McLeod Ganj - Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India

McLeod Ganj Hills
McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala
After a long time I was visiting any hill station. Usually vacation for me is relaxing at the sun soaked beach with crystal blue water and nothing else to do. For a change, I decided to spend my summer vacation visiting McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, also known as "Little Lhasa" or "Dhasa" (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetans.

I was visiting this place with family so I wanted the best travel experience for my wife and kid. The best way I could find was direct connect to McLeodGanj via Himachal Pradesh Tourism Volvo from Delhi which had good reviews all over the internet and seemed safe too.

As usual, my wife did all the packing which she is great at and we left our home to catch our Volvo from one the busiest bus depot of Delhi. Thankfully we reached on time and soon boarded the bus  for 6pm which had mostly young crowd with 'Mountains Calling' written all over their faces. As we started the journey, my son looked outside the bus' window and within half an hour he fell asleep in his comfortable seat with blanket on. Seats were really comfortable and cozy for a long ride. The bus staff played 'Bhai's bollywood movie' which we watched for a while until we stopped for dinner on the way at Haveli, Karnal.


Post dinner, we all tried to sleep but it was on and off while we tried to ignore every distraction that came our way. After a long long night, we reached McLeod Ganj at 5am sharp. It was drizzling and weather was cold enough that we had to take out our jackets.


"Sir, taxi, taxi?" "Kahan jaoge sir?" were the only voices I could hear as we were leaving the bus stop. I turned on my GPS to see the location of our hotel, it was showing 15 minutes walk. Considering weather was really nice and with all the fresh air around, we decided to walk.

It was early morning and the streets were empty except few stray dogs who accompanied us as we walked and we could also see few locals doing the morning walk. The views while we walked were majestic with clouds forming up over the mountains and that sun rise we saw was majestic. 

We reached our hotel and got early check-in and laid on the bed to straighten our backs with no intention to sleep, but.... 

We woke up at 11:30am and quickly got ready to explore this little place. As we stepped out of our hotel and reached the mall road and it was super crowded filled with tourists walking, taxis honking and tempos delivering goods which created the jam. I literally felt at that moment that I am back in Delhi, it was kind of shocking!!


Well, we made our way and looked at all the stuff street vendors had to offer. Most shops were related to women's accessories and clothing which were good enough to draw my wife's attention. But my attention was only on food. Our first stop was Tibet Kitchen which I heard a lot about. Famous for its Fried momos and fried rice, we tried the delicacies as we sat inside this cozy restaurant and looked outside as it started to drizzle. Weather turned to fantastic from good and we stepped outside with our tummy full. We continued to explore the mall road, trying street delicacies, sweet corn etc. Next stop was Dalai Lama Temple. Situated at the end of Mall road, this temple is another attraction which draws lot of tourists. Inside premises is filled with Monks, few meditating, few of them chit-chatting and few answering tourists questions. Well, to my belief, my understanding was that Monks are detached from outside world and all leisure, but to my surprise I saw lot of them using smart phones, tablets. I may be wrong here, but that's what I believed. Any way moving on, we clicked some pictures and met one of the oldest monk in the temple who barely spoke but was kind enough to get clicked and pose for the picture.



We reached back to our hotel in the evening, sat in the balcony with majestic view of the valley and turned on soothing classical music which complimented the atmosphere. My kid was kind enough to sleep while we enjoyed the view. During the night, we went on a stroll and had dinner at local restaurant and got back to our hotel and slept.

Next morning, we had lot of plans and lot of places to cover. We quickly (tried) had our breakfast and left for BhagsuNag waterfall. Situated 3 kms away from our hotel, we would have walked, but with kid along, we preferred Taxi which we later realized was a bad idea due to heavy weekend traffic, the road was jammed. It took us 1.5 hours to reach there, had we walked, we could have reached in 45 minutes. Long story short, even that place was also crowded and whole idea to visit McLeod Ganj in summer vacation was turning out to be a nightmare. I don't usually prefer crowed places but here we were with all the crowd so with no choice we tried to find ways to be happy. Well, BhagsuNag Temple is located just before the waterfall and attracts lot of devotees from all over the country. To be honest, my only interest was to witness the waterfall which was uphill climb. The climb had too many stairs but my kid was all excited as the valley looked beautiful and majestic. After few many steps, when the we got the clear view of the waterfall and got good shots, we decided to descend. The waterfall was full of crazy people, climbing on the wet rocks, standing in midst of the fall just for the sake of few good clicks and selfies despite the warning signs of not to do so. We decided to head back and on our way had a pit stop at German Bakery and had amazing shakes and cookies (savior of the day).


Even on the way back, traffic was intense. Since the weather was amazing, we decided to ditch the taxi ride and instead chose to walk back. Traffic was stand still while we surpassed all the cars waiting for the road to get clear. My expectation from the walk was to enjoy the nature as we walked, but more intelligent species didn't like that, they preferred playing loud music while they were stuck in the jam and successfully ruined the quiet walk we intended to have. My piece of advise: Never visit hill station or matter of fact any place during summer vacation moreover on a weekend.



Any way, we reached hotel and had our lunch and collapsed on the bed. In the evening we woke up and sat in our balcony to enjoy the majestic snow peak mountain. Dinner plan was already sorted as we had shortlisted a place, Jimmy's Italian Kitchen. Famous for its Pizza and Pasta Salad, we ordered our favorites while my kid enjoyed the cake.

We returned back to our hotel after enjoying the great food and after night talk staring at the lights in the valley, cherishing the little beautiful memories we made at this place, we dozed off.

Next morning, we woke up at our sweet leisure time and had breakfast, packed our stuff to catch our evening Volvo and head back home...

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