Dharamshala-Mcleodganj

Tripoto
9th Apr 2019
Photo of Dharamshala-Mcleodganj by Aditi Chaudhary
Day 1

Nestled in Kangra district, Dharamshala is one of the most popular hill station in Himachal Pradesh. My friend and I decided to visit this heavenly abode in the month of April 2019 before the mad rush from cities overpopulate the hill stations in India. We flew from Mumbai to Delhi and Delhi to the breathtaking beautiful airport at Kangra. Hire a taxi from the airport to your hotel in Mcleodganj for Rs. 1000 and on the way visit Kangra tea garden and Kunal Pathir Temple.

The rockstar posing in front of the beautiful airport

Photo of Kangra Airport, Gaggal, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Land in style!

Photo of Kangra Airport, Gaggal, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Our abode for the trip?

At lease while I’m traveling in India I prefer to experience different localities and hospitality to get an overall feel of the area. We shortlisted three accommodation’s for our 5 night stay in Dharamshala.

Chonor House – Located right next to Dalai Lama Temple, it is stone throw away to all the hustle and bustle around the temple road. We were in Lungta II. Lungta literally means "wind horse," but it is also the Tibetan word for prayer flag. Tibetans believe that as the wind blows and moves the flags, the prayers printed on the flags are carried on the breeze and spread to all beings.

We booked a one night stay at the beautiful property for Rs. 5840/- without breakfast. The room has a Tibetan feel and the wooden furniture with paint work is very artistic. Lot of monkeys around so make sure you don’t leave the balcony open.

Do visit Chonor café for some awesome lemon ginger tea along with omlettes and pakoras. It is on the higher end compared to other restaurants and cafes in the area. We paid around 662/- Inr for snacks in the evening and breakfast in the morning.

Our room

Photo of Chonor House, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Attached Balcony

Photo of Chonor House, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Cafe

Photo of Chonor House, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Green tea

Photo of Chonor House, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Paneer pakora

Photo of Chonor House, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Outside seating area

Photo of Chonor House, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Breakfast

Photo of Chonor House, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Day 2

8 Auspicious Him View – This is one of the best places in Mcleodganj to Stay. Big rooms and even bigger heart of the 3 sisters who run the place. They go out of the way to make sure you feel at home. The premium rooms are on the top most floor and are very comfortable. The view from the room is so calming! Laundry is inexpensive and WIFI is good too. The breakfast is extraordinary and the ginger lemon honey tea is the best in town. We paid around 12,000 Inr for 3 nights with Breakfast. Located on Jogiwara road, you can reach main centre by walking for around 10-15 minutes. It’s a steep walk so people with mobility issue can hire a cab.

these two cuties!

Photo of 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel, Jogiwara Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Our room!

Photo of 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel, Jogiwara Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel, Jogiwara Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Sanna with one of the 3 sisters. the traditional outfit is called chopa

Photo of 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel, Jogiwara Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Day 5

Nishaad Resorts – Located in Naddi, this beautiful property is a must for a night during your stay in the Kangra Valley! We booked cottage room for a night for 2540 Inr without breakfast. The view from this place is out worldly. Do see the Milky Way at night and be dazzled with thousands of stars twinkling away. We were surprised to see the gigantic mountains right in front of our eyes as we woke up in the morning. Birds chirping, greenery all around this place is soothing to the soul. One can just sit and do nothing but stare at the snowcapped mountains. Food is mediocre but there is little choice to venture out as this place is on the outskirts. We paid around 586 Inr for dinner and Rs. 390 for Breakfast.

Photo of Nishaad Resorts,Naddi, Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Nishaad Resorts,Naddi, Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Cottage

Photo of Nishaad Resorts,Naddi, Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Nishaad Resorts,Naddi, Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

View from the dining area

Photo of Nishaad Resorts,Naddi, Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

What all did we treat our eyes with?

Day 1

Kangra Tea Garden – we visited this place on our way from the Kangra airport to Mcleodganj. Though it was hot in the afternoon the lush green tea terraces and aroma engulfed in the area refreshes you. We spent around 15-20 minutes walking deep into the tea garden.

