When we think of Mcleod Ganj, what comes to our mind is an amazing place nestled among stunning hills, with the backdrop of the mountains! An amalgamation of great people, with their unique cultures and traditions, and natural beauty, the tiny settlement is definitely one of the most exciting places to visit in India.
Situated at an altitude of 2082 m, Mcleod Ganj is the home to his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. We get to see an interesting confluence of the Tibetan and Pahari Indian cultures in and around Mcleod Ganj. The suburb is also known sometimes as The Little Lhasa.
The place is one of the most visited tourist spots in the country as every year thousands of visitors from all across India, and as well as all over the world, make a visit here. It offers so many things to the tourists. Excursion tours to the landmarks inside the city, trekking on the outskirts, visiting nearby cities, and so on, are just few of the things that the tourists can do to engage themselves.
In this blog, we’re going to talk about 12 most amazing things that you can do at Mcleod Ganj. So get ready for this wonderful adventure.
#1. Visit Bhagsu Falls
Bhagsu Falls is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions near Mcleod Ganj. It has a height of 20 meters, and is situated only 2 km from the town. It is recommended to go on a trek to reach this amazing waterfall, as in the process, one can enjoy beautiful sceneries of the hills and vegetation. Nearby the waterfall is a temple, which goes by the name Bhasunag Temple, and a beautiful spring. The entire area is famous as a significant pilgrimage site. The waterfall is also accessible from Dharamsala, being only 11 km away from the city.
#2. Go For Indrahar Pass Trek
Indrahar Pass Trek is one of the most beautiful treks in the Indian mountains. It takes trekkers through the amazing Indrahar Pass, situated at an altitude of 4342 m, bordering the Indian districts of Kangra and Chamba. The trek starts from Mcleod Ganj, and makes its way through Triund. During the trek, the tourists cross the stunning village of Dharamkot and Galu Devi. It is a moderate level trek and can be completed in a couple of days. The trek offers awe inspiring views of hills, covered in vegetation, with the backdrop of the great white peaks. The stunning landscapes are sure to amaze you.
#3. Head to Dal Lake
While many people confuse it with the Dal Lake of Srinagar, the Dal Lake of Himachal Pradesh is no less beautiful than its counterpart. Situated at an altitude of 1775 m, the lake is a stunning natural heritage of Kangra District. The lake is known for the rich biodiversity found in and around its area. Due to the Shiva Temple located at its edge, the lake also has a religious significance among Hindu devotees. The lake is located only 3 km away from Mcleod Ganj, so, a trek up to the lake is one of the best place to reach here. Once here, the tourists can simply relax, or go for a round of boating.
#4. Take a trek to Triund
The route from Mcleod Ganj to Triund is a small part of the Mcleodganj Indrahar Pass trek, as mentioned above. The individuals, who don’t want to walk all the way up to the pass, can simple walk to these camping grounds. Triund is a tiny hill station situated at an altitude of 2850 m. The settlement is located around 7 km away from Mcleod Ganj, and in the district of Kangra. Quite like Mcleod Ganj, Triund is known for its natural beauty, the views of the surrounding hills and mountains.
#5. Take a glimpse of Tsuglakhang Dalai Lama Temple Complex
Tsuglakhang Dalai Lama Temple Complex is the most significant Buddhist heritage site in Mcleod Ganj, and one of the most important ones in all of India. The complex consists of numerous stupas, chortens, and shrines related to Buddhism and Tibetan culture in general like that of Gautam Buddha, several former Buddhist gurus like Shakyamuni, Chenrezig and Rinpoche, and so on. Namgyal Monastery is an important part of the complex. The area also houses the administrative office of the 14th Dalai Lama. The office section is quite close to the monastery.
#6. Visit Norbulingka Institute
Norbulingka Institute was established with an objective to preserve and help flourish Tibetan cultures and traditions. The institute helps the Tibetans living in India find jobs, and earn their livelihood. It also offers trainings on various traditional Tibetan arts to the people. These include wood carving, sculpturing, thangka painting, and so on. The institute is named after the city of Norbulingka in Tibet, and it is situated in Sidhpur, which is around 12 km away from Mcleod Ganj. The institute premise houses numerous statues, temples, and museums, one of which is the Losel Doll Museum. All these heritages are store houses of numerous Tibetan Artefacts.
