I was looking forward to visiting Mcleodganj since a very long time. I had planned for this trip while I was away for a UN peacekeeping mission to South Sudan. I had made all the bookings in advance and had got my bike serviced with help from a friend at work back in Delhi. I reached Delhi on 21 Feb 2015, prepared for the trip on 21st and 22nd. Started from Delhi Cantt early morning by 0600 hrs. I had reached the outskirts of Delhi by 0700 hrs, delayed due to the traffic. It was end of February but still early morning was chilly. About 30 kms into my trip I noticed a power lag from the engine. I opened my visor and noticed the engine sounded awkward as i throttled though at constant speed it was fine. There was smoke coming out from the fins. I could sense that this may lead to engine seizure. I started looking out for a workshop. I had to ride the bike to Sonepat for the same. The piston assembly was damaged due to absence of engine oil. For the first time I had trusted someone else for my bike's servicing and this is what happened. I was stupid enough not to check the engine oil before the trip. The piston assembly was changed, though he said the damage was not much and will survive, I asked him to change the assembly. By 1330 hrs I got back on road and continued till my lunch. I was terribly behind schedule as I crossed Panipat,Karnal, Kurukshetra Ambala and an incident happened. I opened my visor to read the sign board and an insect got into my eye. My eye had swollen in a matter of 30 mins. I was taking a detour avoiding Chandigarh, but had to hit Chandigarh for medical help. I stayed at Chandigarh and got the eye checked. By morning(23rd Feb) I was back on the road and had a comfortable ride to Mcleodganj. Reached Mcleod by 1500hrs. Any more incidents would have definitely brought my morale low. But I was way too excited to experience the beauty of Mcleodganj.
I checked into the hotel that I had already booked. I spent the rest of the day in the hotel and its restaurant. Next day(24th Feb), I headed to Bhagsu waterfalls. I was advised that I could take my bike a little short of the waterfalls. But trust me its better to trek till that location. The scenic view that would greet you is a delight for any photographer. Enroute you would find tourists, locals, pets who would give you a feel that they are glad to see you there! At Bhagsu waterfalls, the tea shop guy was a young guy who greeted me with his jet black Labrador named Jack.
Next day(25th Feb) I tried to go for the Triund trek but since it was raining on and off, the treks were cancelled. So I was busy exploring the market of Mcleodganj. For a foodie this place is heaven. I had a good time at Mcllo Restaurant and Shiva Cafe(Bhagsu). I also visited the Buddhist Monastery that surely makes you feel peaceful and content.
On 26th Feb I just relaxed myself in my balcony admiring the scenic view with a cup of coffee and the book "SHANTARAM". I started back for Delhi on 27th Feb by about 0800 hrs. The ride back was thankfully not as eventful as the ride to Mcleod. I was comfortably back to Delhi by 2100 hrs.
1. Plan for at least a week. You will love this place! Trust me!
2. Preferably wear boots.
3. Do visit Shiva Cafe when you visit Bhagsu Waterfalls.
4. Do purchase a few peace flags as souvenirs. They are pretty cheap and make for good gifts.
5. Try out as many restaurants as you can. Every eating joint no matter how small it may be has something special that would tickle your taste buds!
6. The Buddhist Monastery is a must visit.
7. Avoid Dal Lake, you would see it when you drive to Mcleodganj. Don't expect it to be anything like Dal Lake of Srinagar.
8. Visit the War Memorial if you can.