Monsoon in McLeod Ganj – the home of the Dalai Lama


McLeod Ganj is a small town perched on ridge just below the Dhaladhur Range which forms the Indian Himalayas.  It is a very special place for many reasons, the major one being  it is the  home base of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the epicenter of the Tibetan refugee community.   It has also been the hub of foreign tourists wanting to experience the magic of being an Indian hill station which attracted English colonizers escaping the heat of the plains, learn about all things Tibetan including Buddhism, culture and their way of life.  Strolling through the streets there is an international feel with people from across the globe all attracted to this smallish town for one of these reasons.

What people don’t know is that it is also a place that is rather famous for its summer rainy season known simply as “the monsoon”.

Here the meteorological factors that come together, making up the recipe for the monsoon’s development each year:

  • Intense summer heat down on the Indian plains
  • Increasing tropical moisture flowing northward from both the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal
  • The steep elevation gradient along the southwest-facing front slopes of the Himalayas

How does all of that shape the summer weather conditions in McLeod Ganj?  These are the basic facts:

  • Monsoon season normally begins during the latter part of June, and continues until the middle of September.
  • Total rainfall during that period averages 250cm, or around 100 inches, but can vary from year to year.
  • July and August are typically the wettest months of the season and the year, with 80-90cm (32-35 inches) of rain common during each of those months.
  • Humidity remains in the 90-100% range for the vast majority of time, so fog is a prevalent feature of the season.
  • Temperatures are very pleasant, generally holding in the range of 17-24C (62-75F), with just a few degrees variation between night and day.

For most people, that sounds like an overwhelming amount of rain, and it is!  But the good news is that heavy rain doesn’t occur every day, and each year there are stretches of several days now and then when only drizzle and very light rain showers occur.  There is also the occasional burst of welcome sunshine in between fog banks that go a long way to lift spirits.

Flooding, landslides and washed-out roads are a few hazards and by-products of the season, but tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  In fact, there are more than a few return visitors to McLeod Ganj who enjoy the monsoon months, and plan their travel schedule to be here to take advantage of the lush greenery, pleasant temperatures and less crowded streets!  Ekno Travels can take you there for a holiday with a difference.

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