As you enter the hills of McLeod Ganj, peace becomes you. The drop in temperature from the sweaty
national capital makes this a truly amazing gateway. But that happens in most hill stations. Here, the mind is calmed and the soul is soothed. It’s therapeutic almost! Call me poetic, but once here, you feel you are in heaven. You feel you are walking in the clouds as they pass you by.Tucked in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, McLeod Ganj is a suburb of Dharamshala, and has a huge tourist population, both desi and firang, flooding this place.
Being an affordable destination, it is populated mostly by firangs who want an inexpensive travel experience in India, and even for the desi traveler, McLoed Ganj can be an ideal choice while planning a quickie trip.After crossing Dharamshala, you reach McLeod Ganj which is nearly 22 kms away and there is a sense of entering the ‘calm zone’. There are a number of hotels in the main market area, which have eateries as well as innumerable rasta shops, selling trinkets, traditional statues and other items. The best experience about this place lies in sitting at one of the cafes facing the hills, as clouds float past you. You drink your cappuccino and let the mind wander.A day’s stay is great to explore the market. On day two you can plan a trip to the Bhagsu waterfall which is close by, around two kms away from McLeod Ganj.
One splash in this fall and you feel your mind is cleansed of the impurities of the world. It is about 500 metres behind Bhagsunath temple. It was interesting to note that the devotees were diving into a swimming pool located in this temple and not going near the fall! If you are the adventurous type, you can take the rocky path down the waterfall and an insanely amazing experience awaits you.Ahead of this lies the Dal Lake, which is 2-km walk from McLeod Ganj market. This too is a perfect place to sit and relax the mind. It is surrounded by Deodar forests, and is also a base camp for trekkers in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. And thank god I had my brand new Olympus VH520 with me to capture all of it and put them up for my Facebook buddies who are slaving back home!For those who dig on tradition, Namgyal Monastery is located towards the southern end.
This is where the holy shrine of Dalai Lama is. Also located here is the Tibet Museum which is popular for highlighting the original Tibetan architectural style blended with modernism. It is the first modern museum in Dharamsala. It houses valued collections of historical documents, manuscripts, Thangka images, pottery and handicraft items. Once you’ve tasted McLeod Ganj’s flavour, you don’t want to leave. ‘Staying Put’ there is on your mind. Always