Ideal duration: 2 – 3 days Major Airports: Kangra Airport Best time: December to january (Read More)
The bewitching beauty, the marvelous exquisiteness, the sparkling snows and the restless nights is a total coincidence of what the roads of McLeod Ganj have paved for their visitors. The city is a beauty in its own form leaving an emblazoning mark on the throttle of all the worth trekking tourists have known to embark upon. If somebody wants to experience unique ways of living in the lap of nature and refining their strings in terms of relationships with God, then the best city to live up to that tranquility is in accordance with McLeod Ganj. The manifestation of the thought is itself something to aspire for. The city has a number of pronunciations owing to the vast and extravagant mix of populations dwelling here. The city is a perfect illustration of how to live in accordance with the nature and the waves of modernization.
The city has an awe aspiring surroundings of the snow crested Dhauladhar Mountains nestling around its perimeters. The city stands tall and magnificent in terms of the spiritual aura and the natural beauty owing to the perfect blend of wildness and calming essence. The city is also known as the Little Lhasa owing to the prominence of the huge Tibetan population dwelling within its boundaries. It is also known as the Upper Dharamshala again owing to the high elevation of the city from Dharamshala. The city is known with a number of such names each depicting some interesting facts about the city.
The city has a number of chief locations to offer the most famous and the best among them being the Tsuglag Khang temple which is the temple of the holy and religious Tibetan priest Dalai Lama. It is one of the most important tourist destinations in the city and earns a number of visitors every year. Not only this, but one can find many figurines of the Buddhist deities and teachers who were worshipped by the Tibetans during the past century. Other such worth relishing landmarks includes the Tibetan Institute of Performing arts and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives all portraying the history of the most eminent communities of the city. Other worth visiting landmarks includes the Bhagsu Waterfalls, with all its enchanting and mesmerizing nature and the finger licking meals of the Magic View Café and Moon Light Café all nurturing you with epic and magnificent aura and the mighty views of the erect Himalayas. The breathtaking grandeur is spiced with all the main street markets that add colors to the hazy canvas of the city. The city is also a home to the colorful and daunting flora and fauna adding the colors of the natural canvas to it. It is said that during the exile period of the Tibetan government, the parliament in exile was headquartered in McLeod Ganj.
The city has earned its name from the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab named Sir Donald Friell McLeod. The suffix of Ganj was added to the city’s name meaning neighborhood. The city treats you with implicit kinds of souvenirs all holding their belief in Tibetan Buddhist faith that is not only to calm your soul and mind but will enchant a relieving spirit in your hearts also.
A visit to the city is a felling fulls of tranquility and serenity with epic calmness and nurturing aura, all with their reminiscence of your own inner self. It is a must visit for people who want to frolic into the wilderness of nature and find their true passion.
The history of the city like the charisma is highly interesting and extravagant. The city was supposedly annexed by the British troops after the Second Anglo Sikh War in the March of 1850, following which the a subsidiary cantonment for the troops who were stationed in Kangra was built up on the hilly slopes of the Dhauladhar also called as the empty land which had a Hindu rest house called as Dharamshala. In accordance with this, the new cantonment was named as Dharamshala. During the times of the British rule in India, the city earned its fame as a hill station where the British officers used to spend their hot summers after the period of 1840s when the cantonment of Kangra was overcrowded and some two of them were shifted to Dharamshala. The city was even suggested to be established as a summer capital of India by the British Viceroy of India, Lord Elgin after he felt in love with this city. The private estate owned by Lord Elgin called as the Mortimer House was acquired by the Government of India after the Indian Independence and now functions as the official residence of Dalai Lama. The city has also served as the center for trade, commerce and official services. The city experienced a devastating earthquake in 1905 that brought the establishment of the city on a standstill with close to 20,000 people were killed and injured in the area. The earthquake destroyed the famous Bhagsunath temple bringing down the entire economy of the city.
The city has served to be the exile home of the 14th Dalai Lama called as the Tenzin Gyatso during the failed uprising of the 1959 in Tibet against the Communist Party of China. The Indian Government then helped him out by offering him refuge in Dharamshala where he then set u the Government of Tibet in exile in 1960. Other than this, McLeod Ganj became the official residence of the 14th Dalai Lama including the abode for the several Buddhist monasteries and thousands of the Tibetan refugees. The city has since then evolved into a central Tibetan administration for the Tibetan refugees from China.
