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Old 7th October 2008, 14:51   #1
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Default Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida

I just have 2 words to describe this trip – “Pure Heaven”.
Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic1.jpg

We (me and hubby) left Delhi on Thursday (2nd Oct) early in the morning when the sky was still dark and the roads were empty to provide us an easy flow through all the small towns on the highway towards H.P. Our first stop was a usual one: Oasis at Karnal.

We had quick tea / coffee and started off again.

I love empty highways, which is a luxury in India and this you can enjoy only during early mornings. And if you couple it up with nice soft music and crunchy chips, you’ll just have a time of your life. Don’t bother about the guy much coz he would be busy enjoying the steering wheel under his hands, and don’t worry if he’s cruising at 100+ speeds. He deserves to enjoy his drive at this hour.

It’s so beautiful to see the world rise up with the glorious sun in the morning. When the first few rays of sun touch the earth and make everything look golden. And then every thing starts coming to life.

Anyway, our next stop was after crossing Una (H.P), by this time it was already afternoon. It must have been around early lunch time, and we were looking for a decent place to have our lunch.
Let me tell you people that there were hardly any good places to stop, or if there were any we didn’t know of it. We had a tough time deciding where to stop, some didn’t look too clean and some were just deserted.

Finally, we found a humble place where there was another family having their lunch and we decided to give it a try. We were served Aloo paranthe with curd which were alright, not too great as we get otherwise on the highway dhabas.

Now the point is – if you plan to take a trip towards H.P through Una, please be informed that there are going to be no Mc Donalds, or Nirulas on the way. This technically also means that there won’t be any nice and clean restrooms. And if you are traveling with little babies carry your own soap, towel and tissues.
But I don’t want to complain since it’s not something completely new to me. But yes, unlike most of the other north Indian highways this particular stretch (chandighar – ropar- una-dharamshala) didn’t have many options to stop.

Finally, we touched Dharamshala and could feel the cool breeze with freshness in the air.

Now the important point – Road condition.
The road after Una was broken in patches. I guess it’s because of the repair work that was going on. They had laid out stones at some patches on the road, and then there was one such long patch of around 2kms after 15-20 kms from Una while going towards Mcleodganj. I would say just keep your spare tire in good condition and check your tires after such patches. Luckily our car was really cooperative and didn’t gave us any such problem. But over all the roads were fine.
The picture below shows one such patch:
Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic2.jpg
Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic3.jpg

We reached Mcleodganj and checked into the hotel.

Total travel time was exact 10 hours and a few minutes that we took to locate our hotel.

I would also like to recommend this place (Asia Health Resorts) where we stayed since it was clean and staff was nice and friendly. They also had a decent menu and food preparations were good. The best part of this place was its location (only if you prefer a quiet holiday); this place was around 4 kms before Mcleodganj, very close to Dal Lake. Being there you can actually walk up to the lake in the mornings and evenings or towards the quiet forest area that was around 1 km ahead of this hotel.
Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pich.jpg

(Be careful of the leeches in the forest, I happened to get one on my shoe which was removed courageously – I hate slimy insects especially if they are known for sucking blood.)

Mcleodganj market would be around 10 minutes drive from this place. Some guests there would actually trek to the market, though we didn’t like the idea too much.

