Location : Upper Part of Dharamshala
District : Kangra District
Altitude : 2,000m
Major Attraction : Residence of Dalai Lama, Tsuglagkhang Temple
The upper part of Dharamshala is better known as McLeodganj. You should visit this town as you can get a chance to see the 14th Dalai Lama, who live at a mere five minute walk from here. The sanctity of Buddhism is so inspiring here that it is sometimes said that Tibet has lent importance to McLeodganj. The major highlight of this small panoramic lies in its monasteries, restaurants, antique and curios shops that have been nourished with the old world colonial charm.
Surrounded by Pine, Deodar and Rhododendron forests McLeodganj at the height of nearly 1,800 metres, has an idyllic location. Come to experience the Tibet environment that is well created by the high altitude and cool weather. McLeodganj throb with the visual percept and enunciations of old Tibet. Though certainly more modern, life is conventionally Tibetan in quality. Align of Shops strung out along the narrow streets of McLeodganj selling traditional arts and handicrafts and the aroma of Tibetan dishes loiters in the air.
Being at a just stone throw distance from Dharamshala, it is very easy to reach McLeodganj.
Originally home of the semi nomadic Gaddi tribe, Mcleod Ganj is today the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This mid 19th century place was developed as a British Garrison and was an important administrative point for them. It is this British and Tibetan culture that has added color and life to the quaint town. Come to experience the cultural amalgamation that live on this land and that too in unison.
Of recent Western and Indian tourists and scholars come here to see the reincarnation of an archaic and engrossing culture. So do not waste any time. Whatever be your reason – Buddhism, Adventure or Panorama! You should come to this land to seek the spiritual ambiance that engulfs this calm town of Himachal Pradesh.
Namgyal Monastery – Dalai Lama’s Residence
McLeodganj Attraction – Life Beyond Liveliness
Being a town blessed with Tibetan culture, it become a obvious fact the the prime attraction of McLeodganj will be the monasteries. The first halt will incontestably be the residence of Dalai Lama. The south edge of the town has the quarter that is the permanent home of the 14th Dalai Lama. Just opposite the residence of Dalai Lama, there is a Buddhist temple Tsuglagkhang, which is Dharamshala’s main temple. Here you should see the images of Shayamuni, Padmasambhava and Avaloktesvara, all sitting in meditation postures and are surrounded by offerings from devotees. At the bottom of a steep track, there is a small gompa, Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling. Noted for their fine and deep ‘Mandals’ you must see the the main Prayer hall, that has an image of Shakyamuni. The monks who lived in the Gompa have made two huge drums covered in goatskin and painted around the rim. The butter sculptures, which are made during Losar, are destroyed in the next Losar festival.
When in McLeodganj, you should visit the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, that stores almost 40 % of the original Tibetan manuscripts making it a depositary of the rich Tibetan culture. This library also has a photographic repository. Another important place that you should see at Gangchen Kyishong, is the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute.
As far as nature’s attractions are concerned, McLeodganj does not fall short. There is the Dal Lake, connected to Dharamkot by a path down through the wooded slopes. This is also the host of an annual animal fair and if possible visit this town during the month of September, when the celebration of Shivate festival is in full swing.
You should take an excursion to Bhagsu, a village on the banks of a mountain stream. A route promenades up rock-strewn slopes from here, through a slate quarry, to the waterfall that feeds the stream. Each September pilgrms come to bathe in the waters of the tank of Bhagsu’s Shiva temple.
A popular picnic and trekking spot will be Triund, that lies at the foot of the snow clad Dhauladhar at a height of 2,827m. Dharamkot, another 2 kms from Bhagsu, is the starting point for the short walks to the high plateau at Triund (2,975m), or further over the high passes to the Chamba valley.
When in McLeodganj, plan to take up Yoga and meditation classes that will energize your soul and invigorate your mind and senses. Among the cool ambiance there is Vipassana or Tushita Meditation classes. For Yoga lessons, the place to go is Iyenger Himalayan Yoga Centre.
