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About Mcleodganj Himachal
A pretty imposing and cool tourist destination, McLeodganj is nicely situated in upper Dharmasala and is the renowned seat of the holy leader Dalai Lama. The city was named after David McLeod, the former Governor of Punjab under British rule.
McLeod-Ganj-Beautiful-View ( Ref - Adventuresofagoodman)
McleodGanj - The Tibetan Headquarter in Excile
This is the administrative headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile. Mcleodganj a real cross section of Tibet is a well known learning centre of Tibetan culture and Buddhist dharmas and rituals. It has been nick named as the little Lhasa, reverberating the Buddhist influence on the land. The ambience of the area is resonated by Buddhist religious practices and lifestyles. This is a bastion of the natural beauty as the Mother Nature has blessed this area with all its magnanimities.
TIPA, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, is an attraction for all art loving tourists. The ten day festival of theatres, music and dance held annually during the month of May is vibrant and enticing.
Mcleodganj -A Place for PeaceSeekers
This is an imposing hill station located at about 1700m high in Himachal Pradesh. The area is enriched with many ancient temples, monasteries and structures. Tsuglagkhang is the main temple enshrining Sakyamuni Buddha, Avalokitesvara and Padmasambhava.
McLeodganj thrives on Tourism Industry. It is known for Buddhist handicrafts, garments and thangkas. Namgyal Monastery is one of the great attractions here. The architectural marvel of St. John in the Wilderness an Anglican church constructed in the neo-gothic style attracts all tourists reaching the Mcleodganj. This is a prefect religious destinations for the Buddhist.
Where is Mcleodganj is Located
Dharamshala is a city in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley and is surrounded by dense coniferous forest consisting
mainly of stately Deodars. The suburbs of the town includes -- McLeod Ganj, Bhagsu Nath, Forsyth Ganj, Naddi, Kotwali
Bazaar, Dari, Ram-nagar, Sidhpur and Sidhbari (where the Karmapa Lama is based).
The village of McLeod Ganj is in the upper reaches is known worldwide for the presence of the Tenzin Gyatso. On 29 April
1959, the 14th Dalai Lama established the Tibetan exile administration in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie. In
May 1960, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was moved to Dharamsala.
Dharamsala is the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. Following the 1959 Tibetan uprising there was an influx of
Tibetan refugees, who followed the 14th Dalai Lama. His presence and the Tibetan population has made Dharamshala a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, including students studying Tibet. One of the main attractions of Dharamsala is Triund hill. Triund is one day trek of about 9 kilometres from McLeod Ganj.
How to Reach Mcloedganj:-
Reaching Mcleodganj by Flight
Reaching Mcleodganj By Bus
Reaching Mcleodganj By Train
Weather in Mcleodganj ( Wettest Place in North India)
Summer in Mcleodganj
Climate Dharamshala has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate. Summer starts in early April and peaks in early June, when temperatures can reach 36 °C. Summers last till mid of June.
Monsoon in Mcleodganj
From July to mid September, is the monsoon season, when up to 3000 mm (120 inches) of rain can fall, making Dharamshala one of the wettest places in the state. Autumn is mild and lasts from October to end of November.Autumn temperatures average around 16–17 °C.
Winter in Mcleodganj
Winter starts in December and goes on till late February. Snow and sleet is common during the winter in upper Dharamshala, i.e., McLeodganj, Bhagsu Nag, Naddi, etc. Lower Dharamshala hardly receives any solid precipitation except hail. Winter is followed by a short, pleasant spring till April. Historically, the Dhauladhar mountains used to remain snow-covered all year long but for the past five years, they have been losing their snow blanket during dry spells. The best time to visit are the autumn and spring months.
History of Mcleodganj
From the earliest times until the British Raj, Dharamshala and its surrounding area was ruled by the Katoch Dynasty of
Kangra. The Katoch Dynasty is said to be the oldest serving Royal Family in the world. The Royal Family still keeps a
residence in Dharamshala, known as 'Clouds End Villa'.
