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HIMACHAL TOUR

MCLEOD GANJ

Location: Himachal Pradesh
Altitude: 2,000m
Discovered in: 1848
Places Of Interest: Residence of Dalai Lama, Tsuglakhang temple
Best Time To Visit: July to September

Originally home of the seminomadic Gaddi tribe, Mcleod Ganj is today the residence of his Holiness the Dalai Lama. This mid 19th century place was developed as a British Garrison. The place was an important administrative point for the whole Kangra valley. Today Macleod Ganj has developed as headquarters of the exiled Tibetan Government and is situated just before the Upper Dharamsala.

The impressive monastery has got larger life size images of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloketeshwara. To preserve the rich manifestation of the Tibetan culture the institute of Tibetan performing arts was established over here. In April and May a festival is organized here, which includes the traditional plays, dances and many more such events.

The large Tibetan population of the region and the presence of traditional architectural designs have enhanced the area. But the most important example of the Tibetan architecture is the Tsuglakhang or the Dalai Lama's temple. The magnificent images - a gilt statue of Shakyamuni; then facing Tibet is the Tibetan deity of compassion, Avalokitesvara and that of Padmasambhava who introduced Buddhism and tantric teachings to Tibet in 8th century.

The house also has a collection of scared text called the Khagyur based on the teachings of Buddha. Also included in the temple is a collection of works on art, philosophy, literature, astrology and medicine. 

MONASTERIES

The Residence of Dalai Lama: 
The Dalai Lama settled in Macleod Ganj in 1960 and his residence on the south edge of town has become his permanent home in exile. His own quarters are the modest, and government offices take up most of the walled compound overhanging the valley.

Tsuglakhang: 
In front of the private enclosure of the residence of Dalai Lama, Dharamsala's main Buddhist temple, Tsuglakhang, shelters images of Shayamuni, Padmasambhava and Avaloktesvara, all sitting in meditation postures and are surrounded by offerings from devotees.

Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling: 
The small Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling is located on the bottom of a steep track. The main Prayer hall has an image of the Shakyamuni. The monks who lived in the Gompa have made two huge drums covered in goatskin and painted around the rim. The butter sculptures, which are made during Losar, are destroyed in the next Losar festival. This gompa is also famous for the fine and detailed mandals.

Library of Tibetan Works & Archives: 
The library of Tibetan works and archives stores almost 40 % of the original Tibetan manuscripts and is a repository of the rich Tibetan culture. The library also has a photographic archive. At Gangchen Kyishong is the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute.

LAKES

Dal Lake: The small, murky Dal Lake, connected to Dharamkot by a path down through the wooded slopes, is the scene of an animal fair and Shaivite festival in September.


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