#7. Make a stop at the Namgyal Monastery
Namgyal Monastery is a part of Tsuglakhang Dalai Lama Temple Complex. The monastery was founded originally in the late 15th century on top of Potala Palace in Tibet. However, after 1959, the temple was transferred to India, where it has remained ever since. The monastery is the personal working space of the 14th Dalai Lama. It is the place where he practices all his tantras, and other religious activities. The tourists who come to visit Tsuglakhang Dalai Lama Temple Complex may also visit the monastery, and learn about Buddhist teachings, cultures and traditions.
#8. Visit Dharamkot
Dharamkot is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Himachal Pradesh. It is situated around 8 km away from Mcleod Ganj. It is one of the pit stops in the trekking route from Mcleod Ganj to Triund. Tourists generally spend a couple of days in this amazing place. As it is located in Kangra district, it offers magnificent views. Apart from natural beauty, the place also houses numerous meditation centres, for instance Tushita Meditation Centre. Here you can learn and practice meditation and spend your time with peace and serenity. You can also know about Buddhism and Tibetan traditions here.
#9. Have a look at Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts is a symbol of a sincere attempt made by his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to preserve and strengthen Tibetan cultures and traditions. The institute was established in 1959 in Mcleod Ganj. Then, it was known as Tibetan Music, Dance and Drama Society. Later, the name was changed to Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. It trains the new generations of Tibetans with the art of dancing, acting, singing and music composition. It organizes shows, employs Tibetan refugees and helps them settle down. Visiting the institute is one of the most interesting things to do here in Mcleod Ganj.
#10. Shop at the Local Markets
Since the entire town of Mcleod Ganj is influenced by Buddhist and Tibetan cultures, you will find a lot of souvenirs scattered around the city. They are available in the form of clothes, model pieces, accessories, decoration items, paintings, and so on. You can find them displayed in roadside shops, malls, carts, and so on. Few of the places that you can visit for shopping purpose are Lha Tibet Fair Trade, India Divine Buddha Handicrafts, Mcleod Ganj Market, Times Square Shopping Mall, Tibetan Antique and Craft Shop, and so on. Not just souvenirs, in few of the above mentioned places you can also buy things for your general need like electronics, clothes, sanitary items, and so on.
#11. Visit St. John in the Wilderness Church
St. John in the Wilderness Church is closer to Dharamshala than it is to Mcleod Ganj, so you’ll have to travel for quite some time to reach here. The church is dedicated to St. John the Forerunner, more famously known as St. John the Baptist, who is regarded as a major figure in Christianity, Islam, and a couple of other religions. The church was established in 1852, and it is the resting place of Lord Elgin, who once worked for the British Government, as the Governor in General of the Canadian Province. It is a historical relic, and a significant Christian monument, regarded highly by the people in the area.
#12. Take the trek to the Kangra Valley
Kangra Valley is one of the most beautiful places in all of Himachal Pradesh. When you visit Mcleod Ganj, you have this option of trekking in the Kangra Valley. The trek starts from Mcleod Ganj, and makes its way through settlements like Boh, Kanol, Kareri Village, Bahl, and Triund. Altogether, it’s a 5 days long trek, and it ends at Mcleod Ganj. Certain very exciting attributes of this trek are the beautiful landscapes, friendly locals, religious and natural heritages, and so on. Attractions like Galu Temple, Lingru Nag Temple, up close views of the Dhauladhar mountain range, and so on always keeps you on your toes and wanting for more.
Mcleod Ganj is easily one of the most visited hill stations in all of India. It doesn’t just receive tourists from India, but all across the world. It is one of those places that are not just gifted with natural beauty but cultural and religious significance as well. All these factors make the place an amazing place to visit. On top of all this, the various things to do that you can engage yourself in makes your trip complete. There is one or the other thing for everyone here.
So, the next time you’re planning a trip, or simply thinking of going for a trip, do consider Mcleod Ganj. You’ll never feel like leaving the place, and even if you do, you’ll make sure to return again. If you’ve ever travelled to Mcleod Ganj, or did so after reading this blog, do share your experiences with us. We’d love to hear them.