Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue

Tripoto
4th Jun 2016

Mcleodganj, quite unusual name for a small town. But then this town is quite unusual hill station then others in India. This holy town is also known as Upper Dharamshala, is home for Buddhism. At north it has views of the mighty Himalaya. Triund sits on the backdrop of Dhauladhar's snow covered peaks. At south we have ariel view of Dharamshala. Mcleo is surrounded by beautiful & quite villages. Only noisy thing there is harmonious bird songs.

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue 1/1 by yogesh pilankar

Mcleodganj from Dalai Lama Palace

Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by yogesh pilankar

Mcleo is a chilled out place. Locals are very helpful & friendly. Local Shopkeepers don't force you to buy things. Streets are busy with monks and tourists. Places around the town like Bhagsunath, Dalai lama palace ... are always crowded with tourists. Local cafes & restaurants are cool & delicious. At evening Momos near the Dalai Lama temple are tasty. Try non-veg ones. Once in Mcleo, forget about diet. Just have fun with food. There are lot of good cafes and restaurants around the town. This perhaps one of the best place to drink coffee in India. I'm not a regular coffee person but when you have such good cafes with books and himalayan view in front, how on earth i can't. I end up drinking Mocha at Illiterati, it was delicious.

We reached Mcleo at dawn. Streets were empty. Bus stand was the only crowded place. Cool winds and fresh air welcomed us. Just what we needed after a Mum-Del train & Del-Mcleo Volvo journey. We went to hotel kept our bags & headed straight towards a nearby cafe for breakfast. Hungry us, ordered momos & porridge. It was The Tibetan Cafe. Pretty clean place. Well! in Mcleo you will hardly find an untidy cafe or restaurant. To roam around the town, we hired a scooter. If you know how to ride, this is the best way to visit places nearby. Because Mcleo has narrow roads. Most of them are one way (for good reason). Traffic gets jam in like no time. Cars get stuck most of the time. Check your bike properly before hiring. The town has some serious steep roads. A geared motorcycle with disc brake is recommended here.

Social corner

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Momos at The Tibetian Cafe

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

By late morning sun started to show his powers. We got back...freshen up... as we were leaving the hotel... Damn..it started raining...no.....it started Hail Storming. Snowballs were like the size of marbles. Our hotel's tin roof was making big noise. Hotel boys got busy in sorting things due to unannounced thunder. But they were helpless against raging snowballs. Some time after, snowstorm became normal drizzle. We waited. Waited. After half an hr, things got better, so we left the hotel. As we started our scooter, so the rain too. By the time we reached main square through traffic, we were wet. Now there was no point in driving scooter in this rain & cold. We came back to the town returned the scooter. Again changed our wet clothes at hotel. And went for a walk.

This is my favourite part of travelling. Market. Shopping. Peoples. Street walks. Whoo... Before going on this trip i had searched for restaurants. Today we decided to have dinner at Jimmy's Italian cafe. I wanted to eat some pasta. Near entrance they have a table with indian seating with a window. There's no view outside. But cool breeze make you enough comfortable. Wife suggested Pink Vodka pasta. Pasta was delicious. Dim light & that extra chill in my lemonade. Tomorrow was a big day for us. We had planned Triund trek. Both us haven't stepped out for a trek since 2 yrs. Trek was suppose to be easy as mentioned by many blogs i had read. Today's hailstorm changed our decision to spend night at the top.

Sunset from Dalai Lama Palace

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Tired us slept with the hope that this bloody alarm will go silent tomorrow morning.... it didn't. As usual it rang loud. Just when we needed some more sleep. Damn!! i hate alarms. snooze too. We were finally up by 7 am. Left the room and had some bread-omelette on the way. At main market we got a taxi which left us at the base which was Till Sun Moon cafe.

After a couple of years we were back in Himalayas. I love it here. Himalayas feel like home. What i like about Himalayas is, it is Huge!!! The magnitude keeps me down & humble. I have learned one thing from my previous experience. Whether its a simple trek or bike ride, Never Underestimate Himalaya. Pay respect, you'll be a happy guy here. Weather was pretty sunny. Some haze over Dharamshala. The route is wide and easy. The top can be seen from the base. Some time later we reached at Magic View point. Like the name suggests it has a magical view. The deep ravine in front follows Dharamkot, Mcleo till Dharamshala. Dharamshala's cricket ground can be easily spotted. Hill on left is decorated with small huts. We saw some monks roaming around through our binocular. It must be pretty difficult living in the middle of nowhere. I clicked couple of photos. Moved on. As we climbed higher we started to see some bird action. I ain't expert in birding. But we saw lot of birds, in bushes, on trees, above trees. There were raptors circling above. The most beautiful thing I saw was a Sailor butterfly's flight in the ravine. Such a small creature and gets into the oceanic empty space between two himalayan mountains. No doubt why it's called Sailor. If you pay attention to nature, you'll find some amazing things on your way. One more thing like this. While we were returning, i was trying to shoot a butterfly and just nearby i saw a beautiful, tiny red flower. I would have easily missed it if i was walking.