Toe Your Adventurous Line at McLeodganj
Adventure lovers too can fine their piece of cake if they indulge in the long and short walks along with trekking in the McLeodganj. The most important walk will perhaps be to the Tsuglagkhang Complex, where live the patron Buddhist saint, Dalai Lama.
Take a short trek from McLeodganj to Triund-Laka. To enjoy more of arduous treks, take a fifteen day trek to Lahual Valley over Indrahar Pass. It is a beautiful walk where you will see mixed forests of deodar, oak and rhododendron. During this trek you would be crossing a lot of glaciers and villages that will help you to know the country from proximity.
Buddhist Festival in Himachal Pradesh
McLeodganj Shopping – Indulge for the Keepsakes
This place is a heaven for shopping lovers. It is one destination where people are enthralled in excessive spending. You can sought for many – a – treasures while excavating the shops in McLeodganj. Local Handicrafts are not the only purchase. Look for Tibetan carpets, thankas, wooden masks, metal votive objects, paper drawings, beads and baubles besides all manner of interesting things. Go to Nowroji’s at the entrance to McLeodganj which is a good place to potter around for unusual finds.
If you are a magpie then you could pick your way through corals or amethysts, rubies or topaz. And if you are planning to stay for a long time, then you can even have a woollen carpet woven to your design and choice of colours.
The way to reach McLeodganj is through Dharamshala. The nearest airport is at at Gaggla, just 13km away from the town. Take the flight during the month of March to October, that happens to be the best time to visit this town.
all those who want to oscillate their way to McLeodganj, then the place to go is Pathankoat. At a distance of 85 kms, this town has the nearest railhead. Trains from all over the country make a stop over at Pathankot and from here it is a three-hour journey to Dharamshala and McLeodganj.
But the real pleasure can be savored when you take the undulated and trodden path of the roads to reach this Tibetan land. You can hire a car or take a bus services from Manali. One can drive from Delhi via Chandigarh, Kiratpur, Bilaspur which is an 8-hours journey. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to McLeodganj.
FACT FILETo See :Monasteries, Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, Dal Lake, Bhagsu’s Shiva temple.Best Time To Visit :July to September.Famous Monasteries :Namgyal Monastery, Tsuglagkhang. Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling.Adventure Trails :Picnicking and Trekking at Triund, that lies at the foot of the snow clad Dhauladhar.Getting There :5 minute Walk to the Tsuglagkhang Complex.
A short trek from McLeodganj to Triund-Laka.
A fifteen Day trek to Lahual Valley over Indrahar Pass.Must Visit :The Yoga and Meditation Centre of Vipassana or Tushita Meditation and Iyenger Himalayan Yoga Centre – Located 2 kms from Bhagsu.Shopping Hubs :Nowroji’s – Tibetan Carpets, Thankas, Wooden Masks, Metal Objects, Paper Drawings, Beads and Baubles and Traditional Handicrafts.Eating Options :Snow Line, Nick’s Kitchen.Staying Options :HPTDC Bhagsu, HPTDC Yatri Niwas, HPTDC Dauladhar.Not to be Missed :Taking a Fifteen day Trek to Lahual Valley over Indrahar Pass. Will Pass Huge Glaciers and Many Villages.Getting Around :Dharamkot – 14 kms, Bhagsu – 12 kms, Triund – 17 kms, Gaggal– 13 kms, Dharamshala – 10 kms.Important Distance :Palampur – 50 kms, Pathankot – 85 kms, Mandi – 115 kms, Kullu– 183 kms, Shimla – 185 kms, Manali – 223 kms, Chandigarh – 225 kms, Delhi – 511 kms.Getting There :Air – McLeodganj can be Approached by air from Delhi and the Nearest Airport is at Gaggla, just 13-km away from the Town.
Rail – Pathankot is 85-km and is the Nearest Railhead for McLeodganj. Trains from all over the Country make a Stop Over at Pathankot and from here it is a Three – Hour Journey to McLeodganj.
Road – From Manali too Bus Services are Available to this place. One can Drive from Delhi via Chandigarh , Kiratpur, Bilaspur and it’s an 8-hours Journey. From Delhi and Shimla , luxury buses ply to McLeodganj.