Best time to visitTour guides and agencies mention that the best months to visit are from September to June.
Things to doVisit the Tibetan learning centre here.
BudgetIt all depends on how long one plans to stay here and the type of accommodation needed.
This place can be found in upper Dharamshala and yes it is a very famous tourist spot. Having been named after David McLeod, this place now happens to be the seat and abode of the Dalai Lama on a temporary basis. McLeodganj is also home to an important Tibetan learning centre. The town is also referred to as Little Lhasa and this indicates the Buddhist influence upon the place. The town has a number of temples, edifices, monasteries and spots that make it an important tourist site. If one has a list of things to do in Dharamshala, visiting McLeodganj should be on the very top of it.
Places to stay near McLeod Ganj
Reviews of McLeod Ganj • 156
Three kilometres north of Dharamsala lies McLeod Ganj, the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, providing refuge to a large Tibetan population, including monks and nuns. This beautiful town is where India meets Tibet and the influence of this merger can be seen in McLeod's food, culture, festivals and even the changing traditions. Here you can volunteer with the Tibetan community, take courses in Buddhism, meditation and yoga or do something outdoorsy like a trek! The most famous trek around McLeod Ganj is the scenic Triund trek that takes you around the Dhauladhars surrounding McLeod.
I woke up as the chilling wind hit my face. To see sun rays piercing through the tall trees, as the dew drops created a golden blanket on the meadows. I could smell it, the fresh air, the aroma on the land and the trees. It felt like home.Few minutes later I got down at Dharamshala Bus Stop. From here local buses run frequently to McLeod Ganj. Rs10 is the fare from Dharamshala.
After 12 hours of long drive and in between dhaba, cafe coffee day, subway stoppages we finally made it to McLeod Ganj. Located in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, McLeod Ganj has a peaceful vibe it's air is filled with the chants of monks. The calmness and peace it has is immeasurable. We checked in to the hotel called Pink House located on Jogiwara road, opposite Youngling school. First thing I saw about the hotel was a Kerala spa, and I knew I would be visiting this spa soon. The hotel had graffiti and art all over which was so quirky. But the best part of hotel was their restaurant which was facing the snow covered mountain peaks and the whole interior was classic white with tyres painted in red, green and blue. This was not all there were novels and loads of board games. Being tired and hungry at the same time we decided to eat and ordered food. This was the first day and it was very peaceful and serene. In evening we decided to roam around the markets and visit monasteries.
My travelogue featuring the places I have been to in the enchanting and ever mesmerizing McLeodganj and Dharamshala. This place carries much more importance to me than just being a travel destination.It was more of a spiritual journey for me where I trekked for the first time to Triund, got my beliefs cleared at Tibetian Temple, had awesome food at Morgan's place, experienced serenity at Cafe Illiterati and made new friends on the McLeodganj local market.This video also covers aspects of local life of the people who belong to the heavenly abode.
The next morning we all woke up pretty early and were able to see the yellow rising sun casting it's golden glow on the top of snow clad peaks. By far it's one of the best mornings I have ever experienced. After getting ready, we started for the markets again in search of a nice brunch place. Emily knew most of the nice places to eat around the area and even took us to a traditional Tibetan hotel where we tried Thukpa. Thukpa is a traditional Tibetan dish which comprises of a vegetable/chicken soup with noodles. The noodles are a little different from the regular ones and they are served with chopsticks.
The next day early morning our bus reached McLeodganj and we started off on our journey to Bhagsu Nag. Bhagsu Nag is a small temple which also houses a 20 m tall waterfall and is a marvel to look at. When we went there, because of the winter season, the falls were almost dried up and our major focus was on the cafe which was near that waterfalls. We had our breakfast there and rested for some time before starting our journey for Triund. Since we were all in for the odd methods, we asked the cafe operator if there is a different trail to reach Triund. He showed us a different path which was more or less a very steep climb directly up the hill. Excited, we started our journey. The cafe operator warned us that his people just came from a scouting trip of the peak and they warned of fresh snow on the ground there. The thing with snow is, if it's fresh you can still find some grip but if the sun comes up and the snow starts melting, it becomes super slippery. We took his warning under consideration and started our hike.
We searched for a hotel when we got down Vishal(got down in 2 hours) and me while the others were making their way down. We got a hotel luckily after many tries of finding a one in our budget.
Next was a bus ride to Mcleodganj which we reached by 9:00 am.( half an hour journey)
Some more places to visit in Mcleod Ganj you can go if you have time left St. John's Church one of the oldest cathedral in North India known for its unique gothic character and stained glass windows. Dal lake is also a tourist spot you can visit.
