Notable People of Dharamsala/Kangra

Aside from Lord Elgin and David McLeod, Dharamsala has had connections to notable foreign artists, horticulturalists, explorers and social activists.

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) - a British Army officer, explorer, and spiritual writer - is remembered chiefly for his travels in the Far East and Central Asia; especially the 1904 British expedition to Tibet, which he led, during which a massacre of Tibetans occurred, and for his writings on Asia and foreign policy. Younghusband held positions including British commissioner to Tibet and President of the Royal Geographical Society.

In 1856 his parents, Clara Shaw and John Younghusband, lived in a bungalow in the pine forest above St. John's Church and later bought land in the Kangra Valley to pioneer a tea plantation.

Sir Trevor Lawrence (1831-1913) - an English horticulturalist, collector and politician - was one of the world's leading orchid collectors. Following his education at the Winchester College and at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, where he took the diploma of MRCS in 1853, he worked for the Indian Medical Service for nearly ten years. Having inherited his mother’s particular love for orchids, he reinforced this when he was in India. He made his first orchid collection when living at Dharamsala.

Alfred W. Hallett (1914–1986) was an English artist. In 1938, he was invited to India to paint by the Kashmiri owner of Nedou's Hotel in Srinagar. Alfred offered his services to the British Government during World War II, but refused to take up arms. He was given a job as a censor, and rose to the position of Chief Censor in the Punjab. After the end of the war, Alfred decided to stay back in India. After the Partition of India in 1947 he frequently went on camping trips in the Himalayas during the summers, and finally bought a church property, previously used for furloughs, by missionaries at Dharamkot.

Alfred was well known for his portraits, landscapes and flower paintings, some of which are exhibited at the Naam Art Gallery in the small rural locality of Sidhbari, near Dharamsala.

14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the very young age of two, the child who was named Lhamo Dhondup at that time, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. Dalai Lamas are the head monks of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

His Holiness has been living in Dharamsala since 1959. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. His Holiness has held dialogues with heads of different religions and participated in many events promoting inter-religious harmony and understanding.