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A Divine Sojourn: Why Mcleodganj is the Perfect Destination for Spiritual Seekers

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Mcleodganj is a popular hill station located in the suburbs of Dharamshala, which is another popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh. The mighty Dhauladhar Range surrounding Mcleodganj attracts trekkers to explore the Kangra valley and admire its natural beauty.

However, Mcleodganj’s uniqueness lies in its Tibetan culture and its ability to offer spiritual solace to those seeking peace. The town is home to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and features beautiful temples, stupas, and places that are not only visually appealing but also offer tranquillity to the mind.

In Mcleodganj, the most beautiful places are not just the treks or the misty valleys, but also the glorious history and peaceful atmosphere surrounding its temples, spiritual rock structures, and Tibetan monasteries.

Choose Mcleodganj Travel for a spiritual journey and let Thomas Cook curate the best Dharamshala tour packages for you and your family.

The Best Way to Reach Mcleodganj

As Delhi is the closest metro city to Mcleodganj, it is convenient to connect its routes to the stunning Himalayan hamlet. You can travel to McLeodganj by road, air, or train, owing to the popularity of Himachal Pradesh.

Mcleodganj via road: The easiest and most scenic route to visit Mcleodganj from Delhi is via an overnight Volvo bus. You can board a bus from Kashmiri Gate ISBT, Majnu ka Tila, or RK Ashram Marg.

Mcleodganj via air: The closest airport to Mcleodganj is Gaggal Airport, located at a distance of about 47 km from the main Dharamshala. The return flight usually costs around 10,000.

Mcleodganj via train: The nearest railway station is Pathankot, which is located approximately 90 km from Mcleodganj. It takes around 8 hours to reach Pathankot from Delhi by train, from where you can take a taxi or bus to reach your destination.

Best Places in Mcleodganj for Spiritual Seekers

Now that we are clear on the travelling part, let’s focus on the best places in Mcleodganj that you can explore to serve your spiritual purpose.

So, here’s the list of top Mcleodganj tourist places that one can cover in a span of 3 to 4 days, all while soaking in their divinity.

1. Namgyal Monastery – The Dalai Lama’s Abode

The Namgyal Monastery, commonly known as the Dalai Lama Temple, is the top spiritual destination to visit in Mcleodganj. It is the largest Tibetan monastery in India and also houses the Tibet Museum, Tsuglagkhang Complex, and Namgyal Gompa.

Although the monastery has many attractions, the tall statue of Lord Buddha is the most captivating for visitors. The Kalachakra Temple, which is adjacent to the Tsuglagkhang Complex, is another must-visit spot. The temple boasts breathtaking murals, including fresco decorations of over 700 deities of the mandala, the Kalachakra idol, and Tibetan Thangka paintings.

The monastery has a rich history dating back to the 1959 Tibetan revolt against Chinese occupation. The Dalai Lama sought refuge in India after months of suffering and eventually settled there. Today, the personal monastery of the 14th Dalai Lama is filled with divine vibes as soon as you enter its gates. The architectural design may not be grand, but the intricate Tibetan designs and paintings give a glimpse into the rich Buddhist culture. You can feel the healing in the air.

Some of the unmissable experiences inside the shrine include performing KORA (clockwise circumambulation at a specific path), admiring the Buddhist architecture, and witnessing the chants of more than 200 Buddhist monks who reside inside the monastery.

Timings: 5 AM to 7 PM (April – October); 6 AM to 6 PM (November –  March).

2. Bhagsunag Temple – The Healing Powers of Lord Shiva

A 5000-year-old temple surrounded by lush green valleys and enthralling history – this is Bhagsunag Temple for you! One of the top spiritual places to include in your Mcleodganj travel itinerary, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Locals speak highly of this temple as they believe it has healing powers. That said, make sure to take a dip in the natural pool near the temple to experience true healing.

There are several tourist attractions close to this temple, the first being its namesake waterfall. The Bhagsunag waterfall is one of the top places to visit in Mcleodganj. It requires trekking, but it is completely worth the pain!

Don’t miss the beauty of the Dal Lake (Himachal also has one) before returning from the temple – it is quite nearby! Also, stop by the Kotwali Bazaar to shop for souvenirs.

Timings: After sunrise and before sunset. 5 AM to 8 PM (Summer) and 6 AM to 6 PM (Winter).

3. St. John in the Wilderness Church – Breathtaking British Architecture

The St. John Church, nestled in Forsyth Ganj, is a popular tourist attraction that is located about 1 km away from Mcleodganj. The church is surrounded by the wilderness of Dharamshala and was constructed in the 1850s.

It is regarded as one of the best tourist places near Mcleodganj because of its unique grey stone walls that exhibit the geo-gothic style of architecture from ancient British times. The church is the only one of its kind in the area that displays this style of architecture.

The church is also famous for its stunning Belgian-stained glass windows, a 300-foot-tall bell hanging from the top of the tower, and the altar’s wood complemented by electric lamps that have replaced the old oil lamps. St. John Church is the final resting place of Lord Elgin, the former viceroy of India. Even if you are a Buddhist or Hindu, you should visit this church in the wilderness of Mcleodganj.

Timings: 7 AM to 6 PM.

4. Dharamkot – Sit for Yoga and Meditation

If you’re planning a spiritual trip to Mcleodganj, we recommend visiting Dharamkot to enhance your self-discovery experience. This quaint town is situated close to Mcleodganj and is known to attract yogis and meditators who seek to bask in the quietness of the mighty Dhauladhar Range of the Himalayas.

