McLeod Ganj, the holy place of Himachal Pradesh, is now emerging as a holiday destination for travelers worldwide. There are many things to do in McLeod Ganj in terms of culture, serenity, and adventure. Read this blog to create your checklist for your McLeod Ganj trip.
McLeod Ganj is a beautiful and spiritual place where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The town is home to many foreigners and Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists who live in harmony. Tourists are drawn by its quaint appeal, spectacular landscape, temples, and shrines.
The town lies at an elevation of 2,082 meters above sea level, making it relatively calm even in summers. It has a beautiful wild forest with centuries-old trees, flowers, streams, and meadows.
The town is blessed with many temples and shrines that devotees worldwide frequently visit. Along with temples, McLeod Ganj offers amazing views of the surrounding hills and dales. It has a rich mix of old and new buildings that perfectly harmonize with nature. It has some great places to eat, drink and dance in which you can spend a night or two.
“Trivia: The town, which was named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, is home to the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Dharamshala and Tibetan Industries Ltd. When the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet, fearing persecution at the hands of the Chinese, he reached McLeod Ganj in 1959 and stayed put here till 1960. It is said that Sir McLeod himself built temples for the locals to accommodate His Holiness. He also helped arrange his first visit to India. McLeod Ganj is also known as mini Lhasa or Dhasa because of a large Buddhist population.”
This blog post is the only travel guide that you need before planning a trip to McLeod Ganj. We have listed a few of many things that you can do and experience when in Dharamshala. Keep reading!
10 Things to do in McLeod Ganj
1. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts(TIPA)
Founded in 1959 BY Tenzin Gyatso, is acclaimed as one of Asia’s best-performing art centers. It has evolved to become a multi-disciplined cultural institution offering training in various art forms, including dance, music, and theater, which are taught by eminent teachers from India and abroad. The campus offers facilities for film-making and handicrafts and exhibits a rich collection of Tibetan folk art.
2. Bagalamukhi temple
Amidst the dhauladnar ranges of the Himalayas, 30 km away from Kangra district, located is bagalamukhi temple. Bagalamukhi is derived from two different Sanskrit words. Bagala means bride, and Mukhi means face. Her name depicts that her face holds enough power to fight evil.
The temple is dedicated to ten goddesses of Shaktism, and it is said that any wish that has been asked after performing homagni and yajna is granted. It is believed that Yellow is her favorite color, and hence the temple has been painted in yellow, people mostly wear yellow clothes while visiting, and yellow flowers are offered to the goddess. You should definitely pay a visit to the baglamukhi temple in Himachal to feel the power of Shaktism.
This is one of the most exciting places to visit in McLeod Ganj. A waterfall flowing down a slope of the Dhauladhar ranges, it’s named after Bhagsu village that lies nearby. The best time to see the falls is from July to October when the water level recedes and reveals small pools for tourists to swim in.
The prime attraction is the famous Bhagsunath Temple, which is closer to the stream. Nearby cafes and coffee shops serve lip-smacking dishes and snacks that you can enjoy after the small trek to the falls. The famous one is “Shiva Café” right above the waterfall.
4. The Dalai Lama Temple
Since it is the most important Buddhist temple in the town, this is where monks reside and where you can find their ‘Gompa’ (monastery), among other religious structures. Some of the more popular deities worshiped in the temple are Buddha, Avalokiteshwara, Arya Tara, Manjushri, and Chenresig.
Although non-Tibetans can only enter the area for worshipers, it’s an excellent place to look at from outside its walls. There is also a souvenir shop and a book store to buy exciting books. A small museum in the backyard offers visitors information about Tibetan culture, religion, and history. The temple is open to guests all day long, and the entry fee is INR 5.
5. Namgyal monastery
The Namgyal Monastery, situated about 2 km away from McLeod Ganj at a distance of 50 km from Dharamsala, is also known as the 14th Dalai Lama monastery. The 2nd Dalai Lama, Gendun Gyatso, built it in 1575 AD. The monastery is said to be richly endowed with many treasures kept safely in its 4 storeyed chambers. The religious institute of Namgyal Monastery is situated on a hillock and is approachable by a flight of steps.
It’s a sacred place for Buddhists where practices such as Kalachakra, vajrakilaya, guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, and chakrasamavara. This monastery is an excellent place for meditation, and all the tourists are welcomed here to join their mediation practice in peace.
6. Triund trek
Triund trek is one of the best things to do in McLeod Ganj. It is a beautiful trip where you can see the deodar forest, Himalayan peaks, and hidden springs and pass through different towns and villages. Triund hill is almost like a point from where you can see the entire McLeod ganj as it’s nearly 9 km from there. You can enjoy the sunset and sunrise at Triund with your loved ones. On your way to Triund, you’ll spot many beautiful birds too, which look down at you from trees as if they are seeing who’s intruding their territory!
7. Minkiani pass
It is a pass situated at an altitude of 4343 ft. above sea level. It’s a part of the dhauladhar ranges, which offers some splendid and spectacular views of nature and landscape. The route is quite steep and needs a good fitness level to cover the area. You can also reach there by hiring ponies, yaks, or walking! one must see the place when traveling to Dharamshala. It is a beautiful place where you can see the entire dhauladhar mountain range, the second-highest range in the Himalayas.
8. Jwalaji Temple
About 10 kilometers away from McLeod Ganj, Jwalaji Temple is located near the city of Kangra. This temple is believed to be dedicated to Goddess Jwala Devi and is one of the 51 shaktipeeth of India. It is believed that Sati’s tongue fell over here, represented by Holy Flames or Jwala that is perpetually burning.
Devotees visit this place throughout the year, especially during the festival season from April to June.
9. Dal lake
The slopes of McLeod Ganj have one of the most picturesque lakes around. Named after the more famous dal lake in Srinagar, this small lake is close to a quaint village known as Tota Rani. Surrounded by deodar trees, the lake is a beautiful spot for a small picnic and peaceful getaway in McLeod Ganj.
Dharamkot is a village adjoining McLeod-Ganj that has sparkling ozone sceneries. Not far from dal lake, the festival fair organized every year adds to the vividness of Dharamkot. More spellbinding views of the dhaulandar range await you, and a spiritual retreat at one of the several dedicated centers is just a step away.
The panoramic view of McLeod-Ganj is the most impressive and mesmerizing sight to see. The view is spectacular; it can take your breath away and realize that you are in a different life altogether. It’s best to go there in the fresh air in the early morning and watch this place come alive!
How to reach McLeod-Ganj
By Bus – Travelling to McLeod Ganj via bus Is the best and most preferred way to reach. You can easily take an overnight ac Volvo bus to drop you at the McLeod Ganj bus station and hire a cab/taxi to reach your destination.
By Air – The closest airport to McLeod Ganj is Gaggal Airport. On the other hand, McLeod Ganj is served by a small number of airlines with only a few flights each week.
By Train – The nearest train station to McLeod Ganj is Pathankot Railway Station, around 90 kilometers away. There are many trains on this route so that one may pick according to their budget and convenience.
Online bus ticket to McLeod Ganj
Traveling via bus is convenient if you plan a trip to McLeod Ganj. To make your trip more comfortable and easy, zingbus provides you affordable bus tickets to McLeod Ganj with flight-like amenities, including reclining seats, water bottles, CCTV cameras, waiting for lounges, etc. Three buses run between Delhi to McLeod Ganj daily. You can choose one of them at your convenience. Zingbus is a bus transportation company that aims to make your traveling experience more comfortable and affordable.
Ab safar karo befikar.