Dharamsala or Dharamsala (Hindi: धर्मशाला, pronounced [d̪ʱərəmˈɕaːlaː] or [d̪ʱərmˈɕaːlaː]; Tibetan: དྷ་རམ་ས་ལ་), is a hill station in Himachal Pradesh, famed for its large Tibetan community centred around the activities of the Dalai Lama.
McLeod Ganj and the snow-capped peaks of the Dhauladhars
"Dharamsala" literally means "a spiritual dwelling" and in loose translation as a shelter or rest house for pilgrims and travellers. Traditionally, such dharamshalas (pilgrims' rest houses) were commonly constructed near pilgrimage destinations (often in remote areas) to give visitors a place to sleep for the night. When the first permanent settlement was created in the place now called Dharamshala, there was one such pilgrims' rest house on the site, and the settlement took its name from that dharamshala.
After the arrival of the British, the area was developed into a cantonment. At one point, it was mooted to be the summer capital of India. But this was not to be, as much of the town was destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 4th April 1905. The disaster killed over 10,000 people in this sparsely populated area.
Dharamsala came on the world map in 1959 with the arrival of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile . Currently, it is a very popular hang-out for foreigners, backpackers and students of Buddhism. Indeed, it is now perhaps a little too popular and many would say the town, and especially McLeod Ganj, is little more than a backpacker ghetto. Don't come here on a long weekend expecting peace and tranquility.
Dharamsala is divided into two distinct areas that are separated by a 10 min, 9 km bus or jeep ride.
- Lower Dharamsala, consists of most of the government offices, Schools, the local Hospital, and commercial areas. It also has a few tea gardens. One in the area of Chilgari and another just beyond Dari. It is a typical small Indian town that, other than for the bus station, is of little interest to tourists. One can enjoy the view while driving through.
- Upper Dharamsala, known more commonly as McLeod Ganj is named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod the once the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab. It is home to the Tibetan community and the centre of tourist activity. Unless specifically stated, all listings in this article refer to McLeod Ganj. To know more about mcleodganj history and have some up-to-date information, MclloPedia is a page dedicated to mcleodganj and beyond.
- Bhagsu, is 2 km north-east and is a small quiet urban area. Bhagsu is full of shops and restaurants and has a public pool popular with locals.
- Dharamkot, is 3.5 km north and is up the hill from McLeod Ganj. Divided into lower and upper Dharamkot, lower Dharamkot is similar to a smaller Bhagsu, with a number of restaurants and hostels all in close proximity. Upper Dharamkot is nestled in the woods and is ideal for those looking for a quiet escape from urban life or those wanting quicker access to the trails that start just at the edges of Dharamkot.
Villages near McLeod Ganj include Forsyth Ganj, a short hike away on the way up from Lower Dharamsala.
For a quiet and basic experience, try Naddi (3 km) or Talnu (11 km).
Lower Dharamsala is at an altitude of 1,400 m, while McLeod Ganj is at around 1,750 m, making them considerably cooler than the plains below. Temperatures in January can dip below freezing, while June can go up to 38°C. The monsoon season from July to September is very wet. Even in March, when the Dalai Lama holds his teachings and the weather down in Delhi is downright balmy, you will still need a heavy winter coat. These can be purchased at reasonable prices in the town.
Gaggal Airport (IATA: DHM) is at Gaggal near Kangra, a distance of 15 km from McLeodganj by road on MDR44 and NH20. Daily flights are available from New Delhi by air liners Spice Jet & Air India. One way ticket can be booked for around Rs. 4500 if booked few months in advance, tickets gets really expensive if you book nearer to the travel date. A taxi from the airport to McLeodganj should be Rs. 800-900. The trip will usually take 30-45 minutes.
Most people come to Dharamsala by bus as the nearest railhead is at Pathankot (Punjab) around 90 Kms away. It has good connections with other parts of Northern India, although the journeys are often slow due to the narrow, winding roads in the hills.
The main bus terminal is in Lower Dharamsala, but some public HRTC buses to Delhi and Pathankot go all the way to the main square of McLeod Ganj, where you can also book advance tickets for the return trip.
Buses from Pathankot cost around Rs 120 and take 4 hours to reach Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj. Once in Dharamsala, if your bus does not go all the way to McLeod Ganj, another bus can take you the rest of the way for 14 rs. 15-20 minutes.
Private bus companies are available for travel from Manali, Dehradun and Delhi. Overnight buses operate from New Delhi with many leaving from the Tibetan colony of Majnu ka Tilla. These services take upwards of 13 hr and cost from Rs 600 for a basic bus to Rs 1100 for a plusher Volvo. Tickets for Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC- A State Government body) can be booked online at http://hrtc.gov.in/HRTCTickets/ Chandigarh, 236 km distant from McLeodganj, is a gruelling 8-9 hr trip in an ordinary bus.
The nearest broad gauge railhead is at Pathankot and the neighboring small station of Pathankot Cantt, a comfortable overnight journey from Delhi. Train buffs can continue on the very slow and rickety but pretty Kangra Valley Railway to Kangra, a journey that easily takes up to 6 hours and still leaves you around 25 km from McLeod Ganj. Many travellers choose to continue from Pathankot towards Dharamsala by bus or taxi. If you do choose to travel to Kangra by train, then from the train station you will need to hire an autorickshaw to reach the bus stand where buses are available to take you to Dharamsala.
If coming by Pathankot station (PTK), the Pathankot bus station is just across from the railway with buses plying for Dharamsala. Pathankot Cantt (PTKC) is 3-4 kms from the bus stand / PTK station - rickshaws are aplenty. The 4 hour bus ride to Dharamsala costs 120 rs. per person. Once in Dharamsala, another bus can take you to McLeod Ganj for 14 rs. 15-20 minutes.
A taxi from Pathankot to McLeod Ganj, a distance of 88 km, takes about 3 hours, and the official fare from Pathankot is Rs 2,500 (return). However the asking rate is always Rs 2,200 and you can negotiate to around Rs 2,000 ( 250 rs is probably charged as a toll ). This is October 2014 rate for a sedan (Dzire ).
Taxis from Delhi are often available leaving from Majnu Ki Tila Tibetan settlement in North Delhi on the ring road. Many people take a taxi to Delhi which takes about 10 hours and pay the return fare simply because they don't want to deal with the hassle and pain of taking a bus. These taxis need to return to Dharamshala, and many times will sell seats in their car for the same price as a bus ticket. To find these taxis, go to the Majnu Ki Tila Tibetan Settlement Bus Stand and look for taxis which have Himachal Pradesh License plates. You can negotiate with a driver. Often the taxis will leave in the evening and you will arrive in Dharamshala early the next morning.
Public buses to and from Dharamsala station leave regularly and cost 10-15 Rs.
Chartered auto-rickshaws charge around 100 Rs, taxis are now 200 Rs one-way.
Trips from McLeod Ganj to nearby villages (eg. Bhagsu, Dharamkot) should not cost more than 70 - 100 Rs.
You can hire auto-rickshaws for 400 and taxis for 700 Rs (for 4 hours) in the lean season for local sightseeing. They take you to Bhagsunag, Dal lake, Naddi village, Church of St. John & Dalai Lama's Temple. From Dharamkot an extra 100 Rs is charged. (Oct 2014)
Motorcycle rentals can be found in a few of the tourist booking shops in McLeod. Prices around ~800 Rs. Haggle.
