The awe-inspiring Mcleodganj, perched in the lap of the Dhauladhar ranges, is a sight you'd want to treat your senses to. The place got its unique name from David Mc Leod, erstwhile lieutenant governor of Punjab, and the Hindi word 'ganj' means 'neighbourhood'. This popular and winsome destination is also the dwelling place of His Holiness Dalai Lama. It is also known as the Little Lhasa, owing to its Tibetan influence. Read more to know about the best routes from Delhi to Mcleodganj and the must-visit tourist spots there.
Route 1: Delhi - Sonipat - Panipat - Karnal - Kurukshetra - Ambala - Chandigarh - Rupnagar - Anandpur Sahib - Nangal - Una - Amb - Dehra - Ranital - Kangra - Gaggal - Dharamshala - Mcleodganj (9 h 21 min; 501 km).
Route 2: Delhi - Ambala - Kharar - Ropar - Kiratpur - Anandpur Sahib - Nangal - Una - Amb - Tibbi - Mubarakpur - Bharwain - Dehra - Ranital - Kangra - Dharamshala - Mcleodganj ( 8 h 20 min; 480 km).
We took Route 2 because that was the fastest route possible and it was more time-saving as compared to Route 1. Our buddies, who'd been to this place before asked us to take Route 2, as it had better roads. We were happy, as we reached in less than 9 hours flat. Places that can be covered on the way to Mcleodganj are Murthal, Ambala, Chintpurni, Bhakra Nangal and Dharamshala.
Best Time to Travel:
Summers: March to June, temperature ranges from 22°C to 38°C. It is a good time to travel if you are an avid trekker or love adventure sports.
Winters: December to February are the coldest months with temperature reaching almost Zero degrees. This can be a good time to travel for honeymooners and tourists who love snow.
Restaurants To Grab A Bite At:
We stopped at the Mannat dhaba in Murthal, enroute Ambala, for a quick breakfast. We gorged on Aloo Parathas to our heart's content and could barely move an inch. There are plenty of other equally good restaurants like Jhilmil Dhaba, Pahalwan Dhaba and Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba in Murthal.
Hunger pangs started to hit us again and we stopped at the Masala Restaurant in Ranital for Lunch. Other hotels where you can halt for lunch are Sharma Punjabi Dhaba or Destination 88 Hotel & Restaurant.
The places we visited in Mcleodganj are:
Kalachakra Temple or the Temple of Oracle: It was built in the year 1992, and the temple has a mural of the Kalachakra Mandal or the wheels of time. Photography is prohibited inside the temple. Visit this temple if you are looking for inner peace and solace.
Bhagsunag Temple: Is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated in the village of Bhagsu, which is 2 km east from the Mcleodganj Market. It was built by the 1 Gorkha Regiment. This is an ancient temple and has a natural pool and springs.
Bhagsu Waterfall: Known to be one of the major tourist attractions of this place, this is easily accessible by road. It is a breath-takingly beautiful waterfall cascading from great heights surrounded by lush green trees and cliffs. It is very near to the Bhagsunag temple. Tourists can take a dip in the chilly waters of the waterfall. It falls on the way to Triund, and tourists can carry on with their journeys to Triund, as it falls enroute to Triund. The falls are beautiful and are inundated by tourists who come to Dharamshala. Adjacent to the falls, there are small cafes that sell piping-hot Maggi and other mouth-watering snacks and drinks.
Brijeshwari Temple: This temple is dedicated to goddess Durga, and is one of the Shakti Peeths. Legend has it that the original temple was constructed by the Pandavas. It was destroyed, owing to a massive earthquake in the year 1905 and it was re-constructed by the Government later.
Dal Lake: Magnificent pine trees in the background, make this seemingly small counterpart of the famous Dal lake in Srinagar look beautiful. However, it has lost the glory that it once used to enjoy because of the lack of proper maintenance, and it is not comparable with the famous Dal lake in Srinagar, after which this name one has been named.
Tibetan Museum: Give this museum a visit to get more insights on the Tibetan people, their history, their struggle for freedom and the problems faced by them. This is located in the Tsuglagkhana complex. It is a simple museum which is full of pictures and it tells you a great deal about the life of the Tibetans in exile.
Namgyal Monastery: This monastery or Gompa is situated in the Tsuglagkhana complex, which is also the official abode of His Holiness Dalai Lama.
Triund Trek: It is a 9-km long trek from Mcleodganj and it passes through Dharamkot and Rakkar, and is situated at a height of 2842 metres above sea level. The trek marks its onset from Gallu Devi temple, where people going for the trek enter their names. You need to first reach Dharamkot or get a cab to Gallu Devi. This is considered a relatively easy trek for both beginners and avid trekkers. We didn't find much difficulty in doing this trek; and it wasn't as difficult as we had thought it to be.
The fact that it is located at the foothills of the impressive Dhauladhar ranges of the great Himalayas, makes the trek alluring. The picturesque view of the mountains and the valleys make Triund a must go. It is a one-day trek and it is suggested that you start early, if you plan on coming down the same day. The weather in Triund is good, except during the winter months of Dec-Feb. If you plan to trek, then it is advisable that you choose summers. The hill has many small tea stalls for quick refreshments. For those of you who are looking for an adrenaline rush, can indulge in paragliding. The vast stretches of greenery and the awe-inspiring view of the humble Dhauladhar ranges makes this trek a must add in your bucket list.
St John's Church In The Wilderness: This church was built in the year 1852 as a dedication to John the Baptist. There is a graveyard on the ground near the church. The church is hardly 2 km from Mcleodganj and is enroute Forsythganj. It is also famous for its stained glass Belgian windows.
Minkiani Pass: Though not as popular as its other counterparts like Indrahar pass or Triund hill, the panoramic view of the mighty Dhauladhar Ranges that this offers is unmatchable and should feature in the list of all avid trekkers. It is situated at a height of 14250 ft. approx. from sea level. The popular route among seasoned trekkers and tourists alike is the one that goes via Kareri lake. We felt blessed to have done this offbeat trek and it was worth the toil.
Naddi: It is popular as a sunset point and that is what makes it more attractive among tourists. It is a quaint village which is 4 km from Mcleodganj, Kangra. It is sorrounded by the awe-strikingly beautiful Dhauladhar ranges and it overlooks the whole Kangra valley. Aren't these reasons enough to make it the most attractive sunset point on earth?
So, head to this place if you want to watch the sun setting behind the snow-capped mountains. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful sunset that we had ever seen.
The Dhauladhar ranges are absolutely beautiful, awe-inspiring and what not. No words can describe the sheer bliss that these ranges are. Mcleodganj is situated right in the lap of the pristine and humble Dhauladhars.
Shopping Destinations: You can head to the famous Mcleodganj market for Tibetan artefacts, tea, flags, candle votives, jackets, chubas, ponchos, carpets, etc., which are the major items sold in this place. The street shops in Mcleodganj are a must visit and they offer plenty of ranges and varieties to shop from.