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Shopping in Mcleodganj, Mcleodganj Overview

McLeodganj is famous for its culture, crafts, etc. and tourists flock in from different parts of the world to experience it and be a part of it. The shopping experience in McLeodganj is worth remembering, provided you know how to bargain and purchase the local items of the place such as Tibetan mats and carpets. 

If you're planning a visit there, see the sights, soak in the scenery, sample the local food and before leaving, grab some souvenirs and gifts from the local markets to carry the feeling and memories of Mcleodganj home with you. As a bonus point, many of the stores on our list give part or all of their proceeds to local relief organisations.

Below, we've made a list of what you can buy while Shopping in Mcleodganj that is unique to that area:

1. Singing Bowls

These produce a beautiful melody when rubbed with a wooden stick. customised worldwide, singing bowls have been used in meditation, music and its related professions. Make sure that you buy an authentic bowl if you want it to produce the beautiful music. Many vendors also sell decorative bowls. The bowls come in different sizes and often have engravings etched upon them.

Where to buy? 

Shops such as Village Boutique, India Divine Buddha Handicrafts, Tibetan Handicrafts Centre, Tibetan Museum souvenir shop, as well as the various street markets such as along Jogibara Road and in Kotwali Bazaar. You might also find your perfect bowl at the Tibetan Mini Market. 

Singing Bowls, Shopping in Mcleodganj

2. Buddha statues, Prayer wheels and Prayer flags 

Often referred to as 'Little Lhasa', Mcleodganj is the headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-exile. It is also the home of the Dalai Lama. Pristine beauty comes together with spiritualism in this town, and there are many shops selling statues of Lord Buddha, prayer wheels, colourful prayer flags and other such things. The sculptures are made in different sizes and are of different postures. Some are decorated with stones and other decorative materials. Prayer wheels come in different sizes, sometimes with beautiful decorations or inscriptions emblazoned upon them. Colourful flags gently swaying in the breeze can be found in abundance throughout the locality, and you can even buy some for yourself in the many markets in the city. You can also purchase aromatic candles and oils, incense sticks, etc.

Where to buy from?

You will find these at many of the craft shops near the Dalai Lama temple. Shops include Potala Handicraft Shop, Jewels of Tibet, Village Boutique and Divine Buddha Handicrafts. Many of the street side vendors at the local markets too will have these products. Be wary however of lower quality or overpriced products when shopping.

Shopping in Mcleodganj

3. Local Tibetan handicrafts and decorative knickknacks 

Bowls, wind chimes, carved boxes, wall hangings, cushion covers, lamps and other colourful items and souvenirs. Most of these are handmade local creations that incorporate the unique styles and designs of the Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. Many of the shops selling these handicrafts are NGOs and charitable organisations that use the proceeds to better the lives of the locals. 

Where to buy from?

Shops such as Rogpa, Lha Tibet Fair Trade, Divine Buddha Handicrafts, Tibetan Children's Village Handicraft Centre, Potala Handicraft Shop, Jewels of Tibet, Village Boutique, Tibetan Handicrafts Centre and Stitches of Tibet. Visit the shop at the Norbulingka Institute for some beautiful wall hangings and decorative pieces. 

You can also buy from the street markets in places such as Jogibara Road Bazaar and Kotwali Bazaar. Visit the Tibetan Mini Market and the Mcleodganj Central Square too as you search for the perfect handicraft to take home with you. The oldest shop in Mcleodganj, Nowrojis, which was opened in 1860 carries a beautiful collection that includes metal crafts, wooden masks and such.

4. Jewellery 

Bead necklaces, metalwork jewellery and other accessories are crafted by the locals using in unique designs and styles and make for quite a fashion statement. Colourful beads, intricate metal designs, beautiful gems, all put together in a bohemian style. Keep in mind the fact that a lot of the jewellery you find is made in the traditional artistic designs which are unique to the people of the area and is not easy to find elsewhere.

Where to buy from?

The numerous street markets such as Jogibara Road Bazaar and Kotwali Bazaar have many vendors selling jewellery. You can also visit the Tibetan Mini Market to look for more options. Many of the shops that have been previously mentioned also stock selections of jewellery. Go to Nowrojis to imbibe some history while you purchase beads and metallic creations.

You can even find Buddhism inspired jewellery in the shops close to the entrance of the Dalai Lama temple. Here, prayer beads, healing stones and even pendants with chants and inscriptions in the Tibetan script or miniatures of prayer wheels and such can be found.

Along the main street of Bhagsu, there are many stores which offer daily classes to teach you the art of jewellery making and designing. Create your jewellery under the tutelage of local experts using gems and crystals as well as silver and other metals. Not only do you get to keep your creation you have the added bonus of knowing that you made it yourself.

Shopping in Mcleodganj

5. Beautiful Cloth 

Silk and satin wall hangings, ethnic designs upon clothes and bedspreads, fabric paintings, table mats and many other creations can be found in the markets of Mcleodganj. A lot of these designs are unique to the Tibetan culture of the area, infused with cultural and religious symbols and made using traditional designs and styles. They are handmade and often done on a day to day basis. So, if you want a customized design with your own chosen design, size and colour specifications, you can easily get it in these shops.

Where to buy from?

There is an abundance of options available to you as you walk down the Mcleodganj Central Square, Jogibara Road and through Kotwali Bazaar. Some vendors have clothes designed using the local styles while others carry anything from bedspreads to scarves to decorative scrolls. In the markets, you can even get your very own Chuba (the traditional Tibetan dress) hand-stitched if you wait awhile. 