Photo of Tea Estates, Dharamshala, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Tea Estates, Dharamshala, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Dalai Lama Temple Complex – The temple is located on temple road and is also known as Tsuglakhang Temple. The place is of significant importance and His Holy Dalai Lama’s residence is within the temple complex. The monastery and museum are good to visit for spiritual knowledge. While we were at the temple, a couple of monks were playing some instruments and offering prayers. The view of the valley from the temple is spectacular. It’s a very peaceful place and a must do in Mcledoganj. One can sit and meditate for few hours as well and feel the calming vibe this place offers.

Temple Road – Temple road starts from Dalai Lama temple and goes upto the main square. There are number of shops and cafes lined up on both sides. We were told the souvenirs are expensive on temple road but we got some of the best deals here. We picked up hair pins for Rs. 100, Tea sets for Rs. 600, Buddhas for ₨ 150, and pouches between ₨ 50-200. There is a HDFC Branch on temple road and some really cool cafes like Café Talk and Namgyal Café.

Within the temple complex this place has some amazing breakfast

Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Main Temple, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Main Temple, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Sit here and meditate for hours!

Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Main Temple, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Prayer ceremony

Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Main Temple, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

View from the temple

Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Main Temple, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Prayer wheels

Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Main Temple, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Lush greenery

Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Main Temple, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Day 2

Dharamkot – we took an auto from main market square for ₨ 70 to Dharamkot. Once you reach Dharamkot, wander in the area and absorb the pure beauty this place beholds. It offers great views of the Mighty Dhauladhars and has a hippie vibe. Home to a lot of Israeli tourists this place has some cool cafes and yoga-meditation centers. Tushita is a popular center for meditation and yoga. We walked till the time we could and then on our way back we picked some souvenirs from Alis Handicrafts and had a pastry at Bodhi Greens (₨ 100). We stopped by the famed Morgan’s Café for lunch. From Morgans there is a shortcut to go to Bhagsu Waterfall.

Get lost in greenery!

Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Modelposing :P

Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Dharamkot, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Bhagsu – walk amidst tall pine and deodar trees from Dharamkot to reach bhagsu. Though we generally felt very safe in Mcleod, while we were walking down from Dharamkot, two men whom we asked for directions started following us. The area is isolated with few cabs running up/down occasionally. Luckily, two guys who were walking back to Dharamkot asked us for direction and we requested them to wait for a while till those buggers went away. It obviously scared us a bit but we didn’t let it deter our spirit.

Visit the bhagsu temple and shop for some cool clothes and souvenirs just before the temple. We picked harem pants for ₨ 150-200 and some Buddha statues for ₨ 150. To reach the waterfall one needs to have herculean strength and climb uphill for almost 30-40 minutes. Do visit number of cafes on the way to the waterfall. Gasping for breath when we finally reached the waterfall it was over populated with tourists. Once you get back to the auto stand do visit German Bakery for some awesome coffee and Bhagsu cake. Auto from Bhagsu to Mcleodganj temple road will cost around ₨ 120.

Photo of Bhagsu Nag, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Bhagsu Nag, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Bhagsu Nag, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Day 3

Triund Trek – The most sought out trek in Himachal Pradesh is not that easy as many blogs and enthusiastic trekkers claim it to be. During my research for Mcleod, I continuously read only one thing, that triund trek is very easy and doable even to a novice. But let me tell you guys, ITS NOT EASY! We booked our trek with a personal guide with Biling Adventures. The guide fee was ₨ 1500 and Taxi to galu devi would cost ₨ 800 for both way. Our guide started the trek at 9 am as compared to 7 am from Gallu. Luckily on the start of the trek we hired a walking stick. You need to carry Identity proof and register yourself at Galu before starting the trek to triund.

So there we were very enthusiastic on doing the Triund Trek! Little did we know what was waiting ahead? The distance from Galu to Triund is around 7 kms one way. There are many cafes like half point café and moonpeak café on your way to Triund. Need not carry food with you as you can easily purchase from these shops. It’s priced slightly more than MRP but that is the transport cost for carrying it to such great height and a difficult terrain. Do carry glucose and Electrol as you are bound to get dehydrated. There no toilets till you reach Triund. Even on the top there are no toilets but one can use the designated areas to answer natures call.

