Must Do Things in Mcleodganj
Trek to Triund
One of the
most important things to do in Mcleodganj is Trekking. Just behind the
Dhauladhar range stands tall Triund, a 9000 Ft range. The 9 KM trek trail on
this mountain is a breathtaking experience. After the tiring expedition you can
also plan an overnight stay at the Forest Rest House on top of the ridge.
The spellbinding panorama of the Kangra valley from the Triund peak is captivating. If you wish to lie in the arms of the wilderness and gaze at the infinite sky and sparkling stars, then camping here is also an awesome option. The manoeuvring boulevard through the rhododendron and oak trees will rejuvenate all your senses.
Check Out: Best Trekking tours in Mcleodganj for the thrilling experience
Kareri River Trek
The Kareri Lake is formed by the flow of melted waters from the Mankiani Peak. A glacial river located high between the ranges of Dhauladhar; it is a trek that takes you through lush subtropical forests and alpine grasslands. The subtropical forests are filled with Chir Pine and Chilgoza Pines. The forest trek in the latter half consists of rocky grasslands along the Nyund Nullah.
The Kareri River trek cuts through gushing freshwater streams and passes through verdant meadows and orchards. The subtropical forests are home to several Himalayan birds and animals. On the trek, trekkers will also encounter shepherd villages, cattle grazing farms and a Lord Shiva temple.
The Kareri Lake is a pleasant weekend trek for offering a secluded retreat. There are many campsites during the trek that offer convenient options for food. The trek has a moderate difficulty level which can be completed in 2 days. It makes for a beginner-level trail for trekkers.
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Camping in Mcleodganj
McLeod Ganj is a serene hill station nestled in upper Dharamshala; it is home to some of the most spell-binding landscapes in Himachal Pradesh. The reason why McLeod Ganj or McLeod successfully magnetizes tourists each year is for trekking and camping in the Dhauladhar Mountains and surrounding valleys and regions. Camping in McLeod Ganj is like a vacation amidst lush green nature with serene beauty all around.
Camps offer a retreat away from the cacophony of city life and allow the traveler to soak in peace. You are surrounded by mellow sounds of whispering winds and chirping sounds of birds. Camps in McLeod Ganj also offer magnificent views of the Himalayan peaks. Travelers can enjoy camping under a blanket of stars accompanied with a warm bonfire. The night can be made more enjoyable with games, music, and dance as you seek solace into nature.
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Indrahar Pass Trek
The Indrahar pass trek commences from McLeod Ganj in the Kangra valley and ends at Chamba. The trek offers beautiful views of the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal mountain ranges. Classified as a moderate to a difficult trail, it passes through green meadows, dense deodar and rhododendron forests. The trail gets adventurous passing through ancient lands of Gaddi Shepherds.
Spectacular views of the sacred peaks of Mani Mahesh Kailash are guaranteed here. The trek also passes through Hindu temples and villages in the upper Ravi valley. Trekking on this route is an adventurous experience as it involves continuous climbing over boulders.
Indrahar Pass Trek promises a rich walking trail amid wildlife areas. Trekkers encounter wild goats, leopard and Monal bird. The best season to take up this trek is from mid-May to June and September to mid-October. We also recommend taking this trek up as it is one of the best things to do in McLeod Ganj. With beauty and wildlife together, trekkers only seem to want more from this trek.
The Bhagsu trek, which is a trek to the Bhagsu Waterfalls commences from McLeod Ganj and covers a distance of approximately 12 kilometers. The elevation being 2400 meters, it is a moderate trek best recommended for beginners.
The Bhagsu Waterfalls are located close to the Bhagsunath Temple. These waterfalls are one of the most stunning streams that cascade down around 30 feet during the monsoon season. The Bhagsu trek is one of the best things to do in McLeod Ganj.
We recommend taking this up to get spectacular views of the peaks and passes of the Dhauladhar Ranges! The Bhagsu trek takes you to a small waterfall near Bhagsu village and trails through Dharamkot, Galu, and Naddi Village. Walking from Galu to the Naddi village will give beautiful views of distant villages on the foothills of Dhauladhar. It is the Naddi village exactly that offers picturesque and mighty views of the Dhauladhars, its peak, and it passes.