On the way towards Triund

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Triund top

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Maggi break

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar
Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar
Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Soon we gained some height and reached a small cafe. It is the last cafe going upward. Here we ate expensive maggi and bought a snicker at 3 times higher the MRP. Yeaahh!! Maggi is Rs.70. You better carry food stuff & water with you if you're on budget. Slow and steady, the whole upward journey took us 3 and half hours. At top you enter in a different world. Cows & goats stands out on the green carpet. The whole Dhaludhar range stands tall at North. For the first time Snow peaks which i had seen at distance & in pictures are such close. Weather on the Dhauladhar range not looking good now. One more hour and Triund will be raining. We decided to spent half an hr here- A Maggi, A time-lapse shoot, some Rest And some photographs, thats how we spent our time. That half an hour will be seriously missed. I wish i had spent a night. But my weather prediction turned right. Weather was bad that evening. And the next morning too. I couldn't have shot the sunset, night sky and the sunrise too.

It took us 2 & half hour to get down. We were tired but not that much. We freshened up and left for a stroll in market. Illiterati Cafe was on our today's dinner menu. This place was on the list of Top 10 Cafes in India. We reached there in dark. Got a table in balcony. Few houses across the ravine, were still awake. Triund was under clouds. In this dark night lightening kept revealing it in between. I found this cafe is coolest place in town. Host are great bunch of Dudes!! Awesome Book collection. Food is great. We had chicken burger, homemade ice cream made with saffron, almond. It was fantastic. I also met a local photographer & writer. While leaving i bought a small cake piece. As it was wife's birthday next day. I had planned to buy a proper cake but the bakery in the market was closed when we went there in evening. We left literati, by 10 pm. Now 20 mins of steep ascending walk to hotel was a difficult task. We were damn tired to celebrate cake cutting. Still i was up till midnight. I cuddled her, & we slept like no tomorrow.

Homemade icecream at Illiterati cafe

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Pasta and view at Illiterati cafe

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

The next morning was cloudy. Today was our last day in Mcleo. Yesterday at cafe the photographer dude suggested couple of villages to visit. Satobari & Barnet. Both are quite close to Mcleo. On some road less traveled. These type of villages often described as "Once upon a time there was a beautiful village. Situated far from lights and noise, in the lap of nature. Surrounded with tall trees and tall mountains. White streams dance on the songs of birds... Butterfly kingdom... Prince... Princess... ".... Yeah!! all that kind of stuff, you know. I would recommend to visit here in winter. Luckily for us we prefer less touristy places like these & trust me these villages get no tourist. At all. Its like everyone who visit Ladakh don't know what 'Wari La & Chumthang plateau' are. On next day we had lunch at literati. Pasta was good just like Mumbai's 'Pizza by the bay'. & how can i forget about coffee. Mummm. Yummiest Mocha.

We at Jimmys Italian Kitchen

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar
Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar
Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

The beautiful Barnet village

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Evening was dedicated to remaining shopping & streets. For dinner we end up at Norling Restaurant for a soup. Unlike metro cities, Tibetian soups come in a huge bowl with lot of chicken/vegetables. They are delicious, fresh and heavy enough as meals.

Honey lemon tea

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Next morning at 4:30AM, we left our hotel and started walking toward bus stand. It was a dark night. If it was any other town in India we would not have took that bus. But Mcleo is so safe even street dogs didn't bothered us. It's all good & happy here. I'll definitely miss this silence. As I'm approaching bus stand this beautiful town made me kind of emotional...you know...

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

At bus stand, bus driver was busy in pooja. It was Himachal tourism bus, we were the only passengers till Delhi. After a damn wet, hot & tiring bus ride finally we reached Delhi at 6 pm. From ISBT Kashmiri gate we took metro till Airport. Soft cushioned Indigo flight was way..way relaxing.

McLeodganj is a true laidback town. Like Goa. This place is the one you visit with your friends, those who like to make new friends & those who likes to travel solo. Locals are pretty friendly people. There was a local photographer's gallery just near our hotel. Cool place & some talented artists. 'Hope Gallery' i think.

We also met a couple of foreigners. It's interesting to hear their stories and sharing ours. We live a different life in India. You'll more understand the difference between their & Indian cultures, lifestyle.

Street food is great here. Coffee. Cafes. Pasta. Momos. Shopping. Trekking. Peoples. Nature....

...& now i hate missing this town! But i'll be back here... :)

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar
Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar
Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

A small shrine at Triund top

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Remember little small things on Hike

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

That there at Middle right is Sun-Moon Cafe

Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar
Photo of Mcleodganj Days - A Travelogue by yogesh pilankar

Have fun & keep rocking!!

For more photos find me at 'A Storytellers Diary' on fb and @storytellers_diary on instagram.

1 Comment(s)
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Awesome trip, a place where u will want to go every time.
Sun 10 02 16, 00:33 · Reply · Report