Popularly referred to as the “Little Lhasa” in India, McLeodganj is a majestic hill station which is located 4Km above Dharamsala, and is the current residence of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. Named after the former Governor of Punjab, David McLeod, the word “ganj” means “neighborhood” in Hindi language. Known for its ancient temples such as Tsuglagkhang, which enshrines Sakyamuni Buddha, Avalokitesvara, and Padmasambhava, to the DipTse Chokling Monastery on Camel Track Road, the hill station is popular among those who seek spiritual enlightenment and the blessings of His Holiness. Its natural beauty and hospitable attitude towards travelers makes it a safe destination for individuals and groups to visit. 

Travel Tips

Best time to travel – The best time to travel to McLeodganj is between March and June, and mid-September to November. During these periods, the weather is cool, but not uncomfortably so, and one can get around and enjoy the sights.

Due to the consistent influx of foreign travelers, McLeodganj is liberal in its outlook on clothing, and there is no need to worry about covering up. It is recommended that one carry multiple sets of warm clothes, rain gear, and walking shoes.

English and Pahari languages are spoken, as are other Indian languages such as Hindi. Do not be surprised if some locals are fluent in foreign languages as well!

It is always advisable to be respectful, especially while at religious spots or places of spiritual enlightenment. Consider taking your shoes off outside these places and ask before taking photographs in such places.  

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Cold
  • 36° Max
  • 17° Min
  • 15.0 mm
  • Light woollen
Things to do

The tourism industry is what keeps McLeodganj running, so one is sure to come across a number of music and arts festivals that are regularly held there, it is best to do a little research online prior to traveling, in case you are interested in attending a concert or event. One can visit the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and attend or participate in their annual 10-day festival of music, dance, and theatre.

Popular places to visit in McLeodganj are mostly spiritual, although it does have much to offer in context with natural beauty as well. Tsug la Khang, the temple of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, is home to the Namgyal Monastery, and contains a number of shrines and statues from Tibet. The Norbulingka Institute is a place of learning for those who are on extended breaks and would like to learn about traditional Tibetan arts and crafts. St.John’s Church in the Wilderness is another place of interest; this Anglican Church was built in 1852 and boasts of an intricate neo-Gothic style architecture.

For those who enjoy nature, the peaceful Dal Lake, locate near a little village called “Tota Rani”, is ideal for casual boating and fishing. An annual festival is held here which is dedicated to the Hindu mythological God of creation, Lord Shiva. The Bhagsu Waterfall is another sight to behold, especially during the monsoons. Located behind the Bhagsunath Temple, this tranquil spot is ideal for picnics and walks.

Natural beauty and spiritual haunts are in abundance in McLeodganj and one can easily walk from one place to another without worrying about long distances. The diverse cultural fusion ensures that there is never a lack of activity in the area.  

Getting Around

One of the best things about McLeodganj is the fact that it is a small place and therefore one can walk around easily and cover most of the popular sights without having to hire a vehicle.

However if you prefer alternate means of transport, you could avail the many auto rickshaws that are around; fares will range from INR 50 and above depending on the time of day. Fares will increase at night due to night charges.

In order to travel to Dharamsala, you will need to travel by bus; a bus ticket costs approximately INR 5.  

Places to Stay

How to Reach

  • It is possible to take a flight from Delhi to Gaggal, which is a town near McLeodganj; there are currently 2 daily flights, which operate in this route. McLeodganj is 20 kilometers away from the Gaggal airport, which is equal to a 45-minute drive via taxi or hired car.
  • There are over 10 trains, which run daily from Delhi to Chakki Bank and Pathankot. You could book your tickets on a number of trains including the Jammu Mail, Malwa Express, Jammu Rajdhani and the Jhelum Express; the travel time varies from 7 hours to 10 hours depending on the train you are on. The Jammu Rajdhani is the fastest and takes 7 hours, while the Jhelum Express and Jammu Mail take 10 hours or more to reach. Once you reach Pathankot you have three options that will get you to McLeodganj, which is almost 4 hours away. For speedy travel you should consider taking a taxi, for budget travel it is recommended that you take a bus [which is always crowded], and for a slow but enriching journey, take the Kangra Toy Train, which leaves Pathankot at 9:05am and reaches Kangra by 1:45pm.
  • A number of buses leave from Delhi on a daily basis, and you should ensure that your bus actually stops at McLeodganj and not at Dharamsala, which is 30 minutes away. One of the most popular bus stops in Delhi is Majnu Ka Tilla, from which a 12-hour bus journey costs between INR 650 � 1200 depending on whether you are taking a regular bus or a Volvo, which is more comfortable and luxurious.

Surrounding Attractions

Dharamsala is one of the most popular surrounding attractions and can be accessed via a short bus journey from McLeodganj that will take approximately 30 minutes. It has for long been the favorite spiritual haunt of travelers and tourists, who are eager to soak in its cultural richness and enjoy the diversity of faith, culture, and learning that pervades.

Adventurous travelers might also enjoy trekking to various areas around the Kangra Valley. There are a number of trekking excursions complete with experienced local tour guides who can help individuals and groups on their journey.

A mere two hours journey can take you to the magnificient hill stations of Dalhousi and Khajjiar, which are 117 and 120 kilometers away respectively. This can come at a cost of 1000 – 1200 INR.

Important Numbers

Police Station+91-1892-224883 / 224100

Medical Assistance:

Ambulance+91-1892-222189 / 224888

Tibetan Delek Hospital - +91-1892-222053

Zonal Hospital - +91-1892-222189

Manaav Medical (9am-9pm), under the Asian Plaza Hotel