Mcleodganj, Dharamshala is one of the major places to visit in Himachal Pradesh region. Dharamshala is the second capital of Himachal Pradesh in winter season. It is known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetans.The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeod Ganj. It has an average elevation of 2,082 metres (6,831 feet). It is situated on the Dhauladhar Range, whose highest peak, “Hanuman Ka Tibba”, at about 5,639 metres (18,500 feet), lies just behind it. This mountain is surrounded by three towns and this valley leads to south.
It is known for its natural beauty, where high trees of pine, tea plantations and timber growing trees appear standing here with height, peace and purity. The modern day sanctuary of spirituality, McLeod Ganj is famously the home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Every year, the scenic Himalayan town welcomes as many Buddhist tourists as it does adventure enthusiasts. From treks set in its serene natural beauty to adventure sports and a thriving arts and crafts bazaar, this place has something for everyone.
The temperature can drop to freezing point in winter advised to be with heavy woolens are required. Summer climate is mild and light woolens/cottons are recommended.
Wondering what else lies hidden in the Himalayas around Mcleodganj? If yes, you are in for some surprises for there are a lot of places to visit around Mcleodganj. Town is surrounded by some famous as well offbeat places, leaving you with plenty to pick from. Mcleodganj has wide range of sightseeing options for tourists which contains Triund Trek, Bhagsunath Temple & Waterfall, Namgyal Monastery, Kareri Lake, Dharamkot, Minkiani Pass, Naddi View Point, Dal lake, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Indrahar Pass, The Dalai Lama’s Temple, Saint John’s Church, Gunna Devi Temple etc. The destination itself has a bouquet of diversified mélange of different races, cultural, spiritual and meditation practices under one roof. Visit here to discover or feel the beauty lied with nature and return home with ‘Belle Souvenir’.
Constituting one of the top trekking trails in the country, the 9000-foot ridge behind the Dhauladhar range is Triund. Is one of the places to visit near Mcleodganj situated just nine kilometers away from , the extremely popular nine-kilometer trek is much sought-after. The Triund trail begins from Tushita road which is not far from the main square. The trail is also blessed with a view of the Moon Peak-Indrahar Pass, and it only gets better with snow-engulfed Dhauladhar Mountains on one side, and the Kangra valley on the other. If you are even remotely interested in bird-watching, this trek will amaze you with rare sightings.Often described as the crown jewel of Dharamsala, the evening sky will compel you to camp overnight and soak in the comforting lap of the Himalayas. Trekking at Triund remains one of the most popular adventure destinations from McLeod Ganj, suiting beginners and professional hikers alike. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 12km
Legend has it that King Bhagsu incurred the wrath of the snake god, and following a war, the king was pardoned. In honor of the snake god’s generosity, King Bhagsu built the shrine. This medieval Shiva temple is one of the most important places to visit in McLeod Ganj and is frequented by members of both Hindu and Gorkha communities.The location of the temple is surrounded by pristine-looking coniferous forests, hills and a cascading waterfall that flows through the temple itself! Crowded at times, hallowed pools in the vicinity are said to have been built by subsequent Gorkha rulers, into which the waterfall which is 500 meters away collects into. Swimming in the pool is open to the public, and the cool dip is held sacred by devotees.The 30-feet Bhagsu Waterfall is a sight to behold and is a mere two kilometers away from McLeod Ganj. Short, casual treks around the place are wonderful to explore the scenery, with a slew of cafes around providing refreshments. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 6.5km
Namgyal monastery, also known as the 14th Dalai Lama’s monastery, is a sacred place where rituals involving various Buddhist practices such as the Kalachakra, Vajrakilaya, Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, and Chakrasamvara.A monastery is a great place for meditation and all tourists are welcomed to join the meditation sessions. It is also the largest Tibetan monastery outside of Tibet. The monastery manages the tantric college and a home for elderly people in Shimla. Anyone who wishes to get a touch of spirituality can visit Namgyal monastery. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 6km
Kareri Lake is a freshwater lake located in a high altitude area is a place to visit near Mcleodganj. The source of the lake water is from the snow of Dhauladhar mountain ranges that melts in the hot season. As snow is the main water source, the lake water is almost crystal clear.Besides capturing the scenic beauties in their cameras, the tourists can also capture the beautiful pine trees located in the valley. It is a good place for trekking and photography. The Kareri Lake is located in the southern regions of Dhauladhar mountain ranges. The lake starts from Mcleodganj and then leads up to the Karen village. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 25km
Dharamkot is a village adjoining McLeodganj that oozes sparkling sceneries. Not far from Dal Lake, the festival-fair organized every year adds to the vividness of Dharamkot. More spellbinding views of the Dhauladhar range await you, and a spiritual retreat at one of the several dedicated centres is just a step away.Although located only a stone’s throw away, the village of Dharamkot is in complete contrast to the Tibetan realms of McLeodganj. Trek to the villages at Naddi and Triund, which are right around the bend, and delve into the offerings of bountiful nature. A few cafes en route to Dharamkot sees the crowd dwindling, and peace is on the offing at throwaway prices. One of the most popular things to do among hikers is to rent a room in relatively noiseless Dharamkot and travel back and forth to McLeod Ganj—with the goal being solitude. Getting one’s own stock of alcohol from a kilometer away and chilling in the cafes is another one of travelers’ favorites. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 7.5km
