Difference between revisions of "Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj"
Revision as of 23:06, 31 March 2006
Dharamsala is a hill station in Himachal Pradesh, the headquaters of the Tibetan Government in Exile, and a very popular hang-out for the backpacker crowd in India. Lower Dharamsala refers a small busy tipical Indian town with little of interest to the tourist, other than the Bus station. Upper Dharamasala, knowen commonlly as McLeod Ganj, is where the Tibetan settlement is, numerous hotels and restaurants, and the center of tourist activity. The two are seperated by a 10 minut bus of jeep ride.
Most people come to Dharamsala by bus. It has good connections with other parts of North India, although the journeys are often slow due to the narrow winding roads in the hills.
Courses range from Yoga, Meditation, Reiki, Tibetan and Indian cooking classes, Tibetan speaking classes and Thai massage. All courses include vegetarian meals, and are offered at the following meditation centers:
There are some opportunities to volunteer while you are here. Teaching English and computers are most common options. There are a few institutions for benefit of exile Tibetans and local Indians. There are adds on billboards and also in the free local magazine "Contact". There is also an option to come and talk to Tibetans to help them improve their English, while getting to know each other's culture and personal story. Go to the organized meetings of one of the organizations and don't accept requests to privately tutor monks that address you on the streets; some of them will ask you to be their sponsor after a few days.
For long term options (3 months or more) ask at the LHA office in the middle of the town.
McLeod Ganj has a very good selection of restaurants, especially in the mid to upper range, it offers a range of international choices catering to foreign tourist tastes.
Although there are a couple bars, chai is the beverage of choice here, there are also a couple tea shop hang-outs, and many of the restaurants are pleasant places to sit over a cup of tea.
There are a huge number of hotels here, many offer a wide selection of rooms at diferent prices, all are located close to the main Chowk, where the bus drops you off. It's easy to walk around here and find someplace that suits you budget and needs.
For long-term stays, head down the Yongling stairs on Jogiwara Road; there are about a dozen cheap good places down there, with great views.
The many tourist agents' offices sell tickets for deluxe coaches going to Delhi and Manali. The small bus station in McLeod Ganj sells tickets for state buses leaving from Lower Dharamashala as well as from McLeod Ganj.
If you are looking for a quieter place try Bhagsu or Dharamkot. Both are very close to McLeod Ganj. However most courses and volunteer options are at McLeod.