Dharamshala, formerly known as Bhagsu, is located in the Kangra Valley amidst the Dhauladhar mountains and the dense cedar tree forests of northern India's Himachal Pradesh. The city is one of the state's two capitals and is best known for both Buddhism and yoga.
Dharamshala is home to the headquarters of the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan government in exile and is one of India’s most popular yoga destinations, making Dharamshala a great place for travellers and spiritual seekers to come together. Nestled in the Himalayan foothills, the beautiful surroundings and the spiritual attention of Dharamshala makes this the ideal setting for a yoga retreat.
Yoga enthusiasts will have an abundance of schools and styles to choose from, including opportunities to take part in yoga teacher training programs. Popular yoga styles in Dharamshala include Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar and Sivananda. Most schools offering a yoga teacher training course are registered with Yoga Alliance, and offer the standard 200-hour teacher training courses leading to certification.
Most yoga schools in and around Dharamshala are situated in a peaceful setting surrounded by nature. Having many yoga schools and ashrams, there is yoga for everyone is Dharamshala, from drop-in classes and week long courses to more intense and long-term courses for students wanting to delve deeper into their practice and studies.Why to go
If you love the outdoors and the mountains this may be the perfect place for you. The surrounding landscapes are majestic and beautiful. Dharamshala is a spiritual place in the mountains, many people interested in studying yoga will enjoy this aspect of the city, as it can help to delve deeper into oneself and enhance one’s yoga and meditation studies and practices; both Buddhism and Hinduism have roots in yoga.What we love
The trekking in the area is spectacular. Himachal Pradesh may be one of the most beautiful states in India with amazing hill stations and tall mountains.
UNIVERSAL YOGA CENTER
Offering Yoga Alliance approved 200+, 300+, and 500+ YTTC for Hatha, and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
Vijay Amar, born in 1956, has been practicing Yoga for more than 40 years. He was trained in different styles of Yoga with various teachers. His teaching is the fruit of many years of study in different schools of Yoga and his personally devised system of Universal Hatha Yoga has depth, relaxation, and self-healing. This style of Yoga utilizes physical postures (asanas), breath-work (pranayama) and meditation techniques to liberate the vital energy of the body and mind.
Vijay's wealth of experience and expertise make him a natural choice for Yoga teaching and offers an assurance of the highest standards of safety and teaching.
Vijay now devotes himself to the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (Power Yoga) and is working on his spiritual development.
Phone: +91 97 6448 6555
PARIMUKTI YOGA AND MEDITATION DHARAMSHALA
Beautifully located at the foothills of the Himalayas, WonderfulYoga offers 200 and 500 hours Teacher Training. The 200 hrs training is accredited by the Yoga Alliance (USA). After the completion of the training, you may register yourself with Yoga Alliance allowing you to teach everywhere around the world.
Phone: +91 96 3752 1278
ABHINAM YOGA SCHOOL DHARAMSALA
Abhinam Yoga was established by Namito a lifelong disciple of Mr BKS Iyengar. So the Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow taught is based on Iyengar's alignment principles. The knowledge of correct alignment is essential for every Yoga practitioner. Only through that can one truly benefit and practice Yoga injury free. Dedicated to each student’s individual growth, Abhinam Yoga creates a supportive and non-competitive learning environment.
The Yoga Teacher Training provides the students with practical training, methodology and experience to teach Yoga. This course is about deepening your own practice, individuality and its skilful expression in teaching others. During the Teacher Training Course, you will also learn how to present your Yoga skills in a professional manner and how to turn it into a successful career.
The 200, 300 and 500 hours Yoga Teacher Training Courses are certified by Yoga Alliance UK and the US and they follow the syllabus designed for Yoga Instructor Training.
Phone: +91 97 3604 6080
SHIVA YOGA VALLEY
Shiva yoga Valley aims to build a community of yoga teachers, therapists and establishments that have high standards, ethics and are working towards spiritual growth.
Phone: +91 96 2711 1444
Please take a look at our yoga directory to find many more yoga schools in Dharamshala.
McLeod Ganj — McLeod Ganj is home to the Tibetan community and is the main tourist centre just north of Dharamshala. McLeod Ganj has many historical Tibetan sites and is home to the 14th Dalai Lama. The area has many shops, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses and is the starting point of some nearby treks. Many yoga schools are located in McLeod Ganj, making it an ideal central place to stay.
Lower Dharamsala — A small typical Indian town with government offices, schools, a local hospital, and commercial areas. The area is usually of little interest to tourists with the majority of its inhabitants being locals.
Bhagsu — A small and quiet urban area north of Dharamshala. Bhagsu has plenty of shops and restaurants.
Dharamkot — North of McLeod Ganj, Dharamkot is a small village with shops and restaurants similar to Bhagsu. The area is a little remote, making it an ideal place for people searching for a quieter space. It is well connected to McLeod Ganj by bus and taxi. There are many trails starting from Dharamkot into the woods and hills.