McLeod Ganj is small enough to be navigated entirely on foot.
One can easily walk from McLeod's main square up the steep hill toward Dharamkot, 15 minutes tops. The entry to Tushita Retreat and the Dharamkot Taxi stand are the beginnings of the village. From Dharamkot you can reach Upper and Lower Bhagsu in another 10 minutes along the foot trail.
From McLeod straight to Lower Bhagsu is about a 15-20 minute walk along the road [Bhagsu Road] alongside many beeping taxis.
Giant prayer wheel and thangka
of Arya Sitatapatra, a form of Tara, at Tsuglagkhang
- Naam Art Gallery, Sidhbari, Chamunda Rd, ☎ +91 98 1604 3708. Tu-Su 10AM-7PM. Permanent exhibition of watercolours and acrylic paintings by Elizabeth Buschmann and oil paintings by Alfred W. Hallett. A small exhibition centre is also present in the mall, in the market just as one approaches the Bhagsu Nag temple. edit
- Tsuglagkhang Complex, Temple Rd. This is the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet, and it has a large meditation hall containing some beautiful statues and thangkas, as well as a Kalachakra temple with beautiful murals. It is the monastery of the Dalai Lama, and is located just in front of his residence. On the basement level of the complex you will also find the Namgyal Cafe, which is run as a work-training center for Tibetan youth (the Namgyal Cafe has shifted to near the main square and is now housed within the OM hotel there). edit
- Tibet Museum, (opp. Tsuglagkhang), ☎ +91 18 922 2510, . Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. Small but interesting museum on the history of Tibet and its people. Rs 5. edit
- Tibetan Library, . Near the Tibetan Government in Exile, with a small but interesting museum. edit
- Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), . Stage performances of traditional Tibetan dance, music, and theatre. The shows are not happening much. edit
- Bhagsunag Fall, (around 11 km from the Dharamshala, (3 km from chowk) it is easily approachable by road from Mcleodganj). Bhagsunag fall has many waterfalls, an ancient temple, a public swimming pool, numerous slate quarries and a fresh water spring. From the Bhagsunag temple, the waterfall is at a trek of 1 km. The view from the waterfall is magnificent. edit
- Kunal Pathari, (around 3 km from the Dharamshala.). People come to this temple every day to pray to the Goddess. edit
- Dharamkot, (around 14 km form Dharamshala.). This is an ideal place for a picnic near to Dharamshala. It is situated in the Himalayan mountain range giving an amazing view of the surrounds. edit
- Peak Art Gallery, Temple Rd, Mcleod Ganj (1/2 way down Temple Rd, below Cafe Nirvana), . 10AM-7PM. edit
- Ghoomakad, V.P.O, Rakkar (Along the rakkar road before hitting the bridge), ☎ +91 9882226638,, . 8 am - 6 pm. Ghoomkad is an intentional community space with a heterogeneous mixture of people. Some are technocrats working at Ghoomakad on remote projects, while assisting the space in whatever manner possible. Then there are musicians composing and creating an ambiance as a complementary backdrop to the lush greenery within the space. Alternate methods of farming and holistic lifestyle enthusiasts comprise and complete another significant portion of the denizens of Ghoomakad. edit
- Shopping, Divine Buddha Handicrafts Temple road Mcleodganj (towards H.H. Dalai Lama Temple), ☎ 9857690700. 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. also bike on rent edit
- Tibet World, Tibet World Jogiwara Road McLeod Ganj (Opposite Rangpa Cafe, near by post office), ☎ +91 9816999928, . Tibet World is a social organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Tibet's legacy and culture through a variety of programs including: •Education(International Language Classes),Yoga,Meditation etc. •Tibetan Cultural Events (Folk show every Thursday at 6.30-7.30pm,Rs 150 p/p) •Tibet World Community Cafe •Tibet World Hostel •Cultural Exchange Programs •Volunteering Opportunities « less Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Stairs edit
- Bhagsu Waterfall, (3 km from Dharamsala). An easy walk down Bhagsu Rd through the village of the same name, then 1 km up to the waterfall itself. Despite a sign advising visitors not to venture further, the path to the waterfall is in reasonable shape, except for the final 50 m which are distinctly dodgy, especially in slippery weather. Be careful if you decide to take a bath in the upper pools of the waterfall, as there may be shards of glass in the water. edit
- Dal Lake, (4 km from Dharamsala, past Naddi). Fairly well signposted. A small and dirty pond situated at a high altitude surrounded by tall pine trees. The picturesque Church of St John in the Wilderness is between Dal lake and McLeodganj. edit
- Indrahar pass. Passes through the snowbound Dhauladhar Range in the Kangra valley. This Trek ends at Lamu. edit
- Triund. If you are in for a brisk walk, climb the hill beyond Dharamkot to Triund. Provides a beautiful view of the first peaks of the Himalayas and a wide view over the plains. As the peak is 2,875 m, make sure to wear good shoes, carry water, some food if you and an extra vest or coat. At the top, even in summer, the weather can change from hot and sunny into a small snowstorm very quickly. Every year some tourists get themselves into serious trouble this way, wearing only sandals and a T-shirt. People coming from plain areas must acclimatize for a day or two before attempting this hike. If you want to warm up before the Triund trek, try the trek to Guna temple. This is a 5 km trek (one way), through jungle and is quite a climb. If you want to do a shorter trek , hire a small car from McLeodganj for Rs 300-350 to Galu Devi. (Please note; this is not Guna Devi). From there its a 3 hr climb to Triund. If you plan to stay overnight at Triund , there is a Forest Rest house (Rs 500 per night ) reservations for which can be made in person at Tourist Office in Dharamsala town. Take a long your personal double bedsheet but be aware there is no running water or electricity. So a torch , spare batteries is a must. If the Forest house is booked , then you can hire tents there for around Rs 300 a person. edit
The "snow lion flag," a symbol of the Tibetan independence movement, is ubiquitous in Dharamsala, though strictly outlawed in Tibet itself within mainland China
Meeting the Dalai Lama
Meeting (or at least getting to see) the Dalai Lama  is the dream of a lifetime for many people, an intensive spiritual experience for Buddhists and a memorable moment for people of other faiths. It's also very difficult to pull off, so don't plan on it. It requires a good deal of luck.
If you want to give it your best shot, the first thing to do is make sure that His Holiness is actually in town when you visit. He travels frequently. His website lists his yearly itinerary and an email to the office will confirm his travel dates. While he does give scheduled public teachings, these are crowded. There are some that are only scheduled a few days in advance, so keep your eyes and ears open in Dharamsala. He no longer gives public audiences, so the ultimate goal is a private audience. However, requests for private audiences are carefully screened and studied - and you have to have a really good reason or an "in". Applicants are asked to provide detailed information on themselves as well as the specific reasons why they want to see His Holiness. Private audiences are usually scheduled three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In general, requests for individual meetings need to be made very far in advance. Requests made at short notice will not be entertained.
The Dalai Lama's administrative office is in the Tsuglagkhang Complex. When you face his house, which has a gate with Indian guards in front of it, it's the last door on your right, at the end of the complex. This office is open all day, six days a week. The man behind the desk will tell you to apply online and give you the website address. Go to an internet cafe and do it if you haven't already done it and been rejected months in advance so that you can say that you have, but it probably won't get you anywhere. If the receptionist is there alone, then His Holiness is not giving private audiences. If a bunch of people are there holding slips of paper with their personal information and their passports, he's giving private audiences, they usually occur around noon. There is heavy security and you need a reason. Chat with everyone.
