Mcleodganj is a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. Mcleodganj a very pleasant tourist destination is named after Sir. Donald Frill McLeod a Lieutenant Governor Of Punjab. At the elevation of 1775meters above sea level Mcleodganj is situated in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh in Dharamshala. It is also famous for the seat of renowned Holy Leader Dalai Lama who fled to India after the failed uprising in 1959 in Tibet and Indian government offered him refuge in Dharamshala.
Mcleodganj is also well known for learning center of Tibetan culture and Buddhist dharma and rituals. It lies in the spur of Dhauladhar range. Although Mcleodganj is the well known tourist destination, people from all over the world come here to study Tibetan culture, Buddhism, culture and craft. Tourist and locals mostly travel here by foot the true beauty of the place can be explored by walking around through the hilly region those who are not quite skilled in trekking and mountaineering or in case those cannot cover the journey by foot can opt for auto rickshaw to travel within the city limits.
Mcleodganj (McLeod Ganj) is the residence of Nobile Laureate, his holiness the 'Dalai Lama' and headquarter of Tibetan Govt. in exile. You can visit Tibetan monasteries, temples and St. John church. McLeod Ganj enjoys so much foreigners round the year that while roaming in Macllo (People in and around Dharamshala prefer Macllo as a short name for Mcleodganj) you may forget for a moment that you are in Himachal Pradesh. McLeod Ganj is just a few kilometers from Dharamshala.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Mcleodganj is early Autumn and spring months .The summer months are pleasant here starting from April to June .The temperature reaches up to 35°c.Monsoon is full of greenery here staring from July to September rainfall here is up to 2000mm i.e. 79inches making Mcleodganj one of the wettest place. Next comes the autumn season with last till November and climate here is 14°c-15°c.In winter Mcleodganj faces heavy snow fall
HOW TO REACH
Air : The nearest airport to Mcleodganj is Gaggal Airport 23 kms from Mcleodganj. Taxis are available from Gaggal Airport and Dharamshala to Mcleodganj.
Rail: The nearest railway station on Shimla- Kangra narrow gauge line is Kangra and Nagrota (about 20kms south of Dharamshala).the nearest rail-head (board gauge)is at Pathankot. Pathankot is about 94kms from Mcleodganj. And Kangra railway station is about 30kms from Mcleodganj.
Road: By road Mcleodganj is located 496kms from Delhi which is covered in 14-15 hours drive. Mcleodganj is well connected by roads of Himachal and Delhi.Delux, semi-delux,taxis are available from Delhi, Kangra, Manali,Mandi,Pathankot to Mcleodganj. Mcleodganj is approximately 30kms from Kangra, 10kms from Dharamshala and 94kms from Pathankot.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Dalai Lama Temple Complex: -There are many Dharamshala attractions to choose from, but among the top things to do in Dharamshala is a visit to the residence, monastery, and temple of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama temple complex, on Temple Road, is just a short walk from the McLeod Ganj bus stand in upper Dharamshala. The temple complex is open daily, from sunrise to sunset, and visitors are welcome to explore the peaceful ambiance of the surroundings. In the early morning, you are welcome to participate as the monks chant and meditate. You can join local residents for a meditative walk around the temple/monastery complex. Along the way you will see many prayer flags and "mani" stones.
Residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The residence is directly opposite Tsuglagkhang, the main Tibetan temple.
Tsuglagkhang - Central Cathedral
Tsuglagkhang is the temple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The original image at the Tsuglagkhang (Jokhang) in Lhasa, had been an object of devotion since the 7th century when it was commissioned by King Songtsen Gampo. During the cultural revolution when statues and religious objects were tossed out and destroyed, Avalokitesvara, ended up in a heap of rubble with all the others. Somehow, both a wrathful and peaceful aspect of the face were discovered and salvaged from the rubble.
Next to the Tsulagkhang is a temple devoted to the Kalachakra. This temple is decorated with frescos depicting 722 deities of the mandala, Shakamuni Buddha, and the central Kalachakra image.The frescos were completed by a team of painters over a period of three years under the direction of the Dalai Lama and three master painters.Along the walls and columns of the temple are many traditional Tibetan Thangka paintings.
