Situated in the Shivalik, McLeodganj is a top-rated hill station of upper Dharamsala. Mdleodganj is one of the most beautiful places in Himachal Pradesh and is one of the most preferred holiday destinations. It is situated on the Dhauladhar Range and has an elevation of about 2,082 metres. McLeodganj is located in the Kangra district and is loved by trekkers. The place is a beautiful combination of Tibetan and British culture. The name, McLeodganj, itself seems very foreign but is very much traditional. McLeodganj is the birthplace of the great spiritual leader, Dalai Lama. The place is also known as “Little Lhasa'' or “Dhasa” and has surreal landscapes offered by Himachal Pradesh. The breathtaking mountain views, monasteries, temples and waterfalls are worth seeing. The major population of McLeodganj is Tibetans, and the Tibetan culture also influences the food. In the months from October-February, just as winter strikes, McLeodganj is covered with white snows and is mesmerizing. The temperature rises a little from April to July and is neither hot nor chill; it is perfect.
Here are some best places to visit while a trip to McLeodganj:
Dal Lake: Named after the Dal Lake of Srinagar, this picturesque lake is located 1,775 metres above sea level near the village of Tota Rani. Rugged mountains and towering deodar trees surround the lake. The atmosphere is very calm, and as it is surrounded by lush greenery, it is perfect for those who want to be in the lap of nature. There’s a Sunset Point which is a stopping point for those who are trekking up to Naddi. According to popular folklore, the fishes of the lake are never eaten because the lake is said to be cursed. Also, the lake is believed to be a sacred spot, and there is a Shiva temple and every year during September, there is a celebration held.
Best time to visit: May to October.
How to reach: Dal lake is 7.8 kilometres away from the main market and can be reached by taxi.
Triund Hill: Triund Hill, located about 9 kilometres away from McLeodganj, is a trendy trekking spot. The view of the Moon Peak- Indera Pass that Triund Hill offers is truly mesmerizing. This place is the perfect place for all beginner trekkers. The place is like heaven on Earth.
Best time to visit: May to June and September to October.
How to reach: The trek is of 7kms, starting from Dharamkot and is 1,100 metres long. The base camp is at Galu and can be reached by auto, taxi.
Kangra Fort: Kangra Fort is one of the most ancient forts of Himachal Pradesh, and its origin can be traced back to the Trigarta Kingdom. The Fort is said to have been built by Maharaja Susharma Chandra, who belonged to the Katoch dynasty. Maharaja Susharma fought the battle of Kurukshetra along with the Kauravas and was defeated. He then built the Kangra fort where Maa Brijeshwari is worshipped. Many Kings and nawabs inhabited the fort. However, in 1905, the fort yielded to a powerful earthquake and now is mostly in ruins. But from its roof, the royal architecture is still visible.
Best time to visit: May to June.
How to reach: The place is located 20kms away from the city centre and can be reached by car, taxi, auto etc.
Naam Art Gallery: Naam Art Gallery, located near McLeodganj, is an abode for art lovers. The art gallery displays European artists like Elsbeth Buschman- watercolours and acrylics and the oil paintings of Alfred W. Hallett. The Art Gallery was inaugurated on 8 February 2010, and since then, it is flooded by art lovers.
Best time to visit: The art gallery is open every day from 10 AM- 7 PM.
How to reach: The place can be reached by a local taxi, bus, auto or rickshaw.
Bhagsu Falls: Bhagsu Falls, one of the most popular areas connecting McLeodganj and Dharamshala. This waterfall is one of the aptest places for a picnic, and also the presence of the Bhagsunath temple is the primary attraction. The stream passes through the temple and is very mesmerizing. Some coffee houses near it and sipping hot beverages in a cold climate are definitely relaxing.
Best time to visit: October to November.
How to reach: One can reach Bhagsu Falls very easily as it is just 2 kilometres away from Mcleodganj and taxis, autos are available.
Dharamkot: This is a small and beatnik village located near McLeodganj. Dharamkot Is an abode to Dhamma Shikhara Vipassana Meditation centre. The place provides a wonderful atmosphere for a yoga retreat. As trekking is one of the most popular activities of Dharamkot, the place is a must-visit for travellers. The place also hosts many meditation centres that offer yoga, bhajan and kirtan.
Best time to visit: September to June.
Best time to visit: It is located just two kilometres away from Mcleodganj and can be reached by auto, taxi or rickshaw.
St. John's Church: This neo-gothic Church is one of the most popular and oldest churches of Himachal Pradesh and is said to have been constructed in 1852 in the memoir of John, the Baptist. The architecture of this church is very different and has windows made of Belgian standard glasses that Lady Elgin donated. A churchyard is a resting place of Lord Elgin. This church is built amidst dense deodar forest called “St. John in the Wilderness.”
Best time to visit: March to June.
How to reach: This is situated on Mallital Road and can be reached by auto, taxi or rickshaw.
Bhagsunag Temple: Situated about three kilometres from McLeodganj, this temple is one of the most ancient temples and has two pools surrounded by it which are said to be very sacred and contain some miracle powers of healing. According to mythology, Nag Devta was very infuriated when king Bhagsu stole water from the sacred Nag Dal Lake. Later, to repent for his action, the king built the temple to seek forgiveness from Nag Devta. There’s also a legend, and according to it, the temple is patronage offered by the Gorkha community, known by the name Bhagsuwala; they are named after God Bhagsunag. The people of the Gorkha community had built two pools which are located with tiger head spouts. There’s also a double-storey wooden house which is for the stay of the pilgrims.
Best time to visit: September.
How to reach: This is located just two kilometres away from the Mcloedganj bus stand, and one can even walk up to the museum or also by taxi, auto and rickshaw.
Namgyal Monastery: This monastery was founded in 1964 by Gyalwa Sonam Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama. There are about 200 monks present in the monastery, and they represent the Tibetan traditions. This monastery is also called “Dalai Lama’s Temple” as it is the home of Dalai Lama, the great Tibetan spiritual leader. The interior of this monastery is beautifully adorned with paintings, sculptures of Buddhist culture.
Best time to visit: February to June.
How to reach: To reach Namgyal Monastery, one can either hire a taxi or trekk to it.
Tibetan Museum: This museum is located in McLeodganj and is one of the most famous and popular Tibetan museums. Also considered the official museum of the Central Tibetan Administration Department of Information and International Relations, this museum is very close to Tsuglagkhang. The museum is built in yellow and white Tibetan style, and it emits positive vibes.
Best time to visit: March to July
How to reach: The place is trendy and can be reached by auto, rickshaw or taxi.
McLeodganj is truly a very beautiful place, and it is considered a spiritual gateway for Buddhist cultures. And with such beauty and spirituality, sightseeing in Mcleodganj is something that will never bore a person visiting this place. It is truly one of the best places to visit in the Himalayas.