Some people get in as a group, like a documentary crew or a family whose father is a politician. Actually, talk to everyone in Dharamsala about His Holiness, and you're bound to run into someone who is on his staff or knows someone on his staff. At the office, drop the name of every person you met. If you are visibly ill, you may get an audience based on that. Granted, this "audience" will probably last the time it takes for him to bless you, which is about 10 seconds, and an additional Rs 5 to pose for a photo. A photographer is provided and you are not allowed to bring your own camera.
To meet the Dalai Lama is something most Tibetans worldwide only dream of so count your blessings if you receive an audience. Bring a khata (white scarf) - they can be purchased for a few rupees, but since you'll probably be treasuring that khata, you might want to shell out Rs 20 for a nicer one. If he poses for a picture with you the security office will tell you to return with a blank CD and they will burn the picture onto a CD. Blank CDs can be purchased from the tech stores on Temple Rd for about Rs 50. Remember to show appreciation for anyone whose name you might have dropped to get in. Donate to their monastery, eat at their restaurant or whatever you feel is appropriate. This isn't expected but it's a nice thing to do.
Every year in February-March for ten days or so, and occasionally at other times, the Dalai Lama holds public lectures. Registration at the Tibetan Branch Security Office (near Hotel Tibet) is necessary, preferably 3-4 days beforehand although shorter notice may be possible. Bring a cushion to sit on, a FM radio with headphones to listen to the simultaneous translation from Tibetan to English, a cup for tea, and a sunhat/umbrella, but as little else as possible since security is tight. The last day of teaching concludes with public prayers, for which no security pass is needed. Donations are welcome.
- 17th Karmapa (Dalai Lama's alternative residence), . A temporary residence is at the Gyuto Tantric University in the town of Sidhbari near McLeod Ganj. edit
The half-Tibetan, half-Indian bazaar bustle of McLeod Ganj
Courses available include yoga, meditation, reiki, Tibetan and Indian cooking classes,
Tibetan language classes and Thai massage. Many courses include vegetarian meals, and are offered at meditation centers.
Yoga, Meditation, Healing, Paragliding
- ZMeditation- Meditation in India (Meditation center in India), Village Kand, Khanyara Road, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 176218, ☎ +91-9418036956 ([email protected]), . 7:30AM–9:30PM. . Z Meditation courses are 10+5-day silent programs organized at Dharamsala in India. In the first 10 days, you learn how to free your mind from the untrue beliefs and achieve a state of unconditioned happiness. In the last 5 days, you go very deep inside and realize your identity with the Self – a state of eternal blissful awareness. After reaching this purest state of being, you will go back home with a tool that you need to practice daily in order to keep the experience of freedom shining. edit
- Asho Institute, Bhagsu Village. Courses in ayurvedic nutrition and tai-chi. edit
- Amit Reiki & Yoga Centre, Jogiwara Rd, B, Mcleodganj (below Yongling School), ☎ +91 94 18909046, . Reiki, Yoga & Meditation courses edit
- Buddha Hall-Reiki with Usha', (opposite the German Bakery). Courses in reiki (I,II,III and master) as well as tarot and crystal healing from Buddha hall in Bagsu. Flexible and compassionate teacher. edit
- Guerrilla Yoga, (go down the stairs at Yongling School. It's the big green building). 5 day yoga courses of several varieties in McLeod Ganj. Private instruction is available. New studio, opened in March of 2008, great staff, very friendly. Also has local art for sale, commission free. edit
- Yoga TTC & NLP (Yoga TTC Combining NLP), Jogiwara Rd, B, Mcleodganj (below Yongling School), ☎ 9736727597, . Yoga TTC & NLP. Become a Teacher, Learn to inspire, Share your love for the practice. A Yoga Alliance Certified 200 Hour Teacher and NLP Training. edit
- Kailash School of Yoga & Holistic Healing, (100 m from the main square. Walk down the stairs from the Green Shop), . Ashtanga Vinyasa and tribal hatha yoga classes are available daily to everyone on a drop-In basis. Treatments and sessions in reiki, ayurvedic massage, meditation and 'sound healing' are available but have to be arranged at least 1 day in advance. Short and long-term courses. edit
- Kundalini Yoga, Thardoeling, Near HH Dalai Lama temple, Mcleod Ganj, ☎ +91 98 1685 1691 ([email protected]). Yoga classes. edit
- Shree Hari Yoga School, ☎ +91 83 5106 8174 ([email protected]). 9AM-10:30AM and 4PM-5:30PM. Mon-Sun. Shree Hari Yoga is offering 200hr, 300hr and 500 hour Teacher Training Courses, which include accomodation and 3 times food, meditation, Pranayama, Philosophy, Anatomy etc.; All kind of Yoga style, Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Restorative, Yin and Vinyasa Yoga. English, German language and Hindi language. http://shreehariyoga.org edit
- Tibetan Buddhism and language, ☎ +91 98 0539 1799 ([email protected]). 9AM-12PM and 2PM-5PM. Mon-Sat. Courses include; Tibetan buddhism, Tibetan language, Hindi language. edit
- Esukhia: Tibetan Language Classes, Bhagsu Rd (near Lhamos Croissant), ☎ +91-9882004965 ([email protected]), . 9AM-5PM Mon-Sat. One-on-one tutoring in Tibetan language with native speakers. All levels welcome. Offers hourly tutoring, daily classes, and intense but effective full-time immersion programs. 300Rs/Hr. edit
- Tushita Meditation Centre, . 10 day Introduction to Buddhism/meditation courses, 5 day meditation courses, and more (mostly residential). Silence is held most of the day but there are also discussion groups after philosophy lessons. Situated near Dharamkot, Tushita practices the Tibetan mahayana tradition. Register online or at Tushita. Prices are inclusive of all lodging, lessons and 3 meals a day of very tasty vegetarian food. Set cost per day is around Rs 500 including food & lodging, can provide a gradual introduction to those new to Buddhism. 10 day course starts at Rs 4,800. edit
- Dhamma Sikhara (Vipassana), (near Dharamkot), . 10 days meditation course. You need to register in advance at their web-site . The course will teach you the Vipassana technique. You have to be completely silent, and you are provided 2 meals and very light dinner. The course is free, but you can leave a donation if you please. The course is a fairly intense form of meditation retreat (14 hr days) in the Theravada tradition. Previous meditation experience is not required as you will be asked to set aside your current practices while learning Vipassana ("seeing things as they are"). edit
- Yogi Cottage, Bhagsu Rd (Mcleodganj), . Yoga alliance approved Rs 200-500 yoga teacher training programs, reiki lessons for individuals or groups. edit
- Abhinam Yoga School (Certified Teacher Training Courses, Yoga Workshops, Ashtanga and Iyengar Yoga drop in Classes, Meditations), Dharamkot Village (100 meters walk down from Dharamkot Taxi Stand), ☎ +91 9736046080 ([email protected]), . Abhinam Yoga School organizes Yoga Alliance accredited teacher training courses, workshops for beginners and morning and evening drop in classes. They teach Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga based on Iyengar's alignment principles to practice injury free yoga. edit
- Lha Charitable Trust, Temple Road, ☎ +91 18 92 220992, . Get your hands dirty while you learn to make different kinds of momos, Tibetan breads, and Tibetan noodles. Contact Lha to set up a class. Also have volunteer opportunities. Rs 300 for a 2 hr class. edit
- Llhamo's Kitchen. Learn how to cook traditional Tibetan food with different courses every day including soups, momos and Tibetan bread. Run by a delightful Tibetan man called Llhamo. It all takes place in Llhamo's single room house right in the centre of town. edit
- Mr Sangye's Kitchen, Joqibara Rd (further down from the post office and the pool hall), ☎ +91 98 1616 4540 ([email protected]). Learn how to cook traditional Tibetan food, different courses every day, ranging from soups, momos and Tibetan bread. edit
- Trimurti Cooking Class. Choose any three from a wide variety of Indian dishes, and Rajni will show you how to make it all in her small, pleasant kitchen. Rajni began teaching classes and doing laundry to support herself after her husband was left paralysed by a tragic fall. Ask for her above the Himalayan Adventures store in upper Bhagsu, near the steps to Dharamkot. edit
Thanka Painting Lessons
- Dolma Tibetan Thanka Art Gallery (Thangka Painting Classes), lower Bhagsu Road, Mcleod Ganj (first few shops at lower Bhagsu at the end of the slope), ☎ Mitthu +91 9882358517 Dolma +91 9882300778, . Tibetan Thanka Art Gallery is run by two Tibetan sisters Mitthu and Dolma, with at least 18 years of experience. Take this opportunity to learn original Thanka painting and immerse in the beautiful art and culture of Tibet! Paint and canvas provided edit
There are some opportunities to volunteer whilst in Dharamsala. For longer term options such as 1 month or more ask at the Tibet World office near by post office. Staff there are very friendly and always welcoming if people wish to teach, tutor or get involved in conversational classes.
