Embrace The Slow Life, 48 Hours Of Serenity In Himachal’s Dharamkot In Kangra Valley

Find the beauty of Dolce far Niente here

by Tejashee Kashyap
Embrace The Slow Life, 48 Hours Of Serenity In Himachal’s Dharamkot In Kangra Valley

It’s past 6 in the morning. A little ray filtering through a crack in the curtain wakes me up. The rain that fell the previous day has lent an entirely different meaning to the morning. The air is crisp and cool, imbued with a freshness that only a recent rainfall can bring. The crisp, cool air carries the subtle scent of pine and petrichor. The rays of the sun are climbing higher. From my window, the scene outside is a portrait of tranquillity. The rain has rejuvenated the fields. The leaves on the trees and plants look greener and more vibrant. Oh, they are glistening, looking like countless diamonds. In Dharamkot, time seems to slow down.

A Slower Pace Of Life

The distant mountains stand majestically, their peaks softly cloaked in the remnants of the morning mist. I step outside onto the balcony of my homestay, bathed in the generous warmth of the morning sunshine. Before me, a glorious sunrise unfolds over the Dharamkot fields, a village located some hours away from Dharamshala. There are no roads inside the village, only pathways that meander through lush greenery and fields. There’s a different sense of calm and invigoration. The mountain in front cradles the quaint village with many homestays and local homes with vibrant rooftops, mostly green and red. The sun is up, urging us to hurry to make the most of this beautiful day.

Walking down Dharamkot’s lanes, the serene atmosphere and the rustic charm of the village envelop you. The narrow paths wind through terraced fields and clusters of traditional homes with friendly and smiling pahadi locals. Every corner reveals a new vista, reminding you of the beauty and peace that can be only found in this Himalayan haven. Travellers and yoga enthusiasts fill up the morning roads, especially near cafes and breakfast joints scattered around the village. Mostly, they share stories, sipping on steaming cups of chai, and soaking in the laid-back vibe.

We are walking down from Dharamkot to Bhagsu. The trail meanders through the heart of the village, offering glimpses of daily life. The path is through a lush landscape, a blend of gentle inclines and steeper sections. We pass by quaint homes, hairy mountain dogs strutting about, children playing and women tending to their gardens. The sense of community is palpable, as travellers and locals alike find common ground in their quest for peace, wellness, and connection here. Along the way, we encounter fellow trekkers, sharing smiles and nods.

In Bhagsu village, the streets are adorned with departmental stores and quaint cafes. Stalls selling an assortment of goods—carpets, jackets, masks, trinkets, and prayer flags—add to the vibrant scene. This village has become a sanctuary for backpackers seeking respite from bustling crowdsa captivating blend of local and international influences. Along its main street, bustling cafés serve hearty breakfasts, while centres for meditation and skill-based classes cater to those seeking personal growth and relaxation. We halt for a moment and feast on a delicious breakfast of watermelon juice, pancakes and omelettes.

The rest of the day can be spent exploring in and around these two villages. Well, a life like this is a dream that many cherish!

Also Read: 7 Best Cafes To Visit When In Bhagsu, Dharamshala

A Culture Of Conversations

For days, my mornings in Dharamkot unfolded at a leisurely pace. We soaked in the vibrant atmosphere and discovered hidden gems along the way. The day begins with unhurried walks through the village lanes, venturing onto forest trails, crossing wooden bridges and sunbathing at hilltops, or just strolling along the meandering path that leads to temples and monasteries. Here, time seems to stretch to accommodate moments of wonder and serenity. Moreover, Dharamkot serves as an ideal starting point for a variety of exhilarating hikes, including Triund, Illaqua, and Indrahar Pass.

The village has attracted free-spirited travellers for decades. The people you meet in Dharamkot come from all walks of life. Artists, musicians, writers, and spiritual seekers from around the world converge here. As the sun sets, the atmosphere shifts to one of cultural celebration and camaraderie. Turning into a hub of global friendships, music drifts through the air. It’s not uncommon to find impromptu jam sessions happening in cafes or to stumble upon art workshops and exhibitions showcasing both local and international artists. Leaflets and posters flutter in the breeze, shared among passersby, announcing upcoming gigs and exhibitions. Oh, the village comes alive with a palpable energy!

