Triund is the crown jewel of McleodGanj (a suburb of Dharamshala,Himachal Pradesh), situated in the laps of Dhauladhar mountains, it has the perfect view of the Dhauladhar mountains on one side and Kangra valley on the other.
Destination - Triund (Trek)
Difficulty - Summers ( Mid March to November ) - Easy
Winters ( Mid - November to March ) - Moderately Tough
Trek can be done by first time trekkers (beginners) as well.
Altitude - 2875m above sea level
How to reach
By airplane - Dharamshala has its own airport and one can check for flight availability online.The base city from where the trek starts is McleodGanj which can be reached by taking shared cabs/bus from Dharamshala.
By train- There are direct trains from various stations to Pathankot and one can take a bus or a Toy train from Pathankot railway station to Dharamshala (Kangra if you take the toy train).
The base city from where the trek starts is McleodGanj which can be reached by taking shared cabs/bus from Dharamshala.
By bus - There are direct buses from Delhi to Dharamshala that run over night and would reach the destination by morning. If travelling by bus i would recommend taking sleeper bus because the chair seats are very uncomfortable and there is hardly in leg space.
Recommended travel - I personally would recommend train journey to Pathankot railway station. From there if travelling for the first time, you should take the Kangra toy train and even though it takes a few hours more than bus, the journey is worthwhile. The toy train can be boarded from Pathankot Railway station ( Please do remember that there are two railway stations in Pathankot, Pathankot Cantt. and Pathankot Station. The toy train runs from Pathankot Station and to reach Dharmashala, one can go upto Kangra Mandir station and take bus from there to Dharamshala).The ticket for toy train can be bought from the railway station itself. While travelling back from your adventure trip you can take bus from Dharamshala/McleodGanj to Pathankot which takes almost 5 hours and departs at around 4-5pm from Dharamshala.
Adventure equipment and other things required for the trek.
Summer - Light clothes including a few jackets incase you feel a bit cold up on the Triund Hill. Trekking shoes are recommended.Camping Tent - One can easily camp on the hill during summers. There is ample space to set up your own camp. You will definitely find fellow travellers camping and having a gala time up there.
Winters - Winter are very cold on Triund. Temperatures can go as low as -15C at night. Heavy clothes with down jackets are a must. Layers of clothes including thermals are also extremely important. Water proof trekking shoes are needed along with gaiters(not compulsory). Camping is not recommended(You can stay at guest house if you like).You will find few fellow travellers on the trek but most of them would do day trip to Triund and head back during the evening.
Triund Trek in winters
I did my travel along with a friend of mine in December with temperature at -12C at night and snowfall at Triund. :D
Our journey started from Delhi Railway station and after spending the night in the train we reached Pathankot Railway Station on 19th December(Day1).
Yup that's me rucksacks ready, prepared for the worst xD
Day 1 - The train journey was a bit tiring but we had slept enough to take another train - Toy Train to Kangra. Toy Train started from the Pathankot railway station and going through the city for about 20mins the joy ride actually started. The toy train route is beautiful. Going through a few tunnels, over clear waters, it felt incredible and you could easily feel the freshness in the cold air while going up.The train takes stops at small junctions used mostly by locals. Even though it is a tiring journey but it is worthwhile and I would definitely recommend to take the toy train at least once if travelling to Triund.
(Toy Train Ride)
View from a local station where the train stops for a while on-route to Kangra
We reached Kangra station by 5pm and after walking almost a km we reached the bus stop to board the Dharamshala bus. Our plan was to start the trek the very next day and travel in and around Dharamshala/McleodGanj after the trek.
Even though the temperatures were below 0C on Triund we had made the decision to stay up on the hill for a night and head down the next day. In order to stay up at the hill, one can either take private guest house or opt for the Forest Department Guest house. Since the private guest houses were only providing stay to those who took there travel packages, we decided to take the Forest dept. guest house.
To stay at the guest house you need to take a Stay Permit from Forest Dept. office down in Dharamshala (You can book the room on phone as well but you will still need the permit whose copy is to be submitted to the caretaker at guest house up on Triund). As we reached Dharamshala we straightaway went to the office hoping to get the permit that day itself but it was already 6pm and the office was already closed. The caretaker of the office told us to come in the morning at 10pm and get the permit.
Day 2 - After spending the night at a hotel, we woke up early and reached the office at 9pm to get the permit.After waiting for almost an hour the officer arrived but by then we had decided to start the trek next day and instead visit the Dalai lama Monastery in McleodGanj and explore the nearby areas. The officer issued us the permit and warned us about the harsh weather conditions coming our way and even suggested to do the trek same day if possible(probably trying to scare us :P) but we stood firm, took the permit and left for McleodGanj.
We reached McleodGanj by 12pm and checked into a hotel. Our plans were to explore the place but while walking towards the main square we saw a group of guys renting Scooters and bikes. Well one thing came to our minds “ awesome lets get a scooty, wander off and explore every place possible”. The rent was reasonable and with 2L of petrol, it costed us Rs700 and we got it till 9am next day.
First we went to the Dalai Lama Monastery which was beautiful. It was quiet and peaceful and the inner chambers had a huge Buddha idol and a lot of manuscripts which were said to be the works and sayings of buddha himself. Picture are not supposed to be taken inside the monastery and although you will find some people disobeying the rules, I kindly ask you to not take pictures inside it.If travelling to McleodGanj visiting the monastery is very much recommended and you can even check with The Dalai Lama’s presence on their website and could even get a chance to meet him(You would have to go through a lot of security and submit id proofs and related stuff).
“ Om mani padme hum “
Although our next plan was to go and get a look at our treks origin point (Gallu Devi Temple) but while doing so we wandered off a bit, went off track and reached someplace we didn’t even know. It was peaceful and relentless. If you do so and just ride out to nowhere do remember the track you came from and beware of monkeys. There are a lot of them and they can easily outnumber you, although the aren’t seen to be a danger to the people but you better not mess with them specially when you are in their territory.
