The spiritual retreat of Dharamshala has been established to be a safe haven for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees. Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh have a great mix of cultures and characters.

Dharamshala and McLeodganj are best visited together. They are the tourist districts where tourists visit to meet and listen to the 14th Dalai Lama. Snuggled in the Shivalik range, McLeodganj is a destination of its kind. With vibrant monasteries, quaint cafes, and thrilling adventure activities, there are a number of fun things to do in Dharamshala and McLeodganj. The best way to reach Dharamshala is via bus. You can catch a bus from Delhi and go to Dharamshala, which is around 520 km away. From there, a cab will take you to McLeodganj.

The nearest airport to Dharamshala is Gaggal, which is 13 km away from Dharamshala. The nearest railway station is Pathankot, 85 kilometers away. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to your destination.

The best time to visit Dharamshala and McLeodganj is from September to December and mid-March to mid-July for the best experience.

Here is a list of the best places to visit in Dharamshala and McLeodganj.

Dal Lake

Nestled between the lush green Deodar forests, the Dal Lake in McLeodganj will offer you a serene view. There are a number of boating options available on Dal Lake for tourists. Visiting the Dal Lake and getting lost in its beauty is one of the best things to do in McLeodganj, especially when you are planning a family trip to McLeodganj. The opening hours for the lake are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Triund Trek

Triund is one of the best places to visit in McLeodganj. Trekking is part and parcel of the trip to Dharamshala and McLeodganj. Just behind the majestic Dhauladhar ranges, Triund lies at a height of 9,000 feet. The trek is 9 km long and is a breathtaking experience. You can also plan an overnight stay at the Forest Rest House on the top of the ridge, or you can plan to camp.

Kareri Lake Trek

Himachal Pradesh is full of amazing trek trails in Dharamshala and McLeodganj, and this is one of them. Kareri Lake is formed due to the melting of glaciers from Mankiani Peak. This trek gives you a view of the lush forests and alpine grasslands. It is filled with Chir pine and Chilgoza pine, and the latter half of the trek consists of rocky grasslands. The Kareri Lake Trek is a pleasant weekend trek in McLeodganj with fewer people and thus more serene and quiet time.

Indrahar Pass Trek

The Indrahar Pass trek is another one of the amazing trek trails in Dharamshala and McLeodganj. It starts in the Kangra Valley and ends at Chamba. Offering a view of the Dhauladhar and the Pir Panjal range, it is classified as a moderate-to-difficult trek trail. Passing through the green meadows and dense deodar forests, the trekker can feel nothing but satisfaction and rejuvenation. There is a guarantee of a view of Mani Mahesh Kailash in the region. This makes it one of the most sacred things to do in Dharamshala and McLeodganj. The Indrahar Pass Trek is an adventurous thing to do in Dharamshala and McLeodganj; hence, it is advised to take all the necessary gear with you. The best seasons to take up this trek are from mid-May to June and September to mid-October.

Bhagsu Trek

The Bhagsu trek is one of the best things to do in Dharamshala and McLeodganj. It commences from McLeodganj and covers a distance of 12 km to the Bhagsu waterfalls. The elevation is 2,400 meters, making it a moderate trek for beginners. The Bhagsu trek trails through Dharamkot, Galu, and Naddi villages on its way. The foothills of the Dhauladhar can be seen on this trek, and Naddi village offers a picturesque view of the Dhauladhar.

The Kangra Valley Trek

This blog seems to have turned into a blog on the best treks in McLeodganj! Another one of these must-experience treks in McLeodganj, the Kangra Valley Trek, gives you a view of the Dhauladhar range. This trek is an easy one and takes you to old temples, lakes, and unexplored Hindu towns on its way.

Dalai Lama’s Temple, Tsug La Khang

Home to the Dalai Lama, the Tsug La Khang is of core essence to the town of McLeodganj. It comprises Namgyal Monastery and a number of statues of Buddha, Chenrezig, and Guru Rinpoche. The artwork is primarily Tibetan, and visiting this temple is one of the most sacred things to do in McLeodganj. Ling Khor is a meditation trail close to Tsung La Khang, where you come across shrines and stupas. It is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bhagsu Waterfalls

Bhagsu lies in the close vicinity of the Bhagsunath temple of Lord Shiva. Spending some time here and listening to the water flowing from the mountains is one of the best things to do in McLeodganj. The cafeteria near these falls can also be enjoyed, and you can take a trek to these falls. It opens from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can also visit numerous spa centres and meditation spiritual retreats in the vicinity.

Local Markets

With a confluence of Tibetan culture in McLeodganj, the markets in the towns of Dharamshala and McLeodganj are covered with Tibetan souvenirs and jewelry. You can buy things from these markets. Bargaining is also available, and spending some time in the colorful and vibrant market is the best thing to do in Dharamshala and McLeodganj. Some major street markets are Kotwali Bazar, Jogibara Road, and McLeodganj Central Square.

Cafe Hopping

Cafe hopping is one of the interesting things to do in McLeodganj. You can find a variety of home-cooked Tibetan meals in various cafes and restaurants all over the towns of McLeodganj and Dharamshala. The view of mountains and lush greenery makes the food taste even better. Some of our favorite cafes in Dharamshala and McLeodganj are Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen, the German Bakery, Illiterati Books and Coffee. The estimated price ranges from INR 250–500.

Kangra Fort

One of the oldest forts in India, Kangra Fort, is famous for its rich past. This fort depicts the war records of Alexander as well as the Mughal invasions. Do not miss out on this place, as it is one of the best things to do in Dharamshala and McLeodganj.

There are a number of exciting things to do in McLeodganj and Dharamshala, some of which we have noted here. Other than these, you can indulge in spa therapy and yoga and meditation sessions for another rejuvenating experience at McLeodganj and Dharamshala. You can also take Tibetan cooking classes just for the fun of it. With so many beautiful places to visit in Dharamshala and McLeodganj, we hope your trip is worthwhile.

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