In 1960’s, when dalai lama fled tibet and came to India to seek refuge..he settled down in a quiet place in himachal pradesh called McleodGanj..so named after a british governer of Punjab..
Since then, Mcleodganj has grown from a quiet sleepy village ..to the centrepoint of tibetan struggle..and living…
my dear friend dreamcatcher had gone there sometime back last year and kept raving about it…i frankly didnt see why…i mean all hill stations are more or less the same….but then he told me…it’s not a hill station and you should go there once!!!
well..i finally did get the opportunity …and with a very inquisitive mind…i started my journey to McleodGanj…..
McleodGanj is located in himachal pradesh, a couple of kilometers above Dharmashala….the best way to go there is to board a sleeper bus from delhi in the evening and it will reach early next morning
The first thing that i noticed when i reached there was the peace and serenity…..as the bus reached its final drop off point, there was no hustle bustle of autorickshaws or anything to carry u off to the nearest hotel or any agents who will be asking you to come to their hotel..
we checked into our hotel(we had booked in advance)…..and after getting refreshed went out for breakfast..and i was amazed, the place offers such variety of food.. european food of course and it has some really good restaurants, even better than Delhi in terms of quality of food, service and money…though be warned..there is no concept of fast food…here people are laidback…..they are polite and friendly…ask you for the order only when called and will suggest you very honestly about food…but dont expect your food in a jiffy!!!!…the food comes in its own sweet time ..but its always delicious…i ate so much during the two days that i stayed there..i must have gained two kilos!!!!
Dalai Lama’s headquarters are located at one corner of the town, but since at the time of out visit, he wasnt in…we decided to give it a miss….
At the time i went to Mcleodganj, there were a lot of protests against Beijing olympics..with the monks and also other people regularly taking out peaceful protests in the evenings….
there are a couple of places to wander about in McleodGanj..i particularly liked the tibetan monastry and temple set up by Dalai Lama…..it is located a bit away from the main town..but can be reached by walking..it was a lovely experience for me..to walk down winding paths among greenery and prayer flags and reach the monastry……and voila..once i was there..rains came down alongwith hails!!..and i spent a wonderful time(shivering though!!)..in the shade of the temple’s courtyard…..
there is a very old church known as St. John in the wilderness at the beginning of the town boundary..it was set up by british in the 1800’s and abandoned by1900’s…it is a crumbling structure but a very surreal place to be…since it also has a graveyard..and the tombstones are definitely old world…i spent quite a substantial amount of time here..in fact i got lost reading the tombstones..and wondering about these people who had come from so far a land….and died here..so long back…about the life they led……and how they must have felt here in India…..
Mcleodganj offers some really nice views..and one could get lost in the clouds…sipping tea at some rooftop eatery…gazing at the numerous prayer flags fluttering in the breeze and the hills beyond…
nearby to Mcleodganj…there is a place called naddi which offers some really great views of himalayas…and its a lovely experience visiting this place and taking part in the wonderful views!!….
soon it was time to leave…..it was just two days…..but i was so enthralled by
Mcleodganj…it is serene, spiritual,refreshing and delicious!!(yeah it is…after having so much delicious food..im sure about his adjective!!)….
if one wants a quick refreshment from the grind of city life..this is the place to be..in the land of dalai lama!!!!