Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj

30th Nov 2015
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 1/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
View from Kalsang guest House
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 2/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Art outside the Buddhist Temple
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 3/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
The start to triund
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 4/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Triund mid way
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 5/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Triund's heavenly path
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 6/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Time to rest en route Triund
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 7/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Finally Up there
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 8/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
MIGHTY - from Triund
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 9/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 10/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Triplet friends in Triund
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 11/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 12/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Way to further treks from Triund
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 13/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
See this is why you need DSLR, phone camera sucks
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 14/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Spinach cheese risotto momos
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 15/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
Flower Tea
Photo of Solo Escapades: Triund/McLeodganj 16/16 by Sanyam Malhotra
moonpeak espresso cafe

The Land of People

There are times when you are so overwhelmed with words that you don't know in which order to stream them out. I have been to many hills and many trips, but never have I been so deeply touched by a place before. Mcleodganj - A place made beautiful by its PEOPLE! A place that exudes humanity, peace and positive vibes right from the moment you step here.

Mcleodganj is a place you need to go alone, or maximum one companion. Mcleodganj is NOT a place for families, it is NOT a place for a group of friends to hang out, it is NOT a place for sightseeing. It is a place to be felt. A place whose essence you need to get. The sad history (and present) behind the ever so jolly Tibetan's faces. You need to take things slow here. A DSLR is of no use here, because you need to capture friendships and conversations here, not sights. Describing anything more may probably ruin it, since some beautiful things are better left to be personally experienced. But I will give you some tips that will help make your presence there more enchanting.

If you have no interest in what I feel about the place or why mcleodganj is not like some other hill station, and only care about the prices and How to reach mcleod and triund, then skip all this and scroll down to the last sections. If you are engrossed already and want to see Mcleod and Triund from my eyes before you see from your's, then read on!

Yes, that is exactly how I would describe it. Right from the Mcleodganj main square there are 4 roads outbound (not including the one where you came from). Two of them comprise the main market. The third is the one that says "Bhagsun temple" and the 4th one "Dharamkot". You need to take the "dharamkot" road for Triund. I never went on the bhagsun temple road. the rest two roads are what I described in the heading "The spiritual lane with great cafe's". I'll explain the "spiritual lane" part since the "great cafes" part is self explanatory. Walking down the street you pass by natives of the place. Most of them have refugee roots. They are Tibetans thrown away from their own land by China. They are Buddhists who keep to themselves and are ever so polite. They are shop owners who work hard and always make a great host. They are your friends. Then their are visitors like you who have come from all over the world and like you are mesmerized by the place. You don't need to give a second thought to go have a chat with them. Go sit with them in a cafe and talk your evening away. You need to live the place and not just see it, otherwise it is just another hill station with markets. Listen to the "Om mani padme hum - tibetan incantations" whilst you stroll down the spiritual lane. Cafe n food Suggestions:- Tibet Cafe - Spinach cheese risotto momos (A must must must) Cafe Moonpeak Espresso - Try any coffee here Village Cafe - Try any tea (I am not sure you will agree here or not once you try it)

Photo of The spiritual lanes with great cafes by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of The spiritual lanes with great cafes by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of The spiritual lanes with great cafes by Sanyam Malhotra

Triund - It is a place that is just another hill top at day, but comes to a magical life at night. So that is why, please never return the same day as you reach there. You would miss all the 5 great things about triund. The gazillion stars at night (you literally cannot see the sky through them"), the magical spooky silence all around, the dark that surrounds you, with a light source only very far away, the sunrise and the sunset. Plus, what is the point of putting in all the hard work (believe me, it IS hard work) and then getting to see nothing. And once you see all these 5 pots of jewels unravel in front of you, every calorie burnt, every sweat broken shall be more than worth it. At night, it gets very very chilly. But that is a blessing in disguise, because then everyone gathers around the same bonfire and talk and laugh for hours. People from all parts of the world feeling the same cold as you, telling their stories, listening to yours, laughing together. It is all a dream that would seem unreal once you wake up in your tent the next morning. I met an Israeli who was traveling India for the past 1 year. A Danish woman who came for a 5 week meditation camp in rishikesh and now to triund. She had no idea what she would do the next day and that is how she had been living her whole life, living in the moment only. There was an American who had settled in Palampur (1 hour drive from dharamshala) as a teacher. Some indian students and the lively dhaba owner who had arranged the lovely bonfire and the great food. A couple of 2-3 day treks start from triund (Indrahar pass). Go for them if you have life left in you.

Photo of Trek to a primitive life by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Trek to a primitive life by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Trek to a primitive life by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Trek to a primitive life by Sanyam Malhotra

This temple made me realize that temples are not always about stone idols. They should be more about the peace that is the reason for it's very existence. It is right at the end of main market road. Do check out the museum outside the temple that tells the sad story of Tibet. I am sure you shall be broken from inside considering how peaceful and lovely these Tibetans are. I won't describe it further.

Photo of Buddhist Temple by Sanyam Malhotra

You can take a train from whatever city to Pathankot. From there a 200mtr walk to the bus stand. Every 30-45 mins there is a bus to Dharamsala bus stand. Time taken - 3 hours approx. Fare- 132rs From Dharamshala bus stand you can take a bus to mcleodganj. Even there the buses are frequent to Mcleodganj Time taken - 1 hour max. Fare- 13rs

From Mcleodganj main square, you have two choices. Either walk the 3-4 kms to the start of Triund or take a taxi till there. You would be needing a lot of energy for Triund so make the 3-4 km walk keeping that in mind (if you decide to walk). Tips: 1. You definitely need a DSLR for Triund. A phone camera can never capture those infinite stars. 2. There is absolutely no electricity source up there, so charge your phone 100% or you can keep those power banks. 3. You get tents when you reach triund. 500rs for a single tent, sleeping mat and bag. There are 3-4 shops up there for your food needs. 4. Do not eat a lot or drink a lot before the trek. Take small gatorade or water sips. 3-4 small shops come along the way so you don't need to stuff them up before (but they are pricey). I preferred going the expensive way rather than lugging a heavy load on my back. 5. Keep a blanket. A sleeping bag just won't be enough (November - Feb at least) 6. Take appropriate breaks in the trek. It is not just about reaching up there. You need to enjoy the awesome path to it as well. Breathe in every moment.

Time in Mcleod - 2N/3D Time in Triund - 1N/2D Total Budget - Rs. 3500 Mcleod- Train tickets to and from pathankot: Rs 700 (rs350 each side for sleeper class) Bus fare from pathankot to mcleod and back: Rs 290 (145rs each side) Stay at Kalsang Guest House on the "dharamkot" road: Rs 400 (rs200 per night) Food: Rs.1000 (rs. 500 per day) TOTAL for Mcleod - Rs 2400 approx Triund- Tent: Rs 500 Food and expenses along the way: Rs 600 TOTAL for Triund - Rs 1100 TOTAL - Rs. 3500 (for 3N/4D without alcohol and shopping) If you buy alcohol and shop, throw in another 1000-1200 Rs 4500 for 3N/4D is quite a good deal considering you shop, drink and have such a mesmerizing time.

There is no way I am not coming back to this place. Your heart refuses to leave some places.