New to trekking? This hike near Dalhousie is the best option for first-timers

25th Jun 2019
Photo of New to trekking? This hike near Dalhousie is the best option for first-timers 1/1 by Nancy Johri

Dalhousie- we all know this place because of Khajjiar, which is popular due to its ‘Mini Switzerland in India’ tag. Because of its striking resemblance to Switzerland’s topography, most of the tourists plan to visit Khajjiar only, thereby completely ignoring Dalhousie, which is a high-altitude town near the Dhauladhar mountain range. Last month, I travelled to this beautiful hill station with no planning at all, and guess what, I got to know about not-so-famous yet superb Dainkund Peak trek. Going for at least one trek every year, I found this one to be relatively less exhaustive and a lot more gorgeous. I realised that this trek is the perfect choice if you are someone who hasn’t hiked before and are a bit afraid of walking on the uneven terrain as well.

Apart from going on this wonderful trail, let me tell you that you can also witness the most stunning sunset in Dalhousie. I spent 2 days in this glorious place amidst nature and had a peaceful time in the lap of nature. The cherry on the cake, I met very friendly, funny and interesting solo travellers in my hostel (Zostel Dalhousie), who made my vacation unforgettable.

Let me take you to Dalhousie so that you get to know how you can have the best time in this tiny tinsel town. I promise that the photographs alone will be enough to make you want to go there!

I was in the common area of the hostel when a cute girl came to me and asked me about my travel plans. An engineering student, she was doing an internship there because of her unique interests. I told her that I am blank as of now. So she suggested me few things to do along with going for the Dainkund Trek. Of course, I was interested! I asked her the details and decided to go there with her (she was the guide) the next morning with whosoever else is interested from the hostel. And for the day, she recommended me having a stroll in the Gandhi Chowk and come back a bit early so that we could go for a small trek and watch the sunset.

Moreover, she also told me that the hostel will be celebrating its second anniversary the next day, and they had a few fabulous activities lined up for everyone. Of everything, I was the most curious and excited to attend the baking workshop about which she told me that we would learn to make delicious cookies without using an oven. Sounds interesting!!

Preparation time!!

Photo of New to trekking? This hike near Dalhousie is the best option for first-timers by Nancy Johri

My plan was set for 2 days in just 15 minutes, and this is how I spent my time in Dalhousie:

Day 1

It is the central area of the town, and has a number of souvenir shops, traditional item shops, Tibetan market (selling a variety of jewelry, jackets, shawls, handicrafts, cardigans, rugs, carpets, woolen clothes, etc.), restaurants and cafes. Also, you can visit St. John’s Church here.

Nothing like a beautiful sunset to end a happy day!

In the evening, the girl took us (me along with other travellers) to enjoy the view of the sunset. We walked in Guniala (a village) for nearly half an hour and by then, it was the perfect timing for the most beautiful sunset. Such a soothing dusk that appeared as if someone had painted a marvelous picture in front of us!

And in the meantime, I found our guide to be the greatest nature-lover when I saw how she smelled the inner bark of a fallen tree, saving a small piece of it inside her bag, and the way she got excited looking at the sunset. People like her are hard to find these days who are still interested in cherishing small joys of life with absolute love.

Day 2

Not much of a “Trekker”, but I make sure that I go for trekking at least once a year. I had never heard of the Dainkund trek before, and while climbing those mountains, I realised that this trek would be perfect if you are planning to go on a hike for the first time. We were a total of seven hikers, who went for this 10-kilometer long, of easy to moderate difficulty level trek with our guide.

The trekking starts from Dainkund, passes the Pholani Devi Temple and ends in Jot. While starting, you will see an Indian Air Force base station up at a tall hill, and I found it quite amusing because that was giving an uncanny look to the place.

Photo of New to trekking? This hike near Dalhousie is the best option for first-timers by Nancy Johri

After trekking for 2 kilometers, you will reach the Pholani Mata Temple. Locals believe that Dainkund (Dain means witch and kund means lake) was an abode of a powerful witch. As per the legend, an incarnation of Kali Mata arose from a stone at the site who slayed the witch. This incarnation is worshipped by the locals as Pholani Mata. Nearby the temple area, you can enjoy tea, Maggi, momos, and other snacks. After this point, the real hiking starts. We didn’t find anyone else on the whole trail after that.

The whole route is extremely scenic due to green, deep valleys and extraordinarily blue sky tucked with the whitest, giant clouds resembling huge cotton candies. You will see the great white range of Dhauladhar Himalayas that originates from here. It means that you can see snow-covered mountains, which are enough enormous to make you forget any unfortunate episode of your life, at least for a while!

The peak is surrounded by thick forests in all directions. The winds crashing on the tall trees produce an aura as if the high mountains and the cool breeze are having a whispering conversation.

On the way, you will meet different animals also. I said Hi to goats, sheep, cows, buffaloes and horses.

My tip: Make sure that your body is covered and you have proper trekking shoes. It was a random plan for me, so I was not prepared properly. That resulted in severe sunburn on my body and extreme pain in my toes. Also, ensure that you carry enough water.

So, stop staring at the mountains. Climb them instead. Of course, it is a harder process, but it will lead you to a better view.

Keep travelling :)

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