Places to visit in Himachal Pradesh
Things to do
Best time to visit
About McLeod Ganj
Located in the Suburbs of Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj is a beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh, overlooking the stunning Dhauladhar Range of the mighty Himalayas. McLeod Ganj is more popularly known as the current residence of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan govt in exile. Often called the ‘Little Tibet of India’, the tiny yet significant hill station is popular among tourists all around the year.
Named after the former Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, Sir Donald Frill McLeod, with “ganj” standing for neighbourhood in Persian, the town was established as a hill station amid British rule in India. Many British rulers spent their summertime in McLeod Ganj after falling in love with the climate and beauty of the town. Today, McLeod Ganj is a major tourist and pilgrimage port, especially attracting people who want to learn more about Buddhism.
The quaint suburban town of McLeod Ganj is a beautiful blend of adventure and spirituality. The stunning view of snow-clad mountains of the Himalayas makes this place even more fascinating to its visitors. Blessed by a prominent Tibetan cultural influence, owing to a settlement between the Indian Government and the 14TH Dalai Lama, McLeod Ganj majorly attracts people wishing to learn meditation and Buddhism.
WHAT TO SEE
Triund Hill: Famously known as a trekker’s paradise, Triund Hill is one of the most beautiful and popular trekking trails in Himachal Pradesh. The trekking route to Triund begins from McLeod Ganj, offering stunning views of Bhagsu Village, McLeod Ganj, and Kangra Valley. The majestic trek is known for its spell bounding beauty and gives enchanting views of the mountains from the top. Triund Trek is ideal for people who have no experience in trekking and can be easily covered by people of all ages owing to its steady ups and downs.
Bhagsunath Waterfalls: The majestic Bhagsu waterfalls surrounded by incredible scenic beauty, are among one of the most visited tourist places in McLeod Ganj. The site also houses the famous Bhagsunath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated on the main road that connects Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj, Bhagsu waterfall is a prominent picnic spot with a religious connection.
Our Tip: You could try visiting Shiva Café, which is located on top of the waterfall. The café is famous for its delicious food and offers picturesque views from the top. For the best experience, visit during monsoons.
Tibet Museum: Established on 30th April 2000 by his holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet Museum is the epitome of Tibetan history and architecture. Located within the Dalai Lama Temple Complex, the Museum was built to preserve Tibetan history and culture. It depicts heart-wrenching stories of the Tibetan people’s struggle, escape to India, and the issues they are currently facing in Tibet through pictures and documentaries. The museum incorporates handiwork, earthenware, historical manuscripts, thangkas, and canvases.
Our Tip: Don’t forget to watch documentary movies on Tibet and Tibet-related issues that screen every day at 11 am and 3 pm.
Naddi Viewpoint: The Naddi Viewpoint is a mesmerizing location to view the gigantic Dhauladhar Range at a very close distance, not involving any trekking or walking. The weather is mostly cloudy around the year, but is best experienced during winters when the peaks of Himalayas are covered with snow.
Tsuglag Khang Complex: Tsuglag Khang Complex, also known as Dalai Lama Temple Complex, is the official residence of the 14th Dalai Lama. It is famously known as the centre of Buddhism, and people around the world visit the temple to learn more about Tibetan culture and seek blessings from His Holiness Dalai Lama.
WHAT TO DO
One of the most significant things to do in McLeod Ganj is trekking. The Triund trekking trail on the mountains is an awe-inspiring experience. After the exhausting expedition, one can also plan an overnight stay at the forest rest house. Sightseeing in McLeod Ganj is a thrilling experience, there are lots places you could explore. Visiting Naddi Viewpoint is a must. It is an excellent spot for sightseeing. If you are more on the spiritual side, you can travel around Dalai Lama Temple complex which houses a museum, temple, café, and the famous Namgyal Monastery. Dalai Lama Temple Complex also gives you an opportunity to peek into Tibetan culture and history, a trip to McLeod Ganj would be incomplete without this experience.
What to eat: It would not be wrong to call McLeod Ganj ‘foodies paradise.’ Be it Tibetan cuisine or Italian, you will find everything in abundance. If you love Tibetan tea, thupka, momos, pizza, and pasta, you may find Namgyal Café a good choice. Situated within the Dalai Lama Temple Complex, Namgyal Café is known for its authentic Tibetan cuisine. For Indian, Chinese, and Italian food, you could visit McLlo restaurant which is also very famous amongst tourists. On the street to the Dalai Lama Temple Complex, there are so many Tibetan restaurants run by real Tibetan people, and the momos they serve are a must try.
What to buy: Your shopping experience in McLeod Ganj would be incomplete without buying thangka tapestry paintings and handicrafts. McLeod Ganj Central Square which is also the oldest shop in the city founded in 1860, is famous for its Thangka paintings. You could also buy Buddha statues, woollen clothes, Tibetan carpets, and a praying wheel from Tibetan Market.
Getting around: While buses, tuk tuk, and other means of transport are available in McLeod Ganj, you could preferably hire a cab for the most part of your trip, especially during sightseeing.
Where to stay: Preferably a guest house near the Dalai Lama Temple Complex to experience the monk lifestyle, or, a homestay in Naddi if you prefer peace and want to stay close to nature.
How to get there: McLeod Ganj is connected to the rest of India by road. The nearest railway station to McLeod Ganj is Pathankot, located 85 kilometers away. The train station is well connected to rest of the country. From here onwards one can hire a taxi to take a bus to McLeod Ganj. Gaggal is the nearest Airport to McLeod Ganj is located 13 kilometers away. It has flights from New Delhi, but the regularity is not confirmed because of the shifting weather conditions.