Soon after we started the trek we realized the path to triund is very rocky with big sharp stones and it’s not easy to hike on it. There are sharp turns throughout the trek and many places it’s very difficult to climb. Especially the last 2 Kms is dreading. What added to our misery was the presence of Snow in the last 2 Kms.

We fell N number of times and we were not at all prepared to walk on snow in regular walking shoes. There were stretches where our guide had to hold our hand, make us pass a particular area one by one as it was extremely slippery and dangerous. I was feeling exasperated and was dying to turn back. But our guide insisted we complete the trek.

Last 1 Km (with 22 curves) I almost broke into tears and was feeling nauseated! It was only because of our guide Anil’s constant motivation that we were able to complete the trek. Honestly, upon reaching the peak, we were so tired after climbing for 4.5 hours that the snowcapped mountains didn’t attract us. We were feeling sore and dying to rest for at least 3-4 hours. Little did we know that we had to start trekking back to galu within one hour. There are many shacks which provide food and shelter on the peak. The guy at the peak told us that we need to start getting down and reach Galu before the sun sets as once the sun sets wild animals roam free. It’s not safe! Either stay back for the night or start in an hour.

We clicked few photos, barely absorbed the place and began getting down. Descend was easier though not a cake walk. It took us 3.5 hours to get down with 2-3 short breaks. With sore body and absolutely exhausted spirit we finally reached our hotel around 6.30 in the evening. We were barely able to walk and felt sick.

So honestly we didn’t enjoy the trek. So if you want to do the trek then start really early or stay back for the night. Do carry good sturdy shoes not regular sport shoes. If you are a first time trekker like us don’t hike without a guide. It’s better to have some help than to do it yourself. The only sight that pleased me was the beautiful Rhododendron flowers blooming all over.

On the top

Photo of Triund Trek, Trail to Triund Hill, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

View from the top

Photo of Triund Trek, Trail to Triund Hill, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Rhododendron blooming all over!

Photo of Triund Trek, Trail to Triund Hill, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Triund Trek, Trail to Triund Hill, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

thats the killer part

Photo of Triund Trek, Trail to Triund Hill, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Triund Trek, Trail to Triund Hill, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Triund Trek, Trail to Triund Hill, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Photo of Triund Trek, Trail to Triund Hill, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

War Memorial – we did the below 3 activities on the following day of trekking to triund. Since the after effect of trek was high, we decided to hire a cab to take us around. We booked a cab for ₨ 2000 for the day. We started with War memorial and it’s a very well maintained place and very inspiring to see the struggle of our soldiers to keep us safe. There is a sprawling garden surrounded by pine trees, the place has a very calm aura to itself. There is nominal entry fee and if you have a car then parking fee as well.

Day 4

HPCA Cricket Stadium – Who would want to watch the match when the stadium is amidst spectacular mountains? The view is mind blowing and the place is a must do in Dharamshala. Located 1457 meters above sea level, this place is one of the highest cricket stadiums in the world. The entrance fee is Rs 40 and the places is very clean.

War memorial

Photo of HPCA Cricket Stadium, Gumma, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Garden at the memorial

Photo of HPCA Cricket Stadium, Gumma, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Clean bowled

Photo of HPCA Cricket Stadium, Gumma, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Who wants to play here?

Photo of HPCA Cricket Stadium, Gumma, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

At the war memorial garden

Photo of HPCA Cricket Stadium, Gumma, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Norbulingka – This amazing institute is very popular and houses Tibetan culture and art work. The temple is beautiful and has a 14 ft. Buddha statue inside. The entire place has a very charming vibe. Do attend the guided tour about the workshops and culture at 2 pm. It takes an hour to finish the tour. You can even book a workshop but do that one day in advance. The entry fee is ₨ 100 and spare minimum 3-4 hours to soak this charismatic place. Losel doll museum has over 150 dolls displaying the life of various regions in Tibet. The shop has many thangkas and art work made in the institute but it is quite expensive. We brought few incense sticks for ₨ 100 and a fridge magnet. Do visit Norling Café!

