A pretty imposing and cool tourist destination, McLeodganj is nicely situated in upper Dharmasala and is the renowned seat of the holy leader Dalai Lama. The city was named after David McLeod, the former Governor of Punjab under British rule. This is the administrative headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile. Mcleodganj a real cross section of Tibet is a well known learning centre of Tibetan culture and Buddhist dharmas and rituals. It has been nick named as the little Lhasa, reverberating the Buddhist influence on the land.
This is an imposing hill station located at about 1700m high in Himachal Pradesh. The area is enriched with many ancient temples, monasteries and structures. Tsuglagkhang is the main temple enshrining Sakyamuni Buddha, Avalokitesvara and Padmasambhava. The ambience of the area is resonated by Buddhist religious practices and lifestyles. This is a bastion of the natural beauty as the Mother Nature has blessed this area with all its magnanimities.
TIPA, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, is an attraction for all art loving tourists. The ten day festival of theatres, music and dance held annually during the month of May is vibrant and enticing.
McLeodganj thrives on Tourism Industry. It is known for Buddhist handicrafts, garments and thangkas. Namgyal Monastery is one of the great attractions here. The architectural marvel of St. John in the Wilderness an Anglican church constructed in the neo-gothic style attracts all tourists reaching the Mcleodganj. This is a prefect religious destinations for the Buddhist.
Bhagsu Falls is a small yet beautiful waterfall located 2km away from Mcleodganj. Around 0.5 km from the waterfall stands the Bhagsunath temple and the waterfall is revered by devotees who throng the temple.
The falls is easily reachable by taxis or autos, besides trekking or walking is another good experience to enjoy the serene surroundings. It will take around 6 to 8 hours to explore the region. During monsoons, the place is subject to heavy rains and snow is winter. It is a good idea to avoid visiting during mid-winter.
During monsoons, this waterfall turns into a 30 ft cascade besides a mountain that looks like an art piece made out of slate. This occurrence is due to the rich deposits of slate in the surroundings. Tourists can enjoy swimming but the water is cold.
It is a place where one can enjoy and relax in the soothing environment of the miraculous Himalayas. Besides a nice picnic spot close to McLeodganj with small cafeterias where visitors can have snacks and refuel themselves.
Dal Lake, which is 2km walk westwards from Mcleodganj market, is renowned for its scenic beauty and the cool ambience. With an altitude of 1775 m, the lake is situated at the vehicular road between Mcleodganj and the village of Naddi. Surrounded by deep green Deodar forests, it is also a base camp for trekkers in Dharamsala and Mcleodganj.
The Lake can be reached by bus, taxi or on foot, taking around half an hour to 2 hours to explore the whole area. The annual fair held every year in September on the banks of this Lake is a great attraction to the tourists.
Taking a holy dip in this lake is considered to remove all miseries. It is a common belief that the dip in this holy lake will bring blessings of Lord Shiva. Even though the lake is small, the surroundings make it charming and dynamic. The temple located close to the Lake which is dedicated to Sage Durvasa is also a worth place to visit.
Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala is a sacred building enclosing the residence of Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Government in exile. The complex is constructed in a location near Mcleod Ganj and is overlooked by the mountain ranges of Dhauladhar. Lush pine forests offer the natural beauty and the atmosphere offers a perfect tranquility in the location.
The monastery is located inside the Tsuglagkhang Complex, which also encloses a Tibetan museum, a cafeteria, a book shop and library, prayer wheels and Buddhist shrines, apart from the royal but simple residence of the Tibetan spiritual leader. Visitors are allowed to move anywhere in the complex without any obstacles and difficulties.
One can reach the monastery by taxi. Being a private monastery of the Dalai Lama, no visitor is allowed to enter the temple premises except Dalai Lama and his students. However, tourists can visit the Naam Art Gallery, which opens from 10 am to 7 pm but remains closed on Mondays.
Kangra Art Museum:
Situated close to the bus stand, Kangra Art Museum is a unique museum displaying the artifacts of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. This is a treasure of Kangra valley’s cultural past, crafts, arts and other ancient artifacts. Some of the displayed items in the museum are dating back to 5th century.
Kangra Museum encloses a gallery consisting of miniature paintings of Kangra’s rich past, pottery, rare coin memorabilia, sculptures and anthropological materials. It has a varied collection of jewelry of various tribes, embroided costumes and wood carvings. A section dedicated to contemporary artworks adds the attraction to the museum.
Tourists can easily reach by bus or taxi and it will take 30 mins to one hour to see the museum. While visiting the museum, never miss to explore the Kotwali bazaar.
Triund, the name of a crest in the Dhauladhar ranges in The Himalayas, is a very famous tourist attraction, which is 9 km trek from Mcleodganj. This place gives a breathtaking view of the Moon peak-Indera Pass. Ideal for camping, its unpolluted air and the unspoiled environment make the place an eco-friendly tourist spot.
Also popular as trekking spot, the place offers the greenery forests and undulated hilly areas in the Himalayan Ranges. A trek to Triund will take around 4 hours from Mcleodganj and the best time to trek is April - June & September - November.
Situated towards the southern end of the town is the holy abode of the Tibetan leader, Dalai Lama, the Tsuglagkhang Complex. Namgyal Monastery is a part of this sanctum and thousands of pilgrims’ travel here seeking the blessings of the leader.
Reachable by taxi, all the parts of the monastery except the monk’s residences are open for public visit. The famous Namgyal Monastery is a part of this complex. Besides meeting the Dalai Lama (which is not an easy thing to do) tourists can enjoy viewing the paintings that depict the sculptural stories and various Tibetan leaders.
There are various stupas, temples, monastery for the tourists to explore. Also there are bookshops, café and a museum that too serve the tourists.
Bir, often called as ‘Paragliding Capital of India’ is the best place to enjoy this sport. Bir serves as the take-off site for paragliding, while Billing, just 14 km from Bir, is the landing site. The best time for enjoying paragliding is from March to May and in October and November, when the air is light and weather is cool.
Paragliding is a risky sport, which cannot be undertaken by novices. Various private tour operators are available that give training and provide equipments. Experienced paragliders can visit during the month of October, when the Department of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Government of Himachal Pradesh organize the 'Para Gliding Pre world Cup' at Billing- Bir.
Located just 20 km from Dharamsala and 3 km from Kangra, the Kangra Fort is a magnanimous structure built by the royal family of Kangra. The fort finds a mention in the war records of Alexander, around 4th century B.C. It is one of the largest and oldest forts in India.
The fort has been a witness to many plunges and confiscations by the foreign rulers like Muhammad of Ghaznavi, Muhammad Bin Tughlak and was finally taken over by Mughal emperor Jehangir, who garrisoned it with his troops.
The main attraction inside the fort view of gushing streams of Banganga and Manjhi rivers from the Fort. The fort is also known as Nagarkot and tourists need to climb through seven gates to reach the three temples located inside.
Kareri Lake is a shallow fresh water lake around 9 km from Dharamsala. Located on a very high altitude, the lake is fed by the snow melting from the Dhauladhar mountains. Due to the fresh shallow water, the bed of the lake is easily visible. This lake also serves as excellent trekking spot in the Dhauladhar region.
The lake is 3 km from Ghera, which is the nearest road head and tourists need to hike from here in order to reach the lake. Alternatively, tourists can also take 13 km long trek from Kareri to reach the lake.