McLeod Ganj (also spelt McLeodGanj or McLeodganj) is a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is known as "Little Lhasa" or "Dhasa" (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetans. The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeod Ganj.
McLeod Ganj has an average elevation of 2,082 metres (6,831 feet). It is situated on the Dhauladhar Range.The major towns near McLeod Ganj include Dharamshala, Palampur, Kangra, Sidhbari, Tatwani, and Machhrial. Other nearby spiritual attractions include Chinmaya Tapovan (a Hindu retreat centre), Osho Nisarga (an Osho retreat centre) and Chamunda (a pilgrimage place for Hindus). The trekking route to Triund starts from McLeod Ganj.
Air : The nearest airport is Kangra Airport, 15 km from Dharamshala.
Rail: The nearest railway stations on the narrow-gauge Kangra Valley Railway line are at Kangra and Nagrota (about 20 km south of Dharamshala). The nearest railhead (broad gauge) is at Pathankot (85 km).
Bus: Travel by bus is the most common medium of transport used by the people. Mcleod Ganj is about 9km from Dharamshala and around 485km from Delhi. It takes about 10-11 hours of journey to reach Mcleod Ganj from Delhi via a bus, and there is regular service available with more than 4-5 buses plying everyday on the route.
Main tourist Places
Kalachakra Temple in main street of Mcleod Ganj
The most important Buddhist site in the town is Tsuglagkhang or Tsuglag Khang, the Dalai Lama's temple. It has statues of Shakyamuni, Avalokiteśvara, and a statue of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche).
Other Buddhist and Tibetan sites in McLeod Ganj include the Namgyal Monastery, Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling (a small monastery), the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Gangchen Kyishong (called Gangkyi for short by Tibetans and the premises of the Tibetan government-in-exile), Mani Lakhang Stupa, Nechung Monastery, and Norbulingka Institute, which is 8 kilometres away. The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, lives near Dharamshala, in Gyuto monastery in Sidhbari.
St. John in the Wilderness
An Anglican church located in the forest near Forsyth Ganj. The neo-Gothic stone building was constructed in 1852. The site also has an old graveyard and a memorial to the British Viceroy Lord Elgin. The church is also noted for its Belgian stained-glass windows, donated by Lady Elgin.
A small lake about 3 km from McLeod Ganj, next to one of the Tibetan Children's Villages schools. An annual fair is held there in August or September, attended mainly by the Gaddi Community. There is a small spring and an old temple near the lake. Above Dal lake is Naddi Village.
An area 10 minutes' rickshaw ride from McLeod Ganj, the area has roughly 1,200 local Indians.
Bhagsu Falls, a waterfall about 20 meters tall, is about two kilometers from McLeod Ganj. There is a cafeteria next to the falls and the area serves as a picnic spot for tourists. Nearby is Bhagsunath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, also an attraction for tourists and Hindu pilgrims. The Shiva Cafe can be reached by crossing these falls and climbing further.
The Tibet Museum, established in 1998 and inaugurated by the 14th Dalai Lama on 20 April 2000, has a collection of Tibetan artifacts and photographs showing Tibetans' struggle to preserve their way of life against oppressive forces. The museum is adjacent to the Dalai Lama temple (Tsuglag Khang). It is the official museum of the Central Tibetan Administration Department of Information and International Relations. The museum aims to spread awareness about the history of the occupation of Tibet and the exodus that Tibetan resistance against Chinese oppression ultimately led to. Currently the 14th Dalai Lama lives here
The museum displays over 30,000 photographs. Visitors are also encouraged to watch a documentary showing the journey of Tibetan refugees into exile across the Himalayas. It is screened every day at 3 p.m. and the entry fee is INR 10. In addition, a host of activities and events, such as talk sessions, workshops, documentary screenings are organised at the museum complex throughout the year. The Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) is held annually.