“His birthday is coming, what do I do for him this time? What can I do different??? he did mention once how he always wanted to go to Dharamshala so why not take him there” I thought to myself, “Brilliant” exclaimed my inner voice.
It was December and the entire surprise trip was planned, he landed Delhi during the day and we had a bus to catch later that night. Again, we were 4 friends different people this time (to relate to this you will have to read my first blog :P)
We had booked our travel by HRTC-14 Himsuta A/C (Volvo) Seater . The boarding point was ISBT Delhi and per ticket cost was Rs. 1011. This was my first travel with HRTC and I was really impressed. The bus was right on time, no delays, comfortable ride and made us reach before expected arrival time. You can book your tickets/hotel via MakeMyTrip to avail discount offers, that’s what we did 😉
We reached at around 6 in the morning and took a cab from McLeod Ganj bus stop to our hotel ‘Turkish Cottage’, which was near Bhagsunath falls. It was so early that there was no one at the hotel reception, this dog who was sleeping outside got up and started wagging his tail, “play with me”, pleaded his puppy eyes. Do dogs sense people who are fond of them???? Me being a big time dog lover was enchanted to see him and while others were busy tracking the receptionist I was busy playing with ’Param’, yes that’s what we named him 😛 . Since the check-in time was not till noon and I desperately wanted to go out and explore we decided to walk till Bhagsunath waterfalls which was a kilometer away from the hotel. Those beautiful pahadi mornings and that morning walk, turns out we weren’t exhausted anymore. We were the only people there at that hour which made it even more striking, we sat there and relaxed for a while, finally the morning I was waiting for ❤
Finally we checked-in our hotel, the rooms were decent and the staff was nice and helpful. “Should we take some rest and then go out sight-seeing asked my friend” , my frown was enough to make him understand my answer. We hired a cab to help us cover the stretches between Dharamshala and McLeaod Ganj but first we needed to eat.
McLeod Ganj can be bliss for all the foodie’s out there with so many cafe’s that serve mouth-watering food. The food of these cafe’s and the ambience they offer really add to your travel experience. I visited few such cafe’s and absolutely loved them all:
• The Clay Oven
• Tibet Kitchen
• Nick’s Italian Kitchen
• One Two Café
• McLio Cafe
The towns of Dharamsala, Mcleodganj, Bhagsu Nag and Kangra are positioned very close to each other so we planned on covering all these destinations. McLeod Ganj is famous for it’s relaxed wipe and hippie vibes. Settled amongst majestic hills and lush greenery, this town is culturally blessed by a prominent Tibetan influence. Few of the most renowned and religiously significant monasteries in India are situate here, including the Namgyal Monastery and Tsuglagkhang, where the spiritual leader Dalai Lama resides.
Finally it was the morning I was desperately waiting for, it was the day when we had to start our trek to TRIUND. Triund is the crown jewel of Dharamshala which is a popular trekking spot. The entire trek is of around 10 kms which you can easily cover in approximately 4 hours (including refreshment breaks). The trail is comparatively easy and is not too exhausting. We took a cab till Gallu Devi Temple and started the trek from there instead of keeping Mcleodganj as the starting point since we wanted to save our energy for the main trek. You must start at around 10 am-11 am if you want to reach there on time because believe me you MUST NOT miss the sunset.
“How much is left?” cried my friend. “ You have just started” smirked the traveller trekking down. The beauty of this trek is that you meet so many people along the trek trail, from all age groups some trekking towards the top while few trekking down so even if you are traveling alone you won’t be alone. There are various stalls like the ‘Magic View cafe’ that offer refreshments in the middle so you can just take a break, relax for a while and enjoy the magical view of Dharamshala from there. While we were doing the same we met another friend ‘Dharam’ who immediately joined us and stayed with us throughout.
“In around 3.5 hours we were there, and Oh MY God! Is this place for real? So close to Delhi? Why I didn’t come here earlier? Can a place be so serene and yet can welcome tourists and provide them with all that they would need to spend a night ? “ So many questions popped in my head and all I could tell myself was “Finally you are here” ❤
You must spend the night here guys because trust me you do not want to miss out on the awe-inspiring sunset and sunrise view from here. You need not carry your own tent since you can get that easily from any of the shops positioned there, a tent for 2 person is for Rs. 500 which includes two sleeping bags. We took ours from ‘Chacha’, as everyone use to call him there, we also took two blankets (200 rs. each) since the temperature falls drastically at night. Do remember to layer up if you are visiting in the colder months since it gets really really chilly at night.
It was sunset and I had never ever experienced an evening so beautiful, the beauty of Triund is such that at the front side you get the view of the mighty Himalayas whereas to the back is the stunning view of Dharamshala. Soon it was dark and the sky was full of stars, a born-fire was arranged and ‘Chacha’ who was born and brought up there narrated us some really fascinating stories about Triund, the travellers and the surrounding areas. It was the first time I had slept in a tent and that feeling cannot be described in words, you simply cannot understand it unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Listing down a few things that you must carry with yourself :
• Comfortable trekking pants, Jackets – Windproof with hood preferable to keep you warm from the cold wind.
• Woolen clothes, Dry Socks 3 or 4 pairs.
• Comfortable Trekking shoes
• Raincoat- it sometimes rains in the morning.
• A Weightless Towel, a Water Bottle,
• Chapstick (moisturizer for lips), sunblock, Mosquito repellent.
• At night, Torch is a must with extra batteries.
• A light backpack with all your essentials, please keep it light.
That day I realized how important it is to go to a place like this and realize how beautiful the world really is. The sky can be this clear at day and full of stars at night. Where there is no mobile signal to deprive your loved ones of the time they truly deserve, where you can socialize in real sense with the people who have always lived there and listen to some great pahaadi stories. Believe you me, no fancy hotel can match up to the feeling of sleeping in a tent and waking up to a view that I had woken up to the next morning ❤
“Thankyou for the best birthday ever” exclaimed my friend……….