This small town serves as an ideal place for family outings and interesting ones. It also works well for people who are looking forward to a budget trip or a weekend getaway. There are more than 10 Best Things to do in Mcleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.
There are many places and activities here that will keep you busy for days, weeks, and even. The only thing that will limit you to Mcleod Ganj will be the time you can afford.
It has a long list of places to visit are as the Dalai lama temple dedicated to Tibetan culture and the Tibetan museum, traditional Tibetan art forms, the Tibetan Institute of performing arts, the Dalai lama’s temple dedicated to contemporary Tibetan architecture, authentic Tibetan cuisine, lord buddha, Tibetan historical documents, Tibetan style, Dalai lama’s residence, and also several shrine rooms in Mcleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.
Mcleod Ganj is one of the best hill stations in Himachal Pradesh.
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Mcleodganj is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. In fact, I think it will follow in the list behind Shimla and Manali. It is one of those places where there has never been a season without work. Regardless of the month and season of your visit, you will always find visitors to Mcleodganj and its variety. from there you can see entire kangra valley, kangra valley is also a hill station (places to visit).
Filled with Shivaliks, Mcleodganj is one of its kind places. Healthy monasteries, magnificent backyard, amazing cafes, and fun activities have made it one of India’s favorite summer vacation destinations. There are so many wonderful things you can do in Mcleodganj. From trips to resorts, hot drinks to delicious food, spiritual places to boating – the list is everything.
But before we move on to our list of the best things you can do in Mcleodganj, let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights that will help you plan your trip to Mcleodganj. Choose the ones you like best and slide into a fun trip right away!
Accommodation / Places to visit in Mcleodganj
- Bhagsu Falls
- Bhagsu Nag Temple
- Shiva Cafe
- Sunset Point
- Saint John in the Church of the Desert
- Namgyal monastery
- Kangra Castle
- Masroor Rock-Cut Temples
- Tibet Museum
- Norbulingka Institute
- Dal Lake
- Gunna Devi Temple
- Carmel Lake
- Indrahaar Pass and Minkiani Pass
Things to do in Mcleodganj
- Relax and Be Happy
- Buy Souvenirs
- Try Tibetan Food
- Enjoy Cultural Exhibitions
- Take a Yoga Session and Spa Treatment
- Boating at Dal Lake
What you can see in Mcleodganj
I will start by writing down all the tourist attractions in Macleodganj followed by a brief description of all of them. After covering the places you can visit, I will be talking about some of the activities and other fun things you can do in Mcleodganj.
The waterfall is probably the most visited tourist destination in Mcleodganj. It is located in the village of Bhagsu in Upper Mcleodganj and can be reached 3 km long. While the journey may seem a bit long for some people, it is actually a fun journey that can easily end even for adults and children.
From Mcleodganj, you will start by arriving at Bhagsu Nag Temple after a 2 km walk and then continue the 1 km waterfall. In fact it is only the last trip of this trip that may seem difficult to some people but there are tea shops and small restaurants on the trip where you can take a short break.
The waterfall is about 60 feet [20 m] long and is known for its blue landscape and stunning landscape. You can enjoy a fun ride, click on pictures of beautiful vistas around and immerse yourself in the waterfall.
It is a great trip for people of all ages and groups. Most of the tourists complete the trek to the waterfall and return to Mcleodganj from here but if you were on it, you can continue to the Shiva Cafe; details of which I have discussed further in the article.
Bhagsu Nag Temple
The Bhagsu Nag Temple is an ancient 18th-century temple and falls along the way as you make your way to the falls. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a few legends related to it. Another legend says that King Shiva visited and blessed the place himself in ancient times because this temple was built and dedicated to him.
According to one legend, the temple was built by King Bhagsu in honor of the serpent god. Surrounded by coniferous forests, rolling hills, and spectacular waterfalls, a magnificent temple is one of the most visited places in Mcleodganj. Its stone walls are adorned with elaborate paintings and inscriptions.
There is also a temple in the temple that is said to have been built by the Gurkha rulers in the first place. Visitors are allowed to immerse themselves in the lake but it is sometimes crowded here.
From Mcleodganj, you will first reach Bhagsu Nag Temple and then follow Bhagsu Nag Falls. A lot of people come back here and you can come back too but if you take a longer trip, you can go on to Shiva Café. Actually just a small cafe but I list it as a guest area because of its location.
Going to a cafe will allow you to travel on an unpaved trail and be difficult in a few places. But the cafe space and food here will make an effort. It’s a great place to sit and relax, have something, and click on the beautiful pictures with a beautiful background.
Next up in the tourist line in Mcleodganj will definitely be the Triund Trek. It is considered one of the best routes in the country and is considered the treasure of Mcleodganj’s crown.
While a short trip to Bhagsu Waterfall is a very family affair, it is the Triund that rules the hearts of anyone who is looking forward to taking a difficult trip and perhaps camping.
Please note that although I said “hard trip”, the Triund difficulty level is on the easy-to-medium side. As long as you are ready to go a few hours, you will be able to finish it easily.