The indigenous people of the Dharamshala area (and the surrounding region) are the Gaddis, a predominantly Hindu group who traditionally lived a nomadic or semi-nomadic (transhumant) lifestyle. Due to the lack of permanent settlements in the
area, some Gaddis lost their seasonal pastures and farmland when the British and the Gurkhas arrived to settle.
Settlement by the British and the Gurkhas.
In 1848, the area now known as Dharamshala was annexed by the British.In 1860, the 66th Gurkha Light Infantry was moved from Kangra to Dharamshala, which was at first made a subsidiary cantonment. An ideal position for the new base was found on the slopes of the Dhauladhar Hills, near the site of a Hindu sanctuary, or Dharamshala, hence the name of the town.Battalion was later renamed the historic 1st Gurkha Rifles, this was the beginning of the legend of the Gurkhas,
the so-called 'Bravest of the Brave'. Consequently, fourteen Gurkha platoon villages grew from this settlement, and exist
to this day, namely Dari, Ramnagar, Shyamnagar, Dal, Totarani, Khanyara, Sadher, Chaandmaari, Sallagarhi, Sidhbari, Yol, and so on.
The Gurkhas worshipped at the ancient Shiva temple of Bhagsunag. The Gurkhas referred to Dharamshala as 'Bhagsu' and referred to themselves as Bhagsuwalas.The 21st Gurkha Regiment from Dharamshala performed heroic feats during World War I and the North West Frontier Province campaigns. The Gurkha cantonment then reached its zenith during World War II, when battalions from Dharamshala made history.
Many place names in the Mcleodganj town still retain their former cantonment terminologies: Depot Bazaar, Pensioners' Lines, Tirah Lines (named after the 19th century Tirah Campaign), Bharatpore Lines (named after the 1826 Battle of Bharatpore).The second Lord Elgin, Viceroy of India died here (at the 1st Gurkha Rifles Officers' Mess) in 1863 and is buried in the cemetery of St. John in the Wilderness, a small Anglican church distinguished by its stained-glass windows.
Tibetan community in Mcleodganj
The Tibetan settlement of Dharamshala began in 1959, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet and the Prime
Minister of India allowed him and his followers to settle in McLeodGanj (in Upper Dharmshala), a former colonial British
summer picnic spot. There they established the "government-in-exile" in 1960. Dharamshala had been connected with Hinduism and Buddhism for a long time, many monasteries having been established there in the past, by Tibetan immigrants in the 19th century.
Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
In 1970, The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, opened the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives which houses over 80,000
manuscripts and other important resources related to Tibetan history, politics and culture. It is considered one of the
most important institutions for Tibetology in the world,the new director is Geshe Lahkdor, the old translator of H.H. the
Trekking in Mcleodganj :-
Mcleodganj is a starting point to a number of trekking trails that especially lead trekkers across Dhauladhar into the
upper Ravi Valley and Chamba district. En route, you cross through forests of deodar, pine, oak and rhododendron, and pass streams and rivers and wind along vertiginous cliff tracks, and also the occasional lake waterfall and glacier.
A 2-km amble takes one to Bhagsu, and then a further 3-km walk will lead the trekkers to Dharamkot. If one wishes to go on
a longer walk then he/she can trek 8-km to Triund. The snow line of Ilaqa Got is just a 5-km walk.
It’is possible to trek from McLeod Ganj to the Kullu, Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti Valleys, and there are several agencies in
town who can make the necessary arrangements. Probably the most popular route crosses the 4300m Indrahar Pass over the Dhaula Dhar to Bharmour.Uphill from the bus stand on the road to Dharamkot, the Regional Mountaineering Centre can arrange treks and adventure activities and offers courses and expeditions on set dates. It can also provide a list of registered guides and porters.
