Shopping in Mcleodganj

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Mcleod Ganj, sometimes known as 'Little Lhasa' because of its role as home away from home for the exiled Tibetans and the Dalai Lama, is a peaceful place that sits high above sea level on the edge of the Himalayan Mountains. Mainly a place to visit for reflection and relaxation, you won't find any mega-shopping malls here. But that shouldn't dissuade you from doing some shopping. Mcleod Ganj is home to Tibetan culture and arts, and you can get some great handcrafted one-of-a-kind finds here. But in your quest for the perfect shopping trip, don't forget to take time to relax and enjoy the main attraction of this town, which is peace and quiet.

The Norbulingka Institute

Located a short way south of Mcleod Ganj, the Norbulingka Institute is dedicated to preserving and stimulating Tibetan art and culture. A worthwhile destination on its own, it features beautiful architecture, gardens, and a museum showcasing traditional Tibetan clothing on 150 small dolls. But for the shopper, the real treasure of Norbulingka Institute is the shop, which showcases the art of the students and artists who work at the institute. Here you can find silk appliqued hangings, cushion covers, traditionally painted and hand-carved Tibetan boxes and chests, bed spreads and much more. One great thing to pick up is a Thangka, which is a ritual painting that is traditionally displayed during Buddhist festivals. Thangkas have become very popular with tourists. Brightly painted onto canvas bordered with silk, they are a great souvenir.

The Bazaars

Mcleod Ganj's local street-front shops, or bazaars, are a great place to pick up some rare finds. In addition to Tibetan handicrafts, you can find New Zealand and Indian wool carpets, Tibetan books, meditation music and herbal incense. Use your own discretion when it comes to  bargaining, depending on where you are, you may or may not get anywhere. If you're interested, you can even get a traditional Tibetan dress, or chuba, hand-stitched while you wait. Another worthwhile stop is the Green Store, where you can find brightly painted shirts and paper made by hand.


Located near the entrance to Mcleod Ganj, Nowroji's is a great place to look for souvenirs and handcrafted goods for your trip home. Finds here include Tibetan carpets, wooden masks, beads, Buddhist paintings, jewelry and metal votives. If you have plenty of time, you can even have a carpet woven to your exact tastes on-site.

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pitfalls in shopping

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while shopping in mcleodganj is an exciting prospect, esp the loads of silver jewellery on display, be very wary of the prices being quoted. the stuff is good but there is no limit to the sheer robbery the shopkeepers come down to. i was entranced by the wares of this little shop in a small bylane run by asif and came home to learn that he had charged me almost five times the actual rates-more fool me.

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