As colorful as it can get, shopping is a delight in McLeodGanj, specially for the ones who hold this soulful love for picking up junk from hill stations. Having a unique flavor of Tibet and its culture, the most eye catching are the primary colored Buddhist prayer flags found strung along the ways, packed to be taken away’s as color-blocked memories…


Having the Monastery as its heart, jewelry shopping is unique and irregular, as one can find an array of prayer beads put together by the localites in a row of shops lined as you walk along to entrance of the Dalai Lama’s Temple. Finding the fascinated tourists as their biggest source of both income and day to day experiences, the shopkeepers for some can be rude for a bargain, but are surely a wealth of knowledge when it comes to understanding the Tibetian Culture. Semi precious stones, healing stones and rocks carved out from the unexplored surfaces of the earth, add an individualistic character to each piece of jewelry, and not to miss are the pendants that bare the chants like ‘om’ and ‘om mani padme hum’ in the Tibetian script, on simple turquoise and red stones, or around prayer wheels miniatures.


Skillfully crafted as various forms of Buddha’s, one can also find metal statues that are polished in silver, copper and gold, combined with almost mosaic like surfaces made out of stones and rocks in engaging colors. Any day more expensive in antique showrooms all over the Indian subcontinent, I was surprised to realize that McLeodGanj was the hub for these well desired show pieces that are known to bring prosperity, peace and harmony in houses…


Unaware of its existence, significance and purpose, I stumbled across the most fascinating items of the Tibetian Culture – ‘The Singing Bowl’ – known to be used worldwide for meditation, music, relaxation, and personal well-being. While the bowls come in different colors, sizes and looks, the mantras engraved on the exteriors makes each piece look like treasured possessions are are also referred to as objects of mystery of the long lost times. And as I eagerly surfed to find what really lies behind the enthralling sounds produced while playing the singing bowl – it invokes a deep state of relaxation which naturally assists one in entering into meditation, today also used for used for deep relaxation, stress reduction, holistic healing, Reiki, chakra balancing, and World music.


Moving away from all things ‘Tibet’, equally engaging are also shops that offer handmade diaries which have a raw, tribal feel to them, along with vibrantly colored shawls, stoles, caps and mufflers that display tribal motifs, patterns and dyeing techniques in their overall appeal. The ones especially made out of wool, are all knitted by the local women themselves who also look after the shop as their hereditary business, and the products are more like a traditional craft for people who reside in McLeodGanj.



With mediation, peace and escape being on the minds of many people who visit this place, another interesting buy are the wall fabric paintings that are hand done and available in different sizes all along the streets. I am not really sure if its more of a doped culture to buy these kind of wall paintings, but nevertheless, one cannot be less fascinated with the feel of these.


The perfect souvenirs for gifting to your loved ones, are the silk and satin wall hangings that are a traditional part of the Tibetian culture, differing with auspicious symbols. To my amusement, these wall hangings are actually made and stitched by local tailors on an everyday basis, where you can also choose your sizes, colors and symbols that symbolize your belief the most, making these wall hanging a lot more customized and close to both the makers and the buyers heart…



StreetTrotter is a Travel, Culture & Lifestyle blog, inspiring people everyday with real stories to look good and travel even better. Founded in 2012 by Shraddha Gupta, Founder & COO, this space is all about experiencing new things in life, be it a daring mountain trek, a frugal backpacking trip, a runway look made local, or simply anything that scares you enough to live a little more deeper.

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