Other trekking trails that lead you to Chamba from Dharamshala are:
MCLEOD GANJ TO BHARMOUR TREK
This popular six- to seven-day route crosses over the Indrahar La (4300m) to the ancient village of Bharmour in the Chamba Valley.The pass is open from September to early November and you can start this trek, and make all arrangements, in Dharamsala or Bharmour.From McLeod, take an autorickshaw along the Dharamkot road then walk on through pine and rhododendron forests to Triund,where there’s a simple rest house. The next stage climbs to the glacier at Laka Got (3350m) and continues to the rocky shelter known as Lahes Cave. With an early start the next day, you can cross the Indrahar La – and be rewarded with astounding views – before descending to the meadow campground at Chata Parao.
The stages on to Bharmour can be tricky without a local guide. From Chata Parao, the path moves back into the forest,
descending over three days to Kuarsi, Garola and finally to Bharmour, where you can catch buses on to Chamba.
Alternatively, you can bail out and catch a bus at several places along the route, see above .
BHARMOUR ROUTE TREK
Stage Route Duration Distance - (km)
1 McLeod Ganj 9 km to Triund
2 Triund to 6 km Lahes Cave
3 Lahes Cave to 11km Chata Parao over Indrahar La
4 Chata Parao 14km to Kuarsi
5 Kuarsi to 16km to Chanauta
6 Chanauta to 12km to Garola
7 Garola to 14km to Bharmour
WALKS AROUND MCLEODGANJ
Interesting short walks around McLeod include the 2km stroll to Bhagsu and the 3km walk northeast to Dharamkot for uplifting views south over the valley and north towards the Dhauladhar Ridge.
About 4km northwest of McLeod Ganj on Mall Rd, peaceful Dal Lake is home to the Tibetan Children’s Village which provides
free education for refugee children. Visitors are welcome and there may be opportunities for volunteers.
The lake itselfhas a small Hindu temple and there are great views from Naddi just uphill.
A popular longer walk is the two-day return tripthrough boulder fields and rhododendron forests to Triund (2900m), a 9km walk past Dharamkot. Triund has a simple resthouse and you can stop overnight and stroll up to the glacier at Laka Got (3350m) before turning back to McLeod Ganj.There’s a scenic route along the gorge from the waterfall at Bhagsu.
From Triund, you can trek to Indrahar La (4300m) andthe Chamba Valley –
ATTRACTIONS AROUND MCLEOD GANJ
About 2km east of McLeod Ganj, Bhagsu (Bhagsunag) is developing into a busy summer resort. There’s a popular traveller
centre at the back of the village, but things are definitely moving upmarket. The village has a cold spring with baths, a
small Shiva temple built by the raja of Kangra in the 16th century, and a gaudy new temple with stairways passing through
the open mouths of a cement crocodile and lion. You can walk on to Dharamkot or Triund via a gushing waterfall.
Various alternative therapies are available in the backpacker enclave, though there are plenty of quack practitioners
Sidhibari & Tapovan
About 6km from Dharamsala, the little village of Sidhibari is the adopted home of Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa of
Tibetan Buddhism, who fled to India in 2000.Although his official seat is Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the teenaged leader
of the Kagyu (Black Hat) sect has been banned from taking up his seat for fear this would upset the Chinese government.
The temporary seat of the Karmapa is the large Gyuto Tantric Gompa (%01892-236637) in Sidhibari. Public audiences take
place here on Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm; foreign visitors are welcome but security is tight and bags, phones and
cameras are not allowed inside the auditorium. Nearby is the Tapovan Ashram, a popular spiritual retreat for devotees of
Rama, with a colourful Ram Mandir, a giant black Shiva lingam and a 6m-high statue of Hanuman. Regular local buses run from Dharamsala to Sidhibari. Tapovan is a 2km walk south along a quiet country road.
About 6km from Dharamsala, the wonderful Norbulingka Institute was established in 1988 to teach and preserve traditional Tibetan art forms, including woodcarving, statue-making,thangka painting and embroidery. The centre produces expensive but exquisite souvenirs, including embroidered clothes, cushions and wall hangings, and sales benefit refugee artits. Also here are delightful Japanese-influenced gardens and a central Buddhist temple with a 4mhigh gilded statue of Sakyamuni. Next to the shop is the Losel Doll Museum with quaint puppet dioramas of Tibetan life.
