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Although Dharamshala is the better known of these two neighboring towns, McLeod Ganj is the base for the Tibetan government in exile and their community.

Tibetan life

As you stop at the street stalls laden with artifacts from Tibet, crimson-robed monks meander through the lanes on their way to the monasteries and markets overlooked by pine covered mountains and hills.


The forests remain a wild place with a local population of leopard and an abundance of birdlife. This is one of the few places in the Himalaya where eagles and lamagier (bone crusher) soar the skies.

Preservation of Tibetan culture

Some of the best views are from the golden-roofed Norbulingka Institute. Established to preserve Tibetan culture, skills and crafts such as thangka painting, metal and silk work, a visit here provides a fascinating insight into the world on the other side of the Himalaya.

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is often in residence in May and July and may lead prayers at these times. We can check his schedule in advance of your visit.

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Audley Travel Specialist Niall

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Suggested itinerary featuring Dharamshala & McLeod Ganj

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Dharamshala & McLeod Ganj, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

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    Our expert guides to exploring Dharamshala & McLeod Ganj

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Dharamshala & McLeod Ganj, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Dharamshala & McLeod Ganj at its best.

    • Walking in India: on foot through the Himalaya & the Western Ghats
      View from Leti, Almora

      Walking in India: on foot through the Himalaya & the Western Ghats

      Walking in India: on foot through the Himalaya & the Western Ghats

      Exploring India on foot, you pass through remote villages, stop for tea with local people and stumble upon hidden temples. Our India specialists suggest routes through the hills of the Western Ghats, tea plantations of Darjeeling and foothills of the western Himalaya.

      10 min read

      Read this guide

    Accommodation choices for Dharamshala & McLeod Ganj

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Dharamshala & McLeod Ganj. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.