Amidst the magnificent valleys of Himachal Pradesh rests the mesmerizing town of Mcleodganj. A suburb in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, with its spellbinding beauty, it is quite the holiday destination you would love to visit.
Tourists, who have been to Mcleodganj, call it the ‘NO MAN’S LAND’. A recent visitor Kamal Pandey, shared some wonderful moments of his stay with One World News.
Introducing us to this beautiful place, Kamal describes how ‘emancipated’ Mcleodganj is, “People are least bothered about what you do, who you are, where you stay etc. In fact at various places, the foreign tourists are to be found trading different accessories including clothes and bags. They even offer language classes, dance classes, yoga sessions and many other extra-curricular activities to ensure a longer stay at this beautiful spot.”
Recognized as the residence of Dalai Lama, Mcleodganj has a great influence of Tibetan art & culture. If you are an avid admirer of art, visiting this place in the month of May would be nothing less than a treat to the eyes, as it is during this period that the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts celebrates a festival of theatre, music and dance, which needless to say, leaves you in awe of the virtuosity.
The overall area is big enough to be covered on foot but if visiting Dharamshala is also on your list, better take an auto rickshaw or a bus. “Truind and Bhagsu temple/waterfall will surely take your heart away,” confessed Kamal.
The Bhagsu temple is two kilometres from the main market of Mcleodganj and the waterfall is approximately 700-1000 meters further. One can take an auto, which charges somewhere around Rs.50 or can simply stroll which takes not more twenty minutes to reach. “Do not forget to carry a bottle of water and a camera to capture the splendid view”, advices Kamal. First in the line is the Bhagsu Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the most relaxing places where one can experience the leisure of a swimming pool, increasing the fun to many a folds.
The Bhagsu waterfall comes soon after. The scenic view and the sound of the water falling here is evident to imbibe in your memories. “The thing that I enjoyed particularly was the sound. It gave a new meaning to serenity. You could just listen to it endlessly and not get enough of it. The best part it is that you get to bathe in the waterfall, provided you are up for cold, extremely cold water,” Kamal adds.
Hereafter, the journey to the main Mcleodganj market begins which undoubtedly is an attraction spot for all, especially ladies. The market offers a variety of stuffs like stone jewellery, handmade diaries, beautiful paintings, Buddhist flags etc. and if you feeling binge to eat some good after hours of trekking, shopping and sight-seeing then the market has bundles of eateries offering various cuisines.
Triund which is around eleven kilometres from McLeodganj and nine from the upper suburb of Dharamkot is among the most visited places, if new to the little Lhasa. “If you are a trekker then there cannot be a better place than Triund to trek, I assure you. The quiet atmosphere apart from the burble of the flowing water is just….., I always get stuck for the right word, for the time being let just put it ‘tranquil’. It just sets you free”, relives Kamal. The trek is a long and tiresome one but all you need is a look around to feel rejuvenated. Do not worry, there are also various camps/resting spots for the trekkers in between. Energy drinks and food is available at these spots but mind you the prices might be uphill.
After two-three hours of strenuous yet exquisite trekking you get to the top of the hill and it is Triund, where you have reached. The jaw-dropping view from there is an unavoidable part of your vacation stories. Make sure you have enough adjectives and superlatives to explain the feeling to your friends and family. “If you want, you can (I will say you should) have a stay at the night. You can find a tent for about 600-700 rupees which can easily manage two occupants; a blanket would charge you another hundred though. But, what you will savour for the rest of your life is the view of the lightened up Mcleodganj from uphill. The sight of the stars gazing on you is also a moment in its own,” expresses Kamal.
Other places which are worth a visit:
Tsug La Khang: The Dalai Lama’s temple is nothing less than the life line of Mcleodganj. The temple is usually chock-a-block but definitely a must see.
Masroor Temple: Situated in Kangra, this temple is believed to be built by the Pandava brothers from the Mahabharata. The temple also consists of idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman from the Ramayana along with the carvings of Lord Buddha. Masroor is about 50km from McleodGanj which is around a one-and-a-half hour drive.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium: Situated amidst the mountains it quite fascinating indeed. Inaugurated in 2003, it holds cricket matches (Ranji Trophy and IPL).
Tibet Museum: If you are curious to know more about the culture and history of Mcleodganj then the Tibet Museum is surely your place to visit. The museum is placed inside the temple complex and is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9 Am to 5 PM, entry fee being a mere five rupees.
St. John’s Church in Wilderness: Built in 1952, the church is known for its Belgian stained-glass painting by an unknown Italian painter. Situated in a deodar grove the church also has a small graveyard on the surrounding grounds. Behind the church lies the final resting place of Lord Elgin, Governor General & Viceroy of India in 1861 during the British Raj, who breathed his last breath in McLeodganj in the year 1863. This church should definitely be on the go-to list.
You might get surprised with the variety of authentic cuisines Mcleodganj has to offer. You name it and you have it. From German to Italian, Mexican to continental, Chinese to Indian every cuisine is mouth watering. The taste is exactly like what you would get in the native places. And yes! The pocket crunch is never to be felt as they are economical to the t.
Mcleodganj is one of the few places in India where cleanliness is amongst its prime features. The NGO’s over here have a huge role in this accomplishment. It is so clean that you would not mind sitting on roads, on the pavements or camp anywhere in the mountains. Beyond all this, there are other NGO’s which provide quality education and also help develop skills of the refugees so they can earn a living in other countries. Few of the prominent NGO’s in Mcleodganj are:-
Tibet World: Operating since 17th February 2013, Tibet World aims to preserve and cultivate the Tibetan culture around the world. It holds education programmes and skill-building workshops, environmental and cultural activities to help improve their lifestyle.
Waste Warriors: This NGO is involved in waste management activities in the Bhagsunag area. They hold clean-up programs thrice a week and host regular children’s day and art projects that volunteers can participate in.
Rogpa: This NGO has a café cum shop in Mcleodganj where all the profits go to the local projects working towards empowerment of single mothers, baby care centers etc.
Now how would you reach here?
Taking a flight is easiest way to reach Mcleodganj, there is a flight in every two hours from Delhi, every day. From Gaggal Airport, Mcleodganj is about twenty kilometres away, hopping on a taxi is best.
There are a lot of trains travelling to Pathankot as well, which is again not far from Mcleodganj.
“It’s a place for you if you are a nature lover. The beautiful sceneries, the cold breeze, the feeling of losing your breath while climbing/trekking is worth experiencing. Adding to all this, admiring the rising sun in the midst of the mountains is a view you would love to capture with your naked eyes,” concluded Kamal Pandey.
Picture Courtesy : Kamal Pandey
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