- Lha Social Work. Lha is one of the largest charitable social work organizations in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj and aims to provide vital resources and services for Tibetan refugees, the local Indian population, and people from the Himalayan regions. Volunteers are needed for English, French, and Chinese classes, news writers for the Contact Newsletter (English), IT classes, vocational training, health and environmental awareness education, distribution of clothes and medicine, a community kitchen and many other programs and activities.
- Tibet World  Tibet World is a social organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Tibet's legacy and culture through a variety of programs including. Tibet World is a place you can find everything related Tibet •Education(International Language Classes),Volunteers are needed for English, French, Chinese, and German classes, vocational training, health and environmental awareness education, distribution of clothes and medicine, a community kitchen and many other programs and activities.
- Mountain Cleaners. Mountain Cleaners is an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved in waste management activities for businesses, locals and tourists in the Dharamsala area. The organisation also arranges clean-up treks, and children's days that volunteers can participate in.
- Tesi Environmental Awareness Movement, . If you are an environmental expert, then contact this non-profit Tibetan group.
- Rogpa Cafe, Jogibara Rd, is always looking for volunteers to work in the cafe or to look after children at the Day Care centre. This is a 2 week commitment. All proceeds go to the Rogpa Day Care centre that provides free services for local children.
- Volunteer Tibet, . Teaching English and computer skills are common options. This organisation may likely pass you over to LHA or other organisations. There are also a few institutions that provide for the benefit of exiled Tibetans and local Indians. There are also ads on billboards and in the free local magazine "Contact".
- Tibet Hope Center, . Tibet Hope Center is a local NGO that works to help Tibetan refugees learn English language and build life skills. Drop-in and long term volunteer opportunities are available for teaching in English. The center is located on Jogiwara Road near Gu-Chu-Sum.
You may also approach Tibetans in social circles to help them improve their English whilst getting to know each others' culture and personal story. Be mindful of accepting requests for private tutorage from monks on the streets. After a few days they may subject you to demands for sponsorship, however stories of this are rare. It may be best to go through a credible and well established organisation if you want to provide assistance in this way.
In general most monks and lay people are incredibly grateful to have you help them with their English and it is a great way to get to know Tibetan people on a more personal level. The easiest way to help out is to drop into LHA on Temple Rd, or LIT on Jogibara Rd and sign up for tutoring. A commitment of one month is preferred.
Many Tibetan things can be bought in Dharamsala such as jewellery and trinkets, woollen shawls, prayer flags, prayer wheels, thangka and mandala paintings.
- Tibetan Singing Bowl. Very easy to play and used for sound healing, music therapy or just for relaxation. edit
- Divine Buddha Handicrafts, Temple road Mcleodganj, ☎ +919857690700. Best price shop for Tibetan and Indian Handicrafts : Brass Statues , Resin sculpture, Buddha and Indian God miniatures ,Wooden and stone Beads prayer Malas , Tibetan Wall hangings ,Antique Figures , Crystal and gem stone Jewelry, Nepalese Khukuri, Tibetan stone and Antique and handcraft Jewelry to name a few. edit
- Learning and Ideas for Tibet (LIT), basement, Hotel Akash, Jogibara Rd, McLeod Ganj, . Selling documentaries about Tibet, T-Shirts, Necklaces, Handmade cards and more edit
McLeod Ganj is a great place for eating, and the town has an abundance of restaurants from cheap Punjabi dhabbas to mid-range Tibetan and Western establishments. Check WiFi quality before committing to a place advertising it, most are slow and intermittent. Power outages are common as well. Be aware that Wednesday is vegetarian day and many cafés and restaurants will not be serving meat dishes.
Some Tibetan favorites
Dharamsala is a good place to try Tibetan food and beverages.
- Momos - dumplings filled with meat or vegetables, steamed or fried.
- Thukpa - a hearty thin-noodle soup with veggies or meat.
- Thenthuk - same as thukpa but with thick, square handmade noodles.
- Tingmo - a steamed bread.
- Pocha - salty tea churned with butter, a Tibetan staple.
- Street momos! There are many momo street vendors selling 5 piece/ Rs 20. They are safe to eat and the offerings are veg (cabbage & carrot), potato, chicken, and sometimes paneer. But generally the better quality momos are found in the restaurants.
- Punjabi Dhabbas - Numerous places signposted as such, selling the usual Indian cuisines of paranthas, curries, and chai. Many are small, single table or no-table eateries along the roads squeezed in between larger stores and restaurants sell very good and cheap Indian fare. One sit-down restaurant is on the level above Black Tent Cafe and has a nice view. On Jogiwara Rd, on the right-hand side adjacent to the temple is a tiny place with a good, cheap choley bhatoorey. 10 - 50 Rs., Curries ~70-110 Rs.
