McLeod Ganj, also known as The Little Lhasa in India, is the home of the Tibetan Guru and leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile. It is located in Himachal Pradesh beneath the spectacular Dhauladhar Mountains. Historically important as it is beautiful, this destination is filled with Buddhist Temples, sanctuaries, churches and natural attractions to make travelers visit a memorable one.|
A legend has it that Lord Elgin liked Dharamsala so much that he had sent a proposal to the British Monarch to make Dharamsala the summer capital of India.
Tibetan sites | Places of InterestThe most important Buddhist site in the town is the Tsuglag-Khang, popularly known as The Dalai Lama’s temple. It has statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddha Avalokitesvara, and a statue of Guru Padma-Sambhava - the tantric master from India. The Dalai Lama’s residence and administrative offices are in the complex. The temple complex is always busy. Services are held daily and are attended by lamas, monks, nuns and lay people. Visitors are welcome to observe, but remember to remove your shoes and walk clockwise around the temple and past the mani-lagkhors (prayer wheels) before sitting down.
Other Buddhist and Tibetan sites in McLeod Ganj include the Namgyal Monastery the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Dip Tse-Chok Ling (a small monastery), Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Gangchen Kyishong - the premises of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, Mani Lakhang Stupa, Nechung Monastery, NorbuLinka Institute, which is 8 kilometres away. The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is currently living near Dharamshala, in Gyuto monastery at Sidhbari.
Most travelers don’t waste much time in Dharamsala itself, a bustling city without much to offer, but head up the road to McLeod Ganj, where the air, and the atmosphere, is clean and pure. His Holiness the Dalai Lama lives here, and so do thousands of Tibetan refugees - monks, nuns, children and families.
Thus, McLeod Ganj is the real glimpse of Tibet, offering travelers a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant Tibetan culture. In addition to spectacular Himalayan trekking in the Dhauladhar range, travelers have easy access to temples, monasteries, schools and libraries, as well as occasions to study Tibetan Buddhism, attend services at the Dalai Lama’s temple, witness performances at the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts, take English class for monks, volunteer with women and school-children and even take a meditation or Tibetan cooking class!
Just strolling down the streets of this walkable village is an experience itself. Industrious Tibetan vendors set up their stalls along the narrow roads each morning, selling everything from antiques and apples to prayer beads and handmade crafts created by Tibetan refugees.
In the shrine, you might come across a group of monks building an intricate sand mandala, and outside on Thursdays, groups of monks are scattered around the grounds practicing their debating techniques - an entertaining and thought-provoking ritual worth catching.
|Population:||Total population: 19200 | Tibetan population: 5000|
|Altitude:||Between 1,250 and 1,982 metres.|
|Temperature:||Maximum 38° celsius in June; minimum 0° Celsius in January.|
|Annual Rainfall:||Varies between 290 and 380cm. Monsoon season is July to September.|
|Clothing:||Woollen in winter and cotton or tropical in summer. An umbrella is essential during Dharamsala's notorious monsoon season.|
The convenient rail head is Pathankot at a distance of 90 km whereas Kangra Railway station on Narrow gauge railway line is only 17 km from Dharamshala.By Air:
Nearest Air Port is Gaggal about 12 km from Dharamshala and 19 km from Mcleodganj.By Road:
Regular Bus and Taxi services are available from Delhi and Chandigarh. Delhi is 520km and Chandigarh is 252km from Dharamshala.
|Accommodation:||There are a number of hotels that offer board and lodging for different budgets. All the high and medium budget hotels have bathrooms attached to rooms with running hot and cold water. Low budget hotels have communal bathrooms with running cold water. In these hotels one can order for hot water in buckets. Many of the hotels offer a wide range of rooms with different rents.|