McLeodganj in 3 days
Mountains. Maal. Momos. Maggi. Magic. Mcleodganj. There is no such thing as ‘Is x number of days enough for Mcleodganj’ because even if you spend a week, a month or 3 months, there will always be an urge to spend some more time, to see more, to experience more, that is the beauty of Mcleodganj. It is an epitome of a hip Himalayan town & has almost everything that caters to all kinds of mountain lovers; Tibetan markets, Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples, a lake, a waterfall, a fresh water swimming pool, Dalai Lama, world’s highest International cricket stadium in the vicinity, snow line, an absolutely gorgeous & easy trek, campsites, hippies, cafes, momo-joints, backpackers & stunning sunsets. If you’re not the kinds who is in the mid-20s & quits job to travel and all the fancy stuff click bait websites try to excavate from your sub-conscious, here’s a 3-day/long weekend itinerary that’ll really help you get the drift of the phenomenon called – McLeodganj.
If you have taken an evening bus from Delhi, you’d mostly arrive early in the morning. Personally, I’d recommend staying at Bhagsu or Dharamkot to avoid the rush in McLeod, especially during weekends. Both places are just a 50 rs. taxi ride or 15 min walk from McLeod. Check in & hop out for a quick breakfast at any of the incessant cafes in Dharamkot & Bhagsu. You can visit Dal Lake in the afternoon (although I don’t recommend it) or simply walk to Mcleodganj & get lost in the lanes, do some cafe hopping & end up at the main temple of Dalai Lama at the end of the temple road along with the Tibetan Museum. As you bid farewell to sunlight for the day, you can spend your sunset time with a book at one of the amazing cafes on the road from the temple to the Main square. Some of the finest being – Moonpeak espresso cafe, Indique & Woeser’s Cafe. Grab a couple of drinks & dinner somewhere between Mcleod & your hotel before retiring.
Get up early & head straight to the Bhagsu fall. Hike up to the legendary Shiva Cafe for early breakfast before the crowd joins in. The food is surprisingly really nice & the place is perfect to start your day on a HIGH note. Come back to your hotel, checkout & take a small bag with you for the day. Most hotels will keep your bag safe for a day. Grab a quick lunch followed by a Rs.250 taxi to the Gallu Devi Temple. Now I highly recommend this trek to Triund for the immense return on investment. It’s a moderately easy trek even if you’re the Inzamam ul-Haq of treks or even if you’re a Jonty Rhodes & have a Inzy with you, you should be able to finish it in 2.5 hours with a nice little mid-way chai-sutta break. And once you reach the top, the views are absolutely amazing. If there are no clouds, witness the beautiful sunset & top views of Mcleodganj & Dharamshala. If you’re early, you have time to perfect some mountain-goat selfies. Spend the night at one of the camps which you can rent for Rs.300-500, the folks up there serve some really nice & simple food to keep you warm for the starry night.
Get up early & walk to as far away as possible, the end point gives you a really nice 360 degree view of the Himalayas. The first glimpse of the sun will be a little late as the giant Dhauladhar mountains block the sunrise hue. You can trek to snowline or even Indrahari pass if you have time or just hike back down to Gallu Devi. Take a taxi or start walking back to Dharamkot to Bhagsu. If you don’t have a hotel, take a mighty dip in the fresh water pool (yeah you heard that right) opposite Bhagsunath Temple. On the road parallel to Bhagsunath-Gallu devi temple road, you’d find a big bunch of hippies, yoga places, book shops & cafes with some great breakfast options. Head back to Mcleodganj in the afternoon, shop for souvenirs & stuff from the main market, grab a late lunch at Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen or Lung Ta, a vegetarian Japanese restaurant with a beautiful mountain view. Don’t forget your last plate of momos near the main square before boarding your evening bus. Next time, stay longer, you.
If you count my opinion, McLeodganj is a great place to do nothing and just chill. Although I have been there only once, I wish to stay there longer next time, read more books, be a regular at specific cafes & may be get to know the mountains even better. If you want to see more & have enough time, you can spend couple of days in Kangra & Dharamshala or just trek all the way upto the mighty Indrahar Pass (4342m).
McLeodganj is a place where you’d always find more places to see, more food to eat & more people to talk to.
How to reach McLeodganj
One of the easiest hill stations to reach, bus is the best way to travel to Mcleodganj if you just have 3 days & it’s your first time. Although I am a motorcycle man, but bus suits the above itinerary very well. Most deluxe buses would cost you somewhere between 1000-1400 Rs. & the buses to McLeodganj from Delhi are the only ones (that i have been into) that reach the destination before time both ways. The best part of the bus was the crowd. If you take a bus to Manali, besides a bunch of teenage-shades-in-the-night-new-to-Kasol-gujjar-boys, you’d find plenty of new bangle couples who are in so much hurry that if you just give them a hint of enough liberty, they’ll reproduce before you hit Kullu Valley (see, I didn’t play with the word ‘valley’ here). However, in the bus to Mcleod, you’d find a considerably skewed sex ratio (thanks to the ‘I am a solo female traveler, I am cool’ social media movement), a lot of foreigners, monks, hippies, weekend trippers & trippers. Even the stopovers had fine dine restaurants & open-air CCD’s where you can find folks rolling joints. The H in HRTC buses to Mcleodganj definitely stands for happy 🙂
have fun, yo!
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