Mcleodganj- The little Lhasa 2 days itinerary
Mcleodganj is also known as the little Lhasa is located in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is just 5 km away from the Dharamshala bus stand. Mcleodganj is the headquarters of Tibetans in exile i.e. an organization set up to protect the Tibetan refugees. Mcleodganj has the best cafes, markets for shopping. You can get a mesmerizing view of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges, learn about the culture and traditions of the Tibetans and the hardships they have faced to keep their religion alive.
How to reach Mcleodganj?
Mcleodganj is easily accessible from all major cities like Chandigarh, Delhi, Amritsar, Manali. You can easily find overnight buses to reach Dharamshala. From there you can hire autos or taxi to reach Mccleodganj.
Best time to visit Mcleodganj
The best time to avoid Mcleodganj is from April to June to escape from the harsh summers. It’s best to avoid the rainy season as landslides take place and roadblocks occur. Mcleodganj has pleasant weather throughout the year. They mostly don’t receive snowfalls.
Where to stay in Mcleodganj
Mcleodganj has many backpackers’ hostels, homestays and three-star luxury stays. People go here for the honeymoon also. It’s an exciting destination.
Places to visit in Mcleodganj
1. Bhagsunag temple
It is a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple has the best, cheapest street market near to it. There is a traditional pool next to the temple. You can try out the cultural pahadi costume for just Rs 50 here. The costumes include the maroon dress covered from head to toe with beautiful jewelry and men wear the Kullu cap. They let you take selfies and photographs too.
The temple is open from 5 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm. There is no entry fee.
2. Bhagsunag waterfall
It is located near to Bhagsunag temple. To reach the waterfall you have to do a short hike of half an hour to 45 minutes. In monsoon the waterfall is majestic. It descends from in between two mountains. You can take amazing pictures with the view.
3. Dal Lake
It is an artificial lake right in the middle of the city. Boating takes place here for just Rs 50. You can sit and enjoy the beauty of the lake. It is surrounded by mountains and pine trees.
4. Naddi view point
It is one of the best viewpoints of Mcleodganj. You can get a breathtaking view of the Dhauladhar mountain range. The snow-covered mountains, sun rays leaking through them and the green pine trees visible in between them will leave you in awe.
You can explore the area around the viewpoint on foot too. If you go a little bit inside the jungle you can find the birds and insects chirping.
5. The Church of St John’s in the wilderness
It is located near Dharamshala and is dedicated to John the Baptist built-in 1852. It is also the final resting place of Lord Elgin who served the Governor-General of the Province of Canada. There is no entry fee. The church is open from 7 am to 6.30 pm.
The church is very beautiful and well maintained. Photography is not allowed inside the church. It is nestled within the green pine trees in the backdrop of the mountains.
5. Tsuglagkhang Complex/ Dalai Lama Temple
It is also known as the Dalai Lama’s main temple. It is the official residence of the 14th Dalai Lama. It is located in the temple road of Mcleodganj near the main market.
The temple is open from 5 am to 8 pm. There is no entry fee and photography is not allowed inside the monastery. The Tibet Museum is present inside the premises. You can also attend the session of Dalai Lama for just Rs 10.
6. Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
It is one of the highest sports ground in the world. Everyone should choose to visit this place and not just cricket lovers. The cool breeze of the afternoon will soothe your mind. The cricket ground serves as a practice ground for Himachal Pradesh state-level cricket team as well as IPL team King’s Eleven Punjab.
The stadium is open to tourists only from 9 am to 6 pm. This stadium is built in Tibetan style architecture.
7. War Memorial
The war memorial is open from 8 am to 8 pm. The entry fee is Rs 10 per person. The memorial is dedicated to the brave soldiers who died during the Indo-China wars during 1947-48, 1962, 1965, and 1972. The names of the martyred soldiers are written on the stone panels.
The memorial is surrounded by pine trees and near to it are many restaurants to have snacks.
8. Gyuto Monastery
This monastery was originally founded in 1474 and rebuilt in 1959. The visiting hours are from 9 am to 5.30 pm. The entry fee is Rs 50. It is a beautiful monastery set in the vicinity of the Dhauladhar Mountains and is located on hilltop.
The monks also stay in the hostels of the monastery. You can witness young monks living, learning about human life and becoming free of the bondage of rebirth.
9. Tea Gardens Dharamshala
Dharamshala has the most beautiful tea gardens lined and organized. The place is perfect for taking some wonderful pictures. The lush greenery will make you feel like you are in another world.
10. Namgyal Monastery
This monastery is also known as the Namgyal Tantric College. The college offers three years course to learn Tibetan language, philosophy, and history.
The place is open from 5.30 am to 8.30pm. There is no entry fee. You can also interact with the monk and learn about their lives and beliefs.
11. Norbulingka Institute
It is located on Palampur Dharamshala road. The place remains open to the public from 9 am to 5.30 pm. The entry fee for tourists is Rs 50. The institute houses its own restaurant called Hummingbird Cafe. It serves only vegetarian food.
The institute is constructed in Japanese style. The streams flowing, the Tibetan flags flowing, the cool breeze of wild, the beautifully decorated pots, and the statues of stone everything will feel like you are in another era.
The institute has a doll museum which shows the history of the people following Tibetan culture. The main temple is present inside and the bridge leading up to it will leave you speechless. You should not forget to swing the prayer rings, it is said to cleanse all your sins.
Best cafes in Mcleodganj
- Woeser Bakery – best chocolate brownies
- Illterati Books and Coffee – try the Italian cuisine and read a book
- Four seasons cafe – best ambiance
- Seed Cafe – best desserts in town
- Crepe Pancake hut – best pancakes
Excursions- Places near McLeodganj
- Bir Billing
- Manali ( 8 hrs via bus)
Last Thoughts on Mcleodganj
I hope the above information helps you to plan your trip to Mcleodanj. You can follow the itinerary and explore all the places. Apart from sightseeing, there are other options to go for like trekking, etc. For trekking Triund, Kareri Lake is the best options. You can also go for paragliding at the Bir Billing paragliding centre. They are the best and they provide the highest gildings’ in India.
For those who are looking to immerse in the culture and traditions of Tibetans, want to have a closer look at the life of Dalai Lama and to know about the monasteries follow this link.
If you are backpacking then you can easily do a two day trip in Rs 4000. Food and accommodation are cheap. For one day sightseeing, the taxis take Rs 1800 including all the monasteries.
This is a guest post. All pictures and text are by Shalini Garnaik
Shalini Garnaik, A curious gal bitten by wander bug at Eager2travel
“I share my travel stories, hacks, and tips for the road. You can find a detailed itinerary of the places I have been to. I have been travelling with a full-time job for past two years, would love to share my experiences, how to plan a trip with a tight budget, which places you can skip or just shift delete.”
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