Around 4km above Dharamsala, or 10km via the main road, McLeod Ganj is the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile and the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It’s also the main traveller hangout in Himachal Pradesh, with dozens of budget hotels, trekking companies, net cafés, traveller restaurants, video movie parlours and wall-to-wall shops selling Tibetan souvenirs.
Dharamsala is situated in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies on a spur of the Dhauladhar range, the Pir Panjal region of the Outer Himalayas; and commands majestic views of the mighty Dhauladhar ranges above, and the Kangra Valley below. Dhauladhar means "white ridge" and this breathtaking, snow-capped range rises out of the Kangra Valley to a height of 5,200 meters (17,000 feet).
McLeod was established in the mid-1850s as a British garrison and it briefly served as an administration centre for the colonial government until the devastating earthquake of 1905. It remained a backwater until 1960, when the Dalai Lama and his entourage claimed asylum here following the Chinese invasion of Tibet.
Since this time, McLeod has become a major centre for the study of Buddhism and Tibetan culture. There are all sorts of holistic activities and courses on offer, and lots of travellers come here to volunteer on community projects that focus on the refugee community.
There are several sight seeing places in McLeodganj. The most important of all is the Buddhist temple, Tsuglag Khang. It is the biggest Buddhist temple outside Tibet and is located opposite to the Dalai Lama's residence. Norbulingka Institute is also a must visit because it is the center for training of traditional Tibetan arts and crafts. You can watch the craftsmen at work. The Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts (TIPA) is another place to learn about the traditional Tibetan dance and opera. There are several monasteries where you can train yourself to practice Buddhism. Other than that, you can also enjoy the serene beauty of the surrounding mountains. Bhagsu Waterfall is an ideal recreation and picnic spot here. You can also go trekking and camping at Triund.
How To Reach
On the MAP:
The nearest Airport is at Gaggla, approxiamtely 13 km away from the town.
The nearest railway station is that of Pathankot, approxiamtely 85 km away.
There are regular bus services from Manali, Delhi and Shimla to Dharamsala.