McLeodganj is a hill station perched right in the Dhauladhar mountain range in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Known as the Mini Tibet of India, it is filled with Buddhist monasteries and rich Tibetan culture along with the beautiful and scenic natural terrain. It is located at an altitude of 1,700 meters in the Kangra district, near Dharamshala. It is also home to the 14th Dalai Lama and is the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile. This quaint town is known for its scenic beauty, rich Tibetan culture along with handicrafts, carpets, and Tibetan cuisines. McLeodganj is famous among trekkers, adventurers, and spiritual seekers. So, if Tibetan culture interests you, McLeodganj is the place where you can experience it fully and from up close. Here is everything you need to know about planning your McLeodganj Trip.
When to Visit McLeodganj?
The best time to visit McLeodganj is during the summers and winters. It isn’t really advisable to visit during monsoons as the entire area experiences heavy downpour. So, the best time would be between the months of March and June or October and February. The temperature during the summers remains at an average of 25 degrees Celsius and the winter temperature is around -1 degrees to 10 degrees celsius. So, plan your McLeodganj trip accordingly if you want to have a pleasant and memorable experience.
How to reach McLeodganj?
Traveling to McLeodganj won’t cause much problem as it is a well-connected tourist destination with travelers from all over the world arriving here. There is a good network of buses, flights, and trains which will make planning your trip easier while also keeping your budget constraints in mind. Below are the different ways you can travel to McLeodganj:
The nearest airport is the Kangra airport which is located nearly 20 kilometers away at Dharamshala. This airport is well connected and has major flights coming in and out regularly. Once you’ve reached the airport, a taxi/cab is all that is required to reach McLeodganj.
The nearest railway station to McLeodganj is Pathankot which is nearly 90 kilometers away. There are trains from all around the country arriving at Pathankot. Once in Pathankot, you can easily find a taxi or cab to travel to your destination.
You can easily find buses, both government and privately owned from Delhi, Chandigarh or Dharamshala traveling to McLeodganj. You can also choose to travel in your own vehicle and enjoy the road trip. It takes about 10 hours from Delhi to McLeodganj.
So, now that you know the various ways you can travel, plan your McLeodganj trip accordingly keeping your budget and comfort in mind.
Where to Stay in McLeodganj?
You can find a variety of hotels, inns, and homestays to choose from according to your budget. Some of the best hotels are in the city center itself. You can also find good places to stay near Dharamkot, Temple road, Bhagsu Nag, etc. The average cost would be around 750/- to 1000/- for a night/ per room excluding taxes.
Places to Visit in McLeodganj
Now that we know how to travel, when to travel, and where to stay, next comes the question, “What places to visit?”. McLeodganj is filled with beautiful monasteries, trekking routes, and markets. Below are the places to visit and experiences to have when in McLeodganj:
This trail is extremely popular among trekkers and adventurers. It is 7 kilometers away from McLeodganj and begins from Tushita road. The breathtaking beauty of the Dhauladhar ranges and the Kangra Valley on opposite sides along with the rare bird sightings will make for an experience that you won’t forget. The trek stretches over 9 kilometers and is suited for professionals as well as amateurs alike. You can also choose to set up camp overnight in the lap of the Himalayas.
Also Read: Trek to Triund: A Step by step Guide
It is the largest Buddhist Tibetan monastery outside Tibet and is also known as the 14th Dalai Lama’s monastery. There are various rituals and Buddhist traditions practiced here. Outsiders are welcome to come and participate in the many meditation sessions. It is located around 5 kilometers from the main town center. If you want to experience Buddhist spirituality, this is the perfect starting point.
The crystal clear Kaleri lake gets its fresh water from the Dhauladhar Ranges which melts during the summer season. This lake is approximately 50 kilometers away from the town center and is a beautiful place for photography and sightseeing. The beautiful sky’s reflection can be seen in the perfectly clear water of the lake and pine trees can be seen too.
Bhagsu Nath Temple
King Bhagsu built this shrine to honor the snake god who pardoned his life. This ancient Shiva temple is located at a distance of about 5 kilometers from the main city. You can have a dip in the water which is open to the public, or go on small, casual treks. There are many restaurants and cafes nearby as well. The Bhagsu waterfall nearby, at 30 feet high is a breathtaking sight.
The Dalai Lama’s Temple
A huge complex consisting of many different shrines, stores, and a Tibetan Museum, this is the home to His holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. Although tourists aren’t allowed to enter the residence premises, you can immerse yourself in Buddhist culture and spirituality. Within the complex are many statues that were bought from Tibet. Here you can see students and monks studying Buddhist philosophy and meditating. Just 5 kilometers away from the main town center, this place is the cultural heart of McLeodganj and a place you shouldn’t skip at any cost.
McLeodganj is a town with a unique blend of Tibetan, British, and Indian influences and culture. Known as the Mini Tibet of India, if you want to experience the richness and depth of Buddhist culture while at the same time enjoying the beauty of a hill station surrounded by breathtaking scenery and pleasant weather, McLeodganj is the perfect place for you. So, now that you know everything there is to plan your McLeodganj trip, what are you waiting for?