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Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary

Dharamsala is the district headquarters of Kangra district. The forested hill station lies on the spur of the Dhauladhar range, about 18km north east of Kangra town. Snow-capped mountains enclose it from three sides while the valley stretches out in front. The snow line is easily accessible from here and it is possible to trek to the snows after an early morning's start.

The hill town had been completely levelled in an earthquake in 1905 and after its reconstruction, Dharamsala flourished as a quiet health resort. It is divided into two distinct parts. Lower Dharamsala has civil offices, business establishments and courts. Kotwali Bazaar and Upper Dharamsala are more touristy with places whose names bear witness to its history – McLeod Ganj and Forsythe Ganj. Today, it is best known as the seat of Tibet's government-in-exile and the home to His Holiness Dalai Lama. March is a particularly busy month in Dharamsala when the Dalai Lama gives public lectures. For the serious student of Tibetan culture, there's a monastery up at McleodGanj and the school of Tibetan studies with an excellent library.

Since almost all 15 villages in Chhota and Bara Bhangal are located in remote forests, the people of the area depend on them for wood for constructing houses, fuel and fodder for their animals.

Since the declaration of the Dhauladhar wildlife sanctuary in 1999, all forest rights of the villagers have been taken away.

Between May and October, the Dhauladhar ranges offer an exciting opportunity for trekking. There is a branch of the Mountaineering Institute Manali, Dharamsala.

About 15,000 residents of Chhota and Bara Bhangal, that have been declared backward areas of Kangra district, have been protesting for the past 19 years against the inclusion of their villages in the Dhauladhar wildlife sanctuary. They even boycotted the last parliamentary elections.

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