For a lot of travelers this little hill town overlooking Dharamsala feels like coming home. Loads of people call McLeod their home for a couple months per year. It is not only the vibe that makes people visit this picturesque town. The historical background is also why a lot people make their way up here. It was the Dalai Lama that found refuge here after he was named persona non grata in China. In his trace loads of monks followed him and everywhere in town you can find them. May be that’s one of the reasons this village radiates such a peaceful vibe. The monks are happy to take a picture with you or teach you about Buddhism if you are interested. Nowadays you can even find iMonks: the ones making pictures of the sunset with their Ipads!
Life after Kashmir changed rapidly as we crossed the border into the next state. The Muslim culture changed into a Hindi culture, the military left the scene and best of all I was again connected to the outside world. Since it is impossible in Kashmir to connect to the local network with a prepaid Indian SIM and Wi-Fi is fairly impossible to find, I was cut off from the world for 6 consecutive days.
Dharamsala is surrounded by the beautiful Dhauladar mountain range and offers excellent hiking. Most visitors stay 4km uphill in the mountain village of McLeod-Gansj. From here there are many options to hike around and enjoy the serenity of the mountains. You don’t need a guide/porter since its very easy to navigate. Don’t take too much with you, though in the winter months make sure you have warm clothes for the freezing nights!