"This is how we didn't plan the most amazing 10 days getaway trip to Himachal"

1st Nov 2019

“Let’s just go for a vacation”, was the only thing I still remember telling my friend one fine day. One thing that we knew was to plan it in November, because of the vacations. With no destination in mind, we casually started deciding on places, rather states, and ended up mutually agreeing on Himachal Pradesh.

Something about Mcleodganj, I guess it was just the Non-Indian name, for why I was so keen on visiting it once. So, the only thing that we actually “planned” was to stay at Zostel (Mcleod) for the first 2 nights.

Photo of "This is how we didn't plan the most amazing 10 days getaway trip to Himachal" 1/1 by Prathamesh
Day 1

it begins

On reaching Delhi, we immediately rushed down to Kashmiri gate (50 mins from T1) for it was a touch-and-go situation, as the last and the cheapest bus was to depart at 23:05 hrs, but we made it. My flight bookings had gone wrong. Only if I had the patience to wait for some more time, I wouldn’t have ended up spending INR 11,000 on the flights (return journey). It hurt the most, when both my friends managed to do it for INR 7000. The bus was uncomfortable form all ends: torn seats, broken windows, but the excitement was much higher to neglect the petty things. The first halt was at Kurukshetra followed by Chandigarh ultimately reaching our destination.

Day 2


I knew that Dharmshala had welcomed us, for the slightest snow on the peaks of lesser Himalayas shined bright. The town, happy in its own ways, was filled with the afternoon crowd. We walked for about 3 kms till we reached Zostel at around 3:00 pm. We decided to rest for the day: it had been a little dizzy because of the roads. We were quite lucky to enjoy the live music by Gaurav Gileria and being a drummer, I ended up jamming up on a few Bollywood & Pahaadi songs. The day ended well, with around 20 travellers, sharing their travel experiences, sitting around a campfire.

Photo of Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Day 3

into the heart of Dharamshala

The happy town of Dharmshala offers a lot to visit. We were lucky enough to meet a group of people who accompanied us to the neighbouring places. The Dalai Lama monastery which is located close to the Dharamshala market was a peacemaker to the eye. The beauty of silence, the prayer chants, together gave an auspicious vibe and a sense of satisfaction. The HPCA stadium, pleased us with its scenic beauty with snow-cladded mountains in the background. Illiterati Book Café, offers an iconic and a breath-taking view, where you keep staring at the huge peaks while sipping the perfect blended hot chocolate. We reached Bhagsu Waterfalls at around 16:00 hrs, and hiked our way to the very famous ‘Shiva Café’. The café, which is situated on the top of the hill, is definitely ‘the’ place for hookah and chai lovers. This was about the day, where we decided to acclimatize ourselves before starting for the most awaited, “Triund Trek”.

Photo of Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Day 4

the surreal hike

We checked out of Zostel and requested them if we could keep our luggage to collect it later after the trek. These were the guys from Zostel who knew hospitality, and were kind enough to let us. We started our trek at about 8:00 am, which was already late, as it takes about 3-5 hrs for a beginner to cover the 6 kms hike. It is an Easy – Medium trek, but it surely takes the breath out of the person, for you climb to an altitude of 2800 m above the sea level. We reached the top at around 12:00 pm and were lost in surreal magical view that turned out to be a boon for our artificial city eyes. We were also quite lucky to witness a little snowfall. It had started getting dark around 17:30 hrs and after having clicked the last photo we decided to rest in one of the tiny constructed rooms on the mountain top. Without even a single charging point or a light bulb (for there is no source of electricity up there), we managed our way with the help of flashlight. Me and a friend wanted to climb further till Snowline, which was a 2 hrs steep hike from Triund, ultimately reaching to an altitude of 3300 m.

As viewed from Triund

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by Prathamesh
Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by Prathamesh
Day 5

the morning after

The next morning, we started out for Snowline at around 7:00 am, and by 11:30 we were already facing the huge, creeping peaks of Indrahar. “Standing in front of the mighty Dhauladhars, I realized, there is always something greater looking down at you”. While on our hike up, we encountered something like a Bird of Paradise, with beautiful, elegant, multicoloured feathers, rich in its own ways, gliding down from the mountain top. The next big thing was to climb down to Triund and then trek down the entire mountain to reach Zostel (Mcleod). The rest of the evening was spent in solitude, preparing the mind and body for the next unknown adventure.

