Mcleodganj is a significant hill station located near Dharamsala in the state of Himachal Pradesh, which is quite popular among trekkers. The culture here is a beautiful blend of Tibetan culture with some British influence. Mcleodganj is also known as Little Lhasa.
Mcleodganj is a beautiful city that is famous worldwide for being the home of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, located near Upper Dharamsala. Nestled amidst majestic hills and greenery, Mcleodganj is culturally blessed with a prominent Tibetan influence, largely due to the Tibetan settlements here.
If you have come to visit other tourist places in Himachal Pradesh, then you must also include Mcleodganj in your list. Some of the most famous and religiously important monasteries in India are located in Mcleodganj, including the Namgyal Monastery and Tsuglakhang.
Situated amidst the surrounding hills, McLeodganj is surrounded by ancient Tibetan and British culture. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and want to spend some time in a quiet place, then definitely visit these McLeodganj places to explore.
Triund is an easy trek in Himachal Pradesh, from where you can see the beautiful Himalayas.
Situated at an altitude of 2828 meters, a few kilometers from Dharamsala, it is an ideal trekking spot, with beautiful views of the entire Kangra Valley.
The trek to Triund is short and simple. This can be done from Mcleodganj or Dharamkot, which is 2 km further from Mcleodganj.
The evening view is very beautiful in Triund, where you can see the moon and take photos of the stars while camping at night.
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History of Mcleodganj
Various settlements were established in the Dhauladhars near the western border of the Himalayas in 1885 when the British Empire ruled India.
During the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, the British had made their place in Kangra. Dharamshala got its name from the small rest houses in the cantonment where the British lived, which were known as ‘Dharamsala’. Later this place became the administrative head office of Kangra district, after which the establishment of civil settlements started here.
Mcleodganj was named after David McLeod, the then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. Lord Elgin was the British Viceroy of India from 1862 to 1863 who fell in love with this place.
Lord Elgin died in 1863 on his way to Dharamsala and was buried at St. John’s Church-in-Wilderness in Forsythganj. Forsythganj was named after a divisional commissioner.
Let us tell you that this city was destroyed during the earthquake in 1905, but later the Dalai Lama revived the town once again.
Rendezvous with Tibetan Culture
McLeodganj, with its Tibetan monasteries and prayer wheels, forms the upper part of the Dharamsala region, showcasing a mix of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures.
Here you can come to the peaceful Tibetan monastery to calm your mind and know your inner self by meditating. During your visit, you can taste several Tibetan delicacies and buy authentic Tibetan souvenirs from the Mcleodganj market and take them with you.
Places to visit in Mcleodganj
Mcleodganj is the upper part of the Dharamsala region which is quite famous for its many pilgrimage places and temples. In this article, we are telling you about 5 such places to visit near Mcleodganj where you must visit once.
- Bhagsu Falls good place to visit in Mcleodganj
Bhagsu Falls is the most famous tourist place near Mcleodganj which is located in Dharamshala. Every year this tourist spot attracts tourists from across the country who are nature lovers. Bhagsu Falls is a very good place for tourists who are looking for a peaceful place and want to see the wonderful views of nature.
Bhagsun Waterfall is situated on the road leading to Mcleodganj and Dharamshala. If you are looking for a good place to have a picnic with your family members or friends, then there can be no better place for you than Bhagsu Falls.
- Namgyal Math, a major attraction of Mcleodganj
Namgyal Monastery is a major tourist attraction in Mcleodganj, the abode of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Namgyal Monastery is also the largest Tibetan temple whose foundation was laid by the second Dalai Lama in the 16th century and was established by monks to help the Dalai Lama in religious matters.
Presently there are around 200 monks in the monastery who are working toward protecting the practices, skills, and traditions of the monastery. Namgyal Monastery is a very special place for those tourists who are looking for a place of peace.
- Bhagsunath Temple, a major attraction of Mcleodganj
Bhagsunath Temple is a major tourist attraction of Mcleodganj which is surrounded by beautiful pools and greenery. This temple is located at a distance of about 3 km from Mcleodganj. Bhagsunag Temple is an ancient temple that you can visit during your Mcleodganj trip.
This temple was built by King Bhagsu in dedication to Lord Shiva and the local deity Bhagsu Nag. Bhagsunath Temple is situated at an altitude of 1770 meters above sea level and is visited by a large number of devotees and tourists throughout the year.
- Triund Mcleodganj places to visit in Mcleodganj
Triund is a popular trek, about 9 km from Mcleodganj. This place is situated at a high altitude which gives you the experience of trekking in the Himalayas. Triund is a very good place for trekking with wonderful trails offering beautiful views of the Kangra Valley.
