Dharamsala –McLeod Ganj: What to wear when visiting the home of the Dalai Lama
Even though Dharamsala is technically India, its Tibetan influence makes it feel like another country. Home to the Dalai Lama, and official headquarters of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dharmasala exudes a peaceful energy, which for years has drawn a diverse crowd of visitors from monks in training and backpackers to families on vacation and Richard Gear.
Dharamsala’s actual tourist destination is in a village called McLeod Ganj. It is a small, environmentally-conscious suburb of Dharamsala that is located about two miles above the town of Dharamsala proper. Arriving in McLeod Ganj is like stepping into a different world – a world that is a trekking foodie’s paradise. The town sits within the foothills of the Himalayas, and is well known for its trekking expeditions to Triund Pass and beyond. The sense of peace looming over McLeod Ganj makes a tourist feel welcome, and keeps them coming back for repeat visits. The Himalayas overlook the village, which causes low temperatures in the mornings and evenings. The cozy atmosphere and abundance of cafés and retail shops is representative of a small ski village without the skiing.
Packing for a trip to McLeod Ganj means warm, comfortable ski attire without the bulky equipment. Layers are important, especially in the afternoon when the sun is shining on the village. Hand-made scarves, socks, gloves and hats available from the Tibetan shop keepers line the streets. Many visitors choose to purchase those pieces once they arrive; however, they are essential items to include whether purchased in McLeod or brought from home. There are a lot of opportunities for trekking there, as well so a pair of hiking boots/shoes is necessary if a Himalayan expedition is part of the itinerary. Other items to add to the checklist are leggings, t-shirts, a cardigan, warm jacket, Uggs, thermals and anything cozy. A large tote is also an essential item because not only will it make a great shopping bag in this green little village, but adding and removing layers of clothing throughout the day is inevitable.
Written By: Heidi Plumb