“Standing in front of the mighty Dhauladhars, I realized, there is always something greater looking down at you”

Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Day 6


The previous night when we sat down to chalk out our next to be destination, we casually searched for Paragliding centers nearby, and ended up discovering Bir. Having no idea about what the place was, we started our journey towards Bir Billing in the morning. Something about Zostel made us feel at peace and welcoming. When we found out about Zostel (Bir), we obviously booked it. It was a jam-packed 2:30 hrs bus ride till Bir. The car was already waiting for us, from where it to us to the paragliding spot. For once, I wasn’t afraid of looking down at the point where we supposed to land, which further boosted me to go first, amongst the 3 of us. “The sky was calm and the body felt light. Was it because the sky decided to carry some of my weight? Is that how the birds feel while floating above all? Probably. It was magical”. After a successful flight, we headed straight to Zostel and buried ourselves in deep conversations, looking back at the first five amazing days spent in Himachal.

It was almost 22:00 and we didn’t know what we were supposed to do the next day.

Photo of Bir Billing Paragliding, Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Day 7

ice and smoke

Kasol? Kasol. I was a little hesitant initially, as the bus journey would take 7-8 hrs to reach there. This is what happens, when your body is tired after 5 hectic days, with minimal rest. Lucky enough to have such friends on this trip, whose enthusiasm and support made me feel less exhausted. We hired a car, and never knew, when the long, tiring journey turned out to be a real pleasure. Our driver, with over 30 years of experience, driving all over the country, knew the exact places, a traveler longed for. From tracing the origin of rock salt to walking on one of the oldest hanging bridges, we arrived at Kasol. The fearsome gushing sound of ‘Parvati River’, the snow-covered lesser Himalayas and the smell of smoke, was in all a different experience. It was merely 17:00 when the light gave up. Walking on the street, we looked for places to stay the night: few of them were riverside tents, but then decided to stay at Nomads Hostel. There wasn’t any particular reason for staying at Nomads. It’s identity stood unique: the yellow painted walls with a bicycle hanging on it was quite visible from far away. After having dined at ‘Evergreen’, with original taste of Israeli delicacies, we walked up to our hostel in the dead, creeping night, with mobile flashlight as our only source of vision. The day ended on a good note, for it was all worth to have travelled, slightly closer to the greater Himalayas.

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Day 8

of white and green

It is roughly a 1 hr bus adventure from Kasol to Tosh. You look out of the window, the beauty rides along with you all the way. But at the same time, you can see the bus tyres almost on the edge of the road leading directly to the river in the steep valley below. You can either walk for about 3 kms or hire a prepaid cab (INR 200/3 people) which would take you to Tosh from its base site. The structure of the place (Tosh), couldn’t be described. Should it be called a city, a town, a village or just a handful of tiny houses on the mountain top? We looked for a place and found one, “Pinky Didi’s Terrace”, with the most breath-taking view, the last and the farthest resort in Tosh. In front of us stood one of the tallest ranges, surrounded with dark – dense trees covered in white. It was the first snowfall of the year and tiny snow granules, filled our pathway. The very famous Pink Floyd café, Boom Shiva café, are all situated here, which cater to all the weed lovers. The temperature had touched 0 degrees that night and the morning after was the right amount of brightness and cold for the eyes and the soul.

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Day 9

u turn

We knew we were approaching the end of the trip. This was the day when me and Rhujuta were supposed to head back to Delhi, while Harsh on his way to trek the iconic Kheerganga. We started on our way back to Kasol at around 9:30 am and by 11:00, we were already shopping at the market. There would have been hardly about 15-20 local shops in the entire Kasol, where we managed to spend the entire day. There was this heavy feeling I was carrying, for it was the time to resume the daily work, the same monotonous routine. The feeling which only grew stronger and thicker with time, the same one which I was running away from, the feeling which I had managed to hide and forget in these 8 days, for I knew it had started to waken up.

Photo of Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prathamesh
Day 10


There’s nothing much to describe about the time spent at Delhi Airport. I am sitting in front of the TV screens, waiting for the announcement to board. I want the plane to get delayed, or possibly cancelled, for my home away from home had become the primary one. The source of happiness, all lay in the mountains. Rejuvenation had been successful, and the unknown mission a greater experience.

After all, this is what I would put down in words, to describe the best time spent in 2019:

“I passed the passes & the rivers so beautiful,

Amidst the mountains, I was with my heart full.

Darkness and light, everything seemed one,

I knew no roads, but the road to Heaven”.