The total length of the trip is about 7 miles which will take you to the top where you can sleep at night or in the camps or in the HPPWD lounge. Of course, there is a cement lodge available here but you will need to book this in advance. Please read How to Book a HPPWD Rest House for more details on the topic.
The entire length of the trek is marked by lush green vegetation, rugged terrain, views of the few Himalayan peaks of the Dhauladhar range, the appearance of rare birds, and herds of grazing sheep.
I have included the title of the Triund Trek in detail in another article, How to Organize Your Triund to Triund. If you have the time and energy, the trip to Triund in Clevelganj should not be missed at any cost. However, there are a few places where the trend is slow and it is not recommended to try with family including adults and children. In some places, you may have to jump over small rocks.
As the name suggests, it is a popular destination in Macleodganj to capture an amazing view of the sunset. It is located about 4 km from the main town on Naddi Road and is also known as Naddi’s view. The view here at dusk is amazing. In fact, two of my favorite places to catch the sunset are one of Tibba’s Kali near the Chail.
As the sun begins to set, it looks as if the whole sky is blazing. On the one hand, the sun will set while on the other hand, its rays will turn the Dhauldhars peaks into glowing oranges.
It is indeed an idea not to be missed while in Mcleodganj. Even if you have been in the city for one day, you should still make time to be in this place at the end of the day. Dal Lake, another tourist destination, is nearby so you can combine both places together.
Saint John in the Desert Church
The church was built in 1852 by Lord Elgin, former Governor-General and Viceroy of India. It is said that Lord Elgin visited Mcleodganj and was so impressed with the place that he decided to make it the summer capital of India. He lived the last days of his life here and was buried very close to the church.
The church glass windows are painted by a Belgian artist. The church is about a mile before you reach the big city and you can be visited even on the way to Mcleodganj or on your way back. It is surrounded by lush green forests and is a must-visit for anyone visiting Mcleodganj. I would personally recommend that you stand for a while in the church.
Even if you are not interested in monasteries or Tibetan or Buddhist culture, a visit to the Namgya Monastery is still highly recommended. Commonly called the “Temple of the Dalai Lama”, it is the private palace of the 14 Dalai Lama. An important role of this palace is to assist with practices involving the Dalai Lama himself.
Its main tantric practices are reportedly those of Kalachakra, Yamantaka, Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja, and Vajrakilaya as a result of what is commonly called Namgyal Tantric College. It is located 5 km from Mcleodganj.
This ancient fort is located approximately 25 kilometers from the main town of Mcleodganj, 20 kilometers from Dharamshala on the outskirts of Kangra city.
It is one of the largest castles in the whole of Himachal and is probably the oldest ever recorded in India. There is a driveway to the castle and you can also get a bus if you take public transportation.
It was built by the Rajput royal family of Kangra Province and had been through many wars and attacks throughout its history. The fort was severely damaged by an earthquake on April 4, 1905 but still retains its royal beauty and magnificent beauty.
You should visit anyone who is interested in historical monuments, ancient buildings, or photography. The castle also has a spectacular view of the confluence of the Banganga and March rivers. Like local mythology, the person who owns the castle owns the entire Kangra.
There are a few other tourist attractions near the castle. The famous Jayanti Mata Temple built on a hill and the Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch Museum owned by the royal family of Kangra are also worth a visit.
Masroor Rock-Cut Temples
The Masrur Temples, also known as the Masroor Temples or the Rock-cut Temples in Masrur, are another historical monument near Mcleodganj and is often referred to as its hidden treasure. It is a set of 15 stone carvings and is an amazing example of beautiful architecture.
These temples are among the least inspected throughout Himachal and you will not find visitors here. The whole area of the temple looks amazing with the mountains of Dhauladhar in the background. These temples are what you would truly call a man-made miracle and the untouched beauty of nature combined.
If you want to visit the offbeat site in Clevelganj, Masrur Temples is the place to go. It is located about 30 km from Mcleodganj and a visit here will require at least half a day.
The Tibet Museum is located near the great temple of the Dalai Lama and is a wonderful place to visit if you want to learn about Tibetan history.
They have a collection of more than 30,000 photographs depicting Chinese occupation of Tibet, all over the human rights abuses perpetrated by Chinese forces in Tibet; and a series of events leading up to the deportation of the Dalai Lama. There is no admission fee to the museum and they use a documentary in Tibet twice a day here.
This is another place you can visit to learn more about Tibetan culture. They have some working hours but it will cost you Rs. 50 as entrance fee here (if you were not a Tibetan). For Tibetans, entry fee is Rs. 20.
As the name suggests, this small lake is named after a larger and more well-known lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. It is located about 4 km from Mcleodganj near the town of Tota Rani. There is a small temple near the lake dedicated to Durveshwar Mahadev, for which the lake is also considered sacred.
There is also a festival exhibition that takes place here once a year. Boating on the lake is available and can be a great place to visit if you have children with you. But it also fills up a bit here too.
