The Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is truly nature’s paradise. This stunning Himalayan state can satisfy the wanderlust of a traveller with its various leisure-filled and offbeat travel destinations. Away from all the madness of urban life, situated is the scenic town of Dharamsala in the foothills of lofty Himalayas. Located in the north of Dharamsala, Mcleodganj is a pleasing hill town and residence of popular Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. This quaint hill retreat is the home to large Tibetan population and Buddhist monks, thus a major center for all Buddhist teachings and religious activities. Hence, this place is also known as ‘Little Lhasa’ or mini Tibet.
Nestled in the lap of magnificent Dhauladhar mountains, Mcleodganj has a strong influence of both British and Buddhist culture on the lifestyle, food and architecture. Surrounded with serene hills and lush greenery, Mcleodganj forms a popular destination for trekking, camping and other adventure activities.
Planning First Solo Trip
From past one year I was just thinking about solo travelling and trekking in the Himalayas. But there were so many questions in my mind regarding the same. It was that time when I came across various travel communities who organizes different offbeat & fun-filled trips. Amongst many I loved the tours organized by Tripver. Tripver is a travel community which curates a hassle free trip to amazing destinations and redefine your travel experience.
I visited their website, checked out the prices (which are reasonable), and asked few queries from their travel experts. At last I booked my first ever solo trip to Mcleodganj & Triund trek with Tripver. I opted for a quad-sharing based stay for my travel. Though I have already been to Mcleodganj during college days but didn’t explore much. So, I was really excited about this Himalayan escapade and to meet new people on this journey. With each passing day the graph of my excitement increased.
Meeting Co-travellers & Arrival At Mcleodganj
I took a half day from my office, reached home and quickly packed my bags. All the co-travellers were pre informed to meet at Majnu Ka Tila in Delhi. Also, everyone was provide with all the important details, trip itinerary and contact number of our ‘happy-go-lucky’ trip captain. By 7pm I reached the boarding point at Majnu Ka Tila and met my tour captain from Tripver community. He greeted me profoundly and introduced me to our group’s solo travellers. There were three solo travellers including me – one was from Mumbai (‘yaar itni dur se’) and another one from Faridabad working in a firm at Gurgaon (coincidentally we have a mutual friend). Then I met my amazing roommates, who were both school friends and currently in college. We boarded the bus and left for Mcleodganj at around 8.30pm.
One of the reason I love travelling is that it brings people of varied age groups, backgrounds and even different regions at one place. There were total 20 travellers – a group of friends from Amity University studying Psychology, a girl who left her job at Google (stunned! aren’t you?) and working for an NGO, two MBBS students and few others.
One of the great things about travelling is that you find out how many good & kind people are there.
And then began the interactive session. Everybody introduced themselves and we even played dumb charades which was full of amusement. It became more hilarious when we included bhojpuri movies in the game. Truly, I didn’t felt I was travelling solo. Lol, also don’t know how I became the co-captain for everyone. After an overnight bus journey we reached the beautiful town of Mcleodganj at 7.30am. I was mesmerized by the snow-capped peaks of Dhauladhar, shining like a gold as the sun rays were falling on them. We deboarded at Mcleodganj bus stop and took a cab till Bhagsu Nag to reach our accommodation. We checked-in into our respective rooms, relaxed for an hour or two and got readied to explore this serene hill town of Himachal Pradesh.
Exploring Mcleodganj & It’s Famous Food Spots
This Himalayan retreat offers utmost tranquility and diverse options for sightseeing. Bhagsu Falls is the most popular attraction in this North Indian hill retreat. This was our first destination in the trip itinerary. We trekked till the waterfall and captured few group photographs over there. Set amidst the lush green and pristine atmosphere, Bhagsu Falls is a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature’s charisma. On the way to this waterfall you will find Bhagsu Nag Temple, a holy shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. Nearby, there is a lovely pool and numerous small eateries & huts. Few of us even tried out a different kulfi near the Bhagsu Nag Temple.
We visited the famous Shiva Cafe after a tough hike from Bhagsu Falls. Unlike our urban cafes & restaurants, it is a peaceful place secluded from the bustling streets of Mcleod. Here you can chill and relish the delightful food along with the serene views. We tried out there Maggi, lemonade, watermelon juice & mix-fruit juice which was delectable and refreshing. The best part was the unplugged music playing in the background which healed all our tiredness in hiking upto Shiva Cafe. Don’t miss this amazing cafe when you visit Mcleodganj next time.
