Dharamsala India – food and lodging

Chonor House, belonging to the Tibetan government-in-exile, is considered the top spot in Dharamsala, and the nearest thing to a 4* guesthouse. The rooms, at $60, have to be booked months in advance, which I did (via reliable Milap Nehria at Summit Adventures in Dharamsala, who also booked the a/c car from Amritsar, www.summit-adventures.net, milap@summit-adventures.net). After traveling by train and car for 2 days, it was relaxing to take long hot showers and sleep in a comfortable bed. The rooms are ethnic but shabby, rain poured in through the ceiling, and the restaurant is totally unremarkable. They also never replied to the email sent them directly. On the other hand, I did meet interesting people in the lobby. So after 2 nights, I checked out the nearby Pema Thang ($30) which unfortunately was full, but ate in the very good restaurant – Tibetan pizza! (pemathanghouse@yahoo.com, www.pemathang.net. That’s where I’d stay next time. I ended up in Bhagsu, a 10 minute walk uphill, in Akash Deep, one of the simple but clean guesthouses, where it was quieter. Bhagsunat Road has numerous backpacker cafes, Circling Dawn Cafe opposite the temple serves the best muesli and yoghurt, and salads.

My favorite restaurants in Dharamsala are Ashoka on Jogiwara Rd and Tibet Hotel on Bhagsu Rd (try the kulchas!) Vegetarian Japanese Lung Ta on Jogiwara Rd was fine for once or twice.

To be avoided: Om (near the bus stand) – worst service and food

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