- Quality Tibetan Bakery, Jogiwara Rd. (15 min walk from main square on the right). A small place with just two shelves of baked goods, open early to late night (for McLeod!). Donuts, apple strudel, Lhasa cookies (cream & jam), banana muffins, yak cheese burger and gooey, rich chocolate brownies among a variety of other tasty options. 40 - 100 Rs (2017). edit
- JJI Exile Brothers & Mama's Kitchen, Bhagsu Rd (a short walk from McLeodganj's central square, on the right-hand side, between Peace Coffee House and Kunga Guesthouse). Owned by three friendly Tibetan musician brothers (JJI) this cozy place offers homecooked Tibetan food: thukpa, thukthen, brown-flour momos and tingmo. Tofu options abundant. Breakfast sets for under 120 Rs. Great masala chai. WiFi. 30 - 120 Rs. edit
- Peace Café, Jogiwara Rd (10 min walk from the main square of McLeodganj; on the right-hand side). Tibetan place with a very tasty, garlic-heavy thenthuk! Try the Veg Richose, which is a hearty momo soup. Thukpas, Thenthuk and Richose soups start about 80 Rs, which is a good price for the area. Also offers the usual western basics such as sandwiches, toasts, etc. Good Tibetan butter tea. 30 - 150 Rs. edit
- Dolma & Dorjee, Bhagsu Rd (in the last bend of the road to Bhagsu, just before you leave McLeod Ganj.). Small inexpensive restaurant at the quieter end of Bagsu Rd. Run by a delightful, friendly family who give the place its character. Excellent banana bread and good chai. edit
- Nick's Italian Kitchen, Kunga Guesthouse, Bhagsu Rd (5 min walk from McLeodganj's main square). An airy well-lit room with windows looking out on Bhagsu Rd. Decent Western fare with some Tibetan dishes available. The terrace in the back offers views over the Valley. A small library of books and a popular noticeboard. WiFi. 30 - 150 Rs. edit
- Pema Thang's Guest House, Opp. Bhagsu Hotel, Bhagsu Rd. Continental and local styled vegetarian food. Try the fried banana with nuts and the pepperoni pizza. They also serve great thenthuk. edit
- Shangri La Restaurant, Jogiwara Road (Near the bus stop). A great little cafe run by monks and with all proceeds going to Gyudmed Monastery. Try the Shangri La Sandwich for breakfast. Meals are good quality and well priced. edit
- Zomsa Café, Tipa Rd (a few steps off the main square of McLeodganj; on the right-hand side), . The newest addition to the McLeodganj coffee scene. A distinctly Western, contemporary vibe. Coffee, tea, specialty fruit drinks, snacks, and breakfast items. Coffee here is prepared with highly purified water, as are the drinks and the ice-cubes that go with them. WiFi. 10 - 120 Rs. edit
- Himalaya Restaurant, Bhagsu Rd. A stylish eatery. Don't be put off by the small intimate downstairs area. The second floor boasts an all weather patio and elegant decor. The menu is slightly pricey but the food and setting more than makes up for it. Tibetan, Indian, Chinese and western cuisine. 80 - 180 Rs. edit
- Oogo's Café Italiano, Jogiwara Rd (a short walk from McLeodganj's central square, on the left-hand side). A town fixture since 2004 with a hole-in-the-wall appearance. Offers several varieties of risotto, and of course pastas and thin-crust pizzas. Poor coffee. Small library of books to be perused during your visit. 65 - 150 Rs. edit
- Peace Coffee House, Bhagsu Rd (between Kunga Guesthouse and Green Hotel). A would-be swanky WiFi café run by young Tibetans and serving a variety of food including breakfast muesli, toast, sandwiches, specialty teas. Good coffee. A very tiny library of books, including guidebooks. 50 - 100 Rs. edit
- Tibetan Mandala Café, (Temple Rd, 15 min walk from main square on the left.). A long time travelers' favorite cafe. A family run business offering great breakfast with freshly blended arabic coffee, a wide range of leaf teas, fresh juices, shakes, iced teas and cakes. Also lunch and dinner including pizza, lasagna, noodles, rice and Tibetan food. WiFi. edit
Dharamkot & Upper Bhagsu
Most eateries in these two areas are mid-range and catering to westerners, mainly Israelis (thus lots of falafel). Most places will offer WiFi. Honestly the quality-to-price ratio is not that great in Dharamkot and Upper Bhasgsu and basically every restaurant has the same menu - McLeod has much better food. Lower Bhagsu, on the way to the waterfall, sees plenty of Indian tourists and thus has an array of good, cheaper dhabbas and some snack stands in the taxi area.
- Morgan's Place, Dharamkot (Across from Dharamkot's taxi stand), ☎ 78239 78339, . Beautiful ambiance. Great experience. Very Friendly owner. The best pizzas and Italian food in Dharamkot. Try their Salads. edit
- Trek & Dine Restaurant, Dharamkot (A short walk from Dharamkot Taxi Stand). One of the most popular restaurants in Dharamkot with much better food food quality than most around. It is one of the busiest restaurants with best service that you can find in the area. Fantastic wood-fired pizzas. They offer the usual varied menu of Tibetan, Indian, Israeli and Italian food. Gluten Free options are available. Great chai and biryani. Free WiFi. 150 - 500 Rs. edit
- Moonlight Cafe, Dharamkot (A few doors down from Trek & Dine). Another place with delicious wood-fired pizzas. Their Indian set breakfast is good. The chai is usually good. 150 - 400 Rs. edit
- Sanji's Milky Way Cafe, Dharamkot (Between Moonlight and Trek & Dine cafes). Small streetside eatery with open air seating, decent people-watching spot. Friendly guys running the place. There's "No Smoking" signs but everyone and their mom still smokes up the place inside and out so it's not the best if you're sensitive to smoke. Their Veg Thali is fantastic and they make decent coffees and teas. Their Mexican set breakfast is definitely not (The "salsa" is simply a frothy tomato puree. Gross.) 140 - 300 Rs. edit
- Chillax Cafe, Dharamkot (On the way to upper Bhagsu from Dharamkot). A cool little place that hovers over the main walkway, plays good music. Decent food but portions are rather small... 130 - 200 Rs. edit
- Om Cafe, Dharamkot (On the way to upper Bhagsu from Dharamkot, just up some stairs on the right). A nice little cafe with some baked goods and good tea and coffee. The menu actually has some more unique looking items but prices on mains are a little higher than most others (~200,220). Apparently hosts live music now and then. 150 - 300 edit
- Buddha Delight Cafe, Dharamkot (On the cobblestone path in Dharamkot, just near the turn onto the dirt path towards Upper Bhagsu - though there is a second location in Bhagsu as well). Cool floor seating area overlooking some of the valley and hills, outdoor but covered from rain. Fantastic Veg Thali and good tea. Wouldn't recommend the sandwiches though. 120 - 200 Rs. edit
- Lama Cafe, Dharamkot (Near Chillax Cafe, very small brick building with a couple chairs). This fabulous little hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop makes delicious & fresh sandwiches on soft brown bread. Yak cheese, tuna, avocado, omelette, veg, and combinations thereof. Also sells tea and some baked goods, like Bhagsu Cakes and Chocolate Balls. 80 - 150 Rs. edit
- DuDu Falafel, Upper Bhagsu. This small but popular place only makes one item, falafel pita wraps. Spicy or non-spicy, with hummus, cabbage, tomato, etc. 150 Rs. edit
- Jimmy's Italian Kitchen, Jogiwara Rd (a short walk from McLeodganj's main square, on the left-hand side). Food better than that offered at the other Italian stlye places in town, with great salads, and acceptable pastas (napolitana, arrabbiata, quattro formaggi, puttanesca) and pizzas. 150 - 200 Rs. edit
- Black Tent Cafe, Jogiwara Rd. (15 min walk from main square on the left). A western restaurant offering burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc. Nice indoor floor seating. Pricey mains though ~ 200 Rs. edit