Some of the stores selling these beautiful cloth products are the shop within the Norbulingka Institute, Stitches of Tibet and Eternal Creation. The Green Store carries some brightly painted clothes alongside many other wares. Another place where you can get clothes tailored for yourself is Semshook Tibetan Handicraft.

Shopping in Mcleodganj

6. Colourful Bags and Purses

The vibrant culture and beauty of Mcleodganj find expression through bright bags, purses and other accessories in unique designs in many of the shops of the area. Traditional designs and a variety of materials and sizes and colours ensures that there is something for everyone to take home.

Where to buy from? 

Shops such as Rogpa, Semshook Tibetan Handicraft, Divine Buddha Handicrafts sell these colourful accessories. The markets such as Kotwali Bazaar and Jogibara Bazaar too have numerous options for you.

Shopping in Mcleodganj

7. Handcrafted diaries and handmade paper

Handmade paper and diaries are one of the creations Mcleodganj is well known for. The area began its recycling initiative several decades ago and converts waste into paper products. The recycled products are designed into beautiful products such as diaries and other paper stationery and are popular with tourists. It is interesting to think that the recycling bins and instructions to going green scattered around different locations in Mcleodganj are the same initiatives that are creating these beautiful paper products from things we discard. You can also find handmade diaries here covered in leather and cloth sleeves which are available in different colours and sizes. Whether you want to keep a record of your travels or just a souvenir, these are a must-have.

Where to buy from? 

The Green Shop is an outlet that sells paper and other 'green' Items. It is one of the funding sources for The Clean Upper Dharamshala Program. You will also find beautiful diaries in several of the shops already mentioned in the list as well as in the market lanes.


8. Books (on Tibetan culture and Buddhism)

The history and culture of Tibet are both exciting and unique. In Mcleodganj, you can find books on Tibet as well as on Buddhism that give knowledge and insight into the vibrant art, culture, history and other arenas of the local population. You can also find books on fiction and other areas of interest here. As this place sees tourists from many countries, books are often available in a variety of languages including German, French, Spanish and Japanese.

Where to buy from? 

There are many bookstores in the town with an excellent collection. Some of the shops include Buddhist Bookshop, Bookworm, Tibet Book Store, the Namgyal Bookstore in the temple complex and Youtse Book Shop. There are also several cafes that have books that you can peruse while you grab a delicious meal. 

Shopping in Mcleodganj

9. Rugs and carpets

Exquisite handwoven rugs and carpets in the ethnic styles of the Tibetans are available in Mcleodganj. They have designs based on scenery, symbols, folklore and so on. 

Where to buy from?

Shops such as Tibetan Handicraft Center, Village Boutique, Tibetan Children's Village Handicraft Centre offer beautiful pieces that you would love to see in your own home. Some of the stores even ship their products, so if you want that, please do enquire as to the possibility. The street shops in Kotwali Bazaar often have some beautiful carpets and rugs, so make sure you take a look.

Rugs and Carpets, Shopping in Mcleodganj

10. Paintings 

Tibetan and Buddhist art offers beautiful works that can be purchased by tourists here. There are many places where you can buy Mandala paintings and beautiful thangkas to make sure you take back a piece of the vibrant culture of Mcleodganj when you leave.

Where to buy from? 

Mcleodganj Central Square has several shops you can visit to purchase a beautiful painting or two. Some of the shops selling thangkas and mandala paintings are Potala Handicraft Shop, Jewels of Tibet, Semshook Tibetan Handicraft, Tibetan Handicraft Center, Tibetan Children's Village Handicraft Centre, the shop within the Norbulingka Institute. Thangkas and Gifts is one of the most popular shops among tourists.

Paintings, Shopping in Mcleodganj

11. Tea 

If you're a tea enthusiast, you must purchase some tea before returning. The area offers a variety of delicious and aromatic blends such as Kangra Tea, Tibetan Tea, Green Tea and many other varieties that should be sampled at least once. 

Where to buy from? 

There are several shops in the area where you can shop for tea. Try the Dharamshala Tea Company or even one of the small shops near the Dalai Lama temple or one of the other market lanes of the city. 

Shopping in Mcleodganj

12. Woollens 

Mcleodganj can be a cold town. And there are many stores you can visit should you want some warm clothes or even if you're looking for a gift. Sweaters, scarves, socks and every other woollen item that you use or can imagine is very likely available here. The products are often designed with ethnic symbols and patterns and are both unique and beautiful. Whether you're looking for a light jacket or a yak wool shawl, you'll find everything you want.

Where to buy from? 

You can buy woollen garments from several shops including the Lha Tibet Fair Trade. The shops in the market areas are teeming with woven products, and you can snag quite a few attractive pieces for yourself while you're there. 

Shopping in Mcleodganj

Things to remember while you shop to your heart's content:

Bargaining, to a degree, is acceptable and can be done during some of your purchases when buying from street markets.
Keep a tight hold of your belongings, just in case. You don't want anything to be stolen.
Remember to grab a bite during your shopping break in one of the nearby local eateries.
The number of ATMs in the area is not high, and you will often find a long queue. So it is advisable to have cash at hand before you venture out shopping, just in case.

Keep in mind, that this is not a comprehensive list, and please do reach out to us if you can think of any item or shop that we've missed.

Also, if you're planning a trip to Mcleodganj or have been there already, leave us a comment below to tell us about your shopping experiences there.

Photos of Shopping in Mcleodganj

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