MCLEODGANJ/DHARAMSHAL – A FOREVER DESTINATION

Mcleodganj is a destination which you can travel anytime except monsoon(you can but generally it is not recommended). I have travelled to Mcleodganj for more than a couple of times and it is a wonderful and different experience every time. One can never get bored of this destination as this place has a lot to offer to the travellers. The best thing about this place is that you can travel to every tourist attraction on foot and you would not feel tired as everything is so beautiful and mesmerising about this place. Walking at this place is such an exhilarating experience because this place is super clean and the weather in Mcleodganj is breathtaking all throughout the year(sone pe suhaga feels). 

My first  trip from Law college was to Dharamshala, Mcleodganj and Triund. It is just an overnight twelve hour bus journey and bus tickets are easily available. The bus from Delhi to Dharamshala cost around 1000 to 1500 Indian Rupees. I consider Delhiites fortunate for one reason and that is they can directly get a bus to the beautiful mountains of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

One of the reasons for choosing this destination was my fascination towards the Dalai Lama as how China is rattled by this single person. I was fortunate to be in his presence in his temple as he was in Mcleodganj during my vacations. 

You and I hear a lot of stories from different people about how they meet strangers while they are on a trip. Same thing happened to me. I met this amazing tourist from South Korea named David Khun on the way to Dharamshala in the bus. He had a very different and intriguing story. I will talk about it later in this blog/write up.

I met him on the last day of the trip as well where he shared that how much trouble he is going through in life and how he is staying strong. He said that he looks at India for motivation and comes to visit India again and again.

The bus drops you on the petrol-pump near Maximus mall. As soon as you get down from the bus, you will be approached by various taxi drivers and if you have a hotel booking in Dharamshala ignore the taxi drivers but if you have booking in Mcleodganj you will require a taxi as it is 45 minutes walking distance(if you can walk this distance you must walk and enjoy) or you can be careful while booking your bus as there are some buses which drops you directly in Mcleodganj.

My suggestion would be to directly go to Mcleodganj as Dharamshala can be explored on the last of your trip and you can catch the bus from here itself for your home.  One thing to keep in mind is not to book a hostel without enquiring properly as there are few hostels which are in narrow streets in a secluded place and they are not good for a stay. A bad stay can ruin your travel experience. 

DALAI LAMA TEMPLE

The first thing to visit in the morning is to go to Dalai Lama temple and have free tea and bread but they are offered only when some function is going on or the Dalai Lama is holding a public gathering. This place is perfect to spend some quality time, experience calmness and soak in sunlight. Just right outside this temple there are numerous momo stalls and you can savour them after light walking through the temple. 

There are various cafes on the main street which offer delicious breakfast and you can even get chole bhature and rajma chawal. I also feel what is the need of chole bhature on hill station but you and I both are very well about the demand and supply rule. I sometimes feel that a few of the hill stations are losing their authenticity and somehow fail to offer real travel experience. Still there are few cafes which offer authentic tibetan food and must try. There is few cafes on the Mcleodganj square which offers authentic food. You might have some other perspectives on this and you can share them with readers.

KALACHAKRA TEMPLE

Second place to visit is Kalachakra Temple which is located near Mcleodganj square. It is located on a busy street but you will find this temple less crowded. You are allowed to climb stairs and go on the top floor and enjoy unique sculptures. The Temple offers a market view and you can witness cafes which run on the third-fourth floor across the street which you would not have known otherwise. 

The ground floor of the Temple offers Praying wheels which are situated on all the walls and I am sure most of you all have prayed while spinning praying wheels.

ST. JOHN IN THE WILDERNESS CHURCH

The name of the church compliments the area surrounding this church. This church is at a walking distance from the Mcleodganj square. It was built in the year 1852 amidst deodar forest, it is known for its Belgian stained glass windows. At the back of the church many bodies are buried and you can see the graves. 

Just outside the church you will find street food stalls offering maggi, burgers and eggs.

DAL LAKE

Right after visiting the church the next place to visit and witness this heavenly state (Himachal Pradesh) is Dal Lake. It is at a walking distance of 40 mins from the church. There are two ways

1. Through road

2. Through trek. 

Better choice would be the trek if you are not scared of monkeys. By this route you get to visit a local school as this route passes through the playground of this school. 

I was lucky while crossing the school playground as I got to witness a soccer match and a choir practising for some function. They had the sweetest voice. 

This Dal lake was named after the Dal Lake in Kashmir. There is a Lord Shiva temple alongside this lake. You can get local ice-creams from local vendors alongside this lake. I spent an hour at the place and visited the Temple. 

Naddi Point

The Naddi point is on a different route and I was not aware about this place until I had visited Mcleodganj a couple of times. This is on a different route and I walked to this place. The Naddi point offers nothing much but good hotels, calm environment, a meditation centre and a good view. 

There is a meditation centre at Naddi Point called Sahaja Yoga Meditation Centre which offers free 10 minute meditation to everyone. From my and my partner’s appearance they thought that we were foreigners and when they got to know from my accent that I am an Indian their behaviour changed drastically and I felt quite awkward. Anyways the meditation experience was good.

There are a couple of more places which I visited, which I shall add later on as this has already been a long write up.

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