A journey to Mcleodganj-Dharamsala: Tibet’s lost and found

So ready to explore the twin cities Mcleodganj-Dharamsala on your next trip? Well I recently did and have to say it was an unforgettable experience in every way. A holiday in these beautiful hill stations in Himachal Pradesh is sure to be rejuvenating and refreshing.

Dharamsala: your landing point

An overnight bus ride from Delhi will take you to Dharamsala (there are many options, the best being Himachal Pradesh Roadways’ Himsuta Volvo Bus) or you can also book a taxi if you want your own private ride.

SwatiTravel is supported by readers and may earn a commission from purchases made through links in this article.

In all these centuries, in all its incarnations, Dharamsala – or the Pilgrims’ Rest House – has undeniably lived up to its name. Welcoming weary travelers in search of spiritual bliss, it offers a brief, boisterous, colourful, frenetic reprieve before the snow-capped Dhauladhar Range beckons them further.
 

Exploring Dharamsala

How about visiting a snow capped cricket stadium on your Dharamsala trip? Well, if the idea excites you, I recommend you visit the HPCA stadium in the city, which has hosted several national and international matches.

Flights for everyone SwatiTravel– cheap flights

Photo by Jms1241 - Own work
Photo by Jms1241 – Own work
 

Put places like Gyuto Monastery, Naam Art Gallery and Kangra Art Museum in your itinerary as these are some must-see places to visit in Dharamsala. As for the food, the hill station has some nice restaurants like Hotel Mid Tower, City Heart and Espresso Restobar – take your pick from these options and satiate your hunger pangs with the best dishes.

Do you have travel insurance? Click here

Photo from Espresso Restobar's official Facebook page
Photo from Espresso Restobar’s official Facebook page
 

It is advisable to plan an overnight stay in Dharamsala as you will not be able to cover it all in one day. The hill station has a number of good accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury hotels.

Shopping in Dharamsala

Dharamsala is also a shopper’s paradise with places like Kotwali Bazaar and Gurudwara Road Market offering anything and everything under the sun. Buy snuggly woolens, unique handicrafts and other interesting trinkets for your loved ones. Have at least half a day for shopping and then you can leave for Mcleodganj in the second half of the day.

Follow us on facebook

Image
Image
 

2 days in Mcleodganj

The upper reaches of the Kangra Valley are a strange mix of cultures; Tibetan and Kashmiri curio shops, alu chaat pizza huts and tandoori dhabas, Tibetan hippies and American monks, prayers and Hindi film songs. You need to spend at least two days to get a feel for this hill country scene.

peaceful Monasteries and churches

Start your Mcleodganj journey with a visit to Tsug Lhakhang, a place where Dalai Lama lives with his private office and temple. The elegant two-story temple is so unobtrusive that it blends seamlessly into the landscape.

The next stop is Namgyaima Stupa, which is a complete contrast to the understated charm of Tsug Lhakhang. The rows of prayer wheels are as loud and colorful as the marketplace in which it stands. The stupa is a memorial to the Tibetans who died in their native land.
The next stop is Namgyaima Stupa, which is a complete contrast to the understated charm of Tsug Lhakhang. The rows of prayer wheels are as loud and colorful as the marketplace in which it stands. The stupa is a memorial to the Tibetans who died in their native land.
 
Just outside Little Lhasa, as you descend into Lower Dharamsala, is a stone building that stands secluded beneath giant denodar pines. The sturdy church of St John-in-the Wilderness, with its beautiful stained glass windows depicting John the Baptist with Jesus, was one of the first buildings built here by the British in 1852. It is now the only surviving monument from that time - most of them were destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1905.
Just outside Little Lhasa, as you descend into Lower Dharamsala, is a stone building that stands secluded beneath giant denodar pines. The sturdy church of St John-in-the Wilderness, with its beautiful stained glass windows depicting John the Baptist with Jesus, was one of the first buildings built here by the British in 1852. It is now the only surviving monument from that time – most of them were destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1905.
 

More and theatre

Theater, in the form of traditional opera, is big in Tibetan culture, which is why we have TIPA (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts) in Mcleodganj. It attracts hundreds of enthusiastic fans to the annual 10-day Shoton Festival. The festival includes performances by TIPA. The high-pitched vocals accompanied by drums, cymbals, beautiful costumes and a wealth of strangely appealing characters – including witches, kings, wise men and fools, dakinis and yogis – make for an unforgettable experience.

