Life in McLeod Ganj revolves around this Buddhist temple complex, linked to the off-limits private residence of the Dalai Lama. A good example of Buddhism's spiritual and artistic traditions, the complex comprises Namgyal Monastery and Tsuglag Khang Temple, both worth a visit to get a sense of active lama practice. You'll often encounter monks debating in the courtyard or meditatively preparing colorful sand mandalas, diagrams that symbolize the universe and are used in the ritual of spiritual empowerment known as the kalachakra ceremony, after which the meticulous designs are destroyed. The gompa houses various cultural relics brought from Lhasa during the Cultural Revolution, including a 1,500-year-old idol of Guru Padmasambhav, and a life-size image of Avalokiteshvara, of whom the Dalai Lama is believed to be an incarnation.
Next on the tour is the Norbulingka Institute. At this institute, you get a firsthand understanding of the techniques (and unbelievable patience) required to produce authentic Tibetan arts and crafts. A tour through the facilities allows you to see the creation of colorful tantric thangkas (embroidered wall hangings), paintings, metalware, furniture, and traditional garments. The beautiful Seat of Happiness Temple features astounding murals and the gilded copper Buddha Sakyamuni was crafted by Norbulingka's master statue-maker, Pemba Dorje, and is one of the largest of its kind outside Tibet.
This afternoon visit the Kangra Art Museum. This is a treasure trove of the Kangra valley's arts, crafts, and rich past, displays artifacts that date back to the 5th century. The museum also includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature paintings and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery, and anthropological items.
Overnight at hotel.