Life in the hills is very different from that in the city. Their day starts early and ends early. Post sunset almost everything comes to a standstill, baring few restaurants. Making most of the daylight will ensure you cover the important attractions and immerse in the local culture.
Mode of Transport: Location of hotels and guesthouses in a hill station are often far-off from the central part of the town or cities making it difficult for local transport to get access.
To have a seamless travel experience, hiring a cab for the whole trip will be ideal. Cabs and taxis can be arranged from your hotel reception. Cab drivers often act as a tour guides and are always looking to entertain tourists.
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Kick off your expedition with the famous and iconic landmark of Mcleodganj, St John Church.
The church is known for the resting place of Lord Elgin, viceroy of India. Amidst the deodar forest, the architecture of the church standouts. The freshness of air makes you stay here for a longer duration to embrace the nature.
Time duration: 30 – 45 mins
After being with nature, next attraction is in the centre of Mcleodganj, Kalachakra Temple.
The temple has a distinguished architecture and stands apart from other structures in the market. Kala means time and chakra means wheel; the concept of wheel and time is at the core of Tibetan culture and revolving structures are to be found in all of their shrines.
Time duration: 30 – 45 mins
Adjacent to the Kalachakra Temple, is an assortment of restaurants and cafes. Our recommendation will be Tibet Kitchen.
Tibet Kitchen offers exquisite Tibetan delicacies along with some Bhutanese cuisine. If you drop by, do try out Mutton momos!
Price range: Rs. 700 – 800 for two.
Visit to the residence of His Holiness
02:00 PM – 04:00 PM
Tsuglagkhang Complex Dalai Lama Temple is a major tourist attraction of Dharamshala. Purpose of paying a visit is to catch a glimpse of Dalai Lama and listen to his teachings. Only those with luck get to attend it! The complex comprises of a temple and a museum which showcases history of Tibetans and culture of monastery.
Time duration: 1 – 2 hours.
After spending quiet time, head towards the Tibet Market and indulge in some shopping for artifacts and clothes. There are multiple option to relish some street food.
That will be it for the day.
Trekking activities are of utmost importance when visiting the Himalayas and today’s itinerary is all about that. It makes sense allotting one full day for such strenuous activities. It makes your preparation better and experience memorable.
09:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Triund is a 9-km trek and can be completed within 8 – 9 hours. There are two trails which lead to Triund peak. You can choose to begin your trek from Gallu Devi Temple in Dharamkot or from Bhagsu Nag temple in Bhagsu village.
Cabs till Gallu Devi Temple cost Rs. 500 from Main Square. A valid ID card needs to be produced before the authorities at the checkpoint and abiding by the rules is mandatory and any lapses can cost you around 2000 bucks!
Difficulty level of this trek depends on the weather condition. Heavy clouds and rain can make it quiet daunting. Otherwise it is considered to be a trek for beginners.
Night Stay: In order enjoy the views of sunset and sunrise next morning, you can choose for an overnight stay at the Triund camp and to do so you need to get in touch with travel agents or Forest Department for advance bookings of guest house and tents which is necessary.
Trivia: Toilet facilities are not available at Triund peak, so you need to carry water and other essentials to spend the night!
If you have the energy to head out for some appetizing meal, Morgan’s Place is the place to be. They are known for Italian cuisines.
Price range: Rs. 600 – 700 for two.
Spending couple of days in Mcleodganj seems to be ideal as the hill town doesn’t have much to offer. So have your breakfast and check out from your hotel and head towards Dharamshala.
11:00 AM – 02:00 PM
Your first stop should be Gyuto Tantric Monastery Temple at Sidhbari, 9 km from Dharamshala.
The monastery boasts its Tibetan architecture and panoramic view of the Dhauladhar range. It is the centre of meditation and prayers for the monks. Tourists are welcomed here and are allowed to take part in the daily proceedings with the monks. This is not frequently visited by tourists and is kind of an off-beat destination. Although its popularity has caught on in recent times.
Time duration: 1 – 1.5 hours
Post this, head towards The War Memorial, 7 km from the monastery.
The memorial stands amidst the pine forest and beautifully decorated. It has names of martyrs of Himachal Pradesh inscribed on it. The war museum imparts knowledge on the history and recipients of honours and accolades in Indian Army.
Time duration: 45 – 60 mins
At a distance of 1 km from the memorial stands the HPCA cricket ground.
The unique feature of the stadium is that it is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The location is ideal for photography and videography.
Time duration: 30 mins
Luncheon and Kangra Fort
03:00 PM – 05:00 PM
There are multiple food joints to quench your hunger, Food Plaza Restaurant is quite a popular place.
Price range: Rs. 600 – 800 for two.
The last stop for the trip will be Kangra Fort, 20 km from Dharamshala.
Keeping it out of your itinerary is absolutely out of question. The fort is the oldest and 8th largest in India. The fort has a fascinating history and carries the legacy of the Royal Katoch Dynasty. The breath-taking views of dusky mountains from the fort are added incentive. It is an off-beat attraction.
Time duration: 1 – 1.5 hours
That will bring this trip to an end.
If you have your own conveyance, you can carry on with your return journey. For people planning to take the bus, Dharamshala bus stand takes 40 mins from Kangra Fort.