My sister had been dreaming of going on a ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ kind of trek ever since the movie came out. I tried pepping her up for a solo trip to anywhere and gave her the usual tips for solo travel in India. In between someone who came home had this epic statement to make :
‘Every girl thinks that she will find Ranbir Kapoor on a trek. No, you won’t meet Ranbir Kapoor; but you might definitely meet Shakti Kapoor!’
Since she wasn’t going on her own and yet wanted to go and kept talking about a trek all the time, circumstances conspired for one of my shortest trips ever. It was only a three day affair, beginning in Jaipur and we were five of us travelling to McLeodganj. The gentle walk to Triund was on the cards and we had decided to book the Forest Rest House at Triund to spend a night there.
It was mid March and we drove along the highways and reached Dharamsala at 7 in the evening. The weather was surprisingly chilly and next morning we were told, ‘It has been snowing continuously in the higher reaches of the Dhauladhars and also in Triund.’ After collecting the booking papers of the Forest Rest House in Dharamsala, we drove through the narrow streets of McLeodganj first and then the pines and reached the starting point at Galu Temple.
As soon as we put our feet out of the car, it started raining (As if on cue.) Our lady co-travellers, for whom it was a first such experience had already started wondering if we should go to Triund or not. That, in retrospect is a first time traveller’s dilemma. They are always worried about things and that is quite natural. A simple trek helps in gradually getting used to the ways of the mountains.
It was already nearing noon and I sensed the palpable tension in the car as the rainfall was unrelenting; and hauled my backpack and started walking. It ensured nobody else had the chance to say anything and they started walking too.
I filled in everyone’s details in the Register kept at the dhaba just after the start of the trail at Galu Temple. As it was snowing, we men were put in charge of carrying the necessary bags and overseeing the operations of the trek. I distributed some candies among the first time trekkers and started walking. The rain gods were happy and allowed us a moment of breather.
I had made sure to tell everyone the basic requirements for the trek to Triund would be:
- Sturdy sports shoes (Running or walking shoes with a good grip).
- A hat or cap to cover the ears in case of cold winds.
- Water bottles so that we could fill it from the numerous waterfalls en-route.
- The ability of walking steadily and taking small breaks if tired.
Read : Top Solo Travel Tips
We had not envisaged bad weather and had forgotten to take ponchos or raincoats. The path steadily climbed higher affording us misty views of McLeodganj, Dharamsala & Kangra Valley through the red rhododendrons that were lined along the way. Clouds floated around happily, the first time trekkers had already started feeling out of breath and wanted to take long and regular breaks. We were moving at a good pace, yet the fickle weather made us feel insecure. What if these long breaks caused us to be so slow that we were unable to make it to Triund by daylight?
A small hut passed us on our right, the ladies wanted to rest. It started raining again and we hurriedly reach a little ‘café’ that is located in a cave like shelter. Everyone buys costly chocolates and drinks minuscule quantities of costly black tea. I know these are touristy ways, I have never done it. I would carry my chocolates from McLeodganj itself, if I needed to.
The downpour had mellowed down into a drizzle and I pushed everyone to get up and start walking again; we had hardly covered a quarter of the distance. It was a beautiful sight as the incidence of rhododendrons increased, lending the path a poetic feel. The cold air was hurting our nostrils, yet we continued walking. Outside temperature was below the freezing point. The body is warmer when you walk, so that was a better idea than stopping intermittently.
Read : 7 Days in McLeodganj
The cutely named Magic View Café & Best View Café were on our left. The views from there were indeed serene. Some people were savouring their maggi moments while clicking selfies and some newbies were struggling even on this beginner’s trek and were already contemplating turning back, because they were supposed to come back to McLeodganj on the same day. The weather scenario turned out to be a proverbial ‘lull before the storm.’
The moment we left Magic View Café, it started snowing and the white flurries would continue till we reached the top. The wind swept across the valley and carried snowflakes everywhere with it. It was the ladies’s first snowfall and they swooned with delight. They said later that even though they were tired, the views more than made up for the trouble with the cold and slippery hike.
Snow continued unabated, the only difference it made from Galu Devta Temple at 2000m to Triund Top at 2950m was the intensity of flakes and changing landscape that became prettier. Sturdy mountain dogs frolicked and played in the snow. