Dharamshala Cricket Stadium was established in 2003 in the picturesque town of Dharamshala in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. Today, it is looked upon as one of the most beautiful cricket stadiums not just in India, but all over the world. In this blog post, we will share some interesting facts about this beautiful cricket stadium, with a special focus on its history and everything else that makes it a great destination.
History of Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
The cricket stadium in Dharamshala was established in 2003. However, it was not until 2013 that the first international cricket match was played in this beautiful cricket stadium. Prior to 2013, it was used only for India’s biggest domestic cricket tournament, Ranji Trophy, and the IPL. The cricket stadium also served as a practice ground for the Indian cricket team, Kings XI Punjab (IPL), and the Himachal Pradesh cricket team.
The first-ever international cricket match was played between India and England on 27th January 2013. It was a one-day international cricket match, in which India lost to England by 7 wickets. In the spring of 2017, the first-ever Test Match was played at the Dharamshala cricket stadium, between India and Australia. India managed to beat the visitors with a margin of 8 wickets in this test match.
The HPCA stadium is not the biggest in terms of audience seating. With a seating capacity of approximately 25000, it is a moderate cricket ground. However, the majestic beauty of this stadium lies in its location. With a backdrop of the Dhauladhar mountain range, the natural beauty of this stadium is beyond comparison.
Special Features of the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
Apart from being one of the most picturesque cricket stadiums in India, it also has a few firsts to its name. Let’s take a look at those features:
Ryegrass around the outfield
HPCA stadium is the first of its kind in India that has used ryegrass in the outfield. Due to extreme weather conditions in winters, when the temperatures drop quite low, normal grass dies down. Ryegrass on the other hand can easily survive even when the temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius. The use of ryegrass makes it a lot easier to maintain the stadium during winters.
Assistance for fast blowers
Another impressive feature of the Dharamshala cricket stadium is in the structure of its stands. The stands have been created smaller in size so that the winds could easily sweep across. This one feature makes it a great ground for fast bowlers as they can expect to get assistance from the wind.
ACC Center of Excellence
Another accolade was added to the stadium, when it became home to the first Center of Excellence by the Asian Cricket Council in December 2015. Since then, there have been significant efforts made to bring modern indoor and outdoor training facilities to the stadium, along with investment in bringing coaches and support staff to support the development of international cricketers in the region.
An architectural marvel
The most beautiful thing about the HPCA stadium is its architecture, which is inspired by Tibetan-style buildings. Reflecting the rich history and culture of Dharamshala, the stadium is painted in vibrant colors. In a stark cloudy background of the Dhauladhar range, the stadium presents breathtaking views.
A press gallery, well-equipped gym, clubhouse, recreational centers, and a lot more. The HPCA has invested more than INR 60 crore in bringing top-of-the-line facilities to the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium.
Hosting India vs. Pakistan in World T20, 2016
When India won the right to host the T20 world cup in 2016, BCCI had made an announcement that Dharamshala will host its first-ever international T20 world cup match. It was listed amongst 8 other venues where world cup matches were supposed to happen.
ICC had also made the announcement on 11th December 2015 of the schedule of all the Group A and one Super 10 match to be hosted at the venue. A total of 7 matches were scheduled to be played at the stadium including the much-hyped India-Pakistan cricket match. Although other group matches went as per the schedule, the India – Pakistan match was shifted to Eden Gardens, Kolkata due to security concerns. It was during the same event that the stadium had hosted its last T20 international until now.
How to Reach Dharamshala Cricket Stadium?
The stadium is conveniently located at a distance of just 11 kilometers from Kangra Airport in Gaggal, Himachal Pradesh. You can easily find local conveyances to reach the stadium. However, the most beautiful method to reach the stadium is to travel by road. During your trip to the stadium, you can enjoy the majestic beauty of Himachal Pradesh and explore its magnificent culture. You can take a cab ride from Chandigarh, which is located approximately 250 kilometers from Dharamshala. Or, you can travel directly via taxi from New Delhi, which is also located at a distance of 475 kilometers from Dharamshala.
“Playing Cricket in Heaven”
The splendid beauty of the Dharamshala cricket stadium is often compared to the beauty of heaven. In a famous comment during one of the international matches held at the venue, an ICC commentator had said that playing cricket at the HPCA cricket stadium is akin to playing cricket in heaven. Cricket players, experts, and enthusiasts from the world over widely appreciate and love this cricket stadium, making it one of the most popular venues across the country.
Visiting the Cricket Stadium in Dharamshala
HPCA Cricket Stadium is the highest cricketing stadium in the world, located at a height of 1467 meters above sea level. People with breathing problems are generally recommended to practice caution while visiting the stadium because of its altitude. Moreover, you must also plan your visit to the stadium early in the afternoon to give yourself ample time to enjoy the majestic beauty of the stadium before the sun sets amidst the hills.
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium Tickets
During regular days, when no matches are being played, entry to the HPCA cricket stadium is open and free throughout the year. However, the tickets for HPCA Stadium when matches are on varies. You need to check the official website of the cricket stadium for details about the ticket prices and availability once the match schedules are made available. The stadium is located at a stone’s throw distance from Dharamshala market, so it’s not difficult at all to locate the stadium.
Places To Stay Near Dharamshala Stadium
A serene town with tourism as its main revenue source, Dharamshala offers several good places to stay to visitors. If you are traveling to this part of the world for watching a match or even otherwise, you can easily find good hotels to stay near Dharamshala stadium at affordable prices. It is highly recommended to make bookings when you are visiting during a cricket match due to obvious reasons.
Game Or No-Game, Visiting HPCA Stadium Is An Experience On Its Own!
Dharamshala cricket stadium has become one of the most loved venues for cricket lovers in India thanks to its beautiful location. Even if you are not a cricket fan, visiting this beautiful cricket stadium is worth experiencing. If you are planning for a small getaway to the mountains during a long weekend break, visiting this serene town with one of the highest cricket stadiums in the world can be just the perfect break you need.
Before we go, here are some frequently asked questions about HPCA cricket stadium for which you would like to get an answer.
Some FAQs about Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
1. Is HPCA the highest cricket stadium in the world?
Yes, Dharamshala cricket stadium is the highest international cricket stadium in the world located at a height of 1467 meters above sea level. The stadium was established in 2003 and has hosted many domestic and international matches, with a few World T20 matches as well.
2. Do we need tickets to visit the Dharamshala cricket stadium?
No, entry to Dharamshala cricket stadium is free during regular days. You need to buy tickets to visit the stadium only when the matches are being played.
3. What’s the most convenient way to reach Dharamshala cricket stadium?
Dharamshala cricket stadium is well-connected to the rest of the country. You can easily reach out the stadium via air by taking a flight to Gaggal airport, which is located approximately 11km from the stadium. You can also travel by road to Dharamshala, which is located approximately 475 kilometers from New Delhi and 250 kilometers from Chandigarh.
4. Where do cricketers stay in Dharamshala?
The cricket teams visiting Dharamshala stay at the Pavilion Dharamshala, a luxury stay by the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. The hotel is spread over 9 acres and has close to 100 rooms for a comfortable stay of 2 or more than two teams, their support staff, and all other members.