Despite rich potential for tourism in Himachal Pradesh, this sector has not received the required support. Political statements and election promises for the same have been made so frequently that the real intent for the same has taken a back seat. Not to talk of the entire state, even a portion of the Kangra Valley can boost the economy of the state to a great extent. This is a strange phenomenon that a state which has a population of only about 75 lakh should not be able to lead the country in prosperity. Kangra district alone has the capacity and bounty of natural resources that the tourism sector can be developed to optimum limits and turned into an international hub for the tourists footfall.
Though Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Palampur, Baijnath, Shobha Singh Art Gallery at Andretta, Kangra Fort, Brajeshwari Temple, Bhagsu Nag springs near McLeod Ganj, Triund and Dharamkot are no doubt the scenic spots in the Kangra valley but there is more to it in religious tourism that needs proper management and infrastructure on the international dimensions. The state governments from time to time have been talking of promoting tourism, but have failed to do any tangible work in this direction.
Congress has ruled the state for most of the time in the state but did not muster the courage to impress upon the Central governments led by the party for widening the 160-km meter-gauge railway track from Pathankot in Punjab to Jogindernagar in Mandi to broad gauge track, through the expanse of Kangra valley which is from 15 km to 50 km wide with lush green fields and vegetation, across the rustling rivulets and water channels. The rising snow-capped Dhualadhar Himalayan hills keep a watch over the valley from a height of about 15,000 feet.
Dharamshala known as Lal Inten (red-bricked jail during the British period and their settlements with military cantonment) was a visiting place internationally, but it got its global recognition when Tibetans headed by the Dalai Lama fled to India and settled in Dharamshala at McLeod Ganj and they formed their Government-in-Exile. The town became an abode for Buddhists and scholars from across the world. Though the access to Dharamshala in the absence of broad railway line and inadequate air service to Kangra airport is not that comfortable yet it has become a hub of tourism for both national and international tourists.
A major development that has given a fillip to tourism in the area is the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium (HPCA). It has become a heart-throb city for the young generation. The international cricket games and bewitching scenic beauty of Dhauladhar range have given an added and impressive boost to hotel industry. The five-star facilities in the HPCA hotel create rush in the city during the cricket matches. The city known by the presence of the Dalai Lama is now being known by the cricket stadium. The major share of credit for developing cricketing and construction of the stadium goes to BCCI president and Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Hamirpur constituency of the state Anuraq Thakur The stadium has made Himachal Pradesh capable of hosting international standard cricket at Dharamshala.The first international team that played here was the Pakistan cricket team, which played a match in 2005.
People keep visiting Bhagsunag Temple and Waterfall Temple of god Shiva situated around 2 km from McLeod Ganj bazaar. It was constructed by 1GR by around 1800 century and then worshipped majorly by 14 Gukha platoon in Dharamshala. Very next to Bhagsu Nag temple is a water fall, one of the major tourist attraction spots in Dharamshala. Another spot Dal Lake is a small mid-altitude lake (1,775 m above sea level) near Tota Rani village in Kangra district.This lake has greenish water. The distance from resort to Dal Lake is 3 km. The most important Buddhist site in the town is the Dalai Lama’s temple. It has statues of Shakyamuni, Avalokite?vara and a statue of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). His Holiness Dalai Lama also resides near this temple. This is the most popular tourist attraction for foreigners in Dharamshala. The scenic beauty is that of tea estates. Lush green tea gardens with reddish brown trees look unbelievable. Another spot worth visiting is Norbulingka Institutee, founded in 1988 by Kelsang and Kim Yeshi at Sidhpur, near Dharamshala, is dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan culture in its literary and artistic forms. The ground plan is based on the proportions of Avalokitesvara. Monks and nuns are considered to be responsible for the preservation and dissemination of the Buddha’s teaching and the guidance of Buddhist lay people. The distance from Resort to Buddhist Monastery is 20 km from McLeod Ganj.
Naddi, a scenic picnic spot is located 5 km northwest of McLeod Ganj. It offers a spectacular view of the Kangra valley. You can trek to Kareri Lake, Triund, and Guna Devi from here. It’s becoming a popular destination for nature lovers .and foreigners.
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