Ok, now some important places to visit while you are in Mcleodganj:
  1. Visit Bhaksunag temple, but don’t walk till this temple if you have a vehicle. Though the locals suggest walking from the market to this place, it still is a lot. Besides, you’ll need that energy for something else (that’s in #2) while you reach Bhaksunag temple. (You can even take a rickshaw to reach the temple. It’s around 1-2 kms from the market place.)
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic4.jpg
  2. At Bhaksunag, DO go to the waterfall which is in the hills. Trust me it’s worth the effort, even though the trail looks really tough but once you start walking it won’t take more than 20-30 mins to reach there. And when you reach there, select a place on the rocks to sit down and enjoy the nature. The small café’s there serve tea, coffee, and cold drinks. I saw some people taking the short-cut and going to the stream instead of the main waterfall. I think the effort is almost the same so why not go up to the water fall than the stream below. And then you can take your time to relax there and feel the beauty around you.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic5.jpg Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic6.jpg
  3. Visit the Monastery. It’s walk-able through the market. And if you are lucky you’ll also get a glimpse of Dalai Lama (we were lucky). Cameras and Ipods are not allowed inside, so you can leave all that with the guy who runs the small café just at the entrance of the monastery. And when you come back you can also have a coffee there or enjoy home made vegetarian food there. I loved the pasta This small café has a collection of currency notes of almost all the countries in the world. See the picture below.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic7.jpg There are certain prayer timings in this monastery and if you want to spend sometime listening to these chants make sure to check the timings from the locals. There was a strange calmness in this place, I don’t know if it was because of the Buddhist chants or it was the magic of hills but you’ll feel a sudden calmness the moment you’ll enter this place. I just loved this place.
  4. Next to this monastery, there was another one which also had a Tibetan museum. This was huge just like the other one. Visit this museum; it really opens your eyes towards atrocities of Chinese government towards Tibetan people. After going through the pictures there and reading all those news’s collection by various international bodies you’ll defiantly change your point of view about China. As far as I am concerned, I think I hate China now. At the gate of you’ll find an old lady selling yummy potato momo’s. Don’t miss it, because they were really tasty.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic8.jpg
  5. St. John's Church - this place is around 2-3 kms before Mcleodganj and can be missed easily if you are not looking out while driving. My advice is, don’t miss it. The architecture is great. See the picture below. This place again was full of calmness and serenity. (It looks a bit eerie also, just like they show in horror movies.)
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic9.jpg
  6. Dal lake – I won’t really call it a lake with the amount of water it had when we visited it. But again, walk around it is nice. Good too visit, but even if you miss it, it’s ok. There are 2 temples next to this lake that offer a good view of the lake.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic10.jpg
Some things worth doing while you are at Mcleodganj:
  1. Carry an umbrella with you, and if you have forgotten just buy one from the local market. Trust me you’ll need it, especially during this time of the year.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic11.jpg
  2. There are many restaurants that serve food on the terrace, have dinner there and watch the stars. Mc’llo which is right at the center of the market is one of them.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic12.jpg
  3. Try Italian food, Chinese, Israeli and Tibetan food also. It’s a heaven for Italian and Chinese food lovers.
  4. Walk around in the market; I think everyone does that anyways. This is something that I can do again and again endlessly.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic13.jpg
  5. Be outside and walk. Enjoy the nature.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic14.jpg
  6. Try bakery from authentic Tibetan shops and you’ll love their cinnamon donuts and pies. One such shop is just a few steps from the main market towards the road that goes to bhaksunag (You’ll see it towards your right side if you are walking from the market road towards the temple side). Another is close to the bhaksunag parking place with the name “Germen bakery”.
    Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-pic15.jpg
  7. Buy some silver jewelry, guys can pick a bracelet if they like or else buy something for your girl friend(s)/wife.
Now especially for the ladies:
  1. Carry a pair of walking shoes in your backpack all the time, even when you don’t intend to walk or trek. This is because it can rain anytime there and I am sure you won’t like your nice shoes to get wet.
  2. Buy the Tibetan dress. A decent one will come for around 400-1000 Rs range. And you can find it everywhere in the market. You won’t imagine how beautiful you’ll look in it. And the best part is you can wear it as an evening dress anytime.
  3. Buy silver jewelry. But do the bargaining.
  4. Buy Arab/Afgani pants if you like. You’ll find every second person wearing it, and you’ll also want to wear one, at least once in a while you are there. Just pair it up with the funkiest t-shirt you have, junk jewelry and flip flops.
  5. If you are going for more than 4-5 days carry your favorite book and favorite music in an Ipod with you.
P.S: There’s something very strange about Mcleodganj that I fail to understand. People who have been to Mcleodganj must have defiantly noticed many foreign nationals from distant lands residing there. I wonder what attracts them to this small hill-station. Is it the Buddhism and its magnetism, or is it the tranquility of this place. May be it’s the Tibetan culture which is prevalent in these hills that makes so many people from across the world come over here and seek calmness. But whatever it is, the credit of making this small hill-station a very peaceful and tolerant place goes to them. Looking at the condition of different states in India today that are fighting for religion and communism I really hope Mcleodganj stays like this forever.
But if I consider it only as a traveler’s destination, it’s a wonderful place to spend a few days forgetting the rest of the world and simply “being”. And this small-hill station is a world within its own self offering you so much of culture and tradition that it will certainly touch your heart.