This North Indian hill station is renowned for its colourful Buddhist monasteries and sacred shrines. We headed towards the famous Namgyal Monastery (Gompa) near the Main Square area on temple road. This spiritual center is at the end of main market within the Tsuglagkhang Temple – the residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama. It was the first time I ever visited a monastery. As an art lover I was fascinated by the Tibetan architecture, colorful paintings and beautiful idol of Lord Buddha.
There was so much peace and divinity all around. This popular monastery has turning prayer of wheels on which the famous Buddhist mantra of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ is inscribed. On the way to Namgyal Monastery and Dalai Lama Temple, there’s another Tibetan Gompa on the left side which is also worth visiting.
After seeking blessings at these magnificent Gompas or monasteries we returned to Main Square to treat our stomachs with scrumptious local food. Few of us visited the famous Tibet Kitchen, a multi-cuisine restaurant serving Chinese, Tibetan and Bhutanese dishes. We ordered steamed momos (both chicken & veg), pad thai noodles, soups, chilly paneer, fruit beers and shakes. The food was really amazing at Tibet Kitchen. In terms of taste and comfort this is one of the best restaurant in Mcleodganj and Dharamsala where you can enjoy a delicious meal. After ending our food cravings we returned to our hotel rooms.
Bonfire, Dinner & Preparations For Triund Trek
As the day comes to a close, it’s time to rest and rejuvenate. Along with our trip-captain, me and my roommates spent some leisure time; listening songs and smoking hookah (thanks to my two roommates). Later on we were joined by the other co-travellers in our room. We truly had an amazing time while playing truth & dare, talking about everyone, eating snacks and enjoying hookah. This evening was one of the best thing happened on the trip.
Then we went for the bonfire where a mountaineering expert guided us for next day’s trek to Triund hill. He told us all the necessary do’s and don’t while doing trekking in the Himalayas. After getting proper trek guidance, we played the musical chair with a special dance performance by one of our co-traveller. Later on we went for the dinner at Spring Valley Resort (I missed eating chicken due to Navratri festival) and returned to our hotel room to make required preparations for next day’s Triund expedition.
Triund Trek Begins!
We were supposed to wake up early at 5am but got late to leave for the trek. We ate our breakfast and finally geared up for the thrilling journey to the Dhauladhars. Before beginning, the trek expert greeted us again and wished for a safe & delightful trek to Triund. The majestic mountains were calling, and we embarked on the adventurous journey to answer them wholeheartedly. Triund is a small hill at 10 kms from Mcleodganj in the lap of majestic Dhauladhar ranges. It is one of the most popular trekking trail in Dharamsala. We were accompanied by two guides at each ends.
After a 3 km trek passing through lush green pine and deodar trees we reached Dharamkot, a small village away from the hustle & bustle of main town. We bought few water bottles and energy drinks from a nearby shop. From Dharamkot we reached Gallu Devi Temple, which marks as the main starting point for Triund trekking. Here you will get the first glimpse of mighty Dhauladhar mountains.
With portable speakers in one hand, playing Ilahi, Safarnama, Coldplay and what not; we set out on this rugged but exciting trail to Triund. The breathtaking views of deep valley below and blooming Rhododendron trees rejuvenated me. The journey became even more phenomenal with such a great bunch of people. Few days back we were just strangers but now the things had transformed. Thanks to one our co-traveller who clicked so many beautiful pictures while trekking. After much huffing and puffing everybody reached the best view point, a small shack where one can relax, have food and water before beginning with the major part of Triund trek. The first half of the trail is pretty good with few points where it becomes narrow and inclined.
After 15 minutes we again started our journey towards the destination. There came a place where few of us sat for 5 minutes. That one moment when you don’t talk or read; just look and see. The blissful breeze touched our cheeks while we were enjoying the breathtaking views of Himalayan valley. Away from the mundane lifestyle that feeling cannot be described.
After a short break we moved towards the last 2 kms which involves a vertical climb all the way till Triund. This part is popularly known as “22 curves” as it has 22 steep curves before you finally reach the campsite. Thanks to the Punjabi songs, which gave us an adrenaline rush. At last, everybody reached the Triund hill after an enthralling journey of 4 hours and 10 kms.