The Minakini pass is a part of Dhauladhar ranges which offers some splendid and spectacular view of nature and landscape is a must visit place near Mcleodganj. If you are a photographer, you would love to capture the scenic beauty the pass has to offer. The slope, which is not located in a high altitude area unlike the other slopes, offers a good trekking experience for the tourists.Besides the lush green vegetation, you can also spot the wildlife in this area. The wildlife mainly comprises of different species of birds and leopards of the region.While most people prefer private cars nowadays, you can also use bus transport to reach the place. The closest airport to Minakini pass is the Kangra airport of Dharamshala. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 12km
If you want to the beauty of snow-capped mountains, there could be no better place than the Naddi viewpoint. The Naddi viewpoint is one of the tourist places in Mcleodganj that offers a splendid view of the hilly areas. Not only can photographers capture the moments, but they can also watch the beautiful sunset and sunrise from this high altitude area. Besides, the place is full of green vegetation cover, creating an atmosphere of tranquillity all around. People often take a meal to dine/ have lunch in this beautiful valley. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 2.5km
The slopes of McLeodganj have one of the most picturesque lakes around. Named after the more-celebrated Dal Lake in Srinagar, this small lake is close to a beautiful village called Tota Rani. Flanked by Deodar trees, that are so typical of the region, lend the lake a mystical ambiance.A small shrine dedicated to Durveshwar Mahadev causes Dal Lake to be considered sacred, and a festival-fair held every year is evidence of that. The mid-altitude lake takes a greenish- hue and has varieties of fish inhabiting the water.The mist in the mornings and evenings make Dal Lake the perfect place for an introspective walk alone, or with the beloved. If you’re lucky, boating in the lake is an amazing experience, when available. The lake next to the Tibetan Children’s village is a nice stopover before you proceed to other attractions, and is regularly listed in the places to visit in McLeod Ganj. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 2 km
Tibetan Institute of performing arts is also one of the most popular tourist places in Mcleodganj. Set up by the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, this institute was at first known as the dance, drama and music society. The main aim of establishing this institute was to preserve the entertainment culture of Tibetans.Now an opera company is responsible for maintaining the institute. Different folk songs, regional songs, and dance, martial arts, etc. are performed here by the artists recruited by this opera group. The Tibetan Institute of performing arts is located in the Dharamkot road of Dharamshala. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 6.5 km
If you are not much of a trekker and you are looking for a first-time adventure, Indrahar Pass Trek could be the right choice for you. The place is counted among one of the best places to visit in Mcleodganj when it comes to easy or moderate trekking. If you want to observe the Dhauladhar mountain ranges and Pir Panjal mountain ranges, taking a trek in the Indrahar pass could be a good idea. The valley offers a direct view of those mountain ranges. Located at an altitude range of 2500 to 4500 meters, the Indrahar pass acts as a border between the Kangra and the Chamba districts. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 14 km
The huge complex is also known locally as Tsuglagkhang, this is the residence of the Dalai Lama. Although the private residence of His Holiness is out of bounds for tourists, the complex comprises of several shrines, temples, a Tibetan museum, and souvenir stores. Each day, students congregate in the courtyard of the Namgyal Monastery and study ancient Buddhist philosophy.A massive gilded statue of Buddha and two smaller statues of Guru Rinpoche and Chenresig stand amid natural serenity that the complex is filled to the brim with. Following many bloody sacrifices, parts of the statues situated inside the largest shrine here were brought over from Tibet. The chanting, drumming and the soft flowing of monks brush past you, and this iconic place to visit in McLeod Ganj is also the nerve centre of the town’s distinct culture. Lingkhor is a meditation trail that one must not miss. Dotted with small shrines and stupas, a rare opportunity to indulge in the intrinsic soulfulness presents before yourself. A small western hall next to the main shrine is the Kalachakra temple, where the extremely fine work on murals is showcased on its walls. Other shrines are full of similar detailed works, and the Dalai Lama temple is a short walk away from the centre of the town. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 6 km
Constructed in 1852, the church was built on the lines of neo-gothic architecture and is dedicated to John the Baptist. Around 50 years after being built, the Kangra earthquake destroyed the church’s bell tower leaving the rest of the church undamaged. The church is embedded amid a grove of Deodars, with a quaint graveyard lying in the same grounds. Lord Elgin, once the Governor-General and Viceroy of India is known to have been mesmerized by McLeod Ganj so much, that he wished for it to be the summer capital of India. His final resting place lies very close to the church. The enchanting glass windows painted by a Belgian artist is known to have been gifted by Lady Elgin, the wife of Lord Elgin. Not far from the main square of the town, the Church of St John’s in the Wilderness is an important place to visit in McLeod Ganj and is on the road to Forsyth Ganj. Your chance to experience the remnants of the days when it was a treasured British hill station is here. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 4.5 km.
Gunna Devi temple is one of the most famous places to visit in Mcleodganj that no tourist should miss. The temple, which mainly is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali, is a pilgrimage center for a semi-nomadic group of people known as the Gaddi shepherds. The area is covered with trees such as deodar, oak, etc. You can also go for trekking on your way to the temple as it is located in a high altitude area. The Gunna Devi temple is located 8 KMs away from the main district of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh at a height of 2300 Metres in Kangra valley. Distance from Strawberry Hills- 26 km.