McLeod Ganj is a secluded and quiet hill station located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in India. This place was the home of holy Dalai Lama and the headquarters of the Tibetan government during exile. The influence of the Buddhism can be easily reflected in the lifestyle and culture of the place. McLeod Ganj is a prime tourist destination in the region and the place is bestowed with splendid environment and scenic surroundings. It is a perfect retreat from the hectic city life and the serenity of the place rejuvenates you completely.
Location : State/District
McLeod Ganj is a small village located in the Kangra district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.The latitude and longitude of the place corresponds to 32.2386⁰ N and 76.3239⁰ E respectively.
McLeod Ganj is spectacular hill station located amidst magnificent Himalayas. Because of the Tibetan influence, it is a religious site for Buddhist followers.
Family holiday Destination
A trip to McLeod Ganj is a relaxing holiday. The place has the best meditation centres to give you a relaxed state of mind. The stress free and unpolluted environment will completely rejuvenate you.
McLeod Ganj experiences pleasurable climate all year round. The early mornings and evening remain slightly chilled in this place. The summer months from March to June is moderately warm and the best time to enjoy outdoor activities. The place receives heavy rainfall during the monsoons and the view of lush green surroundings this time is simply beautiful. Winter months from December to February are cold. Even though you can plan a trip to McLeod Ganj any time, the best months are from March to November.
For citizens of India, travelling to McLeod Ganj does not require any authorative arrangements. However people travelling from abroad, need a visa for staying in the place that also mentions the duration of the stay. Also they must carry their valid passports with them at all times.
Places to Visit
McLeod Ganj has several sightseeing destinations located around the place.
Tsug la Khang is also the Dalai Lama’s Temple and the core attraction of the place. The place is full of activity with services being held all day long. This famous temple also includes Namgyal Monastery and several shrine rooms. There is a superb meditation trail around the temple that houses stupas, massive chorten and small shrines. This is an important pilgrim site for Buddhism followers.
The Tibet Museum is a popular culture centre is McLeod Ganj that is a must visit place. The museum has an impressive collection of video clips and photographs that tell the tales of Tibetan and Chinese culture.
Being a seat of Buddhist culture, McLeod Ganj has several monasteries in and around McLeod Ganj. Some of the monasteries worth-seeing are Chinamaya Tapovan, Chime Gatsal Ling Monastery, Gyuto Tantric Monastery, Kirti Monastery, Namgyal Monastery and Zilnon Kagye Ling Monastery.
The Tibetan’s Children Village is located on the Mall Road in McLeod Ganj. The place is home to some 2000 refugee children and provides free education. If you desire to make some contribution in this charitable work, you can volunteer freely.
Kalachakra Temple is a religious site in McLeod Ganj and is an ancient temple built in 1992. The temple holds remains of the murals of the Kalachakra mandala called as the ‘Wheel of Time’. Taking photographs is strictly prohibited in the place.
The Ayuskama Ayurveda Institute is a place to feel rejuvenated and relaxed. The institute is dedicated to the methodologies of the ancient Ayurvedic Science. In this centre you will find full range of healthcare facilities and it also offers courses in Ayurveda, for those who are interested.
Dal Lake is a beautiful natural spot around McLeod Ganj. The enchanting lake is surrounded by dense deodar trees. The water is greenish in color and is home to several species of fishes. A Shiv Temple is located on the banks of the Dal Lake and considered very sacred among the locals.
Bhagsugnath Temple is a religious destination for Hindus. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in the Bhagsu village that is just 3 kms from McLeod Ganj. There is also a popular Bhagsu Waterfall close to the temple. This waterfall is the best recreation and picnic spot.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium is a favourite spot for cricket lovers. The stadium was started in 2003 and has a capacity of 25,000 people. This popular HPCA Stadium is the chosen venue for IPL and Ranji Trophy matches.
Triund is a wonderful 9 kms trek from McLeod Ganj. This is a favourite destination for avid adventure lovers. Triund is a spectacular peak of the mighty Himalayan ranges. The unpolluted atmosphere of the place makes it a superb eco-friendly site that is also ideal for camping.
Masroor Temple is a cluster of 15 monolithic temples made out of rocks, located at a distance of 50 kms from McLeod Ganj. This temple is believed to be constructed by the Pandavas during the time of their exile. Located atop a hill the Masroor temple has idols of Lord Rama, Devi Sita along with Lakshama. The temple is flooded with devotees in all seasons and offers a panoramic view of the scenic surroundings.
Visit the Norbulingka Institute that is situated at 15 kms from McLeod Ganj. This centre was developed by the holy Dalai Lama and provides training to conserve the Tibetan artistic and architectural skills. The institute is spread across several acres and all the buildings are beautifully adorned.
Dharamkot is a stunning village located in the lap of nature. The small hill station is surrounded with lush greenery and offers picturesque view of the majestic Himalayan Mountains. The place has famous Tushita Retreat Centre that is an ideal destination for meditation.
Food & Accommodation
McLeod Ganj is lined with myriad cafes, every 10 step away, which serve scrumptious Tibetan, European and Italian cuisines. These eateries have an extensive menu and are easy on pocket. Some of the famous cafes with mouth watering food are Mcllo, Four Seasons, Coffee Talk, Mandala, Chocolate Log and Tibet Kitchen. The authentic Tibetan dishes served on the roadside food stalls will take you to an unforgettable gastronomic journey.
McLeod Ganj has hotels and accommodation to suit the travelling need of each tourist. If you are looking for basic facilities and service, checkout the Hotel Greenwoods Inn, Dev Cottages, Hotel Kumar Residency and Hotel Snow Crest Inn. The rooms in these budgeted hotels are priced between INR 1000-2500 per room/night.
Safety and Security
McLeod Ganj is an isolated hill station therefore walking unaccompanied after dark in the place is not advisable, particularly the road between Bhagsu and McLeod Ganj.