Mcleodganj is a sometimes sleepy a sometimes bustling town in the hills of Himachal. It is Tibetan exiles, peasants of the Dhauladhar range, and lost people trying to find an anchor. Streets resonate with ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ playing out of a dozen battery-powered MP3 players, heaping benedictions on the tourists that walk down towards the Dalai Lama’s abode.
Starting the day by welcoming Buddhist monks on the Mcleodganj roads and accompanying them for morning devotions in the famous Dalai Lama Temple… Walking through the mall road, sipping hot coffee, and reading a book at Illiterati Books and Coffee…. walking to the endless roads of Naddi village and Bhagsu waterfall. These are just a handful of things that I encountered on my first trip. And, every time I go back, it amazes me with something unique, and that’s why Mcleodganj holds a special place in my heart.
To plan your perfect visit to Mcleodganj, delve into the blog, and find out the best of what the little Lhasa of India has to offer. check out some unusual experiences for your next trip here.
Tip1. McLeodGanj has good connectivity in all ways whether it is air, rail, or road. The best part of enjoying the journey is traveling via road by bus.
Dharmsala to McLeodganj
I reached Dharamsala from Delhi’s Kashmiri Gate ISBT on an overnight journey in a Himachal Pradesh state government ac seater bus. It cost me around 1200 INR.
Dharamsala and McLeodganj are at around a 6 km distance. Government and private buses are running frequently between the two places. When I got off the bus, it was pure bliss — gigantic trees, steep slopes, and clean air all waiting to welcome me.
Heading to the Dalai Lama Temple & the girl Who found Peace
Captivated in the settling of the Himalayas, The Dalai Lama temple is a monastery and the place of a home of His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV located in McLeodganj, Himachal Pradesh, India.
As I entered the temple, there was this hall like structure in the front with thick hollow iron beams supporting it. On the right side of it were the steps to climb to the temple and on the left side, was the residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV.
Misty hills, faraway snow-covered mountains, and rustic pure air were all where my eyes were glued on. The temple was surrounded by real charisma and untouched charm. One can relax and spend hours here.
There were chairs in front of the temple, but my heart insisted to sit on a concrete floor instead. I wasn’t even inside the temple, and I spent almost two hours. Assembling all by my countless thoughts and observing monks reciting their prayers, I felt I was not part of this world. Perhaps it was a religious experience I was absorbed into.
There was a humming of monks coming from the inside and it made me curious and to stand up and go inside now. I entered inside and saw a golden sculpture of Lord Buddha right in the middle of the temple building. I observed some travellers and monks performing the prayers in front of it. For the first time in life, I saw how Buddhism believers perform a prayer.
Read below to find out more places to visit in Mcleodganj:
There are good walks in and above the lush, green Budha valley that reaches back into the hills north of town. Here are sights and activities that you can plan when you are in the Home Of The Dalai Lama In Exile.
1. Trek to Naddi village:
I would recommend that if you are travelling to Mcleodganj , plan to stay at Naddi Village, it has the best views both of the mountains and the valley.
Naddi is located 3 km uphill to McLeodganj, in the upper village of Kangra. The white blanket all around us transported me to the world of Narnia.
And with such grace and holiness, sightseeing in Mcleodganj is something that will never bore a person visiting here.
Naddi is a picturesque spot that offers one a view of the entire Kangra and Dhaulandar valley. The silence wraps itself around you like a warm blanket and you send up a silent prayer, thanking the universe for the stupendous view and the moment. This was before the family descended on the site with the mother yelling, I know my picture is coming back but does not matter. Take my picture against the sun. I got up and left the place.
2. Bhagsunath waterfall: some of the places to visit in Mcleodganj include the name of the famous Bhagsunath waterfall. Attached to a wonderful legend, the medieval era temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is popular for a waterfall that flows right through the temple.
The majestic cascading waterfall called the Bhagsunag falls forms a pool at the base which is considered to be sacred amongst the devotees and a dip in the cold water brings about a different feeling of spirituality in the people.
However, there is a trail off the top of the waterfall (marked by a small board that reads “Shiva cafe”) that is definitely worth taking. It’s an additional 15 minute hike or so, but the view is breathtaking. Perched at the very top of the waterfall there is a clean, trendy and all natural cafe that boasts a great view, wonderful chai and fresh waterfall water to drink after your snack. Would go through the whole hike up again, just for this location – truly stunning.
3. On a food path:
After a strenuous walk, a good meal is a must, of which there is no dearth in Mcleodganj. One can experience the local cafes while experiencing a delicious menu that is not heavy on the stomach. One can try ‘Tibetan Butter Tea,’ also known as Po Cha (a salty concoction of yak butter, tea leaves, water, and salt), Tibetan bread with marmalade, pancakes, fruit, and yogurt. Also nearby is the ‘Tibetan Quality Bakery’ which sells carrot and chocolate cakes, brownies, as also delicious yak cheese and bread!
Tip2: Do not miss the roadside momos – the vegetable, potato, and chicken varieties. Some restaurants serve chocolate momos, too!
The hot drinks and wholesome food will leave you amazed. You won’t regret trying any of the cafes here.
My favorite ones here are:
Black Tent Café: Cozy low-sitting, Tibetan decors, Bottomless Teas (They refill your tea mugs with hot water)
Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen: fresh ingredients and a cozy dining place.
Mcllo Beer Bar: It is more like a restaurant, but the only area that serves beer and wine. Rooftop candle-lit dinners are beautiful here.
Tip3: If you love Italian cuisine and an immeasurable view, then head to Illiterati Books & Coffee. The place is run by a Belgian and you can read any books here. Sometimes they have a piano playing and you realize that you are slipping into the cozy ambience. Their coffee, Italian food, and burgers are well known and are often made on a wood fire.
4. Shopping at Mcleodganj Tibetan street:
The street has a variety of wares that the Tibetans have got from back home. Tiny beautiful ornaments of silver and stone, jeweled bracelets with pendants carved out of yak bone, and dream catchers made of colorful nylon threads adorn the market streets. Tibetan Mini Market is the place you could stop for some souvenirs and local knick-knacks; the Kotwali Bazaar is the best place to shop for some rugs, carpets, and local sculpture. There is plenty of room for negotiations.
Mcleodganj has a captivating combination. One can also take back, rolls of prayer flags that make lovely gifts for friends and family. Tibetans believe that the chants on the prayer flags get disbursed in the wind, as the flags lightly fly in the breeze. And lastly, do not miss tasting the local apple and pear wines, which are not possible anywhere else in the country.
So this is it about the places to visit in McLeod Ganj!
In my next blog, I discover the must-visit spiritual monasteries of Mcleodganj and Dharamshala. Till then, Have an amazing trip Mcleodganj! Keep Travelling and exploring.
Love- PebbleStory Travel Tales by Neha