Location: Above lower Dharamsala, in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh
Climate: Generally pleasant all round the year.
Places to See: HH Dalai Lama Temple, Bhagsunag Temple & more.
Best Time to Visit: All round the year (except monsoons from July to September)
Located on the Dhauladhar Range, McLeodganj is a beautiful suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. At an altitude of 2,082 metres, this hill retreat is beautifully encircled by pine, Himalayan oak, and rhododendron. It also serves as the perfect viewpoint for seeing “Hanuman ka Tibba” which is the highest peak (5,639 metres) of the Dhauladhar Range. McLeod Ganj was named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, who was a Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. Once the refuge town of the 14th Dalai Lama, Mcleodganj has evolved into a settlement for several Buddhist monasteries and thousands of Tibetan exiles.
Mcleodganj has basically humid subtropical climate influenced by monsoons. Here, the season summer extends from early April and till mid June. While the monsoon is observed from July to mid-September, getting upto 3000 mm of rainfall, making it one of the wettest places in Himachal Pradesh. Autumn is mild and prevails from October till November. The months from December till February witness winters, wherein snow becomes a common sight.
Every year, McLeodganj attracts innumerable international visitors to volunteer with the Tibetan community, enroll for courses in Buddhism, meditation or yoga, trek in the Dhauladhar range, shop for Tibetan crafts, or just spend some relaxing time in the spiritual atmosphere. The Thekchen Chöling Temple Complex is a spiritual center for Tibetan Buddhism, while the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives is a residence to thousands of rare manuscripts. Other Buddhist and Tibetan sites comprise of the Namgyal Monastery, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Gangchen Kyishong, Mani Lakhang Stupa, Nechung Monastery, and Norbulingka Institute.
Bhagsunag, located about 3kms from bus stand, is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Close to the temple, Bhagsu Falls is a waterfall which is about 20 metres tall and serves as a picnic spot for tourists. Mcleodganj is also famous for its bakeries serving exotic pastries and brownies, not so lavish coffee shops, and restaurants serving Indian, Italian, Lebanese and Tibetan delicacies.
Mcleodganj serves as a starting point for many trekking trails like Triund, Naddi and Inderahera. Some other spiritual attractions are Chinmaya Tapovan, Osho Nisarga, and Machrial. Dal Lake is another attraction located about 3 kms from McLeod Ganj.
Accommodation – Hotels/Resorts in McLeodganj
Being a major pilgrimage site, Mcleodganj is marked by many budget-friendly hotels, inns as well as luxury resorts. Some of the popular ones are Hotel Lavish Inn, Harmony Purple, Jungle Hut, Hotel The Oak Valley, etc.
How to Reach McLeod Ganj
Located at a distance of 25 kms, Gaggal Airport at Kangra is the closest airport to Mcleodganj. It is well-connected via flights to Chandigarh and Delhi Airport. One can take buses or cabs from the airport to reach Mcleodganj.
Pathankot railway station, approx. 100 kms from Mcleodganj, is the nearest railhead that is connected by major trains to all parts of the country. You can take cabs or buses to reach the destination.
Pathankot is nearest bus terminal (100 kms) which is easily accessible through a network of roads from all parts of the country. Buses and taxis are available to reach Mcleodganj.