The best views always come after the hardest climb.
Charming is too small a word to describe that view. Trust me once you experience Himalayas, it changes everything in you.
This place is called Triund because of the 3 mountains that a person can see from that point.
Camping At Triund – A Night To Remember!
At an elevation of 2,875 m, Triund hill offers panoramic views of tall snow peaked Dhauladhars standing at one side and alluring Kangra valley on the other side. The clouds were kissing the lofty mountains. Triund is an ideal place for camping at night. After reaching at our campsite, the lunch was provided to us and we spent soulful hours amidst natural beauty. There was no wifi but still I found a better connection. My trip captain took me to an interesting point – a huge rock where one can sit and witness the majestic grandeur of Himalayas. Later on few of us went to explore the Triund hill and clicked some candid pictures over there.
The blue sky turned crimson as the sun was bidding goodbye. We enjoyed a cup of hot coffee as the weather turned chilly. The views of Kangra valley from the hilltop was just stunning. The entire ridge was covered with the serenity of moonlight and stars. Some places are just extremely wonderful and to be honest Triund is one of them.
After dinner our entire group sat around the campsite under the stars and talked about few spooky incidents. Our trip captain even asked us to share the experience so far and tell about the most amazing person you met on this trip. Everybody shared their interesting views regarding the tour & co-travellers. I was extremely happy that people liked my fun-loving and caring nature. Cold weather, some snacks & hookah, listening to the soulful music, gazing at the blanket of stars – all these gave rise to some unforgettable memories on the last night of our trip. We lived that moment to the fullest, and that’s what travelling is all about!
Blissful Morning At Triund
At night everybody agreed to visit snowline cafe but only me and my camp mates woke up early. Snowline cafe is a small eatery situated 3 kms from Triund towards Indrahar Pass and the trek is quite difficult. It was around 5am and the weather was extremely cold. We put on our shoes and headed towards this rugged trail accompanied by our trip captain and one trek guide.
The trail to snowline is narrow and steep at most of the points. I was awestruck by the lofty mountains and deep valley below. The breathtaking views will not disappoint you. After 2 kms it became really difficult to proceed, so I gave up going further. But promised myself that I will visit the snowline cafe on my next trip to Triund. I sat there for 10 minutes in utmost tranquility, enjoyed the blissful sunrise, and then returned to the campsite.
I was absolutely in love with the morning ambience at Triund. It was difficult for me to stop crushing over the majestic Dhauladhars. Time stopped, and the sun shone gloriously at the Triund hill. We clicked the last group photograph, ate our breakfast, packed our bags and started our trek down to Mcleodganj. I will never forget the charm of this heavenly beautiful place in Himachal.
Last Day In Mcleodganj
On reaching Gallu Devi Temple, we took a cab till our hotel at Bhagsu Nag. After getting freshen up we checked-out from the hotel and reached Main Square market. We went to Tibet Kitchen and later on explored the local shops in this quaint hill station of Himachal Pradesh. You will find so many attractive Tibetan & Indian handicrafts, statues, prayer flags, prayer wheels and much more. Few of us even visited Coffee Talk Cafe located on the way to Dalai Lama Temple.
At 6pm we boarded the bus for Delhi from Mcleodganj bus stop. While returning we played ‘Chinese whisper’ in the bus that was totally hilarious. I went as a solo traveller but came back with lots of new bondings and beautiful moments which I will cherish forever. Filled with mixed emotions, I said goodbye to all of them, and the tour ended on a positive note.
Every new friend is a new adventure, the start of more memories, it was great meeting you guys! Thank you so much for all the affection you gave to me. This was one of the best trip of my life till now and will always remain special due to countless reasons.
Solo travel pushes you out of the zone of comfort and others expectations. So, at least once in your life must go on a solo trip. ‘iska apna hi ek alag maza hai’.
Nestled in the lap of surreal nature, Mcleodganj & Triund are truly a traveller’s delight. Peace, friendliness, adventure, art, nature and spirituality; you have everything you need in this quaint hill station of Himachal. Truly, Mcleodganj is a picturesque hill retreat where India meets Tibet!
The trip was curated by Tripver, check-out www.tripver.com for exciting trips & memorable experiences.
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