Another gem in the list of places to visit in Mcleodganj is Dal Lake, which is sacred to the locals and teeming with goldfish, and many come to feed them. It's a nice walk (about 2 km) to the lake from town, but you can also drive. Ask a local to direct you to the jungle trail to Dal Lake from McLeodganj.
Another gem in the list of places to visit in Mcleodganj is Dal Lake, which is sacred to the locals and teeming with goldfish, and many come to feed them. It’s a nice walk (about 2 km) to the lake from town, but you can also drive. Ask a local to direct you to the jungle trail to Dal Lake from McLeodganj.
 

Paradise for buyers

In McLeodganj, the main bazaar are sellers of Tibetan carpets, thangkas, ponchos, coats, chubas, masks, votive objects, silver and stone jewelry and trinkets, lamps, figurines, sleeping bags, fruit preserves, tahini and muesli. You can also pick up Tibetan cheese and excellent tea, prayer wheels and flags. And of course, don’t forget to check out Nowrojee’s for unusual finds and everyday essentials. In short, shopping in Mcleodganj is a pure delight with a plethora of options.

Photo door Michael Scalet
Photo door Michael Scalet
 

Dining out

You’re bound to get hungry between your shopping and sightseeing expeditions, and that’s when the cafes and restaurants come into the picture. It has become quite an international eatery with German bakeries, Tibetan momo shops, Delhi chaat bhandars, idli dosa, continental steaks or fish and chips and, of course, banana pancakes and pizzas. You name it, McLeo has it!

You will enjoy authentic Tibetan food at restaurants in Mcleodganj and don't miss places like Tibet Kitchen, Namgyal Cafe, Illiterati Cafe and German Bakery Cafe.
You will enjoy authentic Tibetan food at restaurants in Mcleodganj and don’t miss places like Tibet Kitchen, Namgyal Cafe, Illiterati Cafe and German Bakery Cafe.
 

Bhagsunag

The Bhagsunag Shrine, as old as Dal Lake, though not older, though local lore puts its age at 10,000 years, is a short distance from the town. The shrine, whose origin revolves around a myth about a great battle between the demon king (Bhagsu) and the serpent god (Nag), has been rebuilt more than once. Go here in the early morning hours and don’t miss the Bhagsu waterfall when you visit Bhagsunag.

Image
Image
 

Triund Trek

Snow-capped mountains are calling to you. Go on this exciting tour and you will not be disappointed. There are two routes for trekking. The first one is from Bhagsu waterfall where you will cross the famous Shiva Cafe, but this trekking route is not recommended in winter due to heavy snow. You can take the other route from Rakkar and Dharamkot and the starting point of this trek is Gallu Temple.

The trek to the top is definitely worth all the huffing and puffing. Located between surreal and breathtaking beauty, Triund is surrounded by surreal and breathtaking beauty and offers you a beautiful view of the entire area and the deep valley below. With small campsites at the top, you can plan a camp night among the wonders of nature. It normally takes about 8 hours for a tour and you can contact the Forest Rest House authorities in Dharamsala for more information on trekking.
The trek to the top is definitely worth all the huffing and puffing. Located between surreal and breathtaking beauty, Triund is surrounded by surreal and breathtaking beauty and offers you a beautiful view of the entire area and the deep valley below. With small campsites at the top, you can plan a camp night among the wonders of nature. It normally takes about 8 hours for a tour and you can contact the Forest Rest House authorities in Dharamsala for more information on trekking.
 
Photo by Blackfog
Photo by Blackfog
 

Stay options in McLeodganj

The lovely hill station has something for every budget from INR 500 to INR 1500 plus properties. Some of the notable options include Glenmoor Cottages, Chonor House, and Surya Resort.

Photo from Glenmoor Cottages official website
Photo from Glenmoor Cottages official website
 

I hope that after reading so much about this lovely mountain station, you pack your bags and head for one trip to Mcleodganj-Dharamsala on your next vacation.

Sanjauli- The Buddhist Haven – Friends-Holiday 2023(Opens in a new browser tab)

Where the Wind Blows: Stories of Serendipitous Wanderlust(Opens in a new browser tab)

Discover the Best of the USA: Our Ultimate Top 10 List(Opens in a new browser tab)

13 Top-Rated Things to Do in Dumfries(Opens in a new browser tab)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *