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Stunning. Breathtaking. Awesome. The adjectives roll out as one enters the most beautiful ground in India. The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association [HPCA] Stadium in Dharamsala, with a capacity of 23,000, is as picturesque as the Adelaide Oval and Newlands, if not more. A small and glittering green plate, the ground has a snow-capped background in the form of the Dauladhar hill-range. The mountains add to the serenity of the venue, which lies at an altitude of 1317 metres above sea level. Another impressive feature is its openness and small-sized stands, which allow for winds to sweep across, giving fast bowlers assistance in the air. The venue is the first in India to use winter rye grass scattered around the outfield, which prevents the grass from dying when temperatures fall below 10 degrees.
Getting to Dharamsala, however, is difficult. The terrain is hilly and the nearest airport is in Chandigarh, 250 kilometres away by road. The harsh winters, during which it rains and snows, are also deterrents to organizing international matches here but it hosted its first ODI in January 2013, between India and England, despite snow falling at the ground in the preceding weeks. The 2010 expansion of the IPL brought Dharamsala wider attention and it has the potential to become one of India's most popular venues.
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