We stumbled upon a hilltop oasis, EDM Hostel in Dharamkot with pulsating music, that could be reached by a trek of rocky terrain and gentle slopes. The electrifying dance music with a fusion of psychedelic melodies transcended the ordinary nightlife experience. The spontaneous dance floor is now filled with travellers and locals alike grooving to the tunes.

For the summer, a lot of yoga retreats in Goa relocate from Arambol to Dharamkot. Some stores and eateries, including the most well-known nightclub in Arambol, Twice in Nature, are located here as Once in Nature. However, Dharamkot’s Once In Nature gives you a meditative experience. The place is a serene escape, offering a delightful array of vegan dining options, from refreshing smoothies to satisfying veggie nuggets and nutritious salad bowls. Adding to the ambience, live music performances often grace the dining area. Once, the place transformed into a haven of mystical charm during its Sufi nights under the starlit sky.

Another time, there was a dance session with people in spontaneous movement. It was a sight of heightened joy and liberation. Then, there was a profound shift in the atmosphere into a tranquil space of meditation. The people settled into comfortable positions—some on mats, others on blankets spread out under the starlit sky—and the transition began. The group was guided into a state of relaxation, and mindfulness meditation techniques and exercises took centre stage. The atmosphere became imbued with a profound sense of peace and introspection. The earlier vitality of ecstatic dance gave way to a quietude that allowed for inner exploration and reflection.  By the session’s end, the clearing was bathed in a stillness that seemed to echo the inner tranquillity of those present.


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It was just a day after the full moon. Trekking up to Dharamkot under the shimmering veil of stars at night was a tranquil experience. The village had now begun to quiet down, bathed in the soft glow of moonlight. The air is crisp and cool. Once again, the balcony became my getaway to appreciate the nocturnal beauty.

Also Read: 6 Must-Visit Cafes In Dharamkot And Naddi In Himachal Pradesh

Daily Therapies In Dharamkot

himachal pradesh

I first travelled to Dharamkot in 2018. Back then, the place was a tranquil, sleepy town with an untouched charm. Even after 6 years, thankfully, the village retains a peaceful, laid-back atmosphere where one can easily disconnect from the outside world. The views of the Dhauladhar range are still breathtaking, especially during sunrise and sunset, casting a serene spell over all who visit. India has long been a magnet for spiritual seekers, tracing back to the days of the hippie trail. For instance, The Beatles famously found inspiration at an ashram in Rishikesh. These places remain sanctuaries for yogis, hippies, backpackers, and individuals in search of deeper meaning and personal growth.

Dharamkot offers a plethora of meditation, yoga courses, workshops and therapies that cater to seekers from all walks of life. At the Tushita Buddhist Meditation Center, a serene Tibetan-style monastery, daily guided meditations in the beautifully adorned Tibetan gompa are also available at 9 am, providing a tranquil space. While these activities often fill up quickly, one can join waiting lists for a chance to attend. Beyond Tushita, Dharamkot buzzes with diverse workshops ranging from Reiki and massage to crystal healing, shamanic drumming, ecstatic dance, Kirtan (devotional songs) and so much more.

Don’t miss the chance to indulge in delicious meals. Despite Dharamkot and Bhagsu’s small size in the area, it surprises travellers with its diverse culinary offerings.  Indulge in Bhagsu cake, reminiscent of millionaire’s shortbread with its layers of crunchy biscuit, caramel toffee, and chocolate topping. Dining spots here like Once in Nature, Spaced Out, and Baba Cafe stand out for their inviting atmospheres and diverse menus.

In Dharamkot, the challenge isn’t finding something to do, but rather finding enough time to partake in the abundance. Because there’s a high chance of basking in the beauty of Dolce far Niente amidst the tranquil, mountainous setting. And that, in itself, is a beautiful experience.

Cover image credits: Wikimedia Commons