McLeod Ganj – How A Short Trip Changed My Life

I had always heard people talking about this place called McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh, India. Many of my friends have visited it and shared their experiences with me. This got me curious. I am very fond of quiet places with dense forests etc. Basically, I am a true lover of nature. McLeod Ganj seemed to me the exact place which I really wanted to visit. Did this actually happen? Read on to learn more.

I and my friend Kapil went on a short 3 days trip to this place. Mode of transport – We chose the Royal Enfield. This was my first ever experience of going to such a long distance on a motorbike. It was a bit painful though (for obvious reasons). But that did not stop me from enjoying our trip.

We started our journey to McLeod Ganj from Chandigarh early morning at about 6:00 am. To be frank it wasn’t a planned trip. We took only the bare essentials with us because it would have been really difficult for us to travel on a bike. Our luggage consisted of 2-3 clothes, towel, phone charger, camera, power bank, few medicines and that’s about it.

To be comfortable on the bike we took a cushion too as it makes it a little bit easier to sit for a longer time period. It helped a lot seriously. Anyway…

As I said we started our journey at 6:00 am we travelled for 2 hours continuously. Then we stopped at a Dhaba for breakfast. We had 2 aloo ka paranthas and tea. They were yummy. We stayed there for about half an hour and then restarted our journey.

We reached a place called Una from where we decided to visit the famous Hindu temple of Goddess Jwalamukhi. But on the way, unfortunately, the clutch wire of the bike broke. Luckily, Kapil had a spare one. He tried to put the wire but was not successful in doing so. We enquired from nearby people and came to know that there is a repair shop about 500 meters away. He went there and got it fixed. From there we went to the Jwala Devi Temple.

After reaching there we parked our bike and bought prasad (offering) for the Goddess and went to the temple. As expected the temple was full of devotees. Long lines! But the security guard helped us with the entry. After doing the darshan we came out of the temple complex and rested for some time. After this, we started with our journey further towards Dharamshala.

The journey is indeed long and tiring. But when you have good company everything goes well. The same thing happened with us too.

We halted for 5-10 minutes every 1 hour so that we can take some rest and collect some more energy to ride the bike. You know what I mean.

The total travel time from Chandigarh to McLeod Ganj is approximately 5 and a half hours.

We also went to the Goddess Chintpurni temple. But unfortunately, we were not able to visit the temple as it was closed. We spent some time there and had some refreshments. And started the journey again. Clouds started to appear, but luckily it did not rain.

From here we went straight to Dharamshala. The weather there was so wonderful. It was slightly chilly and it made us really very happy. Ah yes… We did stop at Kangra too for some time. It was really hot there. Which was quite strange.

Dharamshala and ahead is Army area and is well maintained. There is a park there and it is also very good. Our stay there was only for a couple of minutes as we were very tired and wanted to go to some hotel and take some rest.

We enquired about hotels but all were full. We weren’t aware that it was the holiday season as this was our first visit. After trying a number of hotels we came to know about this great new hotel near Dal Lake, called as Roshan House. I called up and enquired about the availability of rooms. We found one! From here we went straight to McLeod Ganj and to the hotel. Booked the room and crashed on the bed. Slept for 2 hours straight.

In the late evening, we went to the main market area and ‘roamed’ around. It was almost closing time. Had food, wandered here and there, lol, and went back to the hotel.

The weather was cold. Not too much but still was very pleasant.

The next day after taking breakfast we went to visit Dal Lake. The place is really amazing. Grand trees covered the surroundings. There is also a temple nearby. The lake was crowded.

From here we went ahead towards the mountains. The scenic beauty of this particular area cannot be expressed in words. Blue, white, green and so many other colours can be clearly seen in these mountains. You can see the photos below to better understand. But even these photos don’t do justice to the actual beauty of the place.

In these mountains, you can see a small temple or a house amidst the forests. As it was far away so it was unable to make out what exactly it was. But it was related to Buddhism and it was quite evident from the flags there. Its also called as the sunset point.

From here we went forward and had some peaceful time at the meditation centre.

All these activities took us about 4 hours or so.

From here we went to the hotel to take rest and have some food.

In the evening we went to the market to buy a few things and check out the local delicacies. The market was overcrowded. Holiday season! The market is full of Tibetan food and souvenir shops. Since we came here on a bike it wasn’t possible for us to buy anything as it would have resulted in great difficulty to take them back home. This made me really sad. Really really sad. Anyway. There was one restaurant, have forgotten its name sorry, where we had Pad Thai Noodles. My God that was simply the best noodles I have ever eaten. Seriously. Do try it out for sure.

The main centre of attraction in the market is the McLo restaurant. Trust me it’s overrated and nothing else. The whole place is a mess. It is not worth at all. The waiters there are ill-mannered and not trained at all.

We also visited the Namgyal Monastery. It is clean, well kept and a heavenly place. The Namgyal Monastery is situated within the Tsuglagkhang complex. This complex also is the proud home to the residence of Dalai Lama, among various other shrines, temples, bookstores, souvenir shops and more.

Church of St. Johns in the wilderness is one of the main attractions in McLeod Ganj. It’s amazing. This neo-gothic architecture was built in 1852 and is one of the most important churches in Himachal Pradesh. Located near Dharamshala and on the way to Mcleodganj, this church was built in dedication to John the Baptist. The church is built in gothic style and will give you the feeling of a Hollywood movie.

This summed up our very short trip to this heavenly place. As time was less we missed out a lot of spots like the museum, temples etc. I made a promise to myself that I will come here again and visit all the places which I wasn’t able to see in this trip.

This short trip indeed changed my life a lot. A fresh breeze of energy has made me become more positive towards life and various aspects of it. I feel even closer to nature and now appreciate it even more.

I recommend this place to each and everyone who loves nature. Not only honeymooners.


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