A short walk behind the complexis the large Dolma Ling Buddhist nunnery. Set in the gorgeous Norbulingka gardens, the characterful Norling Guest House(%246406; normail@ norbulingka.org; s/d from Rs 1000/1150) offers fairytale rooms decked out with Buddhist murals and handicrafts from the institute. Meals are available at the institute’s Norling Café. To get here, catch a Yol-bound bus
from Dharamsala and ask to be let off at Sidhpur (Rs 5, 15 minutes), near the Sacred Heart School, from where it’s a 15-
minute walk. A taxi from Dharamsala will cost Rs 250 return.
About 30km southeast of Dharamsala, Palampur is a small junction town surrounded by tea plantations and rice fields. A
short trek from town takes you to the pretty waterfall in Bundla Chasm, or you can pass a pleasant few hours observing the
tea-making process at the Palampur Tea Cooperative.
The small town of Baijnath, set on a mountainfacing ridge 46km southeast of Dharamsala, is an important pilgrimage
destination. In the middle of the village is the exquisitely carved Baidyanath Temple, sacred to Shiva in his incarnation
as Vaidyanath, Lord of the Physicians, dating from the 8th century. Thousands of pilgrims make their way here for the
Shivaratri Festival in February and early March.
Tashijong & Taragarh:-
About 5km west of Baijnath, and 2km north from the Palampur road, the village of Tashijong is home to a small community of Drukpa Kagyud monks and refugees. The centre of life here is the Tashijong Gompa,with several muralfilled
prayer halls and a carpet-making, thangkapainting and woodcarving cooperative. About 2km south of Tashijong, at Taragarh,is the extraordinary Taragarh Palace, the summer palace of the last maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. Now a luxury hotel, this elegant country seat is full of portraits of the Dogra royal family, Italian marble, crystal chandeliers, tiger skins and other ostentatious furnishings. There’s a restaurant,a fully equipped gym and gorgeous grounds with a pool.
Toshijong Monastery - Tashi Jong, is 15 kilometers(almost 10 miles) from Palampur and 2 kilometers from Baijnath. This is a small village in between Paprola and Tara Garh (famous for its Taragarh Palace hotel and beautiful tea gardens and main
indian Army base (Alhilhal)).Tashi Jong is a famous Tibetan monastery and set on beautiful Dhauladhar mountains.
Tashi Jong is home to The Drukpa Kagyu tradition, which is one of the schools of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
It has a few sub-schools, though they are very similar and transmit the same core of teaching.
In the late 1950′s, the eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dongyu Nyima, seeing that a great problem was imminent, left Tibet with
many of his followers just prior to the Communist Chinese invasion. He led his followers to North of India in Himachal
Pradesh and started a new Khampagar which they called Tashi Jong. At Tashi Jong, Khamtrul Rinpoche did everything he could
to re-establish the various traditions that he and his followers carried with them from Tibet so that they would survive
for posterity. Amongst many things, he envisaged a projet for the complete restoration of the texts of the Drukpa Kagyu
tradition and began the work by having copies of the texts that had been carried out of Tibet freshly transcribed and re-
printed in Delhi. He also began work on a new edition of one of the most important written works of the Drukpa Kagyu
tradition, The Collected Works of All-knowing Padma Karpo which has become hard to obtain. He assembled good editions of
the texts, supervised the cutting of new wood blocks, and did the correction and editing himself. The new edition was not
completed before he died but the wood blocks that had been cut were taken to the Bhutanese National Library where they
became the basis of a completed work that was published in February, 2000. This is the best edition readily available.
Tashi Jong is also home to Dongyu Gatsal Ling .This Drukpa Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist Nunnery was founded in 2000 for young
women from Tibet and other Himalayan regions like Ladakh, Spiti,and Kinnaur. http://www.gatsal.org
Diane Perry a British who became the first fully ordained Western Buddhist nun, Drubgyu Tenzin Palmo, runs this nunnery.
