Places To Visit & Things To Do in Mcleodganj - Dharamshala

Temples, monasteries, lakes, and treks. There are several places to visit in Mcleodganj and things to do in Dharamshala but what we have complied below are the best of the lot.

With the sheer history associated with the Kangra valley, a list of best places to see in Mcleodganj or a curated list of things to do near Dharamshala turns out to be one big directory. Everything comes in king-size format. From the Dalai Lama's Temple to the Triund Trek, from the namesake Dal lake to the War Memorial, tourist indulgences are accessible in big numbers.

Dalai Lama's Temple

The Dalai Lama's temple is to Mcleodganj what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. While the comparison may sound rather drastic, the significance of the structure on the community and the city itself cannot be understated. 

Located at one end of the town's Mall Road, alongside the residence of his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the temple is a must visit for devotees, travellers and seekers alike. Open from sunrise to sunset, the best time to visit the place is early in the morning when one can even join in on the morning prayers. 

Tibetan Market

Extending over an 800-meter stretch connecting the Bus Stand to the Dalai Lama temple, Mcleodganj's local market is predominantly known for its overarching Tibetan flavour. Peppered with souvenir shops, clothing stores, eateries along with a monastery itself (not the aforementioned Dalai Lama Temple), the market retains its old town feel unlike other more modernised mall roads of places such as Gangtok, Manali or Shimla. 

Unbound tip - Be prepared to bargain hard for your purchases and do ask the store owners the significance of any religious items - flags, scrolls (thankas) or prayer wheels, that you might buy. 

Bhagsu Temple

Built in the18th-century as a mark of respect to Lord Shiva, Bhagsunag temple is located barely 2 km from Mcleodganj in the fast-developing hamlet of Bhagsu or Bhagsunag. One of the key tourist attractions around Dharamshala and the Kangra Valley, this temple has seen expansion along contemporary lines in recent times with a natural spring pool being built for tourists to take a dip into alongside the temple. Among the popular tourist attractions in Dharamshala, one must also pay a visit to the Bhagsunag Waterfall, a short 900 meter walk from the temple. A coffee-break at the eclectic Shiva Cafe also provides for a welcome stop-over along the route.

Trek to Triund

If you're our kind of traveller who prefers the walk instead of the ride, then this one's for you.  Organized by a number of operators around India, the Trek from Mcleodganj to Triund can range anywhere between 3 to 7 days depending on how long you plan to camp and what other explorations you plan to undertake. A medium difficulty trek, it is open to people across ages. Which is one of the reasons, why the trek can often feel like a procession given the hoards of people who walk this particular talk. 

P.S. Do note that the weather conditions at the summit can vary from one hour to another can thus, good trekking shoes, rain-proof jackets and a positive spirit is a must if you truly wish to make the most of any situation the trek throws at you. 

Cafe Hopping

After Monasteries, probably the second biggest magnet for travellers to Mcleodganj is the range of finger-licking offerings that are on offer at the place.  Whether it is authentic Tibetan food tasting at Tibet Kitchen or Clay Oven near the main city square, or a book reader's favourite - Cafe Illitarati, 300 meters downhill from the Dalai Lama temple, food is a massive part of a travel itinerary in the town.

Dal Lake

(The namesake)

The Dal Lake in Dharamshala may be considered by most, a poor man's sorry excuse of the lake in Srinagar, but for the optimist, is still a delightful sight for the eyes in a land, devoid only of a significant water body (Bhagsu waterfall aside). Located 2 km from Mcleodganj on the Naddi Road, the lake sits at an altitude of 5,824 feet above sea level and is surrounded by a dense Deodar forest - arguably its biggest attraction! With a small and old Shiva Temple by its banks, the place often holds massy-but-still-fun activities such as boating and fishing. The biggest attraction for most travellers here however is the trail one can walk along around the lake, through the dense Deodar forest. 

War Memorial

An ideal place to celebrate the rich history of the Indian Defense Forces, given the Town's history and how it came up back in 1850 as a subsidiary Cantonment to the British established Kangra Cantonment, the War Memorial at Dharamshala celebrates India's war heroes

Located almost at the town's entry, the memorial was built around a thick pine forest and coupled with a well-maintained walking path and manicured gardens, makes for an ideal walking ground in addition to the patriotic value attached to the place.

Norbulingka Institute

Norbulingka is a community preserving and propagating Tibetan art and culture through a number of initiatives. Though it sees many visitors coming through its doors for the museum and boutique store, it also organizes a number of workshops and events that further the cause of preserving Tibetan arts - not just for the Tibetan community but for the general public as well.

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