The Dalai Lama’s HomeTravelling is an experience which you never forget in your life and if it’s with the closest of friends then you will cherish it for lifetime. It makes a whole lot of a difference when you go on a trip with the best of the friends rather than going with the family or relatives. I mean with friends it changes your whole perspective of viewing things or reacting to the given situation. I also had the chance to do the same and I made the most of that chance and travelled to McLeodGanj with two of my best friends Rajit and Snehal. There are so many weekend getaways from Delhi such as Manali, Kasol, Dalhousie, Shimla, Lansdowne, Kasauli and the one we choose i.e McLeodGanj and it turned out to be an awesome choice. We visited McLeodGanj in the 1st week of April or the exact date would be 1st April and we stayed there for 2 Days and 1 Night it was short and a crisp trip.
Let’s talk more about McLeodGanj after all the article is about McLeodGanj only.
When travellers talk of heading up to Dharamsala (to see the Dalai Lama…), this is where they mean. Around 4 km north of Dharamsala town — or 10km via the looping bus route — McLeodGanj is the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the site of the Tibetan exile community’s main temple. It is, along with Manali, one of the two big traveller hang-outs in Himachal Pradesh, where thousands of people come each year to volunteer with the Tibetan community, take courses in Buddhism, meditation or yoga, trek in the lofty and beautiful Dhauladhar mountains, or just hang out and enjoy the low-budget spiritual/alternative vibe. McLeod has many budget hotels and guesthouses, cafes and restaurants offering Indo-Italo-Israeli-Tibetan food and travel agencies and shops selling Tibetan souvenirs, all crammed into just a couple of blocks, like a mini-Kathmandu.
Named after Donald McLeod, Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, McLeod began life in the 1850s as a civilian settlement outside the British garrison of Dharamsala. It was devastated by the 1905 Kangra earthquake and sank into obscurity after Independence — until the Dalai Lama arrived to establish his base here in 1960. Since then, McLeod has become a vibrant centre of Tibetan culture and Buddhism. With an interesting mix of travellers, volunteers, maroon-robed monks and nuns, the international dharma crowd and an increasing flow of Indian tourists, you are never far from an interesting conversation here.
The monsoon (late June to early September) is particularly wet here, and warm clothes are useful between November and March. Many shops and businesses close on Monday.
How to reach McLeodGanj
Trip — New Delhi to McLeodGanj
Distance — 500 km
Time — 10 hours Driving
Distance — 500 km
Time — 10 hours Driving
There are two ways to reach to here by road as well. First would be by your own car or motorcycle. Second would be by Bus — Himachal Road Transport Corporation and make sure it has to be a Volvo coz if its not then you will reach to McLeodGanj but with a sore body. It’s a 12 hours journey to McLeodGanj from Delhi and costs 950 INR in off season and in season same ticket will cost you 1150 INR.
You can also reach here by flight. I mean not direct flight is available but you can take a flight from New Delhi — Dharamshala and then from there just board a Taxi to McLeodGanj.
Places that attracts you more than anything
Trek to Triund — Triund trek can be described as a tranquil trek which can be easily accomplished by almost all age groups . Triund has an unambiguous byway which goes through a beautiful mixed forest of oak, deodar and rhododendron . Trek is fairly easy for the first five kilometers but the last one kilometer may require a bit of toil , the last one kilometer is popularly know as the “22 curves” as it has 22 tiring curves before you finally reach Triund. Along the way there are many small chai shops where one can refresh during the hike. The traipse is worth it as the panorama when you reach triund is awe-inspiring and exhilarating.
Bhagsu Waterfall — Also called Bhagsu Falls, this site houses the famous Bhagsunath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is a famous tourist attraction and also an important place for Hindu pilgrims.
The cascading waterfalls, about 20 metres in height, are an absolute marvel to look at, especially during the monsoons. There is a nice cafeteria next to the falls and the area serve as an excellent picnic spot for tourists. Bhagsunag Falls are located about 2 kilometres away from McLeodGanj and are best visit while on a trek, although you can also drive up to Bhagsu village.
Tsuglagkhang Complex — The Tsuglagkhang Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries of Buddhist people since this one is the biggest one outside Tibet. This monastery is the home complex for His Holiness Dalai Lama and his devotees, monks and other meditational followers. The monastery is opened for all tourists during day time but the home residence of His Holiness & quarters of other followers are not allowed to visit for tourists. This monastery is the biggest meditation and Mantra Chanting temple for Buddhist people around the country. From outer look the monastery resembles a simple home made of brick & mortar but from inside is beautifully carved with paintings, murals and pictures that provide it a beautiful look of a Buddhist temple. The temple is widely famous for its Kora ritual. A proper screening as well as security check is necessary to pass in order to enter the premises of this holy monastery.
There are many more local sightseeing which you must visit such as — St. John in the Wilderness, Dal Lake, Naam Art Gallery, Namgyal Monastery and Dharamkot.
Commuting in McLeodGanj is pretty easy coz Private Taxi and Autos are available and there is no rush in it. I would prefer if you are in a group of 4 then travel with Taxi or less than that Autos are preferable because there is a lot difference in the price range between a taxi and auto ride.
I would say McLeodGanj is a travel destination which every Indian should aspire to visit once in a lifetime. If I get the opportunity I would love to travel to The Home of Dalai Lama again.