Photo of Norbulingka Institute, Sidhpur, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Day 5

Palampur Tea Garden – Booked a day trip to cover palampur and nearby areas. We paid ₨ 2200 for a 9 hour day trip that included all the below mentioned activities. We visited the palampur tea garden and headed to the factory post that. It was very interesting to see the tea making process and we brought some green tea from there.

Gopalpur Zoo – We were pleasantly surprised to see such a well maintained zoo in palampur. We don’t have a decent one in Bombay! The zoo has many animals and birds like tigers, bears, emu, deers and few love birds. The shop within the zoo has some really cool pickles and souvenirs. The entrance fee is ₨ 55 for two people.

Shobha Singh Art Museum – It’s a very well preserved museum of the Artists work. Everything about his life be it work or home is so precisely tagged and preserved. It’s a good place to visit if paintings interests you else it will be boring. I personally would have preferred to go to Andretta pottery instead of this but since we were short on time our driver recommended to visit this place. Photography is not allowed and there is a nominal entry fee of ₨ 20.

Neugad Khad – This place is an absolute put off. There is nothing to see. Skip it! No matter what people say! That lousy neugal café is horrible too. There is an entrance fee for this horrible place and I wonder why. Many such streams and bridges are all over himachal Pradesh. Nothing extraordinary.

Aghanjar Mahadev Temple – Our driver asked us to pay thy respect at this Shiva temple. It is very well maintained and there is a small way to go near the stream of water which is very scenic. Apparently there is a small shiva idol inside some rock which has a lot of significance.

Naddi Sunset Point – Incredible view! Do visit this place from mcleodganj. You can even walk it up from mcleodganj in the evening and wait there until sunset.

Photo of Naddi, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary
Day 1

Where did we fill our Hungry stomach?

Namgyal Café – this place has some amazing lip smacking pizzas. Do try the ginger honey lemon tea. Quantity served is huge so be careful while ordering. Situated on temple road it’s a popular joint to have momos and pizzas. We paid ₨ 320 for one pizza and 2 teas.

Café Morgan – The café is notorious for having rude staff and we were not surprised. The waiters have a flat look on their face. Food is good and the view is awesome from the balcony. We spent ₨ 550 for one pizza (Formaggi blue cheese pizza) and one mocktail (wake up). Incidentally a fly fell in our drink but they refused to do anything about it.

Café Talk – We ordered a hazelnut latte and mango cheesecake. Both were excellent. Situated on temple road it’s a chic café with a lot of variety. We paid ₨ 280 for both the things.

Tibet Kitchen – It’s the place to have authentic Tibetan food. Try their momos and thupkas. It’s extraordinary. Quantity is huge and very cheap on the pocket. We paid 380 Inr for full meal.

Norling Café – Norling café has some great drinks and food. Do try the dosa and shakes. We paid ₨ 430 for dosa, banana shake and afghan cookie. Pastry was reasonably priced at ₨ 110.

Day 4

Illiterati books and coffeeMy favorite place in Mcleod! Omg! The vibe this place has is addictive. You want to keep going back. Food is top notch. Ambience is great with lot of books and grooving music. Do shop for some real cool soaps and lip balms available on the billing desk. We paid ₨ 780 for pasta, one starter, one mint mojito and their signature pastry.

Mid way Lunch – We visited this place on our way back to the airport. Total disaster. I fell sick post eating here. Avoid!

Photo of Illiterati, Jogiwara Road, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Aditi Chaudhary

Tips

• If you don’t plan to trek to triund then you can easily go to Dalhousie first and then come to mcleodganj. In 5 days you can cover all of this without rushing.

• If you plan to trek to triund then consider spending the night there. Same day trek is exhausting.

• You don’t need a guide for visiting any place except Triund.

• Vodafone works fine, Jio had some issues. Though local people claim Jio works fine.

• Avoid traveling in peak period. We visited in April and it was perfect! No mad rush, no traffic jam.

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