Shiva cafe was amazing now we headed back to hotel had dinner and waitnig for next day to start- so we can go for trekNext morning had some breakfast and headed towards triund trail to start our trek. We started in morning first we have no idea that how long we have to go but then we listened from ppl who were returning so we tried to go fast it took more than 4 hours to reach there but the trek was worth it after reaching the view was mesmerizing. The beautiful Dauladhar mountain range was just in front of us. It cannot be explained what beauty was infront of us and unpredictable weather change every 15 minutes was adding more beauty to the viw when we reached it was sunny then it started raining then snowing and after sky got cleared all this happened in just two hours.. yes in only 2 hours. We climbed down the hill in just 3 hours we got exhausted but what we saw was incredible.
After exploring some nearby area we are heading towards bhagsunag waterfall today because tommorow we have to go for triund trek,
After we got hotel we headed to explore the area nearby there was market and lots of restaurant also a buddhist monastry so it was our first stop.
We slept for some more time in bus then at 9:45AM we reached our destination Mcleodganj the weather was awesome there it was a cool morning We headed to main square of the place we were looking for hotel
(28th December): Because of this delay our plans of the Triund Trek was completely whitewashed. Our plan was to come back to Mcleodganj on the night of 27th December but we were able to come only by the 28th afternoon. So, we ended up spending the whole day exploring the town. My friend headed off in his own way and me on mine. I ended up getting a tattoo, to keep it as a memory. I would like to get a tattoo to every new place that I travel to. I got a tattoo called the infinity loop (which means a life with no beginning or the end). Make sure to get a tattoo to which you can relate to. By dusk, we realised we didn’t have a place to stay as our booking at the Hotel Pink House was only till the 27th. Hence, we started looking for a hotel. There was not a single hotel where rooms were available. After looking for an eternity, we finally found one, but it was a honeymoon suite (haha). I had to laugh. I am sorry. Anyway, as there was no option we had to settle for that. Best food ever had! and the view was breath-taking. I wish I had a home with this view. I would not give it up for anything in the world. You can find the link to the place below:Accommodation: http://www.junglehutdharamshala.com/ - Hotel Jungle hut.The night called for some drinks and we rightfully did so! Since so much had already happened, we decided that we would still do the trek. The only difference would be, we not camping there overnight! We were okay with it and decided to go ahead with it the next morning.
After 20 mins more, we reached Main Square of Mcleodganj.From Mcleodganj, we had to reach Shiv Shakti guesthouse in Dharamkot. Two roads diverge from the main square, one towards Dharamkot, and the other towards Bhagsu Nag.
Head to Mcleod Ganj for a quick day tripLess than an hour from Rakkh lies the town of Dharamshala and a further 20 minutes up the town of McLeod Ganj – the former famous for its bustling market, the Norbulinka Institute and the Dharamsala Cricket Ground, the world’s highest international cricket stadium. The latter is famous for being the refuge of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his Tibetan followers who have lived in exile here since 1959.Relax your senses at Rakkh's exclusive spa centerBaanka (meaning beauty in Pahari) is Rakkh’s exclusive spa, designed to help the guests relax and unwind from the day to day stresses of life, or after a long journey, to restore body and mind. The state of the art spa features three treatments rooms and both male and female steam rooms.
The morning after, we trekked back to Mcleod, which was obviously simpler and was completed in much less time. I was accompanied by a dog whom I had fed an egg earlier. Always nice to trek with a partner. Although, his loyalty was soon tested when another group fed him and soon he bid me farewell and befriended them in the hope he'd be fed more as they trekked uphill.We reached our hotel before noon.Packed our stuff along with sweet memories of Triund & boarded the bus back to Delhi.
Morning was a little chaotic. Packing and bookings had to be done. Superwoman and Naysayer got ready early and left to book cabs and buses for today.Mysterio and I started packing. We also watched some GOT and once everything was done the four of us rested until 11:30am.Around 12:30 we checked out of the hotel, paid our dues and headed to grab a bite.We ate at Vave 22. The food was okay. The bread pizza was yum though! We kept our luggage at the travel agency and started shopping. Superwoman and I were now possessed.
We woke up at 7am and it was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining bright. Dark nights were long gone now. Our clothes were semi dry. Mysterio and I stayed half asleep for some more time. We then got out of our tents and welcomed the sunny morning.
