McLeod Ganj is a myriad of experiences. Serene, breathtaking, yet vibrant. Just set your foot there and you will instantly feel elated. It’s like the town itself is in Zen mode. Always. And that rubs off on you!
There’s nothing that the place doesn’t have in store for you – hikes and treks, adventure, spiritualism, Yoga, hanging at cafes, shopping, or just feeling one with nature.
Situated three kilometers north of Dharamsahla in Himachal Pradesh, with an average of 2,082 meters (6,831 feet) elevation, it’s perhaps most famous for being home to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, along with a large number of Tibetan populace including monks and nuns.
Our travel to McLeod began from Delhi, Kashmiri Gate, and after a nine-hour bus ride, this is the view that welcomed us .We instantly knew we were in for somethingspecial. Something magical.
We chose to stay away from the buzz of the city centre, at Hotel Akashdeep on Bhagsu Road. It’s a beautiful 1 km uphill walk from the Square.
The ancient – 5,000 years – Bhagsu Nag Temple was just a short walk away, ergo, our first destination. The ancient temple is dedicated to the Snake God and Lord Shiva. It’s said that King Bhagsu was lethally injured and killed by the Snake God (Nag Devta) when the former tried to steal water from the Nag Dal lake to bring relief to his drought-ridden village. With his magical powers, Bhagsu had transferred the water from the lake into his receptacle. Infuriated by finding the lake empty, Nag Devta challenged Bhagsu to a battle.
When the battle ensued, the receptacle fell from his hand and flowed as Bhagsu Falls. The King prayed to Nag Devta to let the water flow for his subjects. The God relented and gave him a boon that their names would be taken together to refer to the place – hence, BhagsuNag. This temple was built by King Dharamchand when Lord Shiva appeared in his dreams advising him to do so.
A 20-min walk will take you to the 30-feet milky white Bhagsu Falls. But first, take in the beauty of the valley, the quaint village life with shepherds, goats, Chorten (Stupa), and suchlike.
Enjoy a snack at one of the small eateries or enjoy the pristine clear water or the Falls.
Trek up to the cult place – Shiva Cafe – and you can spend an entire day there, chilling with music and food. It’s an approximate 2 km trek with great vibes and views.
One can also shop till they drop at the market on the way to the Temple and Falls. From hip clothes, woolens, curios to food items, you will find everything. And quite cheap.
You cannot not stuff your faces silly with Momos and Maggi there. It’s a ritual and you Must. Not. Ignore. It.
The rest of the day was spent walking around, gasping at the beauty, the sights, smells, rustling of trees, but most of all not believing that such a beautiful place actually exists.
McLeod Ganj is a walker’s paradise. The place is an enchantress that will entice you and make you walk entranced!
This was just the beginning for us. Much more is coming up!