The Kangra Valley Trek
The Kangra Valley Trek is a trek that opens the world of phenomenal views of the Dhauladhar Range to the travellers. The trek and trail delight trekkers with visit to old temples, scenic lakes, & unexplored Hindu towns en route in the middle of verdant and snow-laden valleys.
The trek begins from McLeod Ganj and passes through the Kareri Lake and Kareri Village. Trekkers trek on the trail that passes through woody woodlands and steep slopes, which aren't too arduous to climb. The Kangra Valley Trek is quite a popular one and is also one of the best things to do in Mcleod Ganj.
The months from March to October are said to be the best time to take up the Kangra Valley Trek. The trek is ideal for both beginners & expert trekkers who are looking for an authentic and inspiring trekking experience in Himachal.
Other Things to Do in Mcleodganj
Visit Tsug La Khang (Dalai Lama's Temple)
Popular for being the sanctuary of The Dalai Lama, the Tsug la Khang is the core essence of Mcleodganj. It comprises the Namgyal Monastery and also several shrine rooms in its compound. There are statues of Buddha, Chenrezig and Guru Rinpoche in these shrines.
If you are an art lover then you should surely go there and admire this splendid artwork. The Dalai Lama’s dwelling and administrative offices are adjoining to the monastery. Ling Khor, is a meditation trail close to Tsug La Khang, you will come across small shrines, stupas and also a gigantic chorten while treading this route. Visiting Tsug la Khang is one of the most important things to do in Mcleodganj.
Timings: Open from 6 AM to 7 PM
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Visit Namgyal Monastery
The Namgyal Monastery is well known for being the biggest Tibetan sanctuary outside Tibet and also the residence of the Dalai Lama. It was established in 16th century and since then it serves to preserve the Tibetan culture and customs.
It enlightens the monks who reside here by imparting knowledge based on philosophy, sacred arts, meditation and debates. This Monastery is bestowed with a pristine atmosphere, making it an ideal place to attain peace. It also showcases splendid statues of Buddha, which are highly admirable. This Monastery not only intrigues religionists but also other tourists and admirers.
Timings: - Open from 4:30 AM to 8:30 PM
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Go to Bhagsu Falls
Being in closed vicinity of the popular Bhagsunath Temple of Lord Shiva, this waterfall is known as the Bhagsu Falls. Spending a day here is one of the most exhilarating things to do in Mcleodganj. It is not only famous as a picnic spot but is also a significant place of pilgrimage.
The sight of this 20 M tall waterfall is like a heaven on earth during monsoons. One can also cherish the delicious food served in the cafeteria near the falls. If you wish to add on to the excitement of this excursion, then you have a choice of trekking to these falls through the beautiful vistas. Carry your camera and capture the enticing exquisiteness of Mother Nature.
Timings: Open from 7 am to 9 pm
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Visit Tibetan Museum
Being a combination of the conventional
and contemporary Tibetan architecture, the Tibetan Museum in Mcleodganj is very unique. Located inside the Tsuglagkhang
complex, the museum walls have a gentle yellow and white colour scheme that adds on to its quaint
beauty. It is a platform where one can observe and be in awe of the Tibetan
historical documents, manuscripts, Thangka images, pottery and other handicraft
Besides that there are also photographs, interviews and video records that explain and file the Chinese intervention in Tibet and the consequent migration of Tibetans. If you are admirers of art and are also fascinated by history then you could purchase paintings, artefacts and handicrafts from the Museum shops as souvenirs.
Timings: Open from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Take a Boat Ride in the Dal Lake
A boat ride in the Dal Lake amidst the striking green Deodar Forests is one of the unique things to do in Mcleodganj. Brimming with tranquilizer vibes floating over the calm waters, this boat ride is something you cannot miss out in Dal lake.
The lake is also considered sacred because of the Lord Shiva temple on its banks.