Tipa- Tibetan Institute Of Performing Arts is an attraction for all art loving tourist. The theater organizes 10 day festival of theater music and dance annually during the month of may is vibrant and exiting.
St.John Church: This church in Mcleodganj is small in size built in Gothic style in 1852.The church is situated at a very scenic location covered by deodar trees. The stained glass windows and memorial plagues are some of the attractions of the church.
Bhagsunaag: Just 02 km from Mcleodganj is the ancient Bhagsunaag temple dedicated to lord Shiva with a fresh water spring. Further, about 1.5 km a path leads to waterfall, which is at its pristine glory during monsoon. The view of unsullied water gushing out of the water fall and the mist emanating from the fall about 20 feet is indeed a delighting experience. Tiny water drops rising in air as a result of fall, taking from the light drizzle sooths one's eyes and mind. Bhagsunaag temple is a very old temple in 3km east of Mcleodganj. The temple is considered sacred by Hindus devotees. During the rule of Raja Bhagsu there was once a severe drought in his capital. The local chiefs requested the king to do something or else the people would leave his kingdom. The king promised to do something this and set out himself in search of water. After about 3 days of searching he reached the Sacred Nag Dal (Lake) at a height of 18000ft. This lake was very big and had a lot of water. Raja Bhagsu used trickery to fill the water of the lake into a small vessel. He decided to spend the night there, as it had grown dark.
Later in the Evening Nag the Lord of Snakes happened to pass by the lake and was shocked to find the lake empty. Following the footmarks he reached the place where Raja Bhagsu was resting. He challenged Bhagsu for a duel and defeated him in the ensuing fight. The moment the vessel containing the sacred water fell on the ground water started flowing from there. Baldy injured Raja Bhagsu prayed to Nag and moved by his prayers Nag granted him a boon that this place shall henceforth be referred firstly by the kings name and then by the Lords name and he shall become popular. Henceforth this place came to be known as "Bhagsunaag". In the Beginning of the Kalyug Raja Dharam chand dreamt that lord Shiva asked him to build a temple here to bring prosperity to the area. Today it is about 5100 years since this temple was built.
This well known water fall in Bhagsu lies behind the Bhagsunaag temple this place is also famous for the fresh water spring, water fall and slate quarries here you can also reach by road is about 3 kms from Mcleodganj.
Dharamkot: This place is a well known picnic spot situated on the crest of the hill one gets beautiful view of Kangra valley and Dhauladhar range from here. one can reach Dharamkot by simple trek from Bhagsu
Tibet Museum: Located opposite to Tsuglagkhang, small but interesting collection of rich heritage of Tibet and its people. it is the real example of original Tibetan architectural style blended with modern style of constructions.
Dal Lake: approximately 3 km from Mcleodganj. It is tourist attracted spot renowned for scenic beauty and the cool ambiance the lake is surrounded by deep green deodar forest making it magnificent location
Triund: Triund is nestled in the foothills of Dhauladhar and is around 17 km from Dharamshala. It’s a trekking destination from Mcleodganj, and offers magnificent vistas of the mountains and valleys. The night stays are in the hoods, small time caves, that local giddies with their goat herds use as shelters from rains during the daytime.
Naddi: Near by 3.5 kms is the highest point beyond Dal lake and Naddi village this spot experience the vast expanse of lush Kangra valley to the south beautiful view of Dhauladhar mountain range in the north. Naddi is situated away from noisy markets of Mcleodganj it gives complete peace of mind it is best place to spend some quality time near the heart of Dhauladhar mountain ranges.
The Tsuglagkhang: This complex in Mcleodganj is a scared building complex enclosing the residence of the spiritual leader Dalai Lama in exile. The natural beauty and atmosphere offer perfect calm and peaceful location.
Kangra Art Museum: It is a unique museum in India displaying the artifact of Tibetan and Buddhism culture. Treasure of Kangra valley cultural past craft art and other ancient artifact some of the displayed items in the museum are dating back to 5th centuries.