On returning we stopped at Gallu Devi Temple (a shrine made by the locals) and that is where our trek was supposed to start.
After returning back to main square (it was already 6pm), we walked around the market(McleodGanj market is famous all around for Buddhist articles and momos :P ) , even bought stuff for our family - singing bowl, a small buddha idol and some more stuff.
There are ATMs in McleodGanj but I would recommend you to bring some cash as McleodGanj is quite a popular place and the ATMs run out of cash quite fast(we had to come back twice or thrice).
You can buy Down Jackets in winters from McleodGanj market as well. In the picture, my friend Jai at McleodGanj market wearing a down jacket which he didn’t buy later :P
Food : There are a lot of restaurants but i would personally recommend you to try out places offering traditional authentic dishes and even try the new food cause you never know when you’ll get to eat it again. We did the same. We had lunch at a tibetan cafe near the main square and for dinner we went to Carpe Diem, a wonderful restaurant which had almost all kinds of food( Mexican, French, Italian, Tibetan etc). Both of us ordered authentic food, which was super tasty. Even the looks of it were mouthwatering (don’t have a picture of it, sorry.. ).
At about 10pm we reached back to out hotel, packed our bags for the trek the next day, and went to sleep.
(Sunset - McleodGanj)
Day 3 - 7am, time to get ready, pooped, took warm baths, wore our trekking clothes and shoes, ate breakfast and got into our taxi at 9am which dropped us at out starting destination - Gallu Devi temple. Adrenaline running, pumped, spirits high, energy bar full, we started our trek at 10:30 am.
The initial trek was easy, a stony wide path to walk on, it is well marked and easy to move on. The views from the trek we breathtaking right from the starting and continued to become more awesome and awesome as we moved up.
Taking some breaks, stopping at intervals, enjoying the views, nature at its best, untouched scenery, everything was just as it was meant to be, absolutely pleasant and amazing :)
We covered 2/3 of the trek in 3-4hours.We found few fellow travellers as well, made some friends along the way but most of them were doing a day trek and that was the moment we thought “ are we stupid staying up at the hill at such low temperatures” , the temperatures were dropping as went up, one could easily feel it, the coldness in the wind but we didn’t let the thoughts settle in and continued to move on.
On our way up to Triund.
Preparations top-notch xD
Yup.. that’s the trekking track.. looks scary doesn't it :P
On your way up, you will find a few cafe’s(best view, magic view cafes) from where you can buy snacks & water and the view from those cafes are quite spectacular.
The last 1/3rd part of the trek is tough. And here is where water proof trekking shoes are recommended.I had Forclaz Novadry. The shoes are sooo good that some fellow trekkers walked on my exact shoe prints that were left on hard ice, and even thanked me later saying it helped them complete the trek. :)
Be careful while doing this part of the trek and move ahead slowly. If you don’t have trekking shoes, you can wear an extra pair of socks on top of your shoes to get a good grip and try walking on soft ice. One can easily slip on hard ice even with trekking shoes sometimes if not careful, so instead of walking on hard ice, look for snow(soft ice) on the sides of the track and walk on it, you will not slip on it for sure.
Walking on this below track is tricky and just to cover these last parts of the trek it took us almost an hour & a half.
It was tough, very tough and scary when you see others slipping on ice. Thanks to our shoes, they did great.
We knew our trek was over when we saw the view from the top. We straightaway went to our Forest Department guest house, kept our bags, got our gaiters on, boiled and ate the ready to eat food (you can find food on the hill top as well from a shop or ask the caretaker at the guest house but our preparations were top-notch, we didn’t leave anything for granted :P )
The room was nice, and apt according to the place. There were warm blankets but not warm enough for -12C, good we took our an extra blanket with us.
Our room at Forest Department Guest House
View you will see when the trek ends and you reach the top xD
We finished all the chores and headed out quickly.
(view from the outside of our room, at great heights… just 6000m less than Mt. Everest xD xP )
Triund left us speechless, and since it was off season and there weren’t many travellers,it was peaceful as we imagined it to be. It is paradise in every way possible.
I’ll leave your judgment to the pictures :)
don’t know what we were trying to do :/ :D :P I guess we just love the snow too much <3 xD
On the tip of Triund
The pictures speak for themselves.. I want to share more of them but going against my will, i will stop and leave Triund to be explored by you. Here is the last one for you :)
Nights at Triund are really cold specially in winters and I would recommend covering yourself nicely to stay warm, you could even sleep with your socks on and use extra clothes for more heat.
The nights are beautiful, the moon shines bright and there is so much light that i could actually read a book sitting outside in the snow without using a flashlight. If it was not for the cold weather, I would have sat outside my room, looked at this peaceful place entire night under the starry sky.
Day 4 - We woke up early the next day, packed our bags, roamed around for the last time on Triund and left this Paradise hoping to come back some day and relive these moments again. We started our trek back down to McleodGanj. By noon we were back in city. We did lunch,rested for a while and then took the bus for Pathankot at 4pm.
Our train was at 6am the next day so we spent the night at a hotel near the station.Took the train in the morning and were back home by the evening of 24th December.
This trip has been written down in my memories, the first adventure, the first trek, the start of travelling.
This is where the journey ends, leaving the place for you to travel…
Triund was one hell of an adventure for us, and it was just the begining for me.
TRAVELLING LEAVES YOU SPEECHLESS, THEN TURNS YOU INTO A STORYTELLER.
Hope I did justice to myself and you all. If you have any queries, leave a comment below, I’d surely respond.
If you have any travel related queries or want to plan a travel, mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will be writing soon…