McLeod Ganj: My first Rendezvous with the Himalayas

Tripoto
20th Nov 2014
Photo of McLeod Ganj: My first Rendezvous with the Himalayas by nipali.mishra

Our trip to McLeod Ganj was a well planned trip. I remember booking the train tickets from Delhi to Pathankot and return as soon as the window for the advance booking opened. We had booked the Triund trek arrangements in advance as well along with our hotel stay. So everything set, we started our journey which was going to have so many firsts for me.

Day 1

We reached Pathankot at around 7.45 am. At the station, we inquired about the taxis and then hired one for McLeod Ganj. On the way, we stopped for breakfast at a dhaba. After two rounds of yummy paranthas and tea, as we were starting to leave, we found out that a member of the family who had left the dhaba few mins back had left behind her wallet. Our driver and the people working in the dhaba, after tracing back the vehicle no, got hold of the driver's mobile and we decided to hand over the wallet on the way. It was nice to see these guys trying to return the lost object to the owner with so much dedication.

By 11am we reached McLeod Ganj. We had done reservation at Hotel Bhagsu through HPTDC. The place around the hotel was very pretty and it wasn't too far from the main market as well. After getting freshened up, we roamed around the hotel garden, as we were waiting for couple of friends to arrive. Once all friends had arrived, we had lunch and then after some rest, decided to do go to Bhagsu fall. For that, we walked down to the market area and took an auto for the waterfall.

Walk near our hotel

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

The hotel we stayed at

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

Relaxing in the lawn

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

The auto driver dropped us near the foothill from where we had to walk up to the falls. Before starting the hike, we visited the bhagsunag temple. Done with darshan, we started off for the falls. The climb was little steep but not too difficult. As we started gaining height, the view of the hills around came in with beautiful shades. We sat near the waterfall for some time playing with the cold water. Then we walked up to shiva cafe. There, we each had a cup of coffee, and it was the best we had ever had. Charged up with the soul satiating cup of coffee, we headed back to the foothill and then took an auto back to the market place.

View on the way to Bhagsu Fall

Photo of Bhagsu Nag Waterfall Pathway, Bhagsu Nag, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

View of Bhagsu Fall

Photo of Bhagsu Nag Waterfall Pathway, Bhagsu Nag, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

Bhagsu Fall

Photo of Bhagsu Nag Waterfall Pathway, Bhagsu Nag, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

The famous Shiva Cafe

Photo of Bhagsu Nag Waterfall Pathway, Bhagsu Nag, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

In the market we shopped for woolen cap and gloves for our trek the next day along with a few souvenirs. Then, we headed towards the Namgyal monastery. It was not very far so we walked down towards it by asking the way from the locals. It was diwali night, when we reached back at the hotel it was lit up, we fired a few crackers and relaxed on the lawn.

Stroll near the lake

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

View on the way from our hotel

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Day 2

The next morning, we all got ready to start the trek by 8.30 am. Once done with breakfast, we walked down towards the market place where we were to meet our guide. We kept our extra luggage in the trek organizer's office and headed in taxi to the starting point of the trek with our guide Anil bhaiya(We could have started the climb from the town itself, but since we had got a little late, so decided to take the taxi till the point it could go). The hiking from McLeod Ganj to Triund is not a very steep ascend and can be taken up by people not accustomed to hiking at all as well. The trek path was a pretty one with a beautiful view of the valley and town below. Along the path, there were few resting points and shops to get stuff to eat and drink. We walked ahead slowly, enjoying the beautiful path, covered with rhododendron trees. Many times, I tried to give the normal path a miss and just climb along the rocks, but soon realized that it tires you easily. We had our packed lunch provided by the trek organizer at one of those resting places. On the way, at one point there was a bull grazing on the middle of the path, so everybody slowly walked past it but when my turn came to cross, for some unknown reason it gave a kick backwards and the kick landed on my left leg. Still we carried on, I got some scratch on my hands as well, as I kept playing with the bushes along the way. But I found all these pain really worth once we reached the top.

