Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dan's Guide to McLeod Ganj

- Waterfalls: there is the one I posted about earlier, which is very cool! There is also this other waterfall that is also neat, at Bhagsu, which is much easier to get to.

If you keep walking up, though, way past where it looks like the end of the path, and follow the signs to the Shiva Cafe, well, you will get there. I guess it is rather a stoner hotspot, but it is cool regardless because it's so hidden away. Someone recommended this to me, and I can't for the life of me remember who! Sorry about that, but thanks, whoever it was!

- Speaking of Bhagsu: you will likely meet lots of Israelis here. I guess this is a thing. Israelis, after they finish military service or university, tend to come to India for a few months. Dharamsala is a hotspot, but instead of McLeod Ganj, they head to the nearby towns of Bhagsu or Dharamkot. Nobody's sure why it ends up so segregated- we expect it's something in the guidebooks, or maybe lots of friend recommendations. It's a bit of a bum deal for them; McLeod is nicer.

- Coffee: There is quite a lot of this, compared to the rest of India. Always get espresso drinks, or you might get instant or (at best) crummy drip. Americano quality is about the same across town. Coffee Talk wins for pretty good cappuccinos and very good homemade bread. Moon Peak also has a nice atmosphere. Both have free wifi.

- Tibetan food: there are a bunch of Tibetan places; all good. Gakye on Jogiwara Rd. is exceptionally popular for some reason- maybe it's in the guidebooks? At any rate, it's tasty: vegetable dishes for lunch/dinner, and a huge bowl of muesli, fruit, and yogurt for breakfast.
See also: momo stands across the town are always good.

- Indian food: actually tougher to find, particularly an Indian restaurant that is not dead empty. Taste of India on Jogiwara Rd. is particularly great. Also take their cooking class; it is 2 days, 3 hrs each, you learn to make a lot of things, and the teacher is quite helpful at answering questions. Not hands-on, but I think I like it better this way, as you're not going to master stuff anyway. Some recipes if you'd like.

- Beer: at bars or beer stores, you have your choice of various Generic Asian Lagers, often in "regular" or "strong" forms, and always in 650ml (22oz) bottles. I personally recommend the "regular" (up to 5%), although some friends argue that the "strong" has more taste. It doesn't really matter; you'll probably only want one.

- Huge piles of rocks in the road: look out for this.

- Mist and rain: every day it starts out sunny and nice. By about noon, it decides to either get misty for the rest of the day or downpour super hard for an hour and then get nice again. Both ways are nice.

- Finally: You will likely see this guy handing out fliers about a show he's doing. He's called "Lion Man." He does an hour-long show in which he tells the story of his escape from Tibet, sings songs, and dances. I can say no more about it than: you must go to this show.
Okay, I will offer a bit of explanation: he is part traditional calm Tibet, part whirling dervish, and part Gil Mantera's Party Dream. Repeat, you must go to this show.


  1. Be vigilant in the Shiva Cafe; you might end up on a whaling ship somewhere.
    What's with the rocks?

  2. I don't know! They seemed pretty orderly stacked, and it wasn't below a rocky area, so we didn't think it was a rockslide. Maybe a barricade for some reason- Dalai Lama security or something? But then it was partially cleared the next day.

    Probably fuel for the rock-burning furnaces. (I should start a blog of entirely false information about India.)

  3. The second pic is beautiful! Have you seen any wildlife ? or life in the streams?

  4. Haven't seen much wildlife around McLeod. Some lizards. I saw some mountain goats in Gangotri.