Men and women robed in red and orange, Tibetan graffiti on walls and tranquil environment, warmhearted hospitality and scrumptious food. One can relish and explore all of these at the McLeod Ganj village, located on the outskirts of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. This village is one of the best destinations if you want to get a break from your regular life and hustle of metro cities. McLeod Ganj boasts of surrounding hills, spirituality and positivity. It is a place which will give you a chance to dig into the Tibetan culture.McLeod Ganj was once and important retreat area for the British and today it is known as one of the most important pilgrim spot in India. Also known as Dhasa (short form for Dharamshala), this small village has the most welcoming environs. There are many tourist attractions in this village which can be broadly divided into five main categories that are:
1)The Dalai Lama Temple – also known as Tsuglakhang temple is one of the main pilgrimage spots of McLeod Ganj. Situated near the residence of Dalai Lama, this temple is famous for his religious preaching and meditation. Dalai Lama visits the temple frequently and if you want to attend his religious sessions, you will have to pre book the tickets online. The most important feature of this temple is the morning rituals. If you want to dive into the Tibetan history and know about their struggles, you can visit the museum and library in the complex. There can be no better place that the Dalai Lama Temple if you want to feel the strong, positive and peaceful religious vibes.
Dalai Lama Temple
2)Guna Devi Temple - surrounded by lush green oak and deodar trees, a close vivid view of the Dauladhar Mountain and the Laka Lake, this temple is also one of the attractive pilgrimage spots in the McLeod Ganj. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali. The temple is situated at an elevation of 2310 meters in Kangra Valley. If you want to witness the scenic forests and Mountain View, Guna Devi Temple is the place.
Guna Devi Temple
3)St. John in The Wilderness - dedicated to John the Baptist and built in 1852, this church is one of the oldest churches. Located near Dharamshala this church is located on the way to McLeod Ganj. Surrounded by greenery and bathed in history, this church is one of most visited spot by tourists. If you are looking for solace and want to witness neo-gothic architecture, St. John Church is the place for you.
St. John In The Wilderness
1)Tirund Trek – situated in middle of Dauladhar Mountains and Kangra Valley, Tirund Trek is the best gateway to serene heights of McLeod Ganj. It is said to be one of the most coveted treks in Himachal Pradesh. Trekkers are often attracted to the appealing sceneries throughout the trek. People often camp a night or two to watch the night sky full of stars. It is one of the easy and most popular activities in McLeod Ganj and you definitely would not regret it.
Tirund Trek Camp
2)Naddi Village Trek – located 3kms above McLeod Ganj, this village is also one the favorite destination among the trekkers. It is famous for its panoramic view, sunsets and sunrise. You can also visit the calm and scenic Dal Lake nearby. If you want to be a part of small cultural carnival, greenery and serene environment, a trek to Naddi Village will be a great experience.
3)Indradhar Pass – if you attracted to chilly winds and snowbound places, Indradhar Pass is the best place for you. The trek passes over the impressive Dauladhar range and ends at Chamba. The trek offers a close and spell-binding view of the Pir Panjal Mountain ranges and Indian planes. On the trek you will also cross a few small Hindu pilgrims, each with its own history. Walking through a few wildlife areas you may also witness wild goats, leopards and Monal birds.
Pir Panjal Ranges
1)Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts – established in 1959, it was the first institute shifted in exile. There was a need to preserve the cultural aspects and art from Tibet, so TIPA became that place. It is home of Lhamo, the sensationally colourful and radically distinctive folk Opera of Tibet. It backlogs a wide range of musical, dance and theatrical traditions from Tibet. TIPA holds an annual Folk Opera in April every year.You can visit the institute during the festival to watch a number of folk opera’s, dance programs, plays and concerts are presented. TIPA is one of the most attractive and popular tourism spots in McLeod Ganj. If you are willing to live the vivid cultural performing arts of Tibet, this is the right place.
2)Naam Art Gallery – if you have a stomach for art and paintings, the Naam Art Gallery is the best place to visit and appreciate the inspiring work of Elisabeth Buschmann and A.W. Hallet. It was inaugurated in 2010. The paintings are mostly created using oil, acrylic and water colors. The artistic ambiance of the gallery will definitely hold you captive.
Naam Art Gallery
3)Illiterati Books and Café – it is one of the most sought after and popular café’s among the tourists. The place is fully occupied almost during all the working hours. The books give this café a plus point and attract many tourists who love to enjoy food with a light reading. The place also holds live music gigs and shows during the evening hours. If you, also like capturing the beautiful ambiance and surrounding of such café, the Illiterati is the place for you.
Illiterati Books & Cafe
4)Shiva Café – this café is one of the most artistic cafes in the town. Carry your camera along with you to take snaps of this scenic café. You can enjoy the brisk taste of beverages offered by them along with the music programs held during the evening hours.
5)Central Square - this place is well known because of the oldest shop in the city, “Nowrojee and Son”, founded in 1860. The area is famous for its wide range of shopping materials. The Thangka paintings are available in abundance at this market. There are many food stalls too, which offer delicious and popular dish called Thupka (noodles and soup) as well as mouth-watering steamed momos. You can enjoy the food, hustle and articrafts, all in one place.
Nowrojee & Sons
6)Kotwali Bazaar – if you want to purchase a variety of clothes, this bazaar is the place for you. Nearby the market is the Maximus mall, where you can shop from different brands. Famous restaurant ‘The Tibetan Kitchen’ is also situated nearby the market. The place is more for locals, to purchase their basic requirements. The streets of the markets are narrow and packed.
With all of it at one place, McLeod Ganj is a peaceful and relaxing destination you can visit any time. Want to spend a few days away from the rushing, noisy and stressful city? Visit the Land of Lama and get lost in the artistic streets, picturesque valleys, religious monasteries, rustic charms and panoramic vistas of this small Tibet.