By Juhi Bansal
I have said enough about the food in Mcleodganj. This article is about planning a trip to the dreamy town and some must dos (apart from eating to your heart’s content!).
Did you know Dharamshala has an airport! We didn’t for the longest time or we would have planned the trip a bit sooner. You could also do a road trip from Delhi- I hear it’s a beautiful drive. We chose to fly because we had limited time and we wanted to make the most of our stay there. Once you land in Dharamshala, you can take a cab to Mcleodganj.(You may want to pre-book it). It will take you about 45 mins and the cab will cost you between Rs. 800 to 1200 depending upon where you hotel is.
How many days:
Well, that’s a good question. Depending on how much time you have and what you want to do there. We planned a 5 day trip but our main agenda was food and break from routine. Sight-seeing figured last on our list.
Where to stay:
This is where it gets tricky. We chose to stay at the Fortune Moksha Hotel. While the property is lovely and the views-to die for!, it’s a bit of a drive from the main street where all the action is. So, depending on whether your trip is more for relaxation or to explore the city, take your call. We cancelled our booking at Fortune on the last night and moved to a small hotel called M in the city centre. While the room was simple and nothing to write home about, the location was amazing. The best eateries were just at a stone’s throw distance.
What to do:
Walk: We believe a city is best explored on foot. Plus, you need to burn all the calories you are eating right ;). We would start in the morning and just walk through the city the whole day. Whether it’s the views, the eateries, the flea market- the streets are so narrow, you’re better off without a car. The weather is so amazing you’ll hardly break a sweat!
Ofcourse, if you’re planning to visit Dharmshala, Dharmkot or any of the villages nearby, you may want to hire a cab. We did because the little one was only so much enthusiastic about walking.
Eat. Have I said enough about it already? Eat, eat and then some more. You don’t want to miss out on the amazing food in Mcleodganj whether you’re a foodie or NOT.
Gawk. The views, the scenery, the colourful market- you’ll never stop gawking.
Visit. While you may make a laundry list of places you want to visit in Mcleodganj/Dharmshala- let me make it a little easier for you by cutting out the miss-able ones.
Norbulingka Institute. Go here with time on hand. Visit each section. There’s so much serenity and so many colours. Do not miss the little shop inside the premises, though slightly overpriced, makes for some good window shopping. Also, you definitely want to have a bite at the Hummingbird Café!
Karmapa Monastery.Best place to spot little monks! I found their lifestyle quite intriguing but that’s a topic for another time.
Cricket Ground. I recommend this only for the view. What fun must it be to watch a live match in the stadium amidst the clouds no!
St. John’s Church. While the church is dilapidated and not managed well, the view from the place are amazing.
Bhagsu Falls. The trek to the top of the falls looks pretty good. We didn’t do it because neither one of us was ready to carry Iy all the way up! 😉
Kala Chakra Temple & The Dalai Lama Temple. They are both a short walk from each other so you can do them together. I am not very religious but I suggest both for 1. the calm they exude 2. for their colours- it’s simply beautiful (for want of a better word!).
Strawberry Hills. Again the views! You may also catch some snow capped mountains in the back!
Shop. You don’t want to miss out on the colourful trinkets- the red/green stone studded kettles and accessories and Tibetan groceries- all available on the roadside.
Caution: you may want to haggle a bit but they don’t give in easily. The best way is to catch them right when they open their shops in the morning.
The husband is known for his impulsive travel plans. They’re fun, tricky but almost always adventurous. This time around, he cut short our planned 5 day stay in Mcleodganj for a day in the Rakkh Resort. It’s a sprawing resort in Ghamrota Village close to Palampur. While I wasn’t done with all the wonderful food we were gorging on in McL, I was as usual excited about the new adventure. It’s a couple of hours drive from Mcleodganj and the drive is extremely picturesque.
If you are following me on Instagram, chances are you would have caught my insta stories and the room tour etc. Rakkh Resort is farmstay-glamping and luxury resort life all rolled into one. I am already looking forward to my next stay there. The food is a mix of continental and local “Himachali” cuisine and we were licking our fingers to glory in no time- be it the kadhi, the dal or chhole. We did some pottery, some village walk and even a little hike (as much as Iy would allow us!). It was definitely the highlight of our trip!
P.S. K & I as a rule have stopped taking our bulky camera for holidays anymore. He thinks it mars our experience, the quest for good pics and angles and I kind of agree. I am not a travel/food blogger. I just like to chronicle my experiences. BTW we’re such food and travel-junkies (the husband and I), we forget to click pics half the time!