Culture of Macleodganj
The culture like the vast and devouring city is a true mix of thrill and enchantment. The life it offers is splendid and marvelous with its own grandeur and extravaganza decorating the city like diamonds on the crown. The city holds a rich effervescence of the Tibetan culture being portrayed in every element the city possesses owing to being the refugee for the Tibetans and their guru. The famous Tibet Museum, which was established in 1998 and inaugurated by the 14th Dalai Lama offers to be a rich and flush collection of the Tibetan artifacts and photographs depicting and illustrating the struggle and contest the Tibetan’s faced and the way they were oppressed of their way of life. The museum is a total bewitching and radiant to watch owing o its colorful details and intricate Tibetan style of architecture. The museum becomes more of a prominent tourist destination owing to its proximity to the Dalai Lama temple, also called as the Tsuglag Khang Temple. The museum also serves to be the official center of the Central Tibetan Administration Department of Information and International Relations. The museum stands tall as an illustration of the differences and resistance prevalent amongst the Tibetan population and the Chinese oppressors. Other than this you can find various kinds of handicrafts like prayer flags, prayer wheels, woolen shawls and jewelry all made by the local fanatics of the town.
Local Food of Macleodganj
Not only are hill stations perfect places to escape the scorching heat and live a little away from the city life but, these serene, calming and soothing destinations help you to unwind and relax a little in the lap of nature. The best exemplification of nature welcomes you with magnificent mountains and relishing meals that is going to lift your spirits. The city has a number of eating joints and noteworthy restaurants that are going to impress you with their delicious and mouth watering cuisines. There are a wide variety of cuisines available ranging from Kashmiri, Nepali to Italian, Bengali, Israeli, Scottish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. The local dishes worth your taste are the noodle soup of Thenthuck, the dumpling or Momos, Tibetan noodles and bread, the Asian Boy Choy Soup, the noodle soup of Thupka, the Japanese delicacy of Sushi or Kim Bap and the rest of Pizzas, vegan foods and falafel. In all words, the city is not going to disappoint you as par as your taste buds are concerned.
Best Time to Visit
Although the magnificence of the mountains, the grandeur of the Tibetan culture, the mesmerizing nature of the people and the splendid aura are all very welcoming and worthy of attracting tourists all round the year. For the same reason, the city is viewed to b one of the few such tourist cities where you can frolic and paint your presence throughout the year. Depending on the type of traveler you are, the visit can be planned accordingly. For example, for people who enjoy rainfall and the surroundings all covered in snow like cherries on the cake with temperatures dropping below 1 degree Celsius, then the best months to visit the city is the months of December and January. Other than that, the recommended months last from March and June as the weather is very pleasant and not enough woolen clothes are required to calm you. The temperature during this time reaches a maximum of 38 degree Celsius with clear skies and soothing climate. Also, these months are decorated with festivities around the corner with the elaborate celebration of the Tibetan New Year in the months of February and March. So this recommended visit is also going to make you witness the cultural heritage and extravaganza of the Tibetan community.
How to Reach
The nearest airport to MacLeod Ganj is the Gaggal Airport or the Dharamshala Kangra Airport or the Kangra Airport located at a mere distance of 20 kms from the city. This distance of the airport to MacLeod Ganj can be reached in just a matter of 30 minutes by road. The breathtaking marvel of the airport amidst the Himalayan ranges is a true divine view. The nearest international airport is the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. The nearest railhead to the city is of the Pathankot Railway Station located just at a distance of 90 kms from the city.
Festivals and Fairs
The only uniqueness can our Indian culture holds is the essence of the celebration and gist with which it is celebrated. This for sure includes the major festivities of the fairs and festivals. Such festivals don’t only portray their cultural vibes of the festivals but also of the entertainment mingled with them. The festivals celebrated in this city are all linked with the history and the heritage of the city. The most panoramic and prominent fairs celebrated in the city includes the cedar twig bonfires of the Haldi Festival marking the beginning of the festive seasons, the allurement and thrill of the Tibetan New Year in the form of the Losar Festival celebrated in February and March is one of the biggest fests of the city, the rich culture and tradition of Tibet in form of the TIPS (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts) festival celebrated in the month of April, the exhibitions of the tea products present in the region on form of Kangra Valley Summer Festival, the religious importance and attachment of the Drukpa Teshi Festival with the population, the dancing enchantments of the Dal Fair and Festival around the Dal Lake and the cultural extravaganza of the International Himalayan Festival dedicated to the noble laureate Dalai Lama. The city has a worth awe aspiring and colorful aura of festivities and the triumph in them makes them a true sense of experience.