Opening Hours: 7 am – 8 pm
Enjoy Cultural Shows at Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
Established by His Holiness, Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) is one of the leading cultural institutes keeping traditional Tibetan dance, culture, art, music and colorful folk opera alive. Travelers must enjoy cultural shows at TIPA while visiting Mcleodganj. The 10-day annual festival, the Shoton Festival held here attracts hordes of people from all over the country. Performances include dancing and singing where the artists are dressed in elaborate costumes.
Folk songs tell stories of interesting characters like kings, fools, yogis, and witches. Instruments like cymbals and drums add to the enthralling ambiance and make it a treasured experience for travelers. TIPA is located at about 1 kilometer from the McLeod Ganj Bus Station and is nestled at P.O. Mcloed Dharamsala, Dharamkot Road, McLeod Ganj.
The entry fees, camera fees, and other applicable charges: Indian Adult: INR 50
Still Camera Fee: INR 100
Video Camera Fee: INR 500
Shop at The Local markets
Shopping is one of the best things to do in McLeod Ganj given that the hill station is popular for traditional Tibetan hats, bags, trousers and slippers. Items like woolen shawls, prayer wheels and prayer flags and jewellery can also be purchased from McLeod Ganj markets.
Speaking of markets, there are popular ones bustling with colorful, eccentric and vibrant things, only to incite tourists and travellers to carry memorable souvenirs back home for family and friends. Some prominent street markets in McLeod Ganj are the Kotwali Bazar, Jogibara Road, and McLeod Ganj Central Square.
We recommend having excellent bargaining skills before stepping into the McLeod Ganj markets. While shopping, local specialties like Tibetan carpets and rugs, traditional Tibetan dresses, handmade paintings, mandala paintings, wooden carvings, handicrafts and thangkas are not to be missed. Tibetan carpets are hand-woven and are exquisite pieces for home decor and interiors.
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Sip and Dine at Colorful Cafes and Restaurants
The satisfaction achieved after finishing a plate of steaming delicious momos in the middle of scenic landscapes at an elevated height of 2082 meters is indescribable! McLeod is a place bustling with cafes and restaurants that offer savory delights to famished travelers. Nestled in narrow streets and hilltops, each with a view and aesthetic, McLeod cafes and restaurants serve vegetarian to vegan cuisine, not fancy, but, lip-smacking!
Sip on a hot caramel coffee and bite on a cheesecake alongside as you breathe in the mountain air. Gorge on wood-fired thin crust pizzas and read a book or two while hearing the piano play soothingly in the background.
Cafes and restaurants we recommend are:
Illiterati Books & Coffee - Coffee, Italian food, burgers & books
Woeser Bakery - Carrot cake & chocolate brownies
Namgyal Cafe - Sandwiches, pasta & books to read
Hummingbird Cafe - Lemon cake, pizza, momos & thukpa
Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen - Chocolate mousse, chicken grill served with pasta and baked potatoes & Italian delicacies
Price: The approximate cost for two at these places ranges between INR 250 - 600.
Visit Nechung Monastery
The Nechung Monastery, a Buddhist monastery plays a historical role as it was the seat of the Tibetan State Oracle until 1959. It is located downhill from the Drepung Monastery. Nechung is an eerie place associated with possession, exorcism and other pre-Buddhist rites.
The monastery has a few strange, striking and imaginative murals lining the walls of the inner courtyard. Paintings of flayed humans held from the rafters by serpents, figures with dangling eyeballs, disembodied heads and legs, wrathful deities with garlands of skulls, and other artwork decorate the walls here.
Nechung Monastery features an array of mythical animals, such as murals of snakes and dragons coiled around support beams in the main hall. It will indeed be one of the best things to do in Mcleodganj. The monastery is easily reachable on foot after visiting the Drepung Monastery.
Timings: Open 24 Hours
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Visit Norbulingka Institute
The Norbulingka Institute was established in 1988 with its primary focus being teaching and preserving traditional Tibetan art forms. It's a beautiful and fascinating place to visit to watch artisans at work on woodcarving, metal statue-making, thangka painting, and embroidery. The institute produces high-quality art objects, clothing, accessories and home furnishings.
