McLeodganj is the name of both a town and a tehsil headquarters in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, approximately 27 kilometres from the state’s summer capital, Shimla. It was once known as Bhagsu. The Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Government in Exile and many Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and centres are located here. It is one of the last destinations to see on your journey to find the roots of Buddhism before you return home or continue to other destinations nearby.
How to reach McLeodganj?
By train: The nearest broad gauge railhead serving McLeodganj is Pathankot Railway Station, about 90 km away. Jammu Mail and Uttar Sampark Kranti are popular trains from Delhi to Pathankot. Taxis and buses are available outside the station in Pathankot.
By air: Dharamshala’s Gaggal Airport is approximately 20 kilometres from McLeodganj and is well connected to Delhi, Kullu, and Chandigarh. Regular flights to Dharamshala are served by airlines such as Air India Regional, SpiceJet, and Jagson Airlines from these cities. Travellers can hire a taxi or get a bus to reach their destination after arriving at the airport, which takes approximately an hour.
By road: State-owned and private buses operate between McLeodganj and other cities such as Delhi (500 km), Chandigarh (250 km), and Dharamshala (20 km). Most buses depart from the Kashmiri Gate ISBT and Majnu-ka-Tilla (a Tibetan camp) in New Delhi. The Himachal Bhawan also offers deluxe buses operated by Himachal Pradesh Tourism. It is also possible to drive to McLeodganj from Delhi via NH 1, a journey that will take approximately ten hours.
Top 20 visiting places in McLeodganj
1) Bhagsu Falls
Known for its lush green surroundings, Bhagsu Falls is the most popular visiting place in Mcleodganj. There are plenty of places to visit in Mcleodganj, including the quaint village of Bhagsu, where tourists can dunk their toes in the freezing water, snap pictures, and partake in lip-smacking treats. The Bhagsu falls are located two kilometres from the main market.
See also: Places to visit in Dharamshala
Just nine km from the city centre of McLeodganj, Triund is a beautiful trekking spot that offers stunning views of the Dhauladhar mountains. To reach Triund, take a shared taxi from McLeodganj or start your trek from Gallu Devi Temple. The trek takes around three to four hours to complete and is an easy to moderate hike. Once you reach the top, you can set up camp for the night or return to McLeodganj.
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3) Nechung Monastery
There are a lot of monasteries in Mcleodganj, and Nechung Monastery is one of them, known for its tranquil environment and warm-hearted hospitality. Additionally, travellers can enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the Dhauladhar ranges. A cab can take you to the monastery, three km from Mcleodganj.
4) Masroor Temple
The Masroor Temple is about 15 kilometres from the city centre of McLeodganj. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ram and is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the region. The temple complex is huge with many beautiful sculptures and carvings. The temple is surrounded by a beautiful lake, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
5) Sunset Point
One of the best places to visit in McLeodganj is Sunset Point. The views from this point are breathtaking, and it is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the mountains. There are many benches and picnic tables here to relax and enjoy the scenery. In addition to seeing Dal Lake, you can also take a cab from Mcleodganj to the sunset point.
6) Indrahar Pass
Standing at an altitude of 4,342 metres, Indrahar Pass is one of the most popular trekking destinations near Dharamshala. The pass is situated in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas and offers stunning views of the Dhauladhar range. Trekkers can also visit Triund Hill and Ilaka Got glacial lake while on their way to Indrahar Pass. Indrahar pass can be reached by road or train from Mcleodganj.
7) Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake
Maharana Pratap Sagar, also known as Pong Dam Lake, is an artificial lake created by the Beas river reservoir. In Mcleodganj, tourists can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, and bird watching amidst a picturesque landscape of alluring mountains. A cab ride can take you 100 km to the lake, located at a distance of 100 km.
8) St. John’s Church
One of the top places to visit in McLeodganj is St. John’s Church. The church was built in 1852 and is a beautiful example of neo-Gothic architecture. The church is also home to a museum which has a collection of artefacts from the British Raj. With its authentic neo-Gothic architecture, St. John’s church is among the top Mcleodganj tourist attractions. If you wish to reach this church, take a cab from Mcleodganj.
9) Guna Devi Temple
Guna Devi Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali, is a popular visiting place near Mcleodganj. This temple, surrounded by dense oak and deodar trees, not only has a mystical significance but also offers mesmerising views of the Kangra valley. The Guna Devi Temple is about three kilometres from the city centre of McLeodganj. To reach the temple, you can take a taxi or an auto-rickshaw from the city centre. The temple is on a hill, so you will need to walk up a flight of stairs to reach it. The temple is beautiful and has a great view of the city.
