Village Walks around Dharamsala
Walking Tours are a great way to get to know an area. You can get an ‘insiders’ view of different areas of a place. From learning about culture to how locals live, eat and sleep to the history of a place, these are things you will get to take home. Our local guides are desi (or locals) who know the area and want to pass it on. What a wonderful gift to yourself in the form of mental footprints of a place.
The Village Walks will be 4 hours in length from 11am to 3pm – Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Lunch and chai will be included.
If required the transport will be by taxi to and from the start and drop off from the walk.
Classic Walk - McLeod Ganj to Naddi
Your starting point will be McLeod Ganj, an old British hill station to walk Naddi Village (2,000 metres), a small village with spectacular views of the Dhauladhur mountains. Along the way we’ll walk through dense coniferous forest consisting mainly of stately Deodar cedar trees to Dal Lake. It is considered to be a sacred spot as there is small Shiva mandir (shrine) on its bank. Stop for a chai stop to enjoy the forests and the small lake.
We walk further onto Naddi Village which is surrounded by pine, Himalayan oak, and rhododendron trees. You will be able see rhododendron trees bloom into magnificent reds and pinks in late February and March. The village which has a rich history as most of the inhabitants are from the Gaddi Tribe (shepherds and herders) and all speak the local Gaddi language.
You will be able to sample local cuisine for lunch prepared and cooked by locals, Sushil and his family.
To return to McLeod your walk will take you again through the lush coniferous forests past the Tibetan Children’s Village and back to McLeod Ganj.
Walking only – start and end in Main Square, McLeod Ganj
Tea Gardens and Kunal Pathari Temple
Tea Gardens are a well kept secret around Dharamsala. We give you the opportunity on walk around through the lush green tea bushes, learn the history of tea growing in the Dharmsala area and understand the process of these well trimmed and maintained trees. If you are lucky you may see the workers around plucking the tea leaves. Visit the local tea making plant and learn firsthand the experience of tea making process. You will be able to purchase and take your pick from different variety of teas such as, orthodox black, green tea, rose, and oolong( hand rolled) teas.
After some light refreshments, we head towards Kunal Pathari Temple at the edge of the tea garden. This is a famous temple to the Godess Pavarti and pilgrims visit from far and wide. It is a calm, peaceful place. One of the features of the temple is there is a natural bowl shaped structure (parat) inside the tample over the historical pindi – which remains always filled with water and never dries up. After a visit we head to our lunch spot then finally finish for the day.
Walking/Transport only – start and end at Bus Stand, Dharamsala
Tibetan Buddhist Circuit - Norblingka to Dolma Ling to Guyto
The start of our walk will be from Norblingka Institute which is a unique institute dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan culture in its literary and artistic forms. We will have a tour of Norblingka and set out to walk to Dolma Ling – a Tibetan nunnery which teaches and houses 240 nuns in the Buddhist tradition.
Dolma Ling Nunnery is unique because it offers a 17-year curriculum of traditional Buddhist philosophy and debate as well as modern courses in Tibetan language, English, basic mathematics, and computer skills. The nunnery was successfully completed after 12 years of hard work and the nuns themselves worked to help build the nunnery.
After a visit, lunch and we continue on our walk to Guyto Monastery through the village of Rakkar. Rakkar is a medium size village housing some local NGO’s who work for the local and wider population.
Arrive at Gyuto Monastery and admire the beautiful location with the Himalayas as its backdrop as you walk the entrance of the building. Take a tour of the main temple of the Monastery. Its’ time to relax with a quick cup of chai and return to your hotel/guest house in our prearranged transport.
Walking/Transport only – start at Norblingka and end at Gyuto Monastery
Buddha to Shiva Walk - Norblingka to Molhi to Aghanjar Mahadev to Rakkar
The start of our walk will be from Norblingka Institute which is a unique institute dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan culture in its literary and artistic forms. We will have a tour of Norblingka and set out to walk to Dolma Ling – a Tibetan nunnery which teaching and housing nuns in the Buddhist tradition.
The nunnery is an important Dolma Ling Nunnery is unique because it offers a 17-year curriculum of traditional Buddhist philosophy and debate as well as modern courses in Tibetan language, English, basic mathematics, and computer skills.
From the nunnery we will take a small part to the back of the nunnery and head up through the village of Molhi. Molhi is a local village consisting of mainly people from traditional Gaddi tribe. Pass by people still living in the traditional way keeping cows and goats and working in their small fields. You will meet some of the villages as they go about their daily lives of working in their kitchen gardens, women washing outside and children playing in the local fields.
We will have lunch with one of the families and you be able to see how families co-exist in their mud houses and extended families living together.
After lunch head to towards Aghanjar Mahadev Temple, a famous Hindu temple honoring Shiva. It is set in front of a serene stream running over large boulders and comes alive at Shivarti (March each year). Here we take a rest for a cup of chai from one of the temple side chai wallahs then head to the village of Rakkar where we finish our walk.
Walking/Transport only – start at Norblingka and end at Rakkar Village