A cultural center, the Norbulingka Institute is a place reflecting nature's beauty and bounty. Water cascading through Japanese styled gardens and birds of different species flying among the treetops; it's a scenic sight to behold. The Japanese style gardens are well maintained and the place overall has a Tibetan architecture and aesthetic, giving a vibe of old Tibet. The institute provides short-term workshops for studying Tibetan arts.
Norbulingka Institute is open every day from 09:00-05:30. The workshops and offices are closed on Sunday and second Saturday every month. Norbulingka is located in Sidhpur, a suburb of Dharamshala, about 30 minutes from Mcleodganj.
Discover serenity at Kora Circuit
Taking 25-minutes of the ritual circuit or Kora around the outside of the Tsuglagkhang Complex is one of the most popular activities to do in Mcleodganj. Take the 1.5 Km path draped in flags which turns into a road halfway the circuit, consisting of a display of the collection of chortens, prayer wheels, and the pictures of more than 130 Tibetan people who self-sacrificed themselves in protest against Chinese Rule.
Set against a tranquilizer setting this is something that will help you get a break from the worldly worries you’re tangled in.
Explore the beauty at Naddi View Point
Exploring the Naddi View Point is one of the mandatory things to do in Mcleodganj. Giving you the closest view of the majestic Dhauladhar Range without the muscle-tiring experience of trekking, walking or climbing, this place is a perfect spot for sightseeing.
The weather is mostly cloudy here, giving more reasons to visit this place. Make sure you try the authentic local food of the cafes and food points around the destination while you enjoy the breathtaking view of the Himalayas.
Timings: Open 24 Hours
Learn Authentic Tibetan Recipes
What could be a better thing to do in Mcleodganj than to learn the authentic Tibetan Recipes! Make sure you rush to Lhamo’s Kitchen and Sangey’s Kitchen and take up their cooking sessions where they will give you insights into the spices and authentic flavours.
From soups, noodles, bread to momos you will get to know the traditional recipes of all the famous dishes of the place. Returning with a new skill learned isn’t a bad deal at all.
Timing: 11 am - 1 pm
5 pm - 7 pm
Discover the Tibetian architecture in Kangra Fort
The Kangra Fort is one of the oldest forts in India famous for its rich past and grand culture. Dripping in opulence, the grandeur of this historical heritage needs no introduction. Depicting the war records of Alexander as well as the invasions by the Mughals, this fort gives you deep insights into history along with proofs.
This 4th Century fort still stands high with pride of the centuries it has passed and things witnessed. Make sure you do not miss out on this place, while you are here.
Timing: 9 am to 5:30 pm
Explore the Quiet Dharamkot Village
Maintaining its charm along with air for the curious knowledge-seeking tourists, Dharamkot brings in a lot of people from all over the place giving them a dip into the rich culture.
Not just tranquility, this yoga village is also a base camp for several trekking trails including the Triund and Indrahar Pass. With the perfect blend for all, this place savours spectacular vacations for all.
Indulge in Yoga sessions and Spa Therapies
Indulging in the Yoga sessions and spa therapies is one of the most refreshing things to do in Mcleodganj. If you are one of those on a spiritual conquest or on a quest of self-exploration then these places are ideal for you to visit.
Not just one but there are numerous such centres namely, the Om Yoga Centre, Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, Universal Yoga Centre, and Tushita Meditation Centre, that offer various therapies and sessions that will help you re-energize your body and mind.
You must visit the famous Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Centre boasting of best-in-class-spa treatments by professional experts and doctors of the institute.
Watch amazing sunset at Dhauladhar Range
Transporting you to the other world, the scintillating sunset at Dhauladhar Range is something that you would have never experienced before. Spend an evening at the summit when you are satiated by the adventure activities to do in Mcleodganj and let the natural beauty of the seep in.
Watch the impeccable hues of the sky as the blue blends with the shades of reds of the sunlight, listen to chirps of the birds as dusk falls, and feel the cool breeze over your face. A complete rejuvenating natural therapy, this mere experience will soothe all your senses.