- Carpe Diem, Jogiwara Rd (10 min walk from McLeodganj's central square, on the left-hand side, one storey above street level). International cuisine restaurant, including Thai, Italian, and Nepalese. Nepalese staff; small library of books for in-house perusal; occasional live music. edit
- Chocolate Log, Jogiwara Rd (20 min walk from McLeodganj's central square, on the left-hand side), ☎ +91 18 9222 1993. A virtual landmark for decades and well-known to most locals. It is essentially a cake-cum-pastry shop with a delightful sit-in café on the upper-level terrace. A bit pricey, mains around 200 Rs. edit
- Tibet Kitchen, Jogiwara Rd, House #1, McLeod Ganj (next to main square), ☎ +98 58 75626. This restaurant is highly rated and spread over 3 floors with a huge menu of Italian, Israeli, Chinese, Thai, Bhutanese, and Tibetan food. Very popular with Tibetans. The food is consistently good and fresh. In the centre of town, internet available. 50 - 250 edit
- Restaurant Mc'Llo, Main Square. Situated in one of the most crowded public places in town, this huge place is spread among several floors. Extensive selection of Chinese, Punjabi, South Indian and North Indian food, most of it geared to the Indian palate of the patrons along with fantastic pizza. There is also a decent pub/bar, with a good selection of Western wines including French and Italian vintages. edit
- Flourishing Flora, Tipa Rd (15 min walk from the main square of McLeodganj; on the left-hand side, just before the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts). A pleasant floral oasis on the plush open-air patio of a free-standing, somewhat secluded private house, offering gourmet items. There are 11 beverages (Rs 30-75; including unusual ones, like "milk with organic turmeric"), breakfast items, fresh-baked bread, sandwiches, salads, baked sweets, and set meals (Rs 150-250). No wifi. 30 - 250 Rs. edit
- Green Restaurant, Green Hotel, Bhagsu Rd (10 min walk from McLeodganj's central square, on the right-hand side, past Kunga Guesthouse), ☎ +91 18 9222 1200, +91 18 9221479, . Well-known, popular, and trendy. Decent, hearty food, all supposedly organic, good Western pies and Tibetan dishes. Terrace in the back offers limited views over the valley. Inside seating on cushy sofas more agreeable. Pay by the hour wifi at higher rates than those offered by most Internet cafés in town. Small book shelf for reading material. 40 - 200 Rs. edit
- Le Vrai Café, Jogibara Rd, (just above the Chocolate Log, and down the hill from the post office). This is the place to get European continental food and atmosphere. Run by a Franco-Tibetan couple, expect top quality coffee, plenty of chess and a real locals' atmosphere. Epitomises the trans-nationality of McLeod, to be celebrated and savoured.
- Lhamo's Croissant, Bhagsu Rd. A simple yet stylish eatery. Breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, salads and deserts, as well as coffee's and a good selection of teas. The bread is baked fresh each morning by Lhamo. The second floor has comfortable Japanese style seating on cushions and Tibetan carpets. Fantastic views from the roof top. Free wi-fi.
- Lung-Ta, Jogiwara Rd (all the way near the southern end of town). Excellent Japanese food, pay attention to the daily specials. There is also a small clothing store which sells high end Tibetan inspired fashions. Non-profit, proceeds go towards assisting former political prisoners and documenting human rights violations. Seems to often be closed [March 2016].
- Namgyal Café, Temple Rd (just before the gated entrance to the Dalai Lama temple; within the Tsuglagkhang temple complex but accessible only from outside on the street right ot the temple street.). 10AM~10PM. Tibetan and Italian dishes, Western-style cakes, and a gamut of tea varieties. A small library of books donated by previous guest can be read in duration of the visit or can be borrowed at nominal costs. A good place to chat with fellow companions or other travellers over a cup of coffee. Try to occupy the window table offering the best view of valley below. It takes some time to prepare meals as food is freshly cooked. 50 - 200 Rs. edit
- Norling Restaurant, Jogiwara Rd (a short walk from McLeodganj's central square, on the right-hand side). The distinction between vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine is very hazy here, a circumstance which may deter vegetarian patrons: if you order "Special Thenthuk" (or "Special Thukpa") here, it will arrive with chicken and mutton pieces in it, without any forewarning on the menu. "Vegetable Thenthuk" appears to be prepared with meat stock as well. Seafood dishes (Rs 255-295). Some dishes appear absurdly overpriced such as the hookoo soup, 50 - 400 Rs. edit
- Café Budan (formerly called First Cup), Hotel Himalayan Paradise complex, Jogibara Rd (15 min walk from McLeodganj's main square of chowk). Under the same management as moon•peak espresso; Indian owners with Tibetan staff. Good breakfast options The place looks like a converted garage. Free wifi.closed Rs 50~120. edit
- Common Ground Cafe, Sewarg Ashram Rd (Tushita Rd) (1 minute uphill from the main bus stand), ☎ +91 98 1627 3240, . This is a gathering point for the local community and visitors to share Taiwanese, Chinese and Tibetan cuisine. Also an events venue, providing a platform for a community-based common ground for learning and exchange. A non-profit business venture which helps generates a sustainable source of income for Common Grounds Project, and vocational training and employment opportunities for a small group of Tibetans in the Dharamsala exile community where unemployment runs high. edit
- Moonpeak Espresso, Temple Rd (10 min walk from McLeodganj's main square of chowk). 7AM-8PM. Coffee for Rs 40~70, while it is possible to find better coffee in McLeodganj this is nevertheless a very pleasant café to visit. All-Tibetan staff and Indian owners. Good, if smallish, sandwiches and several breakfast items. Teas, including herbal; Rs 50~60). This is one of the very few places in McLeodganj with free and really functional WiFi. A notice printed within the menu uncharacteristically enjoins the patron to "please order a few things" if "you are going to sit on the net for a while". Rs 50~120. edit
- Xcite, main square, mcleod ganj. Popular hangout with both westerners, locals and holidaying Punjabis. Has the only dance floor in the area. Both Indian and western tunes are played until 1AM. The only nightclub in the region. edit
- Heart Rock Cafe, Post Office Jogi Bada Rd, McLeod Ganj (down Jogi Bada Rd, about 10 min walk from the bus stand). 10AM-11PM. There are better decorated places, but not as pure as this place. On the walls there are pictures of Kali, Jesus and some Sikh Guru's. Here religion is second to human rights. Being tucked away a bit you might almost miss it. In the afternoon you might encounter local workers sipping away some thea at lunch. Alcohol is not served, it is a place to relax, not to get drunk. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served here. Thea 10 Rs. edit
- Cafe Illiterati, Lower Jogiwara Road (On the way to the Library). Absolutely fantastic view and very good menu. One can sit, relax, read a book or play carom or piano! Perfect. edit
- Refill your water bottle with filtered water, many water-filtering stations to refill your bottle are available in the town: Dalai Lama Temple, LHA at Temple Rd, Environmental Education Centre at Bhasgu Rd, and Dogga-Centre at Jogiwara Rd. Some restaurants, including Nick's and Green Hotel also offer filtered water refills for a charge (5 - 10 Rs. / Liter).
McLeod Ganj has a wide selection of accommodation, most of which is located close to the main bus stop. Just walk around. It is easy to find somewhere suitable. There are also 2 smaller towns within walking distance, Bhagsu and Dharmakot. They are quieter than McLeod, whose main streets (esp. Bhagsu Rd) suffer from the usual Indian curse of lots of beeping vehicles pushing through the streets, and have a wide array of cool places to stay and courses to do.
