In my mind, India was always a country that mainly consisted of dry, hot climate. I would have never imagined the scenery that we found in Mc Leod Ganj in the Himchal Pradesh region of India, close to the Himalayas.
McLeod Ganj is situated on approximately 2,000 metres in a hillside and mainly known for being the headquarters for the Tibetan government-in-exile. Our visit to the Tibetan Museum was very impressive and taught us a lot about the Chinese invasion in Tibet and how the Tibetans came to McLeod Ganj.
The Tibetan community in this small town is huge and you will mainly find Tibetan food, souvenirs and clothing in the numerous market stalls around town. After a few weeks in India this can be a nice change of cuisine!
One of the highlights of McLeod Ganj was a visit to Tsuglag Khang, the temple of the Dalai Lama. McLeod Ganj is the official residence of the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan exile.
The small town is a hotspot for tourists from all over the world and a visit to this temple is a must do. I expected it to be a lot bigger and more impressive, but since the Dalai Lama’s philosophy is simplicity, his temple is also rather simple but still beautiful.
On the picture below you can see the prayer wheels were the monks and also other people that come to the monastery to take a break and find mindfulness come to pray.
Whilst I was walking through the temple, I met a lovely German girl who was doing a meditation retreat here and told me how enjoyable it is to live with the monks and experience their culture first hand.
Apart from strolling around the markets, there is plenty of wonderful nature to discover. The Bhagsu waterfall is just a short but very picturesque walk away from McLeod Ganj, near a village called Bhagsu Nag.
There are lots of tour operators offering hiking tours with an overnight stay on the mountain, but be warned, it can get quite cold at night!
What I loved most about McLeod Ganj was the atmosphere. Although there were still lots of tourists, it felt less crowded than the rest of India. There were lots and lots of little cafes and yoga studios around were you can relax. Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you about the fantastic Ayurvedic massages you can find here!
McLeod Ganj offers a very different piece of India and will make you fall in love with it even more! I can definitely see how you can spend a long time in this place without ever getting bored of the amazing views!
Have I made you curious to see this wonderfully different part of India yet? What places are on your travel bucket list at the moment?