Dharamsala (pronounced Dharamshala) is a hill station in Himachal Pradesh. The Tibetan Buddhist roots of Dharamsala stretch back into the 8th century, although most of the local population long since reverted to (and remains) Hindu. "Dharamsala" literally means an "inn attached to a temple."
Much of the town was destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 4th April 1905, which killed over 10,000 people in this sparsely populated area. After falling into obscurity in the early days of Indian independence, Dharamsala regained some social standing in 1959 with the arrival of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile.
The town is divided into two distinct areas that are separated by a ten minute (9 km.) bus/jeep ride: Dharamsala itself (or Lower Dharamsala), a typical small Indian town that, other than for the bus station, is of little interest to tourists, and Upper Dharamsala, known more commonly as McLeod Ganj (named after David McLeod, once the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab). It is this upper district that is home to the Tibetan community and the center of tourist activity.
My 3-week home and mission work will be in lower Dharamsala with the Hindi poulation.