Situated on the Dhauladhar Range, whose highest peak, “Hanuman Ka Tibba”, at about 5,639 metres (18,500 feet), lies just behind it, it is known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetans. The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeod Ganj.
McLeod Ganj was named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, a Lieutenant Governor of Punjab; the suffix ganj is a common Hindi word for “neighbourhood”.
Tourism is an important industry in McLeod Ganj, but many people come here to study Tibetan Buddhism, culture, crafts, etc. The town is also known for Tibetan handicrafts, thangkas, Tibetan carpets, garments and other souvenirs.
The twin towns of Forsyth Ganj and McLeod Ganj continued to grow steadily in the coming years, and by 1904 had become important centres of trade, commerce and official work of Kangra District. But much of the town was destroyed by the devastating 7.8 magnitude 1905 Kangra earthquake at 6:19 am 4 April 1905; close to 19,800 people were killed and thousands were injured in the Kangra area. The earthquake destroyed most buildings in Kangra, Dharamshala, and McLeod Ganj; even the Bhagsunath Temple was destroyed.
McLeod Ganj got its own website in 2013, according to a Times of India report.