McLeodganj - Dharamshala - Triund : Through my eyes

McLeodganj View

Planning

Mcleodganj was on my list for a long time.  As Delhi was burning like hell in June, so the McLeodGanj came into the picture to get some relief from the heat.  Summer time is the peak season in Mcleodganj.  You get to see places full of tourist from Delhi and Punjab.  It's better to book your hotel and travel well in advance to avoid last minute rush and rest can be taken care of.

Budget- As we were traveling in a group of six people we took an estimate of 5000/- each

Duration- 3 Days / 2 Night

Month of Travel- Last week of June

How to reach

Bus (the most convenient) - Bus (the most convenient) - We started our journey from Delhi by taking an overnight (11 hrs) bus from Majnu Ka Tilla.  Frequent bus services are available and you can book it from the website like PayTm, Redbus or Goibibo.  Buses were clean and comfortable so overall we had a fairly comfortable journey.

Round Trip Bus ticket- 2400 per person (Volvo/Mercedes)

Flight - One can also take a flight from Delhi to Dharamshala and from there, you will have to book a taxi to Mcleodganj which will take around 50 minute.

Train - The other option is a train till Pathankot and then a two hour drive by road.

On the way to Mcleodganj

Where to stay

Getting a good stay in McLeodGanj is not a problem if you book in advance.  I am not mentioning my hotel name as I had a very bad experience but you can go for TripAdvisor rating and choose a decent hotel.  In peak season they really don't care if you stay or leave.  All the hotels are fully occupied so you have to make some adjustments during peak seasons like June and July.  In the hotel, sometimes you can face water shortage problem or power cut, so be prepared mentally (you can't do anything about it).

Cost - 1000/- Per night with twin sharing (500 Each person)

For two nights, I spent 500x2=1000 on hotel.

Total spent so far- (To and Fro Bus+Hotel) 3400/-

View of Mcleodganj from my hotel

What to do

A 2-3 days trip is enough to cover Dharamsala and Mcleodganj.

You can dedicate
  1. One day to Mcleodganj 
  2.  One day to Triund Trek 
  3. And one full day to Dharamsala

Day 1 - Mcleodganj

Bhagsu Fall

Bhagsu fall

Bhagsu Temple


This is one of the prime attractions in Mcleodganj.   It is a two kilometers trek and worth going to.   Enjoy the scenic beauty and rejuvenate yourself with the effect of ice cold water and green lush surrounding.   You can spend some quality time here by dipping your feet into the water and adorning the beauty of nature.   There are few small cafes out there where you can enjoy some tea, Maggie etc.
There is also notoriously infamous, Shiva Café which is around 1 km from fall.  If you are not too tired from the trek to fall, go to this café where you can find your next tea or coffee served.  Sit there and relax while you enjoy the cold breeze flowing through your body.  The breathtaking view is worth the hike.

Tsunglagkhang & Kalchakra Temple 

Kalchakra Temple

Temple

You can visit Tsunglagkhang complex which is a 10-minute walk from the market.  This place is Dalai Lama's residence.  You can see the Tibetan culture and some monks in action here.   Also, check out the Kalachakra temple which is in the market itself.

Church of St.  Johns

St Johns Church 

St Johns Church

This is just one km away from the main market.  It was built in 1852 in dedication to John the Baptist.  It is also the final resting place of Lord Ergin, governor general and viceroy of India during the British Raj.  You'll get the stunning view of the valley from this place.

  Dal lake and Naddi View Point

Naddi view point

Dal Lake

Oh yes this is named after the Dal Lake of Srinagar, but we didn't find it as beautiful.  It is a small 3 km trek from Mcleodganj.  You can sit here and relax as the lake has calming beauty and surrounded by deodar trees.  Another 2km away is Naddi view point from where you can see the Dhauladhar Range at such a close distance.  Just sit there relax watching the majestic mountain and enjoy the sunset.  

Cost- There is no entry fee anywhere so we only spent on food. You can spend as less or as big on food items here as variety is unlimited. 

Breakfast Lunch Dinner- 370 /-per person 

Total spent - 3770/- per person

Day 2 - Triund trek

Trek in Mcleodganj

View during trek

View of Mcleodganj
Now, this should be your main purpose to go to Mcleodganj.  Triund offers you an escape into the majestic Himalayas.  It Is about 9 km trek from Mcleodganj and provides you a breathtaking scenic view of entire Kangra Valley.  There are few places en-route to get refreshments. You will get everything from Maggi to trek basics like a torch, toiletries and all.  But food options en-route and at the top is very limited. You can choose for an overnight stay by booking in advance.  Ask your hotel to arrange it for you, they will provide a guide as well as a stay including food.

Cost- We trek on our own so spent only on eateries 

Maggie, Snacks, Food- 260/- per person


Total spent- 4030/- per person

Day 3- Dharamshala

As from the trek, you will be tired, so you can hire a taxi to take a trip to Dharamshala.  You can get a taxi with decent price here and it will be easy to cover all the major attraction of Dharamshala in one day.  

