We TRAVEL not to escape LIFE, But for LIFE not to escape US!!!!!
The trip to Mcleod has been a packaged deal full of adventure, fun, peace and whatever I could have asked for at that moment. The idea of the trip came into existence with a deep urge to escape the world and a friend's suggestion to trek across the beautiful mountains of Triund.
We started off from Delhi to Mcleod: Journey by Volvo which took us 11 hours and 30 minutes. The round trip fare is Rs1980 per person.
Day 1: Touchdown at Mcleod at 6am in the morning. Reached the Hotel (Hotel Sapphire - right in the main street of Mcleodganj). Out on exploration of the town by foot. (Room Fare: 3200 per night)
Started off with the delicious breakfast at Snowlion's Restaurant in Mcleod. This cafe not only serves good food and coffee but also welcomes its visitors with a beautiful book wall. The feel of the place itself gives you an instant disconnect from the city's buzz and lets you deep dive in your world of thoughts.
Post the breakfast, we decided to stroll around the town... checking the bylanes of mcleod...feeling the morning breeze... watching the locals setup themselves for their regular day ... quickly made us forget our regular jobs!!!
Immersed in the beauty of the town, we reached Bhagsu ...Visited the Bhagsunag temple. (Bhagsu has innumerable stay options, however was full of people all around, traffic jams - we were glad not to stay here)
Post the temple visit, we decided to check out the much recommended Shiva's cafe on the uphill of Bhagsu.. The cafe visit does take some efforts but is totally worth it. It offers you an absolutely blissful view of Bhagsu falls along with some amazing music coupled with delicious food and great hospitality. Don't forget to order maggi and some pancakes here !!
Late afternoon was spent relaxing in the hotel followed by the dinner at the famous Jimmy's Italian Restaurant at Mcleod. The place offers comfortable seating which encourages meaningful discussion ;). In addition to this they serve some really good Pizza ( wood fried pizza's are their specialty).
Day 2 : An early morning trek was pre planned. we got a package from our hotel itself.
The trek to Triund package - Guide + breakfast, lunch, dinner + overnight camping = 1500rs per person. Though you can easily get the camps booked individually @around 500/- per person (meals and guide excluded)
The Trek to Triund is a 13 Km long trek aimed at making us reach at an altitude of about 3000 m above the sea level. It is about 3.5- 4 hour long uphill trek ( with water and meal break) and of about 1.5-2 hours downhill trek ( including water breaks). The more you move through the patchy path of the mountains , the deeper you dive into the beauty of nature , the faster you disconnect with the world left behind and the quicker you connect with the soul inside!!!
Such is the beauty of Triund. The first hour of the trek is an elevated walk uphill, the difficulty level rises after the first halt .. a small tea shop called Magic view on the hills. it is known to be the oldest Chai Shop running since 1984. you can stop here for maggi, omelette, water and some energy drinks. Post this stop the trek starts to get a little edgy for the first timers like us. :)
we managed to reach the top in another 2 hours. A total of approx 3 hours and 45 min to reach Triund. once you reach, at first you have a sense of achievement , feel proud, gain the breath and prepare to lose it out...as Triund in every true sense redefines tranquility... it is serene ..absolutely magnificent and a land of utter bliss.
we visited the place during peak season, so we found a lot of fellow campers up there. got our tents in place and decided to rest. The ones who are not so interested in camping can opt of the lodge ( needs to be prebooked )
Staying in the lodge or camp is a personal choice and has its pros and cons. Camps offers you a sense of adventure and fun minus the liberty of using manmade restrooms. the campers have to go the natural way. The lodgers however have the privilege of using restrooms within the lodge itself but definitely misses out on the fun and adventure of camping.
The nights at Triund offers you to truly see a sky full of stars :) :) its magical.
Day 3 : The day began with an early morning trek down the hill to reach Mcleod. Followed by the breakfast at a nearby restaurant, we headed towards the hotel for rest.
Dharamkot Visit : This has been the best recommendation for Mcleod so far after the Triund trek ofcourse.
Dharamkot is a small village near Mcleod which is actually in no sense is a 'village'. The place is a favorite of foreigners as they get to stay here for months all together at competitively cheaper accommodations. The village has a very bohemian feel to it... laidback small village .. with beautiful surroundings and amazing atmosphere.
Lunch at Trek n Dine : serving the best food so far, we ordered for a full veg pizza, chicken spaghetti, lebanese platter, a truly refreshing drink (mint and lemon juice) and a few good times. The decor of this cafe offer a great feel.. we lazed around for hours before we decided to explore more of Dharamkot on foot.
The next halt was OM Cafe and was the best decision of our trip :) The Cafe has a perfect mix of great music , amazing hospitality , good crowd and yummiest desserts. This introduced us to the infamous Bhagsu cake and trust me, they know how to their job the best!!! ( A MUST TRY ).
Day 4 : Breakfast and checkout from the hotel. Visited the holy Dalai Lama temple and monastery, shopped some souvenirs, checked out the streets of Mcleod one last time. Followed by lunch at German Bakery Bhagsunag. Had some good Thupka at this place and followed it up with a visit to Om cafe, Dharamkot yet again :) Spent the afternoon lazing around , playing cards and gorging on Bhagsu cake again... wishing that we could stop the time and stay right there.
It was then time to bid goodbye to this wonderful place.Boarded the bus from Mcleod back to Delhi.
Total expenditure of the trip = round trip volvo journey + hotel stay of 3 nights 4 days ( 2 rooms) + trek package to triund + breakfasts, lunches , dinners, drinks at the famous cafes + souvenir shopping + local taxi travel + miscellaneous = around 11.5-12k per person.
But as they wisely say, it is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the JOURNEY that matters in the END!!!