She is a multi dimensional personality and has written many books. Her biography tells all about her and her 12 year
solitary retreat in a cave in the snowy mountains of northern India, and the effects of her Buddhist experiences on her
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium (DCS) is a cricket stadium of international reputation, which serves as the home ground to the
Himachal Pradesh state cricket team and also for the IPL team Kings XI Punjab to a limited extent. By virtue of its natural
backdrop, it is one of the most attractive cricket stadiums in India. In addition to Ranji matches, some international
matches are also held here. Recently a match between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Superkings held here in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama graced the match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium in Dharamshala.The snow capped mountains can be easily viewed throughout the year. An additional feature is the Dharamsala College nearby which is surrounded by pine trees on one side.
Masrur (or Masroor): The major attraction of this place is the fifteen exquisitely carved monolithic rock temples dating
back to 8th century. The carvings of these temples are similar to Kailash temple at Ellora. In the sanctum of the main
temple, one can find images of Lord Ram, and the Goddesses Sita and Lakshmi.
Bhagsu Waterfall: This waterfall is situated at Bhagsu, 2 km from McLeodganj. It lies behind the Bhagsunag Temple. During
Monsoon, the fall turns into a 30 feet cascade.
Bhagsunag Temple: Temple of god Shiva situated around 2 km from McLeodganj Bazaar. Constructed by 1 GR by around 1800 century and then worshipped majorly by 14 Gukha platoon villages in Dharamshala. Very next to Bhagsunag temple is a water fall, one of the major tourist attraction spot in Dharamshala.
Kunal Pathri Temple: This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kalpeshwari, and is located 3 km from the Kotwali Bazaar. It's a
believed that a part of Goddess Sati, skull, fell here when Lord Shiva was carrying the charred body of the Goddess, and
hence the name of the temple.
Chamunda Temple: This temple is located around 15 km from Dharamshala on the right bank of river Baner on the Mandi-
Pathankot highway. According to mythology, Goddess Kali killed the demons Chand and Mund at this place.
Dal Lake: The Lake is spread in an area of 1 km and is bounded by rhododendrons, deodars, and junipers forest. Annually, a fair is held at the Kali Temple near the Lake. There is another temple close to the lake that is dedicated to sage Durvasa.
Dal Lake is 2 km walk westwards from McLeod Ganj bazaar.
Triund: Triund is nestled in the foothills of Dhauladhar and is around 17 km from Dharamshala. It's a trekking destination
from McLeod Ganj, and offers magnificent vistas of the mountains and valleys. The nightstays are in the hoods, small time
caves, that local gaddis with their goat herds use as shelters from rains during the daytime.
Naddi: This scenic picnic spot is located 5 km northwest of McLeod Ganj. Naddi offers a spectacular view of the Kangra
valley. You can trek to Kareri Lake, Triund, and Guna Devi from here. It's also becoming a popular destination for nature
Bir & Billing:-
About 9km east of Baijnath, a road winds uphill to the village of Bir (1300m), a small Tibetan colony with three peaceful
gompas that welcome passing visitors, and Billing (2600m), a famous launch pad for paragliding and hang-gliding. In 1992
the world record of 135km for an out-and-return flight was set here. International teams come to challenge
the record every May for the Himalayan Hang- Gliding Rally. You need your own gear to enjoy the thermals, but inquire
locally about tandem flights.
The former capital of the princely state of Kangra, this bustling pilgrim town is an easy day trip from McLeod Ganj. Hindus
visit to pay homage at the Brajeshwari Devi Temple, one of the 51 Shakti peeths, the famous temples marking the sites where body parts from Shiva ’s first wife, Sati, fell after the goddess was consumed by flames – the Brajeshwari temple
marks the final resting place of Sati’s left breast (see p486 for more on the legend). Famous for its wealth, the temple
was looted by a string of invaders, from Mahmud of Ghazni to Jehangir, before collapsing in the 1905 earthquake. Rebuilt in
the original style, the temple is reached through an atmospheric bazaar winding uphill from the main road, lined with shops
selling prasad and religious trinkets.
