are incredibly impractical, however, because of the engine-killing gradient of the town.) Ways Tours & Travels (Temple Rd., McLeod Ganj; tel. 01892/22-1910, -1355, or -1988; firstname.lastname@example.org) hires out cars with drivers for local sightseeing, and can help with all your travel arrangements as well as organize individually packaged tours throughout the region. You can also contact them in New Delhi, at House no. 45, New Tibetan Camp, Majnu-Ka-Tilla; call tel. 011/2381-3254 or 98-1128-9552.