What can you shop at Macleodganj
The city not only attracts tourists with its pristine beauty and magical colors and splendor but it also has a nurturing city for wide variety of shopping materials and artifacts all entailing the splendid beauty, spiritual reflection and relaxing aura. Tourists can engage themselves in Tibetan artifacts in the form of mementos, souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones. The shopping arcades are not only vibrant and colorful with all their persona and charisma but you can consume beautiful and unique handicrafts items. Such Tibetan artifacts not only enhance the vibes of the place but also display the religious figures and spiritual symbols. The city is highly famous for Tibetan mats and carpets, exquisite silver and stone jewelry, the mesmerizing Kangra tea, handicrafts and carvings in metal and wood, Thangka paintings or those bright on canvas lined with silk paintings, madala paintings, idols of the Buddha and Hindu gods, woolen shawls and caps and prayer wheels and prayer flags.
The city has a number of shopping stalls each specific for particular kindof artifacts all depicting the alluring beauty, heritage, culture and traditions which have been practiced in the city for very long decades. The best shopping places to but such Tibetan art, handicrafts and clothing in the city are the Nowrojee and Sons, Thankas and Gifts, the Norbulingka Institute, Palaco Handmade Crafts, Semshook Tibetan Handicrafts, Naam Art Gallery, India Divine Buddha Handicrafts, Lha Tibet Fair Trade, the Vintage Truck and Galaxy Art de Crafts. The city is a blessing for shopping fanatics who wish to explore a mile beyond the perimeter.
What you will like
shopping thrills including Tibetan handicrafts and other memoirs and souvenirs.
magnificent encounters with the marvelous and panoramic snow crested mountains.
thrills depicting the ancient Tibetan culture and heritage.
plethora of tourist destinations and sightseeings.
rejuvenating and calming temples.
effervescence of nature.
fading city lights and busy roads.
an escape into the tranquility of silence and numbness.
thrilling and adrenaline rushing adventure sports.
picturesque scenic views.
ideal to be explored at any given point of the year.
calm and composed aura and vibes of serenity and peace.
grandeur of the Tibetan heritage and unfolding history.
What you might not like
Their no direct connectivity to reach the city. Hence many short distance trails have to be followed to relish your exploration.
The city has no railway station of its own and the nearest domestic airport is around 30 minutes drive away. If you’re boarding an international flight then, you need to drop your bags at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
The road connectivity of the city is also a bit of a problem and you might want to trek at a number of destinations and hotspots.
nature fanatics and admirers.
people who want to escape their busy schedule and hectic lifestyle in order to relish their souls in the lap of nature.
couples who want to spent some time with each other than the world.
travelers who want to live up with themselves with some pleasant and soothing holiday experience.
people who want to learn and explore the Tibetan culture.
Other Important Information
Religion and Language: The major languages spoken by the population are Tibetan, Hindi and English. Other than this, Pahari and Kangri are important Himachali languages spoken by the indigenous population. Majority of people here are Tibetan Buddhist followers although you might find a small collection of Christians too. The city is known for its tourism hotels, handcrafts and food joints also.
Weather: The city experiences three different seasons mainly summer, winter and monsoons. Although it is advised that you do not visit the city during monsoons as landslides is a common occurrence during that time. The weather throughout the year is very pleasant with clear and breezy summers, chilly winters and humid monsoons.
Day 1- Today will proceed a little slow as you’ve just arrived so start exploring the city with local attractions. Have a good cup of honey tea and a good breakfast. Now start your frolic around the city with visiting the Dalai Lama Temple. But remember that you won’t be allowed to carry any electrical items inside so leave them inside the counter premises. Then go around the local market and monastery that accompanies it before you head for a delicious lunch. If you enjoy adventure sports then go and trek over the Bhagsu Waterfalls and visit the Shiva’s Café later in noon. You can relish watching the setting sun and after you’ve replenished your soul, go for a close of your day to the Tibet Kitchen for a mouth watering Tibetan dinner.
Day 2- Now kick start your day with a little of adrenaline rushing down your veins. So, first start with a small but enjoying trek to Triund and then head for paragliding at Bir and Biling. Now if there is still some spirits left for the day head for the Palampur Monastery and Kangra Fort. After so much sightseeings and relishing adventure activities, head for an awesome dinner at Coffee Talks or the Nick’s.
Day 3- Now this day is tailored for some thrilling cultural extravaganza. Visit the TIPA a d the Norbulingka. Enjoy some soothing coffee and music at the Café Black Tent and live up to your good days in the city.