A tip: Don't look for the travel booking agencies to get a taxi. You can come to McLeodGanj Square and can see a taxi booth. Negotiate harder with them and you can get a small cab (4+1 driver) in Rs. 1000-1500 and SUV (6+1 Driver) in Rs. 2000-2500. You can visit 6 points in Dharamsala – Museum, War Memorial, HPCA Cricket Stadium, Tea garden, Karmapa Temple and Norbulingka Institute. These are enough. If you want to go further, you can go to Kangra valley and Chamunda Temple but we stopped ourselves here.
After reaching Dharamshala, you should start with the State Museum àTea Garden àWar Memorial à HPCA Stadium  à Norbulingka Institute àKarmapa Temple (Gyuto Monastery), then back to McLeodganj. 

Kangra Art Museum

Kangra art museum 

Artist at museum 

Museum 

If you have taste for sculptures, paintings, and statues - this is the place for you. You will get to see the things discovered through the excavation of old civilization. You can also see artists doing a beautiful painting. Entry ticket cost is rupees 20.

Tea Garden

Tea garden Dharamshala

Tea garden Dharamshala

Dharamshala has beautifully lined and organized tea gardens.  One can enjoy Walking in between the lanes of the gardens and clicking whole lot of photographs.

 War Memorial

Salute to our heroes 
Name written of brave heroes

Very close to HPCA stadium, it is situated in the pine forests and builds in the memory our real heroes who fought for saving our motherland.  There is a very big park where you can relax and have fun. Entry ticket will cost you 10 rupees.

 HPCA Stadium

HPCA Stadium 

HPCA Stadium 

It's pretty small though but has a breathtaking view with snow-capped mountains at the background. The beautiful stadium is open for tourist even if no matches are being played here, so do check out this scenic beauty!

 Norbulingka Institute

Norbulingka Institute

Norbulingka Institute

Norbulingka Institute

Doll museum Norbulingka Institute

Doll museum Norbulingka Institute

I just loved this place the main objective of Norbulingka is to preserve and encourage Tibetan arts and culture.  This place in a tranquil setting with beautiful gardens is very differently built and has a very positive and attractive vibe to it.  The doll museum also there shows various rituals of their festival celebrations dance forms etc.  The institute has a restaurant and café as well where you can sit and enjoy some fine coffee. There is an entry ticket cost of rupees 20.

 Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery

Beautiful Gyuto Monastery

Monks working on painting in Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery

The place is very peaceful and clean.  You can see monks chanting and doing a different kind of works.  Beautiful paintings and idols of Lord Buddha embellish the place and the Dhauladhar range can be seen in the background.

Cost- Taxi- Total 2400/-(400/- per person)

Food- 425/- per person

Entry tickets-50 /- per person

Total- 4900/- per person

What/ where to eat

The Infamous Shiva's Cafe

Thai Lunch at Four seasons Cafe, McLeodGanj

Restaurants here serve up delicious Tibetan food.  Enjoy yummiest Thupka and Momos in Tibet kitchen.  We also loved the chow mien and delicious pasta of Four seasons café.  Every café has a variety of dishes to offer, each in their own signature style.

Where to shop

Streets of Mcleodganj - Best place to shop.


Shopping in Mcleodganj has plenty to offer.  Tibetan silver jewelry, Tibetan Singing Bowls, different types of Buddha Statutes, wind chimes, home decorating items, thangkas, mini prayer wheels and colorful Tibetan flags.You can also pick up hand-knitted scarfs, slippers, and cute bracelets  and bangles .While the high prices may put you off initially, put your bargaining skills to the test for a better deal.
We did only a few shopping as prices were really high and we had already crossed our budget.

The Amazing Singing Bowl

Singing Bowl

Check out more about Amazing Singing Bowl


We took the bus from Mcleodgunj to Delhi in the evening; you can also board the bus from Dharamshala.

With some happy and beautiful memories, we bid good bye to this beautiful place, until we meet again.

Bonus Tip- You can cut down on mention budget by doing some saving like instead of a taxi to Dharamshala you can start a little early around 8 am or 9 am and take the bus to Dharamshala. It costs you Rs 15-20 per person and then hire a cab/taxi from Dharamshala to tour the local place. The taxi from there will cost you Rs 600-1000 depending on the season.

I will not suggest traveling on your own vehicle to Mcleodgunj in peak season, as I have seen people stuck in traffic for more than 7-8 hours. Obviously, you don't want to ruin your whole fun by sitting in car whole day. Even hotels also don't have parking space, if you like to travel by car it's better to park it when you reach Mcleodgunj and trek to all the nearby places, it will save your time as well as you will feel the essence of the place.

Should you feel to add up your experience that can help others planning a trip to McLeodganj, please feel free to write in the comments.

Let me know if you have any question, I would love to answer them. :-)

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