- Dal Lake is a special place to visit in Mcleodganj
Dal Lake is one of the major tourist places of Mcleodganj, situated at an altitude of 1,775 meters above sea level near the village of Tota Rani in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
The name, Dal Lake is derived from the famous and attractive Dal Lake of Srinagar. The lake is surrounded by rugged mountains and towering deodar trees, which is the main attraction of tourists.
The water of this serene lake is green, which is the abode of many types of fish. Many consider this lake to be cursed and some consider it sacred, as there is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the banks of the lake.
- Minkiani Pass McLeodganj
Minkiani Pass is a part of the Dhauladhar ranges that offers some spectacular views of nature, this pass is known as a beautiful place near McLeodganj.
If you are a photographer, then you are going to love the surrounding nature. The Minkiani Pass also provides a good trekking experience for tourists.
Apart from the lush green vegetation, you can also spot wildlife in this area. The wildlife mainly consists of various species of birds and leopards in the area. The nearest airport to the Minkiani Pass is the Kangra Airport in Dharamsala.
- Kareri Lake, Kangra
Located at a high altitude, Kareri Lake is a freshwater lake that is a must-visit place near McLeodganj. The source of the water of the lake is the ice of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges which melts during the hot season. Since ice is the main water source, the water in the lake is almost crystal-like.
Apart from capturing the beauty of the lake on their camera, tourists can also capture the beautiful deodar trees located in the valley. It is a good place for trekking and photography.
Kareri Lake is located in the southern regions of the Dhauladhar mountain range. The lake starts from McLeodganj and reaches Karen village.
The lake becomes more attractive when it freezes during the winter months of December to March. Thus a visit to Kareri Lake is definitely worth a visit, especially for those who love nature.
- Dalai Lama’s Temple
This large complex, also known as Tsugalgkhang, is the residence of the Dalai Lama. The complex includes several temples, a Tibetan museum, and souvenir stores.
Each day, students congregate in the courtyard of the Namgyal Monastery and study ancient Buddhist philosophy. A huge gilded Buddha statue and two smaller statues of Guru Rinpoche and Chenreseig stand in the middle, filling the complex.
Next to the main temple is the Kalachakra Temple, a small western hall, the walls of which are surrounded by frescoes.
Shopping in Mcleodganj
McLeodganj is quite famous for its culture and crafts. People coming from all over the world also like to shop at this place. You will always remember the experience of shopping in McLeodganj, but be aware that local items like Tibetan mats and carpets may have to be bargained for. If you are planning to do sightseeing in Mcleodganj, then do not forget to visit the market here.
What is the best time to visit Mcleodganj?
If you are planning to visit Mcleodganj and want to know about the best time to visit here, then the best time to visit Mcleodganj is between October and February, which is the winter season. The summer season is between March and June during which the region experiences temperatures around 25 °C.
The temperature here during winter varies between -1 °C and 9 °C. You can visit Mcleodganj in the winter and summer seasons, but going here in the monsoon would not be advisable for you. It would be better to avoid going here in the months of July and August due to heavy rainfall.
Restaurants & Local Cuisine in Mcleodganj
If you are looking for places to eat in McLeodganj, then let us tell you that one can find many restaurants and cafes here, which serve a simple and good meal. Due to the Tibetan culture, most of the Tibetan cuisines are found here. The momos, thukpa, and other Tibetan delicacies found here must be tasted once.
The most special thing about this place is the tea made of honey, ginger, and lemon which is very famous. Apart from all this, many Chinese, Japanese, and continental cuisines are also available here.
Places to visit near Mcleodganj Kangra Fort Kangra
Kangra Fort is one of the oldest forts in the country which is situated at a distance of 20 km from Dharamsala. The grand structure of this fort speaks volumes about the rich cultural heritage of Kangra and its glorious past. This fort is the main attraction for tourists coming from all over the world.
The Kangra Fort is mentioned in the war records of Sikandar and this fort has been attacked by the Mughals several times. If you are going to visit Mcleodganj, then definitely include Kangra Fort in your list.
Although we have told you about 5 special places and places to visit near Mcleodganj, you can also visit other tourist places for Namgyal Math, Tsugalakkhang, Bhagsunath Temple, Dharamkot, Minkiani Pass, and Baglamukhi Temple.
How to reach Mcleodganj?
McLeodganj is located in the Dharamshala area of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh state, India, which is a nature lover’s paradise and also a very special place for peace-loving people.
The Dalai Lama Temple is the main attraction here. If you are planning to visit McLeodganj and want to know how to reach here, then read the information given below thoroughly. Here we are giving you complete information about going to McLeodganj by plane, bus, and train.