Most yoga schools are open during the summer months from April to October, while some are open only during a few of those months (e.g. May to August or April to July) and others are open all year. Do make sure to check when the school you are interested in is open.
The ideal time to practice yoga in Dharamsala is during the warm and dry spring and summer months which fall between April and June.
During the monsoon, Dharamshala sees heavy rain and in winter snowfall is common. Tourists visit Dharamshala throughout the year, and depending on personal preferences, each season is beautiful in its own way.
March to mid-July - This is a great time to visit if you like warm days but want to avoid the scorching summer heat. The warm pleasant days make it perfect for both sightseeing and trekking. Because of this, this is the busiest time in Dharamshala with many tourists coming to enjoy the hill station.
Mid-July to mid-September - This is the monsoon season in Dharamshala when the area will be at its greenest. The rainfall in the mountains is beautiful, but roadblocks occur on a regular basis as the area sees a considerable amount of rain. If you plan of trekking, keep in mind that the terrain can get slippery and some treks may not be accessible.
Mid-September to November - The temperatures this time of year are very pleasant, and often cool in the evenings. It is a good time of year to sightsee and trek if you want to avoid hot temperature and enjoy cool evenings. By this time of year, the rain will have stopped.
December to February - Winter is a beautiful time to visit if you like cold temperatures and snow-covered mountains. Temperature drop to freezing so be sure to bring plenty of warm clothing. Many yoga schools are closed at this time of year but some are open, so be sure to pick the right one if you want to spend some time in the snowy Himalayas.
Arriving by air
The nearest airport to Dharamshala is in Gaggal, 13km away. This airport has daily flights from Delhi with airlines Air India and Spice Jet. Another option with more connections is to fly to Chandigarh, located 247km away from Dharamshala, and then get a bus or taxi.
Arriving by train
The train can be a great way to reach Dharamshala. There are overnight trains from Delhi to Pathankot which is located 85km away from Dharamshala. From Pathankot, we suggest taking a bus or taxi to Dharamshala, though there is a train that goes to Kangra Mandir, 22 km away from Dharamshala.
Arriving by bus
Dharamshala is well-connected by state-operated buses and private tour buses to Delhi as well as other cities in Northern India. A bus from Delhi will take approximately 13 hours. Most buses stop at the main bus terminal in lower Dharamshala while some go all the way to McLeod Ganj.
Travelling by bus
Buses leave regularly from the main station to McLeod Ganj and other parts of town. Using the bus is a cheap way of getting around.
Travelling by auto-rickshaw
There are plenty of auto-rickshaws around and this is also a relatively cheap way of getting around town.
Travelling by taxi
Although more expensive, this is also a good way to get around especially for larger groups. Taxis are easy to find around town.
Travelling by scooter/motorcycle
There are several scooter/motorcycle rental places in McLeod Ganj. If you feel confident enough, this can be a nice way of getting around.
Travelling by foot
In McLeod Ganj, walking is a great way to get around and sightsee. The town is small enough to easily walk almost everywhere. Dharamshala is a little larger so walking can get tiring, but if you like walking it is always a great way to visit a new place--and you can always jump into a rickshaw when you get tired.
There is plenty to do in Dharamshala since the area is located in the mountains and the area is rich in culture. Here are some of the top things to see and do in Dharamshala:
Bhagsu Nag Trek - A short day trek from Dharamshala with scenic views and a waterfall 3km from Dharamshala
Indrahar pass - A trek in the Kangra valley, through snowbound mountains with views of the impressive Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal mountains.
Dal Lake - A 4km walk to a small pond surrounded by pine trees.
Triund - This is more of a serious trek with elevation gain. Make sure to wear good shoes and bring appropriate mountain wear and be ready for the weather to turn. This trek has beautiful views and is several hours long depending on where you start. It is possible to stay the night at Triund.
Guna Devi Temple Trek - A longer trek via Dal Lake. The trek is 15km to the Guna Devi Temple.
Norbunlingka Institute of Tibetan Culture - And institution dedicated to preserving Tibetan culture, tradition, literature and art.
Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts - A space for Tibetans to showcase their heritage; shows include traditional music, dance and theatre.
Naam Art Gallery - A lovely gallery showcasing work by artists Elsbeth Buschmann and AW Hallett. A must for art lovers, admirers, and artists.
Namgyal Monastery - Known as the Dalai Lama’s temple, this monastery is also the largest Tibetan temple outside of Tibet.
Kangra Fort - The largest fort in the Himalayas.
Jwalamukhi Devi Temple - An ancient and sacred temple.
Library of Tibetan Works and Archives - A library founded by the 14th Dalai Lama, considered to be one of the worlds most important Tibetan libraries.
If you have some extra time to explore the surrounding areas and cities, there are breathtaking hill stations near Dharamshala as well as spectacular towns and cities to visit.