Mcleodganj Travel Guide

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Kuldeep Saini

Often referred to as “”Little Lhasa,” the beautiful town of McLeodganj is a must visit for those touring Himalayas. McLeodganj Travel Guide gives all the basic information of the town.


McLeodganj is a small hill station in Himachal Pradesh state of India. It is the upper part of Dharamshala. Nestled beautifully among the Dhaluadhars mountains this small town is well known world wide for its scenic beauty and as the residence of the Dalai Lama. This small town is the administrative hub of the Tibetan government in exile and is a Buddhist pilgrimage center. People from all over the world come here to learn Buddhism and the Tibetan culture. The town has several ancient temples and monasteries. The atmosphere of the town is very spiritual with Buddhist religious practice and lifestyles. Other than that, it is a perfect destination for nature lovers who want to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature or for the adventure lovers.


Before independence McLeodganj was under the British Empire and was the civil settlement area while Dharamshala was the cantonment area. Named after David McLeod, McLeodganj and Dharamshala became renowned places for commerce, trade and tourism. The British would bring their families to spend the summers here. It became their favorite vacation destination. However, the township was destroyed by an earthquake in 1905. The town never revived from the calamities after that but it remained a vacation destination until independence in 1947. McLeodganj once again created its spell after the Dalai Lama started the exile Tibetan government’s administrative headquarters here. It became the hub of Buddhism learning and a pilgrimage center. It is also the hub of Tibetan culture and tradition that is brought here by the Tibetan refugees who settled here.


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.

Naam Art Gallery  Location :Sidhbari Dharamshala H.P.

‘NAAM ART GALLERY’  exhibits permanently paintings by Elsbeth Buschmann - watercolours and acrylics - and oil paintings by Alfred W. Hallett.

 Elsbeth Buschmann, is a professional painter from Germany, having studied painting in London and Paris .She lived in many countries where she held exhibitions, especially in the USA where she received various awards. Her paintings are in private collections in Germany, USA, Scotland, India and Switzerland. In India she held solo exhibitions at AIFAX, New Delhi and TAG, the Art Gallery of the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai. She also took part in ‘The Himalayan National Exhibition of Art’ and was awarded.

A.W.Hallett is a very well renowned painter from England. He studied art in London and participated in two exhibitions of the Royal Academy of Art, London which entitled him to become a Fellow of the Academy. He held various international exhibitions. He lived over 40 years at Dharamsala and became very popular in Himachal Pradesh. Many of his paintings are owned by the government of Himachal Pradesh. A.W. Hallett held a special interest in the culture and scenery of Himachal Pradesh which are the main elements of his work. He passed away in 1986 at Dharamsala.. The display of his paintings in ‘NAAM ART GALLERY’ are a tribute to this great painter.
 Gallery Timing: 10 am to 7 pm (Monday closed)

 McLeod Ganj also known as upper Dharamsala is the most Tibetan of places in India. In the times of British rule Upper Daramsala was a "hill station", a place where wives and daughters of British officers and government officials spent hot Indian summers.

Marvelously scenic, especially upper Dharamsala is well wooded with oak, cedar, pine and other timber yielding trees and offers some lovely walks and finer views. In 1855, Dharamsala had only two major areas where civilians settled in: McLeodganj, named after Lieutenant Governor of Punjab "David McLeod", and Forsyth Ganj, named after a Divisional Commissioner.

Lord Elgin, the British Viceroy of India (1862-63) fell in love with the natural beauty of Dharamsala because of its likeness with Scotland, his home in England. Lord Elgin died in 1863 while on a tour. He now lies buried in the graveyard of St. John's Church-in-Wilderness which stands in a cozy pine grove between McLeod Ganj and Forsyth Ganj. A Legend has it that Lord Elgin liked Dharamsala so much that he had sent a proposal to the British monarch to make Dharamsala the summer capital of India. However, the proposal was ignored. By 1904, Forsyth Ganj and McLeod Ganj had become nerve centers of trade , business and official work of Kangra District, But on April 4,1905, as a result of a severe earthquake, whole of the area was devastated. Alarmed at the massive destruction, the British government decided to shift the district headquarter offices to the lower reaches of spur. As a result, the present-day district courts and kotwali bazaar areas came into being which earlier had only a jail, a police station and cobbler's shop to boast of. Until India attained independence from Britain on Aug. 15,1947 McLeod Ganj and Forsyth Ganj continued to serve as health resorts and resting places for the British Rulers. But all this changed when the government of India decided to grant political asylum to the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatsho, in 1959. In 1960, he was allowed to make McLeod Ganj his headquarters. After his arrival, trade, commerce and tourism picked up afresh. Because with the Dalai Lama came thousands of Tibetan refugees, who gradually settled in McLeod Ganj. During the last three decades, The Tibetans have built many religious, educational and cultural institutions in and around McLeod Ganj, which has helped in preservation of their culture. This has been a keen area of interest for the people around the world and as a result they flock at Dharamsala at various times.

In the first years of Indian independence, the place quickly lost its importance. In 1959 after the Chinese invasion to Tibet, the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to India and was offered the former hill station, now known as McLeod Ganj, as a place of residence of the Tibetan exile government.

Overall, an amanzing place with fascinating natural resources. 


May 13, 2010 change by prbali

March 28, 2010 change by goadventurefreak

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