It was the first trip with my husband and we wanted to do something different from beaches. Mountains it was for us but to add a special touch we decided to try trekking - something that neither of us had done earlier. It was December and despite all the weather warnings from friends and relatives we decided to go to Dharmashala and McLeodganj.
McLeaodganj has a few places of interest (a waterfall, church, some spectacular mountain views) but our main interest was the Triund trek. With a total distance of about 8km, the trek is considered to be moderately difficult.
We planned to spend the night under the starlit sky and so had booked with a travel agency at Mcleodganj itself. They charged us Rs. 1400 for two which included a guide, dinner and breakfast and accommodation (tents) for the night.
We started the trek around 11 in the morning after a light breakfast. Our guide had asked us to buy water bottles and energy bars from the foothills itself and rightly so because as you move up along the mountains things become costlier.
The first 4-5 kms of the trek are actually pleasant and not really challenging. Some places had stairs and others had neat little pathways lined with boulders and small rocks. All along you have a great view of the mountains and with every few steps we stopped to admire that.
The pathway is lined with small shops selling water, chai and food items like biscuits, chocolates, etc. After about 2-3 hrs of climbing, when we were nearly exhausted and wondered how much further, we reached the half-point. A view point with a shop selling hot Maggi (apparently it is the oldest chai shop, set up in 1984 or so the sign board said). There was another much needed instruction board - NO SELFIE, NO MUSIC. Sometimes great views should be enjoyed in silence without the necessity to show it off to the world.
Slurping hot soupy noodles while sitting in the windy lane and enjoying the greenery and the vastness of the place was a worthy experience.
The last leg of the trek is really challenging as the path suddenly steepens and we had to put in more effort for the climb. With sharp curves and steep climbs in every few steps, this literally took my breath away! ????
But when we made the final climb that took us to the top of the mountain and set our eyes on the white behemoth in front of us, all the tiredness suddenly went away. Like little children, we were running around the place, jumping in the snow, making snowballs, taking a bunch of pictures and enjoying the view.
The climb took us about 5 hours and soon it was time for sunset. The last rays of the sun glistened off the snow, the smaller mountains hid in the cloud cover, a chilly wind brushed against my skin and made me adjust my winter wear as we sat quietly on a rock and watched the blazing ball of light fade into the horizon.
But this was only half the adventure. While we were enjoying the view, our guide had set up tents for us. As warmth of the sun faded and darkness settled, the weather made us realize that it was December and we were atop a mountain covered with snow! It was very cold and we found some relief as we dug into the blankets in our tent.
While we rested a bit, our guide had got dinner ready (rice and some curry but it would be wrong to expect anything extraordinary here). Like us, several people had made the trek and the mountain was filled with little tents and people laughing and having fun. Soon bonfires were lit in several places and we tried our best to get ourselves warm.
The experience was incredibly beautiful. The moon shone with its full might as we were lucky enough to be there on a full-moon night. As the bonfire died, we retired to the tents and dozed off.
The next morning we woke early to watch the sunrise but unfortunately it was a cloudy day and the sun refused to come out in the open. The light, nonetheless, shone through the clouds and made spectacular views.
Following a sumptuous breakfast of Maggi, we were ready for the descend.
If you like the road less traveled, this is definitely a place to be. Happy traveling!