Kangra Fort (Nagar Kot)
It soars above the confluence of the Manjhi and Banganga Rivers. The fort was used by Hindu rajas,
Mughal warlords and even the British before it was finally toppled by the earthquake of 1905. On clear days, head to the
battlements for views north to the mountains and south to the plains. A small museum at the fort has stone carvings from
temples inside the compound and miniature paintings from the Kangra School.
About 34km south of Kangra is the temple of Jawalamukhi, the goddess of light, worshipped in the form of a natural gas
eternal flame, issuing from the rocks. The temple is one of the 51 Shakti peeths, marking the spot where the tongue of
Shiva’s first wife Sati fell after her body was consumed by flames (see p486 for more on the legend). The gold dome and
spire was installed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ‘Lion of Punjab’, who never went into battle without seeking a blessing
from the temple.
THE KANGRA TOY TRAIN
A lumbering narrow-gauge train runs east from Pathankot, providing a scenic, if slow, back route to Kangra (2½ hours),
Palampur (four hours), Baijnath (6½ hours) and Jogindernagar (nine hours). There are seven trains a day – two as far as
Jogindernagar and five as far as Baijnath. Ordinary trains cost Rs 27 or less to any destination on the route, but
carriages are crammed with passengers and seats cannot be booked in advance. Board early to grab a window seat and enjoy
the views en route.
Tsuglag Khang - Main Temple
Tsuglag Khang, otherwise known as Dalai Lama Main Temple, is the most important Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. Tsuglag Khang is the temple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his private residence is just opposite this holy structure. It is located about one kilometer out of the center of McLeod Ganj down the Temple Road. The temple is one of the first structures built when His Holiness arrived in India in 1959. Today, as well as being the site of public worship,
Dalai Lama Meeting Place
it is also the place where the Dalai Lama holds his public and private audiences and his public teachings. There are many
religious festivities and dances held here throughout the year also. It is a place that is often bustling with prayful
activity. Named after a 7th century temple in Lhasa, Tsuglag Khang is simple in comparison, yet still fascinating and
extremely peaceful. The temple enshrines three main images: a three meter high gilted bronze stature of the Shakyamuni
Buddha; one of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion of whom the Dalai Lama is considered an incarnation; and
Padmasambhava, the 8th century Indian who introduced Buddhism to Tibet. Both Avalokitesvara and Padmasambhava are facing Tibet.
Inside the Tsuglag Khang
The image of Avalokitesvara has a powerful history. During the cultural revolution in China the original Avalokitesvara
image, which was in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, was discarded into the streets with may other sacred Buddhist objects.
Some Tibetans managed to salvage a wrathful face and a peaceful face image of the Avalokitesvara. In 1967 these pieces
made it to India via Nepal, having been passed through thousands of hands in the process.
In 1970, these faces wereencased in the new Avalokitesvara which stands at Tsuglag Khang. It is silver crafted and has eleven faces, one thousand arms and one thousand eyes. Also at Tsuglag Khang is a collection of sacred texts known as the Khagyur and the Tengyur. The Khagyur are the direct teachings of Buddha. The Tengyur are commentaries on the Khagyur by Indian and Tibetan scholars. Both texts have been translated from original Sanskrit.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TSUGLAGKHANG COMPLEX
Downhill from McLeod on Temple Rd, the Tsuglagkhang (Central Chapel; h10am-6pm for nonresidents) comprises the photang
(official residence) of the Dalai Lama, as well as the Namgyal Gompa, Tibet Museum and the Tsuglagkhang itself.The revered
Tsuglagkhang is the exiles equivalent of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. Sacred to Avalokitesvara (Chenrezi in Tibet),the
Tibetan deity of compassion, it enshrines a 3m-high gilded statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha, flanked by Avalokitesvara and
Padmasambhava, the Indian scholar who introduced Buddhism to Tibet.
