Dharamshala is a town in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The Upper part of Dharamshala, known as McLeodganj is the main hub of travelers. The place offers beautiful treks on the Dhauladhar range, yoga and meditation activities and an experience of Tibetan culture and food.
Buses are the most convenient and best way to reach Mcleodganj. Regular buses both government. (cheaper) and private run from Delhi, Manali, Pathankot and Amritsar. Buses go to Dharamshala bus stand from where one needs to take another bus to Mcleodganj. Ask around to Places to Visit in Mcleodganj .
Private taxis can also be availed at Delhi, Amritsar, Pathankot from the tour operators.
Hitch hiking is fairly easy.
SIGHT SEEING :-
- Tsuglagkhang complex- Has temples with beautiful statues, a meditation hall, prayer wheels and the residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Situated at the main junction with prayer wheels and momo stalls on both sides of the complex
- Bhagsu Waterfall- Waterfall with an old temple and a swimming pool. The waterfall is about 3 km. from the main junction and is a good walk.
- St John’s Church- At the lower part of the town
- Tibetan museum and library
- TIPA (Tibetan institute of Performing Arts)
All these places are nearby and walking is the best way to get around the town. Also you can book autos for the same. Ask around for directions.
- Trek to Triund and further. (Click to know about the Triund trek)
- Shopping for exquisite souvenirs
- Try any yoga, meditation or reiki session (Mostly in Dharamkot)
- Take some Tibetan cooking lessons (Ask around Tsuglagkhang complex or keep an eye on the posters)
- Volunteer in any monastery
- Dwell in the quaint village of Upper Dharamkot
- Have a psychedelic night experience in shady cafes of Bhagsu
- Ask around for any concert by travelling musicians in any café
- Attend an art or music session
- Try Tibetan cuisine and be sure to hit the bakeries too
- Make a conversation with locals on the history and struggle of Tibet
Eat and Stay: –
- Moonlight café at Dharamkot for the food
- Space café at Dharamkot for excellent conversations
- Once in Nature cafe in Upper Dharamkot for the hippie and vegan culture
- Welcome café at Bhagsu for trippy ambience
- Shiva café at Bhagsu waterfall to get high
- Roadside stalls in Temple Road serve delicious Punjabi food
- Norling Restaurant for the view
- Quality Tibetan bakery for the pastries and croissants
- If you have a tent you can find an empty spot and camp there, TIPA and Dharamkot have a lot of spots to camp
- Hostel Ladies venture is a nice place for travelers looking for cheap dorms
- Cheap private rooms can be found at Bhagsu and Dharamkot
Tips and advice:-
- Only go by a bus to Mcleodganj, taking a taxi or private vehicle has been creating a lot of traffic and its pathetic to see a jammed road with a lot of honking breaking the serenity of mountains
- While talking to any local about their struggle and history, be aware that it is a sensitive and emotional topic
- Wear proper clothing while going to a monastery, remove footwear and show proper respect, prayer wheels are meant to be turned clockwise
- Keep the path clean and litter free while going to Triund trek
You will find a number of eating places in Mcleo. I am listing a few which we tried during our stay. These places did not disappoint us.
- Drumsticks ( Few meters from the main square, opposite to the Punjab National Bank )
- Palsang Cafe ( Few meters from Drumsticks)
- Jimmy’s Italian ( Lovely place for Italian food. Few meters to the left of the main square. It is on the first floor. )
- Punjab Barbeque Cafe ( Further into the main bazaar next to the Tibetan Mandala Cafe.)
- Pehlwaan’s Dhaba ( Few meters from the Dalai Lama temple. Must visit for typical Punjabi food.)