Top Things to Do in Mcleodganj

McLeodganj is the quiet suburb of Dharamshala and an old colonial town. It is also called the Little Lhasa owing to its oldest and a huge Tibetan community settled here. The town serves as a base for trekkers who explore the mountains further up north. The old-world charm, surrounded by stunning views of the Himalayas and the vibrant local community, is what McLeodganj is famous for. 

Table of Contents

  1. Things to do in Mcleodganj
  2. How to plan a Trip to Mcleodganj
  3. History & Geography of Mcleoganj
  4. Hotels and Resorts in Mcleodganj

Things to Do in Mcleodganj

Things to do in Mcleodganj

The charming hill town offers a host of places to explore. Here are some of the best things to do in Mcleodganj:

  • Trek to the Bhagsu waterfalls, one of the most famous destinations for trekking. The 12 km trek starts from Mcleodganj and passes through Dharamkot, Galu, and Naddi Village with beautiful views.
  • Join a group for trekking in Triund. This is the best of the Mcleodganj trekking options. The trek ranges from moderate to intense and explores the Triund top, Triund Valley, and Triund Lake. 
  • Try camping in the hills and enjoy stargazing. One of the most fulfilling adventures, camping allows you to enjoy the endless beauty of the Himalayas in a serene setting. 
  • Experience the McLeodganj nightlife. Owing to its huge international tourist population, the nightlife here is quite vibrant with many clubs and bars with live music and good food.
  • Indulge in spiritual healing. McLeodganj is also known for meditation, yoga, and ayurvedic healing. Places like Om Yoga Centre, Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, Universal Yoga Centre, and Tushita Meditation Centre are popular places for those who seek complete rejuvenation of body and mind. 
  • Explore the gorgeous Kangra Valley. It is known for its sprawling tea gardens, and wildflower valleys, and also a great place for paragliding and day treks. 

Places to Visit in Mcleodganj

Dotted with monasteries, temples, pine and cedar forests, colonial architecture, and breathtaking views of the Himalayas, sightseeing is as exciting as it can get. 

Here are the most famous places to see and visit – 

  • Guna Devi Temple – an ancient and sacred temple in McLeodganj. Surrounded by lush green Oak, and Deodar trees, this temple has a mystical significance. 
  • Masroor Temple – the 8th-century Hindu temple boasts ancient Indian rock-cut architecture and reveals the beauty of the traditional North Indian Nagra style of stone carvings.
  • Dal Lake Mcleodganj – the beautiful Dal Lake offers boating options amid the lush green Deodar forests. The peaceful setting surrounded by pine and cedar-clad hills makes this the best lake in McLeodganj and a popular tourist spot.
  • St. John’s in the Wilderness – an 18th-century church. A colonial-era church, it boasts Neo-Gothic architecture surrounded by tranquil pine forests and mountain views. 
  • Mcleodganj Bhagsu Falls – a scenic mountain waterfall and a popular tourist spot. Also called the Bhagsunag Falls, this glacial cascade has a clear pool and is flanked by nature trails, where people often go for treks and day hikes.
  • Sunset Point – a viewing point on the hill. A vantage point in Naddi, this hilltop offers great views of sunsets and vistas of surrounding mountain ranges.
  • Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts – This cultural centre showcases traditional Tibetan stage performances including Lhamo – the local folk opera. Don’t miss the annual Shoton Opera Festival. 
  • Tsuglagkhang Complex Dalai Lama Temple – the home of the presiding Dalai Lama. The complex houses a huge gilded statue of Buddha along with several shrines, temples, a Tibetan museum, and souvenir stores with a sacred temple complex. 
  • Namgyal Monastery – a secluded monastery perched on a hill, with incredible views of the Himalayas. It is one of the biggest Tibetan monasteries in the region, where monks preach about sacred arts, philosophy, debate and meditation.
  • Tibet Museum – a state museum housing the political and cultural history of Tibet. It houses Tibetan historical documents, Thangka images, pottery, manuscripts and other handicraft items. You can also buy paintings and souvenirs here.

Popular Places to Visit near Mcleodganj

To complete your mountain vacation, explore these other popular hill stations near Mcleodganj:

  • Palampur, 42 km – a pretty little hamlet in the Kangra Valley, Palampur features tea gardens, rolling hills and views of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountains. Explore the Saurabh Van Vihar, or go on a trek to the Birni Devi Temple for views of the Shivalik Mountain Range.
  • Dalhousie, 116 km – the most popular hilly getaway near Dharamshala, Dalhousie boasts old British and Scottish vibes with colonial structures, grasslands, lakes, and pine groves. Also visit the village of Khajjiar, the mini-Switzerland of India. 

Best Places to Eat in Mcleodganj

A hotspot for international tourists, trekkers, and backpackers, the food culture here is a mix of international and traditional Tibetan flair. 