This last picture is of the silent beauty that made our trip possible!
Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-sebo.jpg
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Old 7th October 2008, 15:16   #2
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Ha, excellent one there. So much details on what to do, what to buy etc. And tips for ladies, guess "CC" is reading this out there

Good one. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 7th October 2008, 15:26   #3
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Nice Travelogue !! I have seen very less articles offering tips specially for ladies..

Thanks for sharing !! Keep Writing !!
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Old 7th October 2008, 15:36   #4
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Nicely written Gow, nice pictures too.

I like this comment

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Originally Posted by girlieonwheels View Post
Don’t bother about the guy much coz he would be busy enjoying the steering wheel under his hands, and don’t worry if he’s cruising at 100+ speeds. He deserves to enjoy his drive at this hour.
Did you also visit the naddi hills (highest point in dharamshala, just climb up from the lake) and Kangra Fort (few km's away) ??

Spirituality and Dalai Lama not to forget we have another bhpian "Dirtydan" residing there

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P.S: There’s something very strange about Mcleodganj that I fail to understand. People who have been to Mcleodganj must have defiantly noticed many foreign nationals from distant lands residing there. I wonder what attracts them to this small hill-station. Is it the Buddhism and its magnetism, or is it the tranquility of this place. May be it’s the Tibetan culture which is prevalent in these hills that makes so many people from across the world come over here and seek calmness. But whatever it is, the credit of making this small hill-station a very peaceful and tolerant place goes to them. Looking at the condition of different states in India today that are fighting for religion and communism I really hope Mcleodganj stays like this forever.
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Old 7th October 2008, 16:29   #5
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Did you also visit the naddi hills (highest point in dharamshala, just climb up from the lake) and Kangra Fort (few km's away) ??
Thank you Dadu.
We went to Naddi hills but I could not capture many pictures there as it started raining immediately after we reached there. There were sign boards of a meditation center as well that I wanted to visit but could not due to the weather. I hope I have not missed something really worth visiting!!
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Old 7th October 2008, 17:18   #6
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Naah! when I had seen it last, it was all natural beauty and then slowly it became a concrete jungle with the hotels coming up.

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Thank you Dadu.
We went to Naddi hills but I could not capture many pictures there as it started raining immediately after we reached there. There were sign boards of a meditation center as well that I wanted to visit but could not due to the weather. I hope I have not missed something really worth visiting!!
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Old 7th October 2008, 18:01   #7
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Great report with pics. Time to bring your hubby onboard now, introduce him to the world of car crazy people
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Old 7th October 2008, 18:11   #8
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Good detailed report on Mcleodganj, one can certainly use the 'must do' things you have posted. I liked the way you rounded off your trip report with the car picture, different from what we 'guys' would've done.
Regards,
Hari.
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Old 7th October 2008, 18:43   #9
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Great report with pics. Time to bring your hubby onboard now, introduce him to the world of car crazy people
Actually, the fact is he introduced me to Team-BHP.


