Dharamsala McLeod Ganj
Trip Start Oct 02, 2011
16Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
McLeodganj is full of long staying foreigners, many of them were Israelis. Many were driving around in locally registered motorbikes and jeeps. We ventured into interesting narrow lanes that were full of small guest houses, laundries, stores selling foreign foodstuff, trek arrangers, everything very well organised to cater to long term visitors. Also, very good for the local economy.
A plus point for McLeod is the abundance of reasonably priced restaurants and eating places offering very much more than standard North Indian and Punj-Chinese fare. We enjoyed lunch in a very pleasant establishment overlooking the mountains. They had a live band in the evenings.
With nothing better to do, we walked after lunch to Bhagsu, a pleasant walk peppered by roadside stalls, only this time they were Biharis selling Tibetan kitsch! Bhagsu itself was too built up for comfort and we turned back after seeing the falls in the distance.
The famed Nowrojee stores was in a dilapidated and decrepit condition and we wondered what all the fuss about it was. I had read about the Norbulingka Institute. Upon enquiry, we learnt that it was not here, but in Sidhpur just outside Dharamsala. Off we went, having had more than enough of McLeodganj.
It took a bit of asking to get correct directions to Norbulingka but once there, it was pleasant enough though not anywhere near as striking as the new colourful Tibetan monastery at Bir. There is a guest house in the premises, along with a museum of dolls [Losel Museum] depicting life in Tibet, an outdoor café and a well laid out store selling Tibetan ware at inflated prices. A photograph of the Dalai Lama is placed beneath the Buddha idol in the main temple, which had noteworthy paintings on the outer walls.
On our way back to our hotel, we stopped by at the spanking new Dharamsala cricket stadium of IPL fame. Another evening stroll through the Kotwali bazaar, this time with less traffic, brought an end to our nondescript sojourn in Dharamsala.