McLeodganj is a small town with a combination of many cultures, located at a distance of about 14 km from the town of Dharamsala in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The local culture of the area is a beautiful blend of Tibetan culture with some British influence. Mcleodganj, a small suburb situated in the lap of Dhauladhar of the Himalaya Mountains, is a major hill station. There are more people of Tibetan origin here, because, after the Chinese invasion of Tibet on 28 April 1959, the Buddhist religious leader Dalai Lama came here with his followers. The Chinese government-in-exile of Tibet was established in McLeodganj, a suburb of Dharamsala city in Himachal Pradesh.
By the way, people of Indian origin shepherd's villages and other Indian cultures people also live here. But Mcleodganj, amidst majestic hills and green forests, this place is culturally blessed with a prominent Tibetan influence largely due to the Tibetan people's settlements here. McLeodganj has more than a reputation for being the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India. Because here are the residential headquarters of the holy Dalai Lama, the religious leader of the Buddhists. Along with being the residence of the Dalai Lama and being the center of Tibetan activities, it is also known as "Little Lhasa". At present, a large population of followers of Buddhism and Dalai Lama, who migrated from Tibet, live here.
Like Dalhousie and Dharamsala, McLeodganj also came into existence during the colonial period. In 1885, India was ruled by the Britishers, various settlements were established on the Dhauladhar ranges near the Dharamshala western border of the Himalayas. In which the name of Dalhousie and McLeodganj of Dharamsala comes.
During the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, the British had made their place in Kangra. Dharamshala got its name from the small rest houses in the cantonment where the British lived, which were known as 'Dharamsalas'. Later this place became the administrative head office of Kangra district, after which the establishment of civil settlements started here. And McLeodganj was named after David McLeod who was the then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. Lord Elgin was the British Viceroy of India from 1862 to 1863 who fell in love with this place. Lord Elgin, who died on his way to Dharamsala in 1863, was buried at St. John's Church-in-Wilderness in Forsythganj.
The city was destroyed during an earthquake in 1905, but later the Dalai Lama revived the city once again. The Tibetan Museum along with the temple of Dalai Lama can also be visited. Presently Mcleodganj is home to a number of Buddhist monasteries and due to this, the small hill town has become a holy pilgrimage site for the people belonging to the Buddhist and Tibet community.
Although all kinds of goods are available in the crowded market here, it is the main place for foreigners to visit, so here Tibetan people have preserved their culture, which we can see well in the main market of McLeodganj.
Buddha Purnima has special significance for Buddhists. Similarly, McLeodganj is also important for Buddhists living in India.
The market of McLeodganj has developed according to the domestic and foreign tourists coming here. But that too clearly appears to be split into two parts. Traders who settled here in search of employment and business, and the exiled Tibetans for whom this settlement has been established. The shops of Tibetans in exile are still as traditional in the markets and on roadside tracks as they are seen in any other tourist destination in India. These shops, featuring colorful Stones, Beads, and ornamental "Antiques" or Antique Tibetan art objects, attract their customers because of their traditional character.
Another attraction of these shops is the women shopkeepers running these shops. Dressed in their traditional attire, these Tibetan women are skilled shopkeepers. And they have the correct understanding of the customer who has reached their shop.
Today McLeodganj, despite being a suburb of Dharamsala has managed to make a separate identity of its own as well as a major tourist destination of Himachal Pradesh.
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