Gunna Devi Temple
The temple is located about 8 km from Mcleodganj and 13 kilometers from Dharamshala; at an altitude of 2310 feet. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali and is the pilgrim center for Gaddi shepherds. Surrounded entirely by oak and deodar forests, the temple offers a spectacular view of the nearby mountains of Dhauladhar.
To get here, you will first have to drive to Naddi Village near Dal Lake and then walk the last 4 miles to the temple. It will take you about 2 to 3 hours to reach the temple from Mcleodganj and if you like, you can stay here overnight. The temple has basic sleeping quarters that provide mattresses and blankets.
Kareri Lake is a high, shallow, freshwater lake located at an altitude of 7,000 feet [2,934 m]. It is fed by melting ice from the nearby mountains of Minkiani and remains completely frozen during the winter months. There is also a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on a mountaintop near the lake.
It is a wonderful trip that will introduce some of the most beautiful and memorable places along the way. Please note that this trip will require at least 3 days to complete.
The total distance from Dharamshala to Dharamshala is about 28 kilometers. Kareri Lake is also the base for walking to Minkiani Pass (4,250 meters) and Baleni Pass (3,710 meters).
Indrahaar Pass and Minkiani Pass
If you are on a trip and have time you can continue the long journey behind Lake Kareri towards the suburbs of Indrahaar and Minkiani. This will be a journey of at least 6 to 7 days. If done at a leisurely pace then this could be a worthwhile 9 day trip.
Dharamkot is a small village about 5 km from Mcleodganj. It is also known as the “Hippie village” because many foreigners have lived here. At the top of the hill above the McLeodGanj, Dharamkot offers extensive views of the Kangra Valley and the Dhauladhar range.
There are few restaurants and guesthouses here and many people prefer to go to Dharamkot instead because it is not congested here compared to the busy city of Mcleodganj. For more information, please see How to Plan a Journey to Dharamkot.
You should visit Places in Mcleodganj
How many places you can visit will depend entirely on your time. But if I list the places you should visit in Mcleodganj then Bhagsu Waterfall, Bhagsu Nag Temple, Namgyal Monastery, and Triund will be four.
These areas can be easily covered in 4 days. Reach Mcleodganj on Day 1 and be comfortable. On the 2nd day, visit Bhagsu Falls; and the temple and wander around the market and enjoy local food and shopping. You can visit the convent later in the day. On day 3, ride to Triund and return in the evening. He will return home on Day 4.
If, however, you were traveling with a family you would have to keep Triund out of order and you can replace it by visiting Kangra Fort or the Masrur temple.
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Things to do in Mcleodganj
After the sights, let me now talk about some of the tourist activities I have to do in Macleodganj (apart from visiting all of the places listed above).
Relax and Be Happy
This sounds like an obvious thing but I still keep it at the top of the list. If you are in Mcleodganj, focus only on how you can make the most of your time.
There are many places you can visit here that I have listed above and you should try to visit them all. Try things you have never done before and let Mcleodganj be an experience you will remember for a long time.
Second on the list will be photography. Click crazy and take as many photos as you can. You will be given many opportunities to indulge in all kinds of images including landscape, photo, night sky, wildlife, and much more.
This will be one of the top activities in Mcleodganj. This place is probably a paradise for anyone with little interest in hiking and camping. Depending on the time you are in, you can take a short trip to Bhagsu Waterfall or Triund or a more difficult trip to Indrahaar Pass and Minkiani Pass.
The Triund will be a great camping site in Mcleodganj. You can bring your own camping gear or get into any of the top camps.
Mcleodganj is a great place to shop. And I’m not talking about buying cheap stuff. I’m talking about small monuments, sculptures, Thangka paintings, or trinkets that you can buy as a reminder of your time there.
Temple Road will be a great place to shop. If you would like a crowded and quiet place, try dropping us off at the Kotwali Bazaar.
Try Tibetan Food
The trip to Mcleodganj is not complete unless you try the local food here which is a mix of Tibetan and Indian cuisine. There are a few restaurants in the big city that serve delicious continental dishes. What else?
You can even take cooking classes in Mcleodganj and add Tibetan dishes to your personal menu. Lhamo’s kitchen and Sangey’s kitchen are two such venues that offer real-time Tibetan cuisine for travelers.
Enjoy Cultural Exhibitions
The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts will be a place to enjoy the beautiful exhibitions of Tibetan Culture that combine traditional dance and music. Occasionally, they also show Lhamo, a local 6-hour-long opera.
If stargazing is something you would absolutely love with Clevelganj. The clear skies above the snowcapped peaks will be a delight to behold.
Take Yoga Sessions and Spa Therapies
Om Yoga Center, Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Center, Universal Yoga Center, and Tushita Meditation Center are some of the local Yoga study centers where you can learn Yoga. There are also a few Spa treatment centers in Mcleodganj that are popular among tourists.
Boat Ride to Dal Lake
If you are traveling with your family then bringing your children for a boat ride to Dal Lake is a must. They will absolutely love it here.
Places to Visit in Mcleodganj – Conclusion
That’s great. These will be the highest places you can see in Mcleodganj. I’m sure the list could be made longer but that would require spending a few days in the city, such as setting up a base and exploring nearby areas.
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