Mcleod Ganj – India – August 2009

Situated below the the Dhauladhar mountains (outer Himalaya range), the former British colonial outpost of Mcleod Ganj is now more famously known as the seat of the Dalai Lama and home to the Tibetan government in exile.  It is also somewhat of a must-see destination on the Northern India circuit.  Full of westerners seeking enlightenment in one form or another, MG is also gateway into the Himalayas and offers stunning views in the range as well as down onto the Punjab plains.

Map picture

While hardly the best map, Bing does give the viewer an impression of the differences between the southern greenery and the rain shadowed Himalayans. MG is about seven or eight kilometres above Dharmasala.


I spent quite a bit of time in MG, largely because was trapped by the perpetual rains of the monsoon and I had told myself I wasn’t going to leave until I got up to the pastures of Triund.  Thus, I became one of the many travellers endlessly wandering the two main streets of Mcleod Ganj and drinking endless cups of coffee waiting for the rains to subside.


Luckily, the rains did subside – if only for a few days.  But enough for me to get some decent photos of the area and make a run to heights of Triund to get above the weather.


Mcleod Ganj is typical of mountain Indian villages with a very dense organic layout built directly into the hills, tiny lanes, too many vehicles taxing the existing infrastructure…and the ubiquitous urban cows.


Incredibly lush and green, MG has amazing forests populated by the mighty deodar cedar.


Looking down on Mcleod Ganj.


To the far right of the above image is the very humble residence of the Dalai Lama.  Given his popularity and unpopularity (among some), I was expecting more of a isolated and secure ‘compound’, yet his residence is incorporated directly into the town.



The still functioning and absolutely gorgeous St.  John in the Wilderness Church.  Built in 1856, the Church has a Canadian connection as its cemetery is the resting place of Lord Elgin, who was the former Governor General of the Province of  Canada from 1847 to 1854 before becoming Viceroy of India.


He’s in there somewhere.


The Dhauladhar range beyond the hills. Triund occupies the saddle of the foreground hills.  From Triund I was planning to make an attempt to go over Indrahar Pass (4375m)should the weather hold.



Monkeys everywhere in MG

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Moving up into the hills above MG toward Triund.  The village below is not MG but a neighbouring village called Bhagsu – yet another “Little Tel-Aviv” in India.


Moving up toward Triund



Weather moving in



Triund on the saddle – this was one of the last photos I took before falling on my camera.

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