Soon we reached a place in McLeod Ganj where our camps were set up. We had to walk a little more. I had to limp now because I had shoe bites. Mysterio and I shared an umbrella (no point of doing that now I guess :P ). We reached finally. Stood in front of the gates of a hall. On our left side were many tents. It was still pouring. We removed our shoes and entered inside.Ironically my friends and I were the only ones who were soaked in rainwater. Funny story - Mysterio 'knew' his backpack is waterproof. When we unloaded all our stuff, turns out his backpack wasn't waterproof. Thus all our clothes, nightwear, portables, extra mobile phones, toilet roll etc. was soaked too. No clothes to change, nothing to dry ourselves, we picked up a corner, removed our jackets and checked our belongings. My DSLR was damp, it was later I realized that water was not pouring in from the top, but seeping in from the sides. Portables etc. were okay, however, my two lenses and the camera were gone. I tried not to cry in front of my friends. I tried to keep it all inside. This trip was getting way too costly for me. Nevertheless, I saw the faces of Mysterio, Naysayer and Superwoman and decided not to kill their mood and rather put a pin on it.We had loads of tea, rajma, paneer, rice and roti. All cooked by the helpers there. Food felt nice. Brought in some energy. Superwoman and Naysayer weren't that soaked, and they were slowly and steadily getting dry and warmer. Mysterio and I however weren't in a good position. I tried to get hold of a blower or a dryer, but failed miserably. We discussed and realized its a matter of 7hrs now, we will leave for Deodar first thing in the morning. We wrapped an open sleeping bag around us and drank more tea. Superwoman and Naysayer were fast asleep. I asked Mysterio to help me out find the washroom. We gathered the courage to face the cold outside and stole two pairs of slippers, and headed for the washroom. The cold breeze struck my face hard. I was shivering for the past 2hrs and the breeze wasn't helping either. By the time I reached the washroom my body was getting used to the chill. I did what I had to do (pee for almost 10 mins). I found Mysterio standing besides a railing and staring the dark mountains. I joined him. We stayed there for a while, despite the chilling breeze. Sometime later we went back, and when we reached the warm hall again, we found a few coordinators, and the helpers with glasses of whiskey (Imperial Blue and water) sitting in a circle with guitars, ukulele and bongo drums.The jamming session had already begun. The lanterns in the hall had set a perfect ambience. The music was making people sway with amusement. Requests on demand were being played, with one condition - sing along!We forgot about our miseries or pain. Did not feel any distress now. The other two woke up to the beautiful songs everyone was singing. We joined their harmony. It was a fun night now. We were smiling. The guitarist was pleasing to our eyes (for me and Superwoman of course). The place where we all sat was warm now. Cuddled up all well, time passed by. It was already 1am. Many had retreated themselves to the tents while many others decided to sleep in the cozy hall.
And then began the interactive session. Everybody introduced themselves and we even played dumb charades which was full of amusement. It became more hilarious when we included bhojpuri movies in the game. Truly, I didn't felt I was travelling solo. Lol, also don't know how I became the co-captain for everyone. After an overnight bus journey we reached the beautiful town of Mcleodganj at 7.30am. I was mesmerized by the snow-capped peaks of Dhauladhar, shining like a gold as the sun rays were falling on them. We deboarded at Mcleodganj bus stop and took a cab till Bhagsu Nag to reach our accommodation. We checked-in into our respective rooms, relaxed for an hour or two and got readied to explore this serene hill town of Himachal Pradesh.Exploring Mcleodganj & It's Famous Food Spots
When I opened my eyes, I found myself amidst green meadows. I also realized that I have an urgent need to pee. I asked Superwoman to accompany me to find a washroom. Turns out the whole meadow was our washroom. It was a long time since I had peed in the bushes. Initially I was quite skeptical about it, but I had to go for it, because the next halt was 2.5hrs later. The funny part was, once I was done, I had a feeling that my bum is on fire or I felt scratchy (all inside the head) :P .I decided to sit with Naysayer and had interesting conversations with him too. But I was distracted when a good looking coordinator boarded our bus (did I mention there were three buses of travel triangle) along with an interesting hairdo guitarist.Me and Superwoman decided to soothe our eyes and we took the last seats. Both the guys were in full mood to entertain us. The guitarist played beautiful songs, and we sang along even though we jumbled up the lyrics or were terrible singers.
We had lunch on way back to Mc.Leodganj and checked out of our hotel and left for the bus stand. H.P. govt. buses (Hemsuta) are clean, comfortable and pocket friendly. We had booked our tickets online (recommended as it runs full esp. on weekends).Advice: 1 day trek to Triund is a must. Though we missed it as we were short on time but do plan your itinerary including it.
We were in Amritsar and on the spur of the moment we decided to go to Dharamasala. We caught a local train from Amritsar Station to Pathankot Station. The journey was for 2 hours and the ticket was for Rs. 40 each. We went straight to the Pathankot bus stand (15 min on a rickshaw). Various buses ply on this route and without any hassle we got a bus for Dharamsala. The journey was for approx.3 hours. The roads were good, lots of bends and curves. Travelling in daytime was very pleasant experience (lovely views and spell-binding beauty).The bus dropped us at Dharamsala bus stand and we got into another bus (within 5 minutes) to reach Mc.Leodganj. We had planned our stay there. The journey took hardly 30 minutes (10 kms via the looping route).We checked into our hotel which was 10 min walk from the bus stop. The weather was pleasant. Wherever we looked, we found pine trees and snow-capped mountains.
Third stop : McLeod GanjMcLeod Ganj was my next destination to explore deeper into the culture and spirituality the place has to offer. The steep pins to McLeod Ganj from Dharmshala was great with the beautiful mountains in the background. I would say the entire walk around McLeod Ganj is a trek. With the narrow roads ascending and descending it is truly a liberating experience and gets you really working at it.