If you prefer it quieter but still want to be in Mcleod, a balcony with your room and a splendid view of the valley can be had on Jogiwara road.
For long-term stays, head down the steep set of stairs adjacent to Yongling school on Jogiwara Road; there are about a dozen good, cheap places down there with great views (you just have to go up and down those damn stairs every day!)
In the case His Holiness is teaching, or just in summer generally, McLeod Ganj can become very crowded and prices will be inflated. If this happens, take a look around Dharamkot and Upper Bhagsu for cheaper accommodation.
- Welcome House, Jogiwara Rd, (below Youngling School), ☎ +91-98050-55477 / +91-78320-55477. this cozy picturesque guesthouse includes gas & kitchen in your room, and it's ran by a couple. The room upstairs down the corner on right side is recommended. It has big windows on either side overlooking the gorgeous valley and Triund peak. The peak season rate would be around 600, but it will be almost half the price if you are to stay for a longer period of time (Nov 2014).
- Friends House, Jogiwara Rd, (opp Yongling School), ☎ +91-9805036716 +91-9816984215. Nicer rooms than many of the other budget accommodations. Location off of the main roads makes for a quieter stay. Internet available. 7-10 min walk from Mcleodganj bus stand. Private bathroom, hot water, balcony, full Himalaya valley view, WiFi, and TV.double room for 2 person. Rooms from Rs 300-400 you can also book bus, taxi, train tickets plus tours and trek reservation from the hotel.
- Lord Krishna Residency,Temple Rd, ☎ +91 18 9222 1588) mobile +91-9857690700. Run by a Hindu Indian family, beautiful, clean rooms. Great Tea ,coffee and atmosphere. Also you can rent motor bikes @ lord krishna adventures contact 09857690700
- Victoria House, (Down to the bottom of the steep steps opp. Yongling school). Once a good, clean place the service has deteriorated over the years. Some of the rooms have private balconies with a view of the mountains. Private bathroom with hot water, No WiFi. Rs 500-700, negotiable upon period of stay. edit
- Hotel Akash, Jogiwara Rd, ☎ +91 18 9222 1990), . Run by a German-Indian family, beautiful clean rooms. Great coffee and atmosphere.
- Colonel's Cozy Corner, (near Dari), ☎ +91 94 18724897, (bookings) +91 98 1677 0899 ([email protected]). Belongs to a helpful retired army officer and his wife. A secure place with no one to disturb you. Registered with Himachal Govt tourism department under their Homestays scheme . 3 rooms. Home like atmosphere, clean linen and safe water. A local 'Dham' (lunch) is available. This is located a bit far from Dharamsala. Travelers without a private vehicle might find difficulties to reach here or go to Mcleodganj and other tourist places in Dharamsala Rs 1100-900, negotiable upon period of stay. edit
- Green Hotel, ([email protected]), . Simple, clean rooms and very good restaurant. You can refill your water bottle for Rs 10/liter here to save on plastic, internet cafe in the restaurant. Best cakes in town, specially carrot cake. Rs 400-1,000, they also have some newly refubished mid-range rooms from Rs 1,700-2,000. edit
- Pink House, Jogiwara Rd, (opp Yongling School), ☎ +91 98 0552 7124 , +91 94 1814 3227, +91 18 9222 1145, ,. Nicer rooms than many of the other budget accommodations. Location off of the main roads makes for a quieter stay. Internet available. 7-10 min walk from Mcleodganj bus stand. Private bathroom, hot water, balcony, WiFi, intercom, Tibetan massage center and TV. Double rooms Rs 1000-1800.
- River View Apartments, Jogiwara, Heru Village, ☎ +91 98 1620 6406, +91 98 1629 2228. All rooms with balcony and kitchen.
- Seven Hill's Guest house (200 m up Tipa Rd),Rs 100-300 for double room for 2 person.
- Shree Guest House (200 m up from the main square, Tushita Rd) A Five years old guest house run by a family in a quieter part of the town.Very neat and clean and peaceful Guest House.Also free wifi.Shree Guest House is like, staying in your own home. feel Like Home.contact at:- [email protected]☎ +91 1892 220003.
- Hotel Snow Crest Inn, Naddi Village, ☎ +91 18 9222 0543, . checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12 noon. Rs 1,200. edit
- Snow Lion Guest House. Great budget place right in the centre of town Rs 175 for tiny double room with communal bathroom. edit
- Tibetan Ashoka Guesthouse, Very clean and comfortable rooms at reasonable prices (single for Rs 220; double about Rs 750/night). ☎ +91 18 9222 1763.
- Hotel Ekant Lodge, Jogiwara Rd, ☎ +91 1892 221593, . Run by Indian family, economy,beautiful clean rooms with private balcony.
- Zenith Guesthouse, Dharamkot (Just past Moonlight Cafe, take the small stairs on the left and go up the hill a short way, you will see their internet cafe sign). checkin: Whenever; checkout: Noon. A small, quiet place just a short way off the main path in Dharamkot. Decent WiFi, internet cafe attached. Comfy bed, hot water, small grassy area for hanging out in. 500 Rs. High Season. edit
- 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel, Jogiwara Rd, Mcleod Ganj. (below Ladies Venture Hotel), , ☎ +91 94 1823 6603. View of the snow capped Dhauladhar range from a private balcony. Clean rooms with attached bathrooms. Located within walking distance of the main temple of the Dalai Lama and Mcleod Ganj. Each room is named after one of the eight auspicious signs of Buddhism and decorated accordingly.
- Ladies Venture, Jogiwara Rd, ☎ +91 18 92221559, . On a quiet side street close to the main square. 18 rooms, all of which have balconies, cableTV and an attached bathroom with hot water. free wifi facilities. Common lounge room, library and room service. You can also book airline, bus and train tickets plus tours and trek reservations from the hotel's travel desk. From Rs 500-2000.
- Bhagsu Hotel, . State-run Himachal tourism hotel, which despite the name is in McLeod Ganj. At the upper end of the price range with carpeted rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Has a pleasant pseudo-English garden with lawn and flowers. Rs 1,200-2,800.
- Hotel Tibet, Bhagsunag Rd. Clean. spotty hot water, reasonable meals. Good deals off-season.
- Jagatram Niwas, (Above McLeodganj in the quiet rural village of Heini.). . ☎ +91 98 1614 3957. Small, family-run guest house offers peace and quiet, clean, stylishly furnished rooms and traditional Himachali home-cooked food. Is an ideal base for trekking in the Dhauladhar range and day excursions to local sights and attractions. Rs 800 per night, including breakfast, discounts for longer stays.
- Pema Thang's Guest House, (opp Bhagsu Hotel), ☎ +91 18 9222 1871, . Tibetan-run older guesthouse, tucked on a quiet side street with great views over the Kangra Valley. Rooms are starting to show their age, but they're scrupulously clean and comfy and feature a TV and 24h hot water. Double rooms Rs 770-1,100, industrial-strength gas heater (necessary in winter) Rs 200/day extra, kitchenette facilities available for longer stays.