Here are some of the best cafes to visit in McLeodganj –  

  • Tibet Kitchen, Jogiwara Road, House #1 Main Square – casual diner serving traditional Tibetan dishes and Chinese food.
  • Jimmys Italian Kitchen, Near Green Hotel – a popular restaurant with mountain views, serving classic continental dishes and Italian food.
  • The Clay Oven Restaurant, Tipa Road Near lhasa hotel, Main Square – a local restaurant serving multi-cuisine food and specializing in Tibetan dishes.
  • Takhyil Peace Café, McLeodganj – one of the top cafes in McLeodganj, the casual eatery serves Tibetan food and snacks, among other café food.

How to Plan a Trip to Mcleodganj

How to Reach Mcleodganj

The hill station is well-connected to the northern states and cities of India but the nearest major junction is in Delhi. 

By Train

McLeodganj does not have a railway station of its own. The nearest railway stations for the Kangra Valley Railway line are Kangra and Nagrota, which are about 20 km south of Dharamshala. You can get trains from major northern cities to either of these destinations. The nearest railhead is in Pathankot, about 90 km away. You can take a train to Pathankot from Delhi or any of the nearby major cities/towns. From there, you can book a cab from Delhi to reach McLeodganj

By Road

There are two ways you can travel by road: 

By bus – You can take an overnight bus from New Delhi to Dharamshala. From there, you can take another local bus to McLeodganj. There are plenty of private and state-run bus services by Himachal Roadways and Himachal Tourism that ply between New Delhi and Dharamshala. 

By cab – You can easily book a direct cab from Delhi, Chandigarh, or any other city in Punjab and drive down to Mcleodganj. 

By Flight

McLeodganj does not have any direct flight connectivity. The nearest airstrip is at Gaggal/ Dharamsala- Kangra/Kangra Airport (DHM) at a distance of 20 km from McLeodganj, which serves the town. From there you can book a taxi to reach McLeodganj. If you are flying from other parts of the country, then you can reach Delhi and book a Delhi airport taxi to drive to McLeodganj.

Best Time to Visit Mcleodganj

McLeodganj sits in the northern part of Himachal and experiences the typical climate pattern of high-altitude locales. If you are seeking all-outdoor activities, then the summer months of April to June make for the best time to visit. If you want to enjoy the winter in the mountains, experience snowfall and more, then peak colder months. The rainy season can be slushy so, it’s better to avoid driving around or trekking through the hilly areas during these months.

History & Geography of McLeodganj

Here’s a little trivia about Mcleodganj. The town was named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, a Lieutenant Governor of Punjab; the suffix ganj is a common Persian word used for “neighbourhood”. Its history dates back to the 1800s when the area (including Dharamshala) was annexed by the British as an army cantonment after the Second Anglo-Sikh War. The name Dharamshala came from the first resthouse or a “dharamshala” that was built here on an empty land. Later, the district became the administrative capital of Kangra district. In 1862, Lord Elgin, the British Viceroy of India made this the summer capital of India for its pleasant weather and lush surroundings.

Mcleodganj hill station sits on the Dhauladhar Range on the Upper Himalayas. The town has an elevation of 6831 feet with the highest peak at Hanuman Ka Tibba at 18,500 feet. It houses various cultural communities like Tibetan, Nepalese, Himachali, and others who make for a population of 11,000.

Hotels and Resorts in Mcleodganj

To make your vacation truly comfortable and memorable, here are some of the best places to stay in Mcleodganj – 

  • Great Himalayan Resort 
  • Hotel Udechee Huts
  • Himgiri Resort N Spa by Shree Hari Hotels
  • Rana’s House Mcleodganj
  • Heaven’s View B&B
  • Hotel D’s Casa
  • Indraprastha Spa Resort 
  • Cygnett Style Signature

Download our Savaari car Booking app for a smooth and pleasant journey. 

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by V Subhadra

A quick summary
Himalayan Harmony and High Spirits - Things to do in McLeod Ganj
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Himalayan Harmony and High Spirits - Things to do in McLeod Ganj
McLeodganj is the quiet suburb of Dharamshala and an old colonial town. It is also called the Little Lhasa owing to its oldest and a huge Tibetan community settled here.
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About the author

Roaming less trodden paths, Hritika, a true mountain enthusiast, unveils the stories and secrets of uncharted territories. Her spontaneous spirit thrives on making unplanned adventures and immersing herself in the tales of the people she encounters. Her writing is a window into these hidden places, capturing their essence and sharing unique perspectives that resonate deeply with the adventurous soul. With every word, she invites her readers to join her on impromptu journeys, as she unveils the world beyond the well-known map, where every twist in the road holds a new story waiting to be discovered.

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