Dharamkot is also popularly referred to as Yogi Village, and is home to several meditation centres and yoga schools, such as the Tushita Buddhist Meditation Centre and Dhamma Shikhara Vipassana Meditation Centre.

Apart from spiritual practices, Dharamkot offers some amazing treks in the region, including Indrahar Pass, Kareri Lake, and Triund. Hiking through the mesmerising Kangra Valley is a divine experience in itself.

5. Norbulingka Institute for Deden Tsuglagkhang, the Seat of Happiness

It is an aesthetically beautiful building that was built in 1995 with the purpose of preserving Tibetan culture. You will come across beautiful Thangka paintings, wood carvings, Buray Silk, Losel Doll Museum, restaurants serving Tibetan cuisines, and more. However, the focal point of the institute is the Deden Tsuglagkhang or the Seat of Happiness Temple, which displays some of the finest religious architecture of Tibet.

A 14-foot-tall statue of Buddha Shakyamuni – the largest of its kind outside Tibet and a magnificent Applique Thangka exhibiting 16 Arhats embroidered on silk are the main attractions of the temple. You can also buy a variety of items like handbags, lamps, bedsheets, Buddha idols, hand-made wrapping sheets, and more at the Institute.

Note: You will have to take a cab from Mcleodganj since the temple is located at a distance of 10 km from the main city.

: 9 AM to 5.30 PM.

6. Tsechokling Gompa – Sit in a Peaceful Location

This Gompa was constructed in 1987 to reproduce the Dip Tse Chok Ling in Tibet. It is situated amidst the steep hillside of the Dhauladhar ranges and offers breathtaking views of the valley. Housing a small group of Gelugpa monks, this little shrine is renowned for its stunning mandalas. The prayer hall consists of a statue of Shakyamuni, and two hand-painted drums are covered in goatskin. Overall, the ambience of the place is peaceful and serene.

Timings: 7 AM to 8 PM.

7. Masroor Rock Cut Temples – Soak in Peace and Serenity

The Masroor Rock Cut Temples, dating back to the 8th century, are a treasure trove for spiritual seekers and design enthusiasts. These temples are made from monolithic rocks, with the original count being fifteen, although most of them are now damaged. Despite the damage, they still offer a visual treat to visitors.

The ASI protects the temple and features images of Ram, Sita, and Laksham in the sanctum. As you explore the rest of the monument, you will also see images of Lord Shiva, Indra, Kartikeya, and Surya.

The location of the Masroor temples is serene and peaceful, surrounded by a valley that exudes tranquillity. Although many travellers skip this temple, those with spiritual depth can really sit for hours to feel their souls.

8. Baglamukhi Temple – Goddess Who Fulfils Wishes

A historic temple snuggled amid the lushness of Kangra Valley, Baglamukhi Temple is a shrine dedicated to one of the ten ‘Mahavidyas’ of Goddess Shakti – the Supreme.

It is believed that whoever performs yajna and homage at the temple with a good intention gets their wish fulfilled. Most devotees enter the temple wearing yellow clothes and offer yellow sweets since the Goddess’ favourite colour is yellow.

The temple is a sight to behold at festivals like Navratri, Vasant Panchami, and Guru Purnima. The spectacular temple is located an hour away from Mcleodganj.

Timings: Open 24 hours.

9. Mani Lhakhang Stupa for Gold-Plated Buddha Statue

One of the lesser-known tourist places near Mcleodganj, it is a sacred site built under the guidance of the Dalai Lama in 2001. Also known as the Prayer Wheels Monastery, this Stupa houses a gold-plated statue of Lord Buddha in a lotus position, which serves as the main attraction for visitors.

Since the stupa is open 24 hours a day, you can stay back to listen to the chants and hymn recital by the monks in the evening. Even meditating near the stupa can prove to be quite healing for you.

Timings: Open 24 hours.

10. Namgyalma Stupa – Purify Your Soul

Namgyalma Stupa is located in the middle of the main street in Upari Barol. It is a sacred site for those who wish to purify their souls and release their bad karma. According to Tibetan beliefs, anyone who comes in contact with the Stupa gets instantly purified. Even the rainwater falling on the Stupa is deemed to be purified and can help heal the soul if one drinks it.

The Stupa is surrounded by a number of prayer wheels that can be worshipped by rotating them in a clockwise direction while chanting mantras or praying. Apart from the spiritual significance, Namgyalma Stupa holds aesthetic value as it is entirely made from sandstone and is pleasing to the eye. Just by looking at it, one can feel at ease and peace.

The statue of Shakyamuni resting inside its chambers is another reason why spiritual people feel a pull towards the Stupa. The shrine is also known as the Stupa of Complete Victory, to honour Gautam Buddha for overcoming death, and exhibits three circular steps.

Timings:  7 AM to 7 PM.

11. Kalachakra Temple – Stunning Murals of Kalchakra

The Kalachakra temple is not just a place of worship, it is also an architectural masterpiece and an institute where people seek teachings from the Dalai Lama himself. This temple was built in 1992 and is a testament to the rich culture and artistry of the Tibetan people, as seen in the murals, Thangka paintings, and fresco decorations depicting 772 deities of mandalas.

One of the most famous features of the temple is the mural of Kalachakra (Wheel of Time), which is connected to Avalokitesvara and from which the Dalai Lama has manifested. Additionally, visitors can explore several shops and an aesthetic cafe located within the temple.

Timings: 5 AM to 9 PM.

There are several McLeodganj tourist places that hold high spiritual significance but are not commonly known to regular visitors Visit Thomas Cook to get the best Dharamshala tour packages for your spiritual sojourn. Book now!

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