- Snow Crest Inn Dharamsala, Naddi, Upper Dharamsala, (3 km from Mcleod Ganj). ☎ +91 94 1808 6608, . A short walk from the Tibetan Childen's Village. Views of the Dhauladhar Mountain Range from the roof top restaurant or a private balcony. Internet access, TV and solar heated water for your shower. Rs 600-700 off season, Rs 1,200-1,400 in high season.
- Sky Heaven Resort, Bhagsu, Upper Dharamsala, (2 km from Mcleod Ganj). ☎ +91 98162 225107, . Just 2 kms from the main square of Mcleodganj towards Bhagsu is situated Sky Heaven resort that offers best rooms for the visitors and guests. Friendly and Helpful staff.
- Hotel Valley View Crest, Satobari Hills, Near Dal Lake, Naddi, Upper Dharamsala (Just below the hills of Dhauladhar ranges, 5 km from Dharamshala and 3 km from Mcleodganj), ☎ +91 18 9222 0091, . 25 rooms Rs 1,200. edit
- BobsnBarley Hotel Bar and Restaurant, ☎ +91 1892-220170, . Experience the BobsnBarley – an unforgettable hotel just steps from Dharamshala city or the spiritual McLeodganj! The hotel boasts of luxurious and comfortable rooms with the in-house restaurant serving International as well as local cuisines. The hotel is nestled in the enchanting valley of the Himalayas and provides inner peace to the visitors seeking the same. BobsnBarley provides the perfect accompaniment to your stay, whether it is for a business meeting, a magical holiday, or a romantic get-away like honeymoon. What better way to experience Himalayas than starting your day with the Great Himalayas themselves welcoming you and wishing you a ‘Good Morning’! As the Indian proverb goes: ‘It’s not the man who seeks God, it’s The God who seeks a true devotee’ Come! The Himalayas are waiting for their true admirers… edit
- Asia Health Resorts, ☎ +91 18 9222 0877, . Located outside of the main centre of McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala, this modern hotel is somewhat sterile, but takes a stab at upmarket, and is the only place in the area where you'll find a (small) swimming pool, and a gym with steam and sauna. Also offers ayurvedic massage, a rooftop bar and some rooms & suites with A/C. edit
- Chonor House, off Temple Rd (on a secluded side alley verging off Temple Rd near the entrance to the Tsuglagkhang temple complex), ☎ +91 18 9222 1006, +91 18 9221 1468 ([email protected], fax: +91 18 9222 0815), . checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12 noon. One of the best and easily one of the most expensive places to stay in McLeodganj. Run by the Norbulingka Institute, whose proceeds go to helping refugees. Private car available. Prix fixe breakfast, Rs 315; prix fixe dinner, Rs 473; this must be the only place in the world where even a glass of house water isn't free. Service in the restaurant, indoors and on the adjacent open-air terrace can be appalling. The 11 rooms here are however in high demand, particularly in the high season of May and June when it would seem essential to book in advance. Rs 3,188~6,080. edit
- Glenmoor Cottages, Mall Rd, McLeodganj,Upper Dharamshala (Approximately 1 km from McLeodganj on the road leading to the Dal Lake /TCV), ☎ +91 18 9222 1010, . 1 km from the town of McLeodganj. Sited in a mixed forest of cedar, oak and rhododendron, overlooking the Kangra valley. Ideal for a quite and peaceful holiday. Known to be frequented by a number of celebrities and dignitaries. edit
- Surya McLeod, . Another somewhat upmarket choice, rooms in this large hotel have TVs and some have views over the valley. Restaurant, bar and ping pong table on site. Rs 1,800-3,400. edit
- Blossoms Village Resort, Sidhpur, Dharamshala (Near Norbulingka Buddhist Institute, roughly 12kms. from Gaggal airport, 80kms. from Chakki Bank station in Pathankot), ☎ +91-8679246880 ([email protected]), . checkin: 12.00pm; checkout: 12.00pm. Nestled at the foothills of the magnificent Dhauladhar mountain range, Blossoms Village Resort is a premium resort , with Eco-friendly construction and natural and pristine surroundings - A perfect getaway destination. The resort is an amalgamation of modern and the rustic, with an earthy feel & homely environment. Guests have access to all the modern amenities and facilities. There is something for everyone, from adventure sports, to tourist sightseeing destinations, shopping locales, in-house entertainment, and for guests who want to just relax, read a book & sip a hot cuppa at the landscaped lawn, and breathe in the fresh mountain air. 15 well appointed rooms and 4 exclusive cottages, spacious conference room with Wi-Fi- and A-V equipments, Pool table, Games Zone: Indoor games (Carrom, board games, Sony PlayStation etc.) & outdoor games (Cricket, badminton), Well-manicured lawn space, The Cliff - Multi-cuisine roof top restaurant & bar, Covered parking space, Laundry facilities, Gymnasium, Wi-Fi campus, Travel desk - Tours & sightseeing, Maitreya Study Centre - Wellness & alternate modality services are few services currently on offer. A book lounge & bar, in-house bakery, new restaurant with live kitchen & barbeque grill, organic farming, and a complete destination spa are few add-on services that will be available soon. Rs 3,100-6,900. edit
- Nature Blooom Hotel and Resorts Dharamshala, Dharamshala Palampur Road Gopalpur (Darati) (near Dhauladhaar national park, 3km, 28 km from Gaggal Airport), ☎ +91- 9818887454, 09034-200500 ([email protected]), . checkin: 12.00 pm; checkout: 12.00 pm. Nature Bloom Hotel & Resorts is nested in the lap of nature and surrounded with historic and most happening places of Dharamshala Palampur road in Kangra Velley. The location of the resort is Gopalpur Darati adjourning the Wildlife Natural Park “The Dhaulladhar Zoo”. This is the perfect balance of individual space which is away from the cluster of city and also provides the ease of reaching from anywhere comfortably. It is the perfect example of unique craftsmanship and green tea gardens. This dream resort habitat spread over 15000 sq meter area of the most charming wooded land surrounded snow clad mountains, peaks, forested hills, alpine scented cool breeze, unique topography along with cascading water bodies small rivulet to quashing streams down the slopes here and there. Rs 4,100-6,500. edit
This area is quite safe, but of course it is advisable to take the usual precautions regarding money and belongings. You don't need to wear your daypack on your front, it's silly.
Do not accept rides from strangers. Be careful when alone at night. Some places (like the Triund trailhead) get deserted pretty quickly after sunset.
In parts of Upper Bhagsu and Dharamkot it can be very dark and the paths and rocky steps can be tricky without a light, bring a torch if you'll be out at night. Plus power cuts are not uncommon.
Do not give ANY food to the monkeys because this only makes them more bold and aggressive toward humans. Do not stare them in the eyes or bare your teeth [smile] at them, they will see this as a threat and may jump at you. If they come and take your food, just let them grab it and run off, fighting back or trying to spook them may cause them to attack you.
Avoid giving money to the beggars, you are not helping - only perpetuating the problem. Do not buy milk or rice or whatever they ask for from stores either, as this is a scam, the price will be much higher than normal and they will split the profit/sell back the product later. If your privilege guilt really needs to be quelled, buy them some street momos or prepared food that they have to eat.
Local people are very helpful, ask if you need help.
- Palampur beautiful valley famous for its tea gardens, agricultural university, temples
- The holy Sikh city of Amritsar and its Golden Temple is a 6 hour bus ride away. Buses leave at 5am from the lower bus station.
- Manali is the next hub for journeys deeper into the mountains.
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