HOW TO REACH MCLEOD GANJ
There are plenty of way reaching the McLeod Ganj from all over India. One can come here via air, road or train according to own choice.
Gaggal Airport serves as the nearest airport to McLeod Ganj. However, very limited flights of few airlines serve McLeod Ganj. Therefore, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, serves as the nearest and major airport to Mcleod Ganj.
There are many state government and private buses that connect Mcleodganj with various cities of north India like Delhi, Chandigarh, Dharamshala etc. on a regular basis. Passengers can easily avail these buses till Mcleodganj bus stand and then hire a taxi to reach anywhere in the town.
Pathankot Railway Station located around 90 km away serves as the nearest railhead to Mcleodganj. Passengers can avail trains that ply between Delhi and Jammu to reach Mcleodganj. Plenty of trains are available on this route, so one can choose as per his/her budget and convenience. Taxis and buses available outside the station can be hired to reach Mcleodganj.
PLACES TO VISIT IN MCLEOD GANJ
1) St. John In The Wilderness Church
This is an old church built in 1852 dedicated to John the Baptist, located about 8 km from Dharamshala. This church is in the middle of Deodar forest and one can see the glimpse of mountains through the spiky leaves of the forest. This is an Anglican church built in neo-Gothic architecture and is famous for the Belgian stained-glass windows, donated by Lady Elgin, wife of Lord Elgin. The church was struck by a Kangra earthquake in 1905 and successfully survived which kills around 19,800 peoples.
There is a beautifully crafted memorial of Lord James Bruce on the back side of the church. He was Governor of Jamaica, Governor General of the Province of Canada, High Commissioner & Ambassador to China and Viceroy of India. He was buried near the church after his death in 1863. When he died his wife Mary Louisa built a memorial in reminiscence to his departed soul. There is also a graveyard near the church where many officers of British Empire were buried.
This is a peaceful temple of Lord Shiva located about 2 km from the McLeod Ganj market. This temple was constructed by 1GR around 1800 century and is worshiped by 14 Gorkha platoons. This temple has so many mythological believes that you can hear about it. Besides temple, there is a natural water spring and a swimming pool.
This is a beautiful waterfall located about 1 km from Bhagsunag temple. You have to walk around 1 km in pebble staircase to reach the waterfall. There are few cafes on the way where you can eat maggie, drink coffee and tea. This waterfall is around 2165 meter in height. For an average walking person, this will take around 15-20 minutes to reach the waterfall.
Dal Lake is a small Lake located in Tota Rani village about 2.5 km from McLeod Ganj market. The name Dal Lake is taken from Kashmir’s Dal Lake. It is surrounded by tall deodar trees and there is a small Lord Shiva temple on the bank of the lake. This place really needs some budget and good care to be a tourist place.
Sunset point is about 1.2 km from the Dal Lake. This is an awesome place with decent hotels, restaurants, cafes and small market. You can see the Dhauladhar range and the beautiful sunset. Whole mountains start changing its color from white to orange reddish during sunset. It appears as if the mountain is made up of copper electroplated with gold. I would say this is a must visiting place in McLeod Ganj and it would be better to visit at the end of the day.
6)Dalai Lama Temple
Peaceful and sacred temple in the beautiful mountain is just 2 km away from the McLeod Ganj. You can enjoy the beautiful Tibetian market on either side of the road while going toward the temple. While entering the temple there are lots of images of Tibetan who set themselves on the fire for free Tibet. There is a security check while entering the interior of the temple. There are many idols of Gautam Budha in the temple premises. In the center of the temple, there is a giant praying wheel encrypted with a lot of mantras. The environment of the temple provides real inner peace and ability to judge yourself that you have been doing in this hectic life.
7)Aghanjar Mahadev Temple
When we reached Dharamshala it was already 07:00 pm and the temple was still 10 km away from here. We were quite confused whether we should go or not and none of us knew the exact path. Suddenly something strikes our mind and we agreed to drive toward the temple with a feeling that Lord Shiva will help us. We drive all the way to temple ripping the cold wind in the night. The headlight of my scooter was so annoying, instead of focusing on the road it was pointing toward the sky, anyhow we managed to reach the temple.
When we entered the temple baba were singing the aarti and we joined them after washing our hands and legs. I was able to hear the sound of flowing water and whispering of the soothing wind in my ear. Aarti lasts for about 30 min, after which baba gave us bhabhut(ash) as a prasad. When we were about to leave the temple baba asked us to stay there for few moment in their Kutiya. He offered us herbs tea and pipe(chilam). We had some decent chat with baba and after their permission, we returned back to our room.