Dharamsala is a city in northern India, and the heart of the country’s Tibetan exile community. Since 1959, the city has acted as a sanctuary for several thousand Tibetan refugees, including the Dalai Lama, who began fleeing their homeland after the Tibetan uprising against the controlling Chinese government. The majority of these exiles, and the Dalai Lama himself, have settled in the neighbourhood of McLeod Ganj, which rises above the main city centre and is home to monasteries, temples and schools. Because of its political significance, McLeod Ganj—or ‘Little Lhasa,’ as it’s sometimes known—has also become a popular tourist destination, with hotels and restaurants popping up over the years. Dharamsala is also home to the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, which holds more than 80,000 manuscripts and other important documents related to Tibetan politics, culture and history.
In addition to its political and cultural significance, the area is also a popular adventure destination for trekking and rock climbing; numerous trails lead into the upper Ravi Valley, and the nearby Dhauladhar range is a popular spot for climbing enthusiasts.