And it was made very clear to me right from the initial days that car’s are his first love and rest all will always remain to be the second AND “thou’ shall not try to replace the first love with the second”.
The result was I joined his first love gang.
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Old 7th October 2008, 20:31   #10
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Originally Posted by girlieonwheels View Post
P.S: There’s something very strange about Mcleodganj that I fail to understand. People who have been to Mcleodganj must have defiantly noticed many foreign nationals from distant lands residing there. I wonder what attracts them to this small hill-station. Is it the Buddhism and its magnetism, or is it the tranquility of this place. May be it’s the Tibetan culture which is prevalent in these hills that makes so many people from across the world come over here and seek calmness. But whatever it is, the credit of making this small hill-station a very peaceful and tolerant place goes to them. Looking at the condition of different states in India today that are fighting for religion and communism I really hope Mcleodganj stays like this forever.
India has produced two great traditions of personal transcendance in Hinduism and Buddhism. The Tibetans adopted Buddhism and added to it their incredibly rich and vital cultural heritage. The best part of McLeodganj, this desparate refugee society, is that it is trying to hang on to its heritage, its identity and in so doing and is trying to preserve nothing less than a path to a higher mode of being for all mankind. Even the Tibetans do not hold it to an exclussive path or even necessarily the best for everyone. But that belief in itself does them credit

The weather has been miserable this year. The monsoons hit this place hard every year but this year was the worst many locals can remember. It has the second wettest monsoon next to Sikkim. Girlieonwheels, you did well to keep so "up-beat" with all the rain. I hope you can come back to my home town when the sun shows the natural beauty of the place. Here are 3 shots with some sun out. The first 2 are Mcleod, the 3rd is my present neighborhood just east of it. I live down by the water tower, lower left.
Attached Thumbnails
Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-april-squals.jpg  

Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-mcleodganj-winter-morning.jpg  

Trip to Noida - Mcleodganj (H.P) – Noida-spring-splendor.jpg  

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Old 7th October 2008, 21:17   #11
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Don’t bother about the guy much coz he would be busy enjoying the steering wheel under his hands, and don’t worry if he’s cruising at 100+ speeds. He deserves to enjoy his drive at this hour.
That was a good one.

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Originally Posted by girlieonwheels View Post
Now the important point – Road condition.
You are one true T-BHPian !

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Originally Posted by girlieonwheels View Post
(Be careful of the leeches in the forest, I happened to get one on my shoe which was removed courageously – I hate slimy insects especially if they are known for sucking blood.)
Our T-BHPians who go on Coorg OTR's love these slimy creatures

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Originally Posted by girlieonwheels View Post
Visit this museum; it really opens your eyes towards atrocities of Chinese government towards Tibetan people. After going through the pictures there and reading all those news’s collection by various international bodies you’ll defiantly change your point of view about China. As far as I am concerned, I think I hate China now.
You are not alone.

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St. John's Church - This place again was full of calmness and serenity. (It looks a bit eerie also, just like they show in horror movies.)
Looks straight off from DaVinci Code!

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Originally Posted by girlieonwheels View Post
Walk around in the market. This is something that I can do again and again endlessly.
I don't think your Hubby concurs though.

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Originally Posted by girlieonwheels View Post
Buy Arab/Afgani pants if you like. Just pair it up with the funkiest t-shirt you have, junk jewelry and flip flops.
and scare the men away


Cool travelogue and nice pictures.
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Old 7th October 2008, 22:00   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girlieonwheels View Post
Actually, the fact is he introduced me to Team-BHP.


And it was made very clear to me right from the initial days that car’s are his first love and rest all will always remain to be the second AND “thou’ shall not try to replace the first love with the second”.
The result was I joined his first love gang.
Thought so, ask him to reveal himself, your knight in shining armour. Even my GF has surrendered to the fact that she can never replace my first love.

BTW, those alloys look good, they seem to be quite popular, same as mine
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Old 8th October 2008, 12:52   #13
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the road scenes are bad.
but thats nothing new..being a native of Una i can confirm that the roads in Una ditrict are usually in that very shape (like ur pic of road). what you might have also visited is the kangra fort, which is a nice place.
if you travel on that Ropa- Una - Dhrm route, dont hope much in terms of food options in highway. A well timed food break might be Suvidha palace or Maya hotel in Una, or Bombay Picnic Spots (50 kms odd aead of una).
if you have driven upto dharamshala, baijnath is also an interting place to go with an old temple and nice small dam.
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