McLeod Ganj is a small yet beautiful and scenic town that is located at a distance of 10 km from Dharamshala. McLeod Ganj is surrounded by the hills of Dhauladar Himalayan Ranges and offers picturesque views all over the town. The town has gained popularity after it became the administrative headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile.
Views from McLeod Ganj
View from McLeod Ganj
The town is named after the English lieutenant governor of Punjab, David McLeod, who found the place in 1848. Towards early 1900s, this place had become an administrative headquarters of Kangra district! However, the whole area suffered a massive earthquake in 1905, which destroyed every activity in the area. In 1960, when Chinese occupied Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, along with thousands of his followers, fled to India and formed the administrative headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration (also called Tibetan Government in exile) here at McLeod Ganj. For this reason, McLeod Ganj is also fondly called as ‘Little Lhasa’ (Lhasa being Tibet’s capital) or ‘Dhasa’ (Short for ‘Lhasa in Dharamshala’)!
Beautiful Town of McLeod Ganj
Today, apart from the natural scenic surroundings, McLeod Ganj is known for Buddhist monasteries, few churches, temples, Tibetan museum and so on. Being a small town, it can be easily explored by foot. Going through the narrow lanes, you can learn about the Buddhist handicrafts, their art and thangkas (a special type of painting depicting a Buddhist diety or a scene on a special kind of fabric).
The main place to visit at McLeod Ganj is Tsug la Khang (The Dalai Lama’s temple). The temple consists of a huge gold painted statue of Buddha, statue of Avalokiteshwara Bodhistatva who is patron diety of Tibet, and a statue of Guru Padma Sambhava, who was a great Sidda from India who came to Tibet in 8th Century and gave Tantric Teaching in Tibet. The residence and office of Dalai Lama is adjacent to this temple.
Tsug la Khang
Statue of Buddha
Guru Padma Sambhava
The temple premises also has few structures that are built to honor the martyrs of the Tibetan war, when the government was exiled.
Memorial dedicated to Tibetan Martyrs
St. John’s Church
St. John’s Church is considered to be one of the oldest churches in North India and is located amidst the tall deodar trees. The church was built in 1852, and was built with Gothic Architecture. The church has beautiful Belgian stained-glass windows and was painted by Italian Artist.
The garden behind the church also has a memorial built in the memory of Lord Elgin, who was the British Viceroy of India in 1861 during the British rule, and died at this place in 20 November 1863.
Where to stay?
|Distance (in km)
|Chandigarh / Shimla