McLeod Ganj McLeodGanj or Mcleodganj is a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It has an average elevation of 2,082 metres (6,831 feet). Situated on the Dhauladhar Range, whose highest peak, "Hanuman Ka Tibba", at about 5,639 metres (18,500 feet), lies just behind it, it is known as "Little Lhasa" or "Dhasa" (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetan refugees. The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeodGanj.
Tourism is an important industry in McLeodGanj, but many people come here to study Tibetan Buddhism, culture, crafts, etc. The town is also known for Tibetan handicrafts, thangkas, Tibetan carpets, garments and other souvenirs.
- Tibetan Sites: The most important Buddhist site in the town is Tsuglagkhang or Tsuglag Khang, the Dalai Lama's temple. It has statues of Shakyamuni, Avalokiteśvara, and a statue of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). Other Buddhist and Tibetan sites in McLeodGanj include the Namgyal Monastery, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling (a small monastery), the Library Of Tibetan Works And Archives, Gangchen Kyishong (called Gangkyi for short by Tibetans and the premises of the Tibetan government-in-exile), Mani Lakhang Stupa, Nechung Monastery, and Norbulingka Institute, which is 8 kilometres away. The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, lives near Dharamshala, in Gyuto monastery in Sidhbari.
- Art Galleries: Naam Art Gallery, The Naam Art Gallery is located at Sidhbari. The permanent exhibition in Naam Art Gallery shows paintings by Elsbeth Buschmann - water colours and acrylics - and oil paintings by Alfred W Hallett. The gallery remains open from 10 am to 7 pm on all days except Monday.
Elsbeth Buschmann is a professional painter from Germany
living in Dharamshala. Alfred Hallett was a very well known painter from England
. He lived over 40 years in Dharamshala and became very popular in Himachal Pradesh. Many of his paintings are owned by the government of Himachal Pradesh. AW Hallett had a great love for, and a special interest in, the culture and scenery of Himachal Pradesh, which are among the main elements of his work. He died in Dharamshala in 1986. The display of his paintings in Naam Art Gallery is a tribute to him.
- Dharmalaya: Dharmalaya offers educational and service-learning programmes and promotes cross-cultural appreciation and personal empowerment. Volunteers in McLeodGanj can serve as English tutors or computer teachers or can help with the environmental programmes of the Tibetan Welfare Office. Dharmalaya also offers volunteer and service-learning opportunities in the nearby town of Bir.
- Learning And Ideas For Tibet (LIT): LIT aims to offer free education for Tibetans, and to inform visitors in the McLeodGanj area on the Tibetan situation. Volunteers can participate in English grammar and conversation classes.
- Lha Charitable Trust: Lha provides free language and computer training, medical assistance, clothing to the Tibetan community in in McLeodGanj. Volunteers can participate long term as teachers or drop-in for conversation classes.
- Mountain Cleaners: This is an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved in waste management activities for businesses, locals and tourists in the Dharamshala area. The organisation also arranges clean-up treks and children's days that volunteers can participate in.
- Rogpa: Rogpa acts to integrate the Tibetan community in exile by increasing Tibetan cooperation and responsibility. The organisation has a cafe/shop in McLeodGanj where profits go to local projects involving empowerment of single mothers, a baby care center, etc.
- Tibetan Charity: Tibet Charity runs a social program aimed to improve the standard of living of Tibetans living in India. Mid- to long-term volunteers are needed for English and computer teaching. The organisation also runs a vet clinic in McLeodGanj for treatment of stray dogs.
- Air: The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport, 15 km south of Dharamshala.
- Rail: The nearest railway stations on the Shimla-Kangra narrow gauge line are at Kangra and Nagrota (about 20 km south of Dharamshala). The nearest railhead (broad gauge) is at Pathankot (85 km).