Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mesmerizing McLeodganj

Day 2 of our trip to Dharamsala.

Continued from Day 1-

As the morning rays kissed the sky and the chirping birds woke us, we knew it was going to be a long day! After monakeying around the tea gardens and soaking in the natural beauty on day one in Lower Dharamsala, day two was more adventurous and tiring. Post a scrumptious heavy breakfast, we boarded our taxi which ferried us to Naddi.

Scenery from the view point

Barely ten kilometers from Dharamsala, Naddi is a quiet village in the Kangra Valley. At an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level and surrounded by the Dhauladhar mountains, Naddi is the starting point of trekking to near by hill tops. The dreamy clouds playing hide and seek with Sun, the lush green mountains and foggy trails leave you asking for more. It's a treat to watch the hills engulfed by fog one moment and clear sky the next moment. You instantly want to spread your arms like a bird, breathe in the clean fresh air as you close your eyes and fill yourself with tranquility.
Sun playing hide and seek

Tourists flooded to the "viewpoints" where a person loans his telescopic lens (in return of a nominal to fee) to watch the farthest points of the mountains. Thanks to husband's DSLR and my Moto X phone, we did not use the view point lens.

Man at work
The cameraman hubby

The serene surroundings have been encroached upon by reckless construction of hotels/guest houses. Countless felling of trees and drilling mountains will lave nothing for us in future. Don't be surprised to see international tourists (mostly bag-packers I assume) running small eateries or grocery shacks for a living. Perhaps India is very pocket friendly for them.

Approach roads to Naddi are steep with sharp curves. Drive carefully while descending the hills. Returning from Naddi, we stopped by Dal Lake. 

Mesmerized by the beauty of Kashmir's Dal Lake, this lake was named the same. The water source is believed to be Manimahesh Lake (situated at Bharmour, Distt. Chamba) which has dried now. Boating is no more allowed due to depletion of water table, silt deposition and soil erosion. The lake is literally a garbage dump now but the forests around the lake makes it worth stopping by. Since the place is peaceful, we choose a bench to sit on and relax for some time. Lines of deodar trees add to the beauty of the Lake.

Plastic waste and bottles in the lake bed are certainly big turn offs. Though the Himachal Government has taken measures to restore the place, it is also the duty of locals and tourists to cooperate. Why spoil the natural beauty like this?

A two hundred years old sacred temple of Lord Shiva on the river bank adds to the mystique of the river. Across the road, many other temples are a major source of attraction for tourists.

We resumed with our journey to McLeodganj, barely three kilometres from there. On the way our driver stopped asking us to visit St John’s Church. Against our expectations and no plans to visit this tranquil place, St John’s added joy to our journey. Such a magically wonderful place to visit. 

The church is said to have survived the massive earthquake of 1905 which had killed close to 20,000 people in Kangra. However the bell tower was destroyed in the earthquake. Later, a new bell, cast in 1915 was brought from England and installed outside in the compound of the church. It is said many failed attempts have been made to rob the bell many times. 

Surrounded by green forests and well maintained by the authorities, the vicinity offers you calmness and natural beauty.

Backyard of the church

We spent a lot of time capturing the playful beauty of nature and the luxurious greenery. The cold breeze caressed us as sunshine revealed different shades of green. We walked, we hiked, we sat on a stone with our legs dangling down and enjoyed the sound of silence, occasionally broken by tourist buses.

The churchyard is the final resting place of Lord Elgin ( then Governor General of Canada). He later became Governor General & Viceroy of India in 1861 during the British rule.  He soon died in Dharamsala in 1863, and was buried there. It was Lord Elgin's wish to be cremated in the vicinity of the church as Dhramsala reminded him of Scotland. He was quite fond of the flora and the lovely weather of this quaint hill station.

What attracted me the most was the inclination of the authorities towards wildlife and fauna protection. The little bird houses and the well maintained beautiful garden bear a testimonial to the fact. Considering that I volunteer at animal NGOs and have built bird houses, I know the importance of these little shelters for the birds. Totally appreciate their efforts.


The neatly paved pathway towards the church symbolizes a gateway to peaceful solace. People from all religions are welcome to the church. St John;s Church was worth the visit.

We left the place with sweet memories, happy heart and a calm relaxed mind.

Rest of the journey in next post....


  1. This place is on my travel destinations list for quite some time now. Great pictures, great narration. Thanks for sharing.

  2. were you able to go to Trind too ? Beautiful place to visit .

  3. No Yogi, we did not plan a hike to Triund. Though it is on my bucket list :-)


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