10) Vipassana Meditation Centre
The Vipassana Meditation Centre is a great place to learn about and practice meditation. The centre offers a variety of courses, both for beginners and those with more experience. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and the grounds are beautiful and peaceful. Visit the Vipassana Meditation Centre if you want to learn more about meditation or want to relax and unwind in a beautiful setting. A cab ride will cover the eight km distance between the centre and the airport.
11) Minkiani Pass
Because of the aesthetically pleasing rugged terrain in Himachal Pradesh, there are numerous adventure sports one can engage in. Mcleodganj is one such city where hiking and trekking can be enjoyed. One of the well-known places to visit in Mcleodganj is the Minkiani Pass trek.
12) Dal Lake
Located in the upper reaches of the Dhauladhar range, Dal Lake is a serene and beautiful spot that is perfect for a day trip. Visitors can take a boat ride around the lake, enjoy the views of the snow-capped mountains, and even go for a swim. Monsoon can make the route quite slippery, so avoid doing the trek during that time. You will pass through scenic villages and have a memorable camping experience along the way. Dal Lake is five kilometres from the city centre, and you can reach it by an easy cab ride.
13) Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts is one of the best places to visit in McLeodganj. It was founded by the Dalai Lama and is a great place to learn about Tibetan culture and see traditional Tibetan music and dance performances. The institute also has a museum with some interesting exhibits. You need to book a taxi or cab ride from Dal lake to reach here.
14) Namgyal Monastery
The Namgyal Monastery is one of the popular tourist attractions in McLeodganj. The monastery is home to over 700 monks and is a great place to learn about Tibetan culture and Buddhism. Visitors can explore the monastery grounds, attend prayer sessions, and even participate in meditation classes.
15) Tsuglagkhang Complex
The Tsuglagkhang Complex is the first stop for most visitors to McLeodganj. It houses the Dalai Lama’s temple, a museum and a library. The complex is beautiful, and you can easily spend a few hours here exploring everything it has to offer.
Located close to Mcleodganj in Dharamshala, Dharamkot is a less-known but beautiful hippie village. This quaint town, also known as the Yoga Village, is one of the most popular places to see in Mcleodganj. This is due to its untouched beauty and lack of tourists. From anywhere in Mcleodganj, you can reach Dharamkot, which is just two km away from Mcleodganj.
17) Naam Art Gallery
The Naam Art Gallery is one of the best places to visit in McLeodganj. The gallery showcases the work of local artists, and it is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and they are always happy to chat with visitors about the artwork on display.
18) Tibetan Market
The Tibetan Market is one of the best places to visit in McLeodganj. It is a great place to find souvenirs and gifts for friends and family back home. You will find everything from traditional Tibetan clothing to hand-crafted jewellery. Bargaining is expected. Once all the sightseeing, you can wander through the market, which is just 4.3 kilometres away. Add it to your things to do in McLeodganj list.
19) Norbulingka Institute
The Norbulingka Institute is a Tibetan cultural centre and school that offers a variety of classes on Tibetan culture, language, art, and more. It is a great place to learn more about Tibetan culture and maybe even learn a new skill. The institute also has a beautiful garden perfect for taking a stroll or enjoying a picnic. Take the Sacred Heart School bus heading to Palampur from the Dharamshala bus stand and get off just before the Sidhpur Institute. The institute is just a short walk uphill from the school.
20) Baglamukhi Temple
The Baglamukhi Temple is in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, surrounded by the mighty Dhauladhar range. According to Shaktism, as one of the ten Mahavidyas of the Supreme Goddess, this is among the popular places to visit in Mcleodganj for spiritual pilgrims and wanderers. To reach this temple, take a bus or taxi to the village of Bankhandi.
What makes Mcleodganj so famous?
The serene hill station of Mcleodganj is home to temples, museums, lakes, waterfalls, monasteries, and natural landscapes. Here you can see the exquisite Tibetan settlements.
How many days are enough in Mcleodganj?
Plan a three-week trip to Mcleodganj, where you must reserve one day for local sightseeing, the next day for visiting famous waterfalls, cafes, and the last day for trekking and camping.
When is the most suitable time to visit Mcleodganj?
The ideal time to visit Mcleodganj is during the winter months of September and March or during the summer months of April and June.
How can I make the most of my time in Mcleodganj?
There are numerous adventures to be had in Mcleodganj. The best things to do in Mcleodganj are trekking, hiking, camping, boating, shopping, and sightseeing.
What are the hottest shopping places in Mcleodganj?
Shopping in Mcleodganj is best done at Central Square, Tibetan Children’s Village, Jogiwara Road, and Kotwali Bazar.