"The Still Square - Dharamshala-McLeod Ganj" Top 5 Page for this destination McLeod Ganj by anilpradhanshillong

McLeod Ganj Travel Guide: 125 reviews and 344 photos

The square that greets you may appear laughable, so small are the dimensions. However, it is the hub and the very soul of Dharamshala, the main town of the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh, located as it is on the spur of the Dhauladhar range of mountains. The wriggly roads that radiate from it may take you to your exotic destinations but return to this 40 feet by 20 feet focal point you must. It is a dis-embarkation and embarkation point, a meeting place, a hangout joint, plus the starting point of any procession in the town. It is also the place you start your journey from to discover yourself, your quest for your still centre, your nirvana.

You may complete all the must-see and must-do places of Dharamshala and of McLeod Ganj in a 2 nights 3 days package. Or you may rest here for a lifetime discovering inner peace, tranquility and happiness. As you stand at the square of Dharamshala and watch the other tourists rushing from one spot to another, you cannot help but marvel at the serenity on the faces of the red and ochre-coloured monks lost in their individual still centres. It is this incongruity, this dichotomy, this strangeness that is so telling. You may choose one or the other. Or better still, mix and match!

There is a 10 kms bus road that separates Dharamshala (1380 m; 4527 feet) and McLeod Ganj (1770 m; 5807 feet) besides a 7 kms steep light-vehicle road between these two places. However, the difference in altitude between these two stations is one of T-shirts and woollies. It is advisable to carry light woolies when you go up to the place chosen by the His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his people to live in exile. Established by the British as a hill station in the mid-19th century, McLeod Ganj is named after the-then Governor of Punjab, David McLeod. The town was abandoned after the major earthquake of 1905 till HH the Dalai Lama led his people here to live in exile in 1959, turning it into the ‘little Lhasa’. The best way to see either of the towns is on foot, unless you want to travel between the two.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Tranquillity Personified by the Dhauladhar Range
  • Cons:Chaos of Tourists
  • In a nutshell:Great for a quick getaway
  • Intro Updated Feb 1, 2012
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Reviews (19)

Comments (4)

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Very interesting page Anil. I think I would really enjoy it here - possibly in April? But are the hordes of tourists really that awful? I was so disappointed to be tripping over them in Udaipur - not what I expected. Any other suggestions for April?

    • anilpradhanshillong's Profile Photo
      Feb 26, 2014 at 1:57 AM

      Glad you liked the calendar, Donna! Showcasing my state!!
      Sorry for the late response. Was travelling on work. The place?
      God-forsaken place called Kokrajhar in Assam bordering Bhutan.
      Had to go check out a Reserve Forest. The air inside the RF was
      just toooooo invigorating! Glad I got a chance.

    • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
      Feb 26, 2014 at 3:57 AM

      Did you get a chance to explore? Would love to see photos - let me know if/when you post any.

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Excellent pages here. Went in 1975 and was utterly dissappointed by the crowds and hustle bustle. The problem with unrealistic expectations. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rupanworld's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Nice page...would love to visit some day

    • Rupanworld's Profile Photo
      Jan 25, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      Thanks Anil ... better late than never ... hope you are doing well ... I was in Shillong recently

    • anilpradhanshillong's Profile Photo
      Jan 25, 2014 at 3:42 AM

      Why did you not contact me? Strange girl! We could have met. Next time, do drop me a message. OK?

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    The houses on your intro page somehow remind me of Shimla, must be the hillside building. Thanks for the virtual tour.


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