Dharamshala and McLeodganj places to visit: After our last year’s trip to Varanasi and Bodhgaya, my friend ‘Smiling Buddha’, Deepak, and I were back on the road again; this time to the abode of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet in Dharamshala (Dharamsala – also known as ‘Little Lhasa of Tibet’). This is my Dharamshala travel blog.
We researched places to visit in Dharamshala in December and developed a four-day itinerary.
We looked for cheap places to stay in McLeodganj and chose a small room through Airbnb – https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/14228545 – one overlooking the Mighty Dhauladhar ranges in McLeodganj.
McLeodGanj houses the Tibetan government-in-exile and is the political, cultural and spiritual hub of the Tibetan diaspora in India.
This is a brief picture story of our trip and covers places to visit around Dharamshala and Mcleodganj.
Flight from Bengaluru to Dharamshala
We took an early-morning flight from Bengaluru to Dharamshala. I slept through a significant part of the journey but woke up to a grumbling stomach. Slurping down a masala-filled cup-o-noodles seemed like a great way to satiate my morning hunger, so I went ahead and ordered one.
Just when the 200 rupee cup-o-noodles that I consumed for breakfast onboard my flight to Dharamshala began wreaking havoc in my stomach, the pilot announced our descent. I looked out of the plane window to see the beautiful sight of colourful houses basking in the early morning sunlight with mountains in the backdrop.
The pleasant conditions outside seemed to be in stark contrast to the stormy one building inside of me.
Cup-o-noodles on an empty stomach never again; I scribbled a mental note as I stepped out of the aeroplane.
Dharamsala in December
Just as I stepped out of the aircraft, I froze. I mean: I froze.
I can take a bit of cold, and I enjoy cold weather. So even though I knew that it would be cold in Dharamsala in December, I hadn’t packed any winter clothing.
Here I was, in my tees and shorts, stepping out into a cold, near-zero degree December morning in Dharamsala.
What was I thinking?! (Whoever finds my peanut-sized brain, please return it. Thank you.)
Dharamshala to McLeodganj by road
We hired a prepaid cab from Dharamshala to McLeodganj (one of the best places to visit in Dharamshala). After looking through some of the best places to stay in McLeodganj, we had chosen a basic bed-and-breakfast place through Airbnb, one that had a beautiful balcony with a view of the majestic mountains.
The prepaid cab that I had hired from the airport was driven by a young maniac who drove at top speed through the winding roads, blaring his horns almost non-stop, playing remixed Punjabi songs at high volume and taking calls along the way.
I was thrown around quite a bit but clung to dear life.
Deepak, meanwhile, had reached Dharamsala earlier and had decided to do Triund camping (Triund is a small hill station in the Kangra district). He did the Triund trek (an easy Himalayan trek near Dharamshala) and camped there at night.
McLeodganj Street Photos
Walking through the streets of McLeodganj is a great experience (once you learn to ignore the honking vehicles).
Street vendors selling merchandise, eateries, coffee shops and cafes are all cramped up along the narrow streets.
Watch your step, and don’t stumble over cows and sleeping dogs.
Food and prayers go well together – McLeodganj is testimony to this fact. You will find numerous Momo stalls along the streets and in front of monasteries in McLeodganj’s city square.
Restaurants in McLeodganj
You will also find some small restaurants in McLeodganj serving great food. I tried out one of these during my stroll through the town – a little place named Tibet Kitchen.
McLeodganj Street food
It is difficult to restrain yourself from trying out the different foods on offer when you stroll through McLeodganj. I tried out some tikkis too.
Famous cafes in McLeodganj
McLeodganj has some great coffee shops, cafes and eateries. I managed to try a few of the famous cafes in McLeodganj.
Cafe Budan – centrally located.
Illiterati Cafe – Awesome ambience
The Illiterati cafe in McLeodganj is trendy on Instagram – in fact, I found it while I was surfing through Instagram. It is also a rooftop cafe in McLeodganj. I had to wait to be let in and wait for some more time to get a balcony seat that offered a great view of the mountains.
Cafe Ri – Korean food
Lung Ta – Vegetarian Japanese food, anyone?
Nik’s Italian Kitchen – Good food
Namgyal Monastery Dharamsala – Dalai Lama’s temple
Namgyal Monastery is the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama. It is also known as Namgyal Tantric College and plays a crucial role in assisting the Dalai Lama’s rituals.
In parting: McLeod Ganj has a chilled out vibe that will calm you down and help you look at life from different perspectives.
McLeodganj is a place to come if you want to slow down and reflect on your life and priorities. I have heard many stories of creative souls who have come here and stayed back for many years, some for life.
Read about our previous adventures here:
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