The Rise of Dharamshala Cricket Stadium: A World-Class Venue in the Hills


Cricket is a sport that is loved by millions of people across the world. It is a game that is not only about skill and strategy but also about the venue where it is played. One such venue is the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium, located in the beautiful Kangra valley in India. This stadium is known for its stunning setting, innovative design, and unique features that make it one of the most attractive cricket grounds in the world.

A Beautiful Stadium in a Stunning Setting

The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is situated in the picturesque town of Dharamshala, which is the home of the Dalai Lama. The stadium is surrounded by the majestic Dhauladhar mountain range and offers a breathtaking view of the snow-capped peaks. The stadium's location in the hills makes it a unique venue that is different from other cricket grounds around the world. The beauty of the stadium and its surroundings has earned it the reputation of being one of the most picturesque venues for cricket in the world. Some people prefer the beauty of Dharamshala stadium to that of the Adelaide Oval or Newlands in Cape Town.

The Journey of Building a World-Class Stadium in the Hills

The idea of building a world-class stadium in the state of Himachal Pradesh was first conceived by Anurag Thakur, who was then the President of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. However, building a stadium in the hills was not an easy task. Thakur and his associates had to search all over the state for a suitable piece of land, and it was only with the help of the Himachal Pradesh government that they were able to zero in on a location in the hills of Dhauladhar.

The land had a slope of 300 feet, and the association had only 40 lakhs of funds. It took them two years to convince the state government to lend them money for building the stadium. Construction started in March 2002, and the stadium was completed a year and a half later, in September.

The Stadium's Growth and Recognition

Since its establishment, the Dharamshala Stadium has hosted several Ranji Trophy matches and IPL matches, apart from being a home practice ground for the Indian Cricket team, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket team, and the Kings XII Punjab team.

In 2009, Anurag Thakur decided to refurbish the stadium. The capacity was increased to 23,000 persons, floodlights were installed, and services such as hotel rooms, media boxes, gyms, etc. were added for the IPL. For the 2010 season of the Indian Premier League, Dharamshala was chosen as the second home ground for the Kings XI Punjab. The first match of the IPL played at the stadium was between the hosts Kings XI and Deccan Chargers.

In 2012, the International Cricket Stadium gave the HPCA Stadium, also commonly addressed as the Dharamshala stadium, the status of an international ground. Hence, in 2013, the Indian team hosted the first-ever international game at the stadium, which was an ODI between England and India in the January winters. The first Test at this stadium was played between India and Australia on 25–29 March 2017, and India won the match.The stadium hosted five matches of the 2023 Cricket World Cup, including the one between New Zealand and India. 

An Innovative and Unique Cricket Ground

The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is not just a beautiful venue but also an innovative one. It is the first stadium in India to use ryegrass in the outfield. This grass can survive even in temperatures below 10°C, making stadium maintenance much easier during the winter. The stadium's stands are also unique in design, making them small in size to fit into the hillside. This design allows for a better view of the stunning surroundings and makes the stadium more attractive to visitors.

The Importance of Ryegrass in the Outfield

The use of ryegrass in the outfield of the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is a significant innovation. This grass is not commonly used in cricket grounds in India, as it is more expensive than regular grass. However, the use of ryegrass in the outfield of the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium has proven to be beneficial. It has made maintenance of the stadium more convenient, especially during the winter months when the temperature can drop significantly.

Impressive Features of the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium

One of the stadium's most impressive features is the structure of its stands. Designed to be small in size, they allow air to pass through easily, making it an ideal ground for fast bowlers who can expect wind assistance. The stadium's architecture is another highlight, inspired by Tibetan-style buildings and painted in vibrant colors that reflect the region's rich history and culture. Against the backdrop of the Dhauladhar range, the stadium offers breathtaking views that are sure to leave visitors spellbound.

Latest Tourism Trends in Dharamshala and HPCA Stadium

However, the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is much more than just a sporting venue. In recent years, ecotourism and sustainable travel have become increasingly popular in Dharamshala, with tourists seeking experiences that are environmentally friendly and culturally respectful. Many come to the town to engage in volunteer tourism, contributing to local communities while absorbing the natural and cultural heritage of the region.

The HPCA Stadium proudly plays into the trend of combining sports and leisure travel. Sports lovers flock here not just for the cricket but also for the opportunity to indulge in activities like trekking, paragliding and experiencing the tranquility of nearby Buddhist monasteries. The stadium offers top-notch facilities and a museum showcasing Himachal's cricketing journey, providing a holistic experience to sports enthusiasts.

Beyond the boundary of the HPCA Stadium, tourists often extend their stay to explore attractions such as the Tsuglagkhang Complex (the Dalai Lama's residence), Namgyal Monastery, and the Bhagsunag Temple with its famed waterfall. The Norbulingka Institute preserves the Tibetan arts and crafts, while the Triund hike offers an invigorating trek with panoramic views of the Kangra valley.


The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is a unique and innovative venue that has become a popular destination for cricket lovers across the world. Its stunning setting, innovative design, and unique features make it one of the most attractive cricket grounds in the world. The use of ryegrass in the outfield of the stadium is an example of the innovative approach that the HPCA has taken towards building a world-class stadium in the hills. The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is not just a sporting venue but also a tourist destination that offers a glimpse into the beauty of the Indian Himalayas.

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