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Known as ‘The Land of His Holiness the Dalai Lama- Little Lhasa”, McleodGanj is one of India’s most travelled to towns. I am pretty sure that if you asked around amongst your friends, everyone must have planned a McleodGanj trip sometime in their life.
The town boasts of not only many beautiful sceneries but also a deep and rich history. Philosophers love saying that you must hit rock bottom before you rise from the ashes like a phoenix! This somewhat holds true for the history of Mcleodganj. Here’s how Mcleodganj went from being the abode of the British to the abode of Dalai Lama!
Mcleodganj was discovered in the 1850s by David Mcleod, Lt. Governor of Punjab and Forsythganj, named after a Divisional Commissioner. This hill station seemed like a perfect place for their civil administrative settlement and the cantonment after the Second Anglo Sikh War.
The twin towns, teeming with inhabitation continued to grow and by 1904 became one of the most important nuclei of trade, commerce and official work of the Kangra District.
To everyone’s shock, quite literally, Mcleodganj came to a standstill when it was hit by an earthquake in 1905, destroying almost all buildings and killing more than a whopping 20,000 people.
Animal population was also majorly hit, with a death toll of 53,000. Following this, district headquarters were shifted to a much lower and safer spot, and the town’s proceedings were briefly halted to repair the immense damage caused by the earthquake.
Monasteries in McLeodganj
Mcleodganj is home to one of India’s most significant monasteries such as Namgyal and Tsuglyagkhang, where Dalai Lama resides. Any McleodGanj trip is definitely incomplete without a day spent in these gorgeous monasteries. In 1960, after getting exiled, the fourteenth Dalai Lama took refuge in this town. This was the onset of the revival of Mcleodganj.
Mcleodganj is the perfect example of peace, serenity, and everything beautifully calm. After having been banned from Tibet, Dalai Lama brought to life to this hill station that was more or less in ruins. It is said that nothing in Mcleodganj is made in China. Everyone uses only authentic Indian products.
Mcleodganj is just not about scenic beauty. The streets of this place are flooded with yogis, monks and very well read Buddhist scholars. Even though it’s a blend of cultures, it is mainly Tibetan. The three-storeyed, glass-fronted shop of Nowrojee and Sons witnessed Mcleodganj change from an English outpost to this astounding hippie abode. Irrespective of the casualties it has suffered, Mcleodganj still holds it’s head high harbouring a very high amount of tourist influx compared to its other counterparts in Himachal Pradesh.
The spirit of resistance inculcated in the monks should not go unappreciated. In protest of the atrocities brought upon the Tibetans due to the exile, self-immolation has been prevalent for over 50 years now. This is an existing proof of the determination and dedication that lies within their souls.
It’ll only be an understatement to say Mcleodganj is just a pretty place. With its intriguing history and culture, it shows that if you have determination and love – even the mightiest disasters cannot break you. This should be reason enough to plan a McleodGanj trip and revel in its otherworldly feel.