The Avalokitesvara statue contains several relics rescued from the Jokhang Temple during the Cultural Revolution. Next to the Tsuglagkhang is the Kalachakra Temple, built in 1992, which contains mesmerizing murals of the Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) mandala,specifically linked to Avalokitesvara, currently represented on earth by the Dalai Lama. Sand mandalas are created hereannually on the fifth day of the third Tibetan month.
Photography in Tsuglagkhang
Photography is allowed in the Tsuglagkhang, but not in the Kalachakra Temple. The remaining buildings form the Namgyal Gompa, where it is possible to watch monks debate most afternoons, sealingpoints of argument with great flourish, a foot stamp and theatrical clap of the hands. The monastery bookshop has a goodselection of Buddhist texts, and you can enjoy cakes and vegetarian food at the Namgyal Café which provides vocationaltraining for refugees.
Buddhist Attractions and Monastries Around Mclodganj:-
Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts Mcleodganj
Located about a 15 minute walk from the center of McLeod Ganj, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) was the
first institute created in exile. It exists to preserve and perform the colorful Tibetan culture of music, dance and
theatre. TIPA is a school as well as a center of performing arts. At the school, a mix of modern and traditional Tibetan
education is provided to Tibetan children who are also trained in their traditional music, dance and theatre.TIPA also
trains individuals who are sent to Tibetan settlements and schools throughout India and Nepal to teach music and perfoming arts. Performers from TIPA have also entertained all over the world.
Every April TIPA holds an annual Folk Opera Festival. It is an exciting time of year and many folk operas, dance
performances, plays and concerts are presented. At other occasions TIPA also holds performances, for example during Losar, for visiting dignitaries and other important dates.
The Reception Center in Dharamsala was opened in 1990 in response to the increasing number of new refugees escaping from Tibet to come to India to live in exile. It is located near the center of McLeod Ganj and is always bustling with much
activity.After crossing through Nepal, refugees make their way to Dharamsala via Dehli where their first stop upon arriving
is the Reception Center. Every day dozens of refugees flood the Reception Center and are given medical care, food and
lodging. After spending a few weeks at the center they are directed onward to a Tibetan Settlement, often in South India.
In addition to assisting new arrivals from Tibet, the Reception Center helps fresh refugees in their search for employment
or to enroll in school or monastaries. The center also provides training and financial assistance to help refugees start
their own small businesses.
Tibetan Children’s Village
The Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) program includes 15 schools that are spread throughout different parts of India. In
Dharamsala, the TCV programs educate approximately ten thousand children. Three thousand of these children are also raised
and looked after as many of are orphans or newly arrived refugees from Tibet.
There are two TCV schools in the Dharamsala area. The main school, known as upper TCV, is situated on 43 acres about two
kilometers away from McLeod Ganj. Here there are thirty eight homes, four hostels, a baby room, modern school building,
sports grounds and a handicraft center all serving about three thousand children from infancy to age 18. Lower TCV has
about one thousand children.
From the central bus stand, Jogibara Rd runs south to Gangchen Kyishong and Dharamsala,Temple Rd runs south to the
Tsuglagkhang Complex, Bhagsu Rd runs east to Bhagsu, Tipa Rd runs northeast to the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts andDharamkot Rd runs north to Dharamkot. The taxi stand is on Mall Rd and autorickshaws and share jeeps stop on the lower
northern road to the Church of St John in the Wilderness and Dal Lake.
TIBETAN MEDICAL & ASTROLOGICAL INSTITUTE (MEN-TSEE-KHANG)
Established to preserve the ancient arts of amchi (traditionalTibetan medicine) and astrology, the Men-Tsee Khang is a five-minute walk below the Secretariat. There’s a library andtraining college, and if you know the exact time you were born, you can have a whole life horoscope prepared in English forUS$45.
The Men-Tsee-Khang Museum has fascinating displays on traditional Tibetan medicine, told via preserved specimens and
illustrative thangkas (rectangular Tibetan painting on cloth).
At the base of a long flight of steps below the bus stand, this peaceful gompa was built in 1987 to replace the original
Dip Tse Chokling Gompa in Tibet, destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. Home to a small order of Gelukpa monks, the
prayer hall enshrines a statue of Sakyamuni in a magnificent jewelled headdress.
