10 Places to visit around Dharamshala/McLeodGunj

If you are planning a visit to Dharamshala, McLeodgunj, here's a quick reference guide- of places to visit around Dharamshala/McLeodgunj area.

Here is a quick summary of 10 major spots to visit around Dharamshala/Mcleodgunj. Detailed description follows: You will need about two full days to visit these 10 places.
#
Name
Priority
Key Info
1
Bhagsunag waterfalls & temple
Very High
1 km easy trek required to go near waterfalls
Swimming pool available near temple
No entry fee or timing restrictions
2
HPCA Cricket Stadium
High
Limited parking, free entry during non match days, 9 AM to 5 PM
3
Dal Lake
Medium/
Low
No entry or parking fee, 30 mins adequate.
No activities, simple lake.
4
Norbulingka Institute
High
9 AM to 5.30 PM, 50 Rs entry fee, 1-2 hours recommended
5
Kangra Fort
Very High
Historic fort, half day (4-5 hours) recommended for fort + museums, closes by sunset.
6
St John’s Church
Low
Worth a quick stop enroute
7
Gyuto Monastry
Medium
 Beautiful campus with himalayan background
8
Dalai Lama Temple
Medium
 Most important spot in McLeodgunj
9
War Museum
Low
In Dharamshala town, worth a quick visit if interested. 
10
McLeodgunj Market
Medium
For shopping, chats, tea and food
Club with visit to Dalai Lama temple
A map for quick reference- link here

1. Bhagsunag Temple and waterfalls
Requires a one km mild trek from parking lot. If not comfortable walking you can view from a distance.
Photo by Ami Bhat. More details here

2. HPCA Cricket Stadium
Offers amazing view of the Himalayas in the backdrop, hence definitely worth a visit. Read my detailed post here.

3. Dal Lake
A small lake besides the mountain, often green in colour due to stagnation. Can be skipped if tight on schedule, else a short visit can be considered. If you can trek around a bit, there is a Tibetan Flag Temple uphill.
4. Norbulingka Institute
A nice institute housing Tibetan students who learn various skills. Visitors can experience Tibetan culture, see students work on wood, painting etc. Stay option also available. A few hours recommended. I have written a more detailed post here to plan your visit to Norbulingka Institute.

5. Kangra Fort
Must visit spot. Bit away from town, so if possible visit Kangra fort on your way to Dharamshala or while returning from Dharamshala. 4-5 hours recommended for the fort, museum and Maharaja Sansar Chandra Museum. More details here

6. St John's Church
A small church in the woods. Worth a quick stop as it is right next to the highway between McLeodgunj and Dharamshala.

7. Gyuto Monastery 
A bit away from city but totally worth it due to its Himalayan background and calm and serene experience.
8. Dalai Lama Temple
Probably the most important spot on town. His holiness Dalai Lama is said to be based here for several months each year. Temple is a must visit not due to its beauty or anything but because of its spiritual importance.

9. Market Street
On the way to Dalai Lama temple you will see shops on both sides, selling dresses, souvenirs and so on. If shopping is your interest, you can try. Few good restaurants also exist here for some food on your way back to hotel.

10. War Museum
This is the only place I have not visited in person- have only seen it from the road. If you are interested in war artefacts and have an hour to spare, you can plan a visit in Dharamshala. Else skip.

If you have more time, there're multiple treks that can be attempted in McLeodgunj. Triund trek is most popular of them. Takes about 2 days/1 night camping and costs around INR 1000 per person (if booked through any website- try negotiating directly with operator). Fee is towards guide charges, camping equipment, permit, meals (if specified) etc.

If you are looking for a luxury resort to stay, check out Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort

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