The trek route to Triund

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

Rhododendron on the way

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

The view on the top was overwhelming to say the least. Triund top is a beautiful green meadow, On one side there is the kangra valley, the other side there is the mighty Dhauladhar range and the valley was in between. Seeing these mountains up close for the first time was an humbling experience. We sat down on the rocks, enjoying the view, while the camp was being set up. There were lambs grazing and a few furry mountain dogs were playing around. Once the kitchen tent was set up, we were served with hot tea and maggie. It was a treat to eat after the long walk. I kept walking around in the meadow, and trying to capture the beauty all around with my eyes. The feeling was not sinking in that I was so close to the mighty Himalayas. The calmness in the air and the soothing sound of the wind were so refreshing that all the tiredness of the long walk was forgotten. The clouds had started filling in the valleys creating an other worldly affect. The clouds were beneath and rising towards us as if it was going to take us to a dreamland. Then as the sun started setting, a reddish hue spread across the mountains, clouds and the meadows. Everything felt like home to me. How much ever I try, it's not possible to put those entire range of feelings in words. My heart was saying something but I was not able to decipher it properly.

Reached Triund Top

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

The Views all around

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

The views

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Clouds starting to fill in the valley

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Our Furry friend :-)

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

The soothing view of the Dhauladhar range

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Clouds progressing

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

It feels like home to me...

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Red hue on the clouds due to sunset

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Playing with the lambs

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Its getting darker

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

The Camps being set

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra
Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

As the darkness fell, I could see the stars glittering up above. The sky was very clear , and I was seeing so many stars together for the first time. There was magic when sun was up and there was magic in the darkness as well. The camp fire was set up and we all hurdled around it. This was my first bonfire experience and my first camping experience. We had lot of fun talking and singing, until strong cold wind started blowing. Then we all went inside the kitchen tent and had our dinner there. As the day came to an end, a new challenge surfaced, sleeping inside a sleeping bag. It was my first time and I felt very claustrophobic to say the least. I had a very restless night and was eagerly waiting for the morning.

As the sun says good bye..

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Looks like a dream sequence

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Bonfire !!

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Ooh...its too cold

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra
Day 3

With the first ray of sunlight, i came out of my tent. It was still dark , just a purple hue was coming up behind the dhauladhar ranges. The weather was very cold but very very refreshing. As it started to get more lighted, we got ready to start our hike towards snowline. Well in this context snowline isn't the snowline of the mountain but just a point where there is a cafe called snowline. This is the point from where people go forward for Indrahar pass trek.

Good Morning!!

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Sun rising behind the mountains

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

It got a little bit brighter

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

The trekking path towards snowline was even more beautiful than the previous day's route. There was tall alpine trees along the route and the clouds kept playing hide and seek with us all along the way. the route was very narrow with high cliffs on one side and steep gorge on the other side. I admit that many a times I got scared that my legs will slip and I would fall down those deep gorges. But even then everything felt like a dream to me. The serenity and the beauty of the place was overwhelming. The chattering of my hearts were getting clearer. As we got close to our destination, the mountains again got visible clearly and even nearer. It was at this moment that i realized that i'm in love with the mountains, with the mighty Himalayas. In a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment, i realized that i have fallen head over heels in love. These blue mountains are forever etched in my memories and my heart. We reached the snowline cafe after sometime. I was in such a happy mood, as if I was high on something. We wanted to go forward towards the mountain, but then coming back to reality was important as well. After spending sometime around snowline, we started our descent to Triund.

The clouds playing hide and seek..

Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

Clouds covering our whole path

Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

Fallen head over heels for this view...The Blue Mountains

Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

It keeps getting prettier

Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

Its just the beginning my love...

Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

Love all around :-) :-)

Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra

By the time we reached Triund, it had started to drizzle. we packed all our stuff and huddled inside the Kitchen tent as it had become very cold outside. It started raining heavily outside and we were relishing hot kichidi and achar inside the tent. It was an unforgettable moment as the rain gave away to hail and the whole meadow turned white with small snow balls. With snowfall, the dhauladhar range had also become white. As the rain and hail subsided a bit we started running and playing around. There was a infectious happiness in the surrounding. Everything had come alive after the rain and enjoying the awesome weather.

Dhauladhar after fresh snow fall

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

Snow /Hail outside out kitchen tent

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

The meadows turning while

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

We had our share of fun.

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by nipali.mishra

As the weather cleared we started our descent to McLeod Ganj. I remember how clear the Kangra valley was looking after the rain and i remember the beautiful sunset as we reached McLeod Ganj. But my heart was still longing for those mountains. I knew this was just the beginning and I had to come back again and again. We took a cab and drove back to Pathankot, had dinner on the way and then at night 10 pm took the train back to Delhi. Thus came to end my beautiful dream sequence in the mountains.

 I have been on few treks after that (as much as was possible with the leaves that i can fight to get from my office), but the first always is special and this trip will always have a special place in my heart. It opened up a whole new world to me. The charm of the Himalayas has enchanted my heart for ever. 

Perfect!!!!

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by nipali.mishra
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