1. How to reach Mcleodganj by air
The nearest airport to Mcleodganj is Gaggal Airport, which is connected by very limited flights of some airlines. Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is the major airport near Mcleodganj. You can first fly to Delhi from any major city in India and then take a bus or car to Mcleodganj to reach your destination.
2. How to reach Mcleodganj by road
Mcleodganj is well connected to various major cities of India like Dharamsala, Delhi, Chandigarh, etc. with the help of state government and private buses. Travelers can easily reach the Mcleodganj bus stand with the help of these buses and then hire taxis to go anywhere in the town.
3. How to reach Mcleodganj by Train
Located about 90 km from McLeodganj, Pathankot Railway Station is well connected to many major cities of India. Passengers traveling to McLeodganj can take advantage of trains that run between Delhi and Jammu. There are many express and superfast trains running on this route which any traveler can choose according to their budget and convenience. You can easily reach McLeodganj with the help of taxis and buses available outside the station.
FAQs about Mcleodganj
Q: Where is Mcleodganj located?
A: Mcleodganj is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. It is situated in the Kangra district, approximately 9 kilometers from the town of Dharamshala.
Q: How can I reach Mcleodganj?
A: The nearest airport to Mcleodganj is Gaggal Airport in Kangra, which is around 15 kilometers away. The nearest major railway station is Pathankot, which is well-connected to major cities in India. From there, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Mcleodganj.
Q: What is the best time to visit Mcleodganj?
A: The best time to visit Mcleodganj is during the months of March to June and September to November. These months offer pleasant weather with mild temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
Q: What are the popular tourist attractions in Mcleodganj?
A: Mcleodganj offers several popular attractions, including the Namgyal Monastery, Tsuglagkhang Complex (Dalai Lama's temple), Bhagsunag Waterfall and Temple, Triund Trek, Dal Lake, and the Kangra Fort. The nearby village of Dharamkot is also known for its scenic beauty and meditation centers.
Q: Is Mcleodganj a good place for trekking?
A: Yes, Mcleodganj is a great place for trekking enthusiasts. The Triund Trek is a popular option, offering stunning views of the Dhauladhar range. There are also longer treks available, such as the Kareri Lake Trek and Indrahar Pass Trek, which provide an adventurous experience amidst the Himalayan mountains.
Q: Can I try Tibetan cuisine in Mcleodganj?
A: Yes, Mcleodganj is known for its Tibetan influence, and visitors can enjoy a variety of authentic Tibetan cuisine in the local eateries and cafes. Some popular Tibetan dishes to try include momos (steamed dumplings), thukpa (noodle soup), and tingmo (steamed bread).
Q: Are there accommodations available in Mcleodganj?
A: Yes, Mcleodganj offers a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. There are hotels, guesthouses, homestays, and even Tibetan-style lodges available for visitors to choose from.
Q: Can I learn about Tibetan Buddhism in Mcleodganj?
A: Yes, Mcleodganj is often referred to as “Little Lhasa” and serves as the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Visitors can explore various monasteries, attend teachings and workshops on Tibetan Buddhism, and even participate in meditation retreats to learn more about the philosophy and practices of Tibetan Buddhism.
Q: Is Mcleodganj a family-friendly destination?
A: Yes, Mcleodganj is a family-friendly destination with its serene environment, cultural experiences, and opportunities for nature walks and easy treks. Families can visit the monasteries, enjoy the scenic beauty, and try local Tibetan delicacies, making it a memorable experience for all family members.
Q: What are some nearby attractions from Mcleodganj?
A: Apart from the attractions within Mcleodganj, visitors can explore nearby places such as Dharamshala, Kangra, Palampur, and the famous tea gardens of Kangra Valley. These places offer additional sightseeing opportunities and a chance to immerse in the natural beauty of Himachal Pradesh.
In conclusion, Mcleodganj stands as a tranquil hill station nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Himachal Pradesh. With its rich Tibetan influence, serene monasteries, and breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar range, Mcleodganj offers a unique blend of spirituality, natural beauty, and adventure. Whether it’s exploring the monastic traditions, embarking on treks amidst the majestic mountains, or savoring Tibetan delicacies, Mcleodganj provides a delightful experience for all.
The town’s peaceful ambiance, coupled with its warm hospitality, makes it an ideal destination for those seeking solace, cultural immersion, or outdoor exploration. From families to spiritual seekers and nature enthusiasts, Mcleodganj captivates visitors with its enchanting charm and leaves them with lasting memories of a serene Himalayan getaway.