How I got there: The most common form of transport. Took the H.P tourism bus from Delhi. This is a overnight bus and more than half were Tibetans. I was initially surprised. Thought they all held businesses in the hill station. But no, they lived there. McLeodganj is the Indian headquarter of Dalai Lama.
Places to stay: You can choose Dharamsala, which rarely people do. Or McLeodganj, which has budget mountain facing hotels in the Tibetan market treets. Or stay at Bhagsu Nag, which another 2 kilometers up north and has mostly hotels.
Start your day at McLeodganj with cappuccino and set breakfast at any wi-fi enabled cafe in the Tibetan market street. All these have common European menu and are wifi enabled for the guests after they place an order. As the sun comes up, you bask in the sunshine till about lunch time. Weather is cold but the sky is clear in December. Kids play their little game of kicking a knotted ball to each other without having it touch the ground.
Nyamgal Monastery is at the end of the Tibetan market street and is the main Tibetan temple and monastery in this region. Being the HQ to Dalai Lama, the Tibetan religious leader, the monastery also has a museum on the history of Tibet and the Indian connection. The monastery is peaceful though visited by lots of tourists and worth spending some time meditating, if you can.
Then you have a leisurely lunch in either Indian, Italian or Chinese restaurant on the same street or any of the parallel streets. Just be in time to have the afternoon/ evening tea at any of the cliff facing cafes for sunset. Because this is one of the most beautiful things about the region. Around 6, the place is dark and by 7-8pm shops start winding up. By 9-10, everyone has had dinner and under layers of blankets to fight off the 2 degrees cold night.