Run by a local charity that works with former political prisoners, the Gu Chu Sum Movement Gallery (Jogibara Rd; admission
free; h2-5pm Mon, Wed & Fri) has an exhibition of photos telling the story of political oppression in Chineseoccupied
Until May 1949, Tibet was an autonomous kingdom, ruled by the spiritual dynasty of the Dalai Lama, the living incarnation
of Avalokitesvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion. Then the Chinese People’s Liberation Army marched into Lhasa to
liberate the Tibetan people of their land and their culture. Since then, some 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed and 90%
of Tibet’s cultural heritage has been destroyed. Facing unimaginable persecution, more than 250,000 Tibetan refugees have
made the decision to flee their homeland, on foot over the Himalaya to seek sanctuary in India, led by His Holiness the
14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, who was granted asylum in Dharamsala in 1959. The village of Gangchen Kyishong below McLeod Ganj is now the headquarters for the official Tibetan government in exile, with a dedicated team of politicians and legal
experts fighting for liberation and the rights of those still oppressed in Tibet. Sadly, the cause of India’s Tibetan
refugees has fallen out of favour with Western protesters.
‘Free Tibet’ marches struggle to find a hundred people who are prepared to protest about the death of a million Tibetans.
With China becoming increasingly powerful on the world stage,hopes for justice for Tibet are fading fast. Meanwhile,
India’s Tibetan refugees continue to eke out a living from farming, manufacturing, and selling carpets and other
traditional crafts. Tibetan refugee schools and other charitable
projects are in desperate need of long-term volunteers across the region for more information.
ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES & MASSAGE
McLeod Ganj has dozens of practitioners of holistic and alternative therapies, some legitimate and some making a fast buck
at the expense of gullible travellers. Adverts for courses and sessions are posted on noticeboards all over McLeod Ganj and
in Contact magazine, but talking to other travellers is a better way to find the good practitioners. Be warned that some
women travellers have been molested by so-called ‘therapists
AMCHI Tibetan Medicine
Amchi (traditional Tibetan medicine) is a popular treatment for minor and persistent ailments. There are several clinics
around town, including the Men-Tsee-Khang Clinic and Dr Lobsang Khangkar MemorialClinic.
MEETING THE DALAI LAMA
Meeting face to face with the Dalai Lama is a lifelong dream for many travellers, but private audiences are almost never
granted. Put simply, the Dalai Lama is too busy with spiritual duties and running the government in exile to meet everyone
who comes to Dharamsala. Tibetan refugees are automatically guaranteed an audience, but travellers must make do with the
occasional public meetings held at Gangchen Kyishong during the monsoon (July/August) and after Losar
(Tibetan New Year) in February/March. Details of meetings are posted around McLeod Ganj. To attend you have to register,
with your passport, at the Branch Security Office.
Also here is the moving Tibet Museum, telling the tragic story of the Chinese occupation and the subsequent Tibetan exodus
through photographs, interviews and video clips. A visit here is a must for anyone staying in McLeod Ganj. Most Tibetan pilgrims make a kora (ritual circuit) of theTsuglagkhang Complex, which must be carried out in a clockwise direction. Take the road to the left at the entrance to the temple and follow the winding path leading off to the right.
SECRETARIAT OF THE TIBETAN GOVERNMENT IN EXILE
Inside the government compound at Gangchen Kyishong, the Library Of Tibetan Works & Archives (Secretariat Complex; h9am-5pmMon-Sat, closed 2nd & 4th Sat of month) preserves the Tibetan texts saved from the Cultural Revolution. Many have sincebeen translated into English and other European languages, but you must become a temporary member (Rs 50 per month; passport needed for ID) to access the collection. Upstairs is a fascinating cultural museum with statues, old Tibetan
artefacts and books, and some astonishingthree-dimensional mandalas in wood and sand. Also worth a visit is the Nechung Gompa, home to the Tibetan state oracle.
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