The pristine beauty of McLeod Ganj attracts those who seek spiritual reflection and relaxation. It is natural for these visitors to also look around for Tibetan artifacts that they can buy and carry with them as mementos, souvenirs or as gifts for their near and dear ones.
Shops in McLeod Ganj cater to the varied taste of its many visitors, who wish to purchase the beautiful and unique handcrafted items. Most Tibetan handicrafts and artifacts draw inspiration from nature while some of them display religious figures and spiritual symbols. Here we have compiled a list of 10 excellent places to do your shopping in McLeod Ganj.
Quick Facts about Shopping in McLeod Ganj
What to buy: Tibetan mats and carpets, silver and stone jewelry, Kangra tea, handicrafts and carvings in metal and wood, Thangka paintings (bright paintings on canvas lined with silk) and mandala paintings, idols of Buddha and Hindu gods, woolen shawls and caps and prayer wheels and prayer flags are the most sought-after items in McLeod Ganj.
Where to shop: There are many shops to be found along Central Square, Temple Road, Kotwali Bazar and Jogibara Road in McLeod Ganj.
Best shopping places to buy Tibetan art, handicrafts & clothing in McLeod Ganj
1. Nowrojee & Sons
This 152-year-old shop is famous for its display of relics and other memorabilia from the time British ruled India. This three-storeyed, glass-fronted shop is famous for its wares, which include everyday essential items and unusual finds along with antiques from a bygone era. The modern artifacts, placed alongside these remnants from time, prove to be a very interesting experience.
Address: Forsyth Ganj, Main Square, McLeod Ganj
Timings: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm
2. Thankas and Gifts
Owned by Marleen Reinsert, a Belgian lady who spent years studying the art, this store is uniformly praised by everyone who has ever visited it, for the quality of its items and its surprisingly reasonable prices.
Not to forget the presence of the energetic owner who does not believe in pressure sales and assists you in identifying your choice of the paintings. Do visit if you are looking for a Thangka painting or special gift; or even just a pleasant shopping experience in a crowded bazaar where you are distrustful of every shopkeeper.
Address: Jogiwara Road, Opposite Tibetan Gas office, McLeod Ganj
Timings: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
3. The Norbulingka Institute
The institute offers you an experience beyond mere shopping. It boasts a temple, a losel doll museum, which has 150 beautiful dolls in traditional Tibetan clothing, a café and a shop. There are artists and students attached to the institute, which aims to preserve Tibetan art and culture along with the region’s traditional art forms in all their purity.
You will find the quality and craftsmanship very admirable – and be assured they are all created at their workshops. Once you have bought their silk appliqued hangings, cushion covers, Thangka paintings and hand-carved Tibetan boxes, visit their multi-cuisine Cafe to satisfy the raging hunger that usually follows a feverish shopping spree.
Address: Norbulingka Institute PO, Near Dharamsala
Timings: 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
4. Palaco Handmade Crafts
Highly praised for its collection of uniquely handcrafted items, this store is considered expensive by a few buyers. Having said that, if you are one of those connoisseurs of high quality artifacts and are comfortable with the detrition of your purse strings, do visit the shop for their choice offerings.
Address: Temple Road, Shop Number 5, McLeod Ganj
Timings: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
5. Semshook Tibetan Handicraft
The shop offers designer Tibetan and Italian clothing, made to order with the finest of fabrics. If the regular readymade clothes do not offer a right fit for you, this is the place to visit for getting the tailored effect, with little waiting.
They offer you the additional satisfaction of having contributed to the welfare of the local poor, as a part of the profits from their business go to help them.
Address: McLeod Ganj, Jogiwara Road, Near Hotel Dreamland, McLeod Ganj
Timings: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
6. Naam Art Gallery
This art gallery exhibits the amazing paintings of an artist of international repute: Elsbeth Buschmann from Germany. She paints using oils, acrylic and watercolors; and some of these paintings are for sale. The gallery displays the art of AW Hallett from England, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Art.
He passed away in 1986 after having lived in Dharamshala for 40 years, and absorbed the culture and scenery of Himachal Pradesh into his art. His paintings are also exhibited in the gallery, as a tribute to him.
Address: Chamunda, Sidhbari, McLeod Ganj
Timings: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
7. India Divine Buddha Handicrafts
The shop offers Tibetan and Indian handicrafts like Buddhist figurines, miniatures of Indian gods, wooden masks, brass statues, crystal and gemstone jewelry, prayer flags and prayer wheels, along with Nepalese artifacts and other items.
They offer excellent value for money and meet a tourist’s wish for reasonably-priced souvenirs and gifts for friends and relatives at home.
Address: Temple Road, McLeod Ganj
Timings: 9:30 am to 8:30 pm
8. Lha Tibet Fair Trade
A great source of excellent and authentic souvenirs, this store has many interesting handcrafted items like jewelry, clothing, bags and home décor items like lamps, bowls and vases. All the profits from the business go to support the Free Tibet movement.
Address: Temple Road, McLeod Ganj
Timings: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
9. The Vintage Trunk
The Vintage Trunk sells wooden idols and frames as well as crockery, handicrafts and other items of interest to tourists. The shop also offers to sell gift items which can be personalised by the buyer to enhance the value of the gift further.
Address: Temple Road, Near HDFC Bank ATM, McLeod Ganj
Timings: 9:30 am to 9:30 pm
10. Galaxy Art de Crafts
Head to this shop if you are looking for handicrafts from other parts of India too, as they stock handicrafts and home décor items, handicrafts made of terracotta as well as handicrafts from Rajasthan.
Address: Shop Number 8, Surya Complex, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj
Timings: 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
McLeod Ganj is truly a tourist’s paradise. The weather is great, the hospitality is amazing and there’s loads of culture, which translates into a great shopping experience. Do let us know what you ended up buying in the comments section. And don’t forget to share!