A Trip to Himachal - Part 2 - McLeod Ganj
Second Destination: McLeod Ganj
How we reached there:
Khajjiar -> McLeod Ganj (via Jot, Chowari, Dharamshala) : Hired Taxi, takes 4.5 hours
McLeod Ganj -> Amritsar -> Pathankot : Hired Taxi, takes 5 hours to Amritsar and 2 hours to Pathankot from there
Places to stay:
There are number of options available on oyorooms, makemytrip and goibibo as well on HPTDC. You’ll get good home-stay as well. Prefer hotels near main square. We stayed in Hotel Castle (through oyorooms), near on Bhagsu Road.
Places to eat ( esp vegetarian ):
McLeod Ganj has a range of food options for Tibetan, Italian and Indian food. Some of our favourites are:
- Nick’s Italian Kitchen
- Hotel Tibet
- Chocolate Log
- Spring Valley Restaurant
Needless to say that one must try momos in this part of the World, and apart from restaurants, there are road-side eateries offering good momos.
Places to visit:
From nature to history to religion to cricket, McLeod Ganj and Dharamshala has everything one can ask for.
- Namgyal Monastery/Dalai Lama Temple and Tibetan Museum
- Norbulingka Institute
McLeod Ganj is an official residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama and a headquarter of Tibetan government in exile. Dalai Lama stays at Namgyal monastery which is a must visit place. This buddhist monastery has spiritual aura that brings instant calmness. Chants of 'Om Mani Padme Hung' and Prayer wheels are essential parts of this unique experience.
There is also Tibetan museum within the temple premises, highlighting struggles of Tibetan people and their migration from Lhasa to India.
Located near Dharamshala, this institute is named after Norbulingka, the traditional summer residence of the Dalai Lamas, in Lhasa, Tibet. It is aimed to preserve Tibetan tradition and provide training, education and employment to Tibetans. You can see Tibetan metal art, drawings and other artistic forms in action here. Losel Doll Museum is quite interesting. There is a souvenir shop to collect memories. And while you are at it, do try ginger lemon honey tea!
- Bhagsunag Waterfall
Earlier morning visit to Bhagsunag Temple, trek to Bhagsunag waterfall and visit to Shiva cafe is another important thing to do while you are in McLeod Ganj. Bhagsunag Shiv Temple is located near the taxi stand on Bhagsunag road. Everything is anyway at a walking distance in McLeod Ganj. It's a 1.5 km trek to the waterfall from the temple, normally takes 30 mins. The trek is scenic, and the waterfall is chilly. Then you trek further up to Shiva cafe. It provides a nice view to the valley on one side, and Triund mountain on the other. Cafe provides variety of food option if you are tired after the trek.
- HPCA Stadium
This famous Dharamshala cricket stadium is a sight to visit. Surrounded by mountains, it is one of most scenic cricket stadium around the world. Entry is free when there are no matches and you can go up to visitor's gallery.
- Kangra war memorial This is one of the location that our cab driver took us to while roaming around in Dharamshala. This war memorial is built in the memories of the martyrs of Kangra valley.
Apart from these places, walks on the streets from main square to monastery are a must once you are in McLeod Ganj. Slope adds much fun to those evening walks. Located on both sides of the streets are various shops to satisfy your shopping urge. And don't miss the sunset from there!
What next?After a three day stay at McLeod Ganj, we went to Amritsar, which is a 4.5 hrs drive from here, during our return journey. I had already covered Amritsar in my earlier post, but the location has changed significantly in these 7 years. We spent the afternoon at the Golden Temple and enjoyed food @ langar. Next we went to Jallianwala Bagh, the famous historic place, adjacent to the temple. We did go to Delhi after this, but could only cover Rajghat, Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar before our return flight to Pune.