McLeod Ganj is a hill station near Dharamshala, popular among trekkers. Its culture is a beautiful blend of Tibetan with some British influence.
Also known as Little Lhasa and famous around the world for being home to the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, McLeod Ganj is a beautiful town situated near upper Dharamshala. Nestled amidst majestic hills and lush greenery, this town is culturally blessed by a prominent Tibetan influence owing to the major settlement of Tibetans here. McLeod Ganj has one of the most mesmerizing landscapes in the entire state of Himachal Pradesh and attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year. The towns of Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Bhagsu Nag and Kangra are situated very close to each other and tourists must cover all these destinations while travelling here. Few of the most eminent and religiously significant monasteries in India are located here, including the Namgyal Monastery and Tsuglagkhang, where the spiritual leader Dalai Lama resides.
Rapidly developing into a new mini-Dharamshala for outdoors types, little Bir is an attractively compact base for mountain biking and walking but is best known for some of the world’s best paragliding. It hosts major competitive flying events most years in October.
Bir is also an important center of the Tibetan exile community, with several Buddhist monasteries and institutes, some offering courses and retreats.
This ethereally beautiful valley stretches up through touristy, forest-ringed Kasol and the busy if grubby little pilgrim hot-springs town of Manikaran to a collection of villages around Barsheni with glorious views of 5000m Himalayan peaks. Places like Pulga and Kalga here are key stops on the pre-Goa ‘hummus trail’ for young Israeli travelers, while Kasol and Tosh increasingly draw young Indian travelers and weekenders. The valley has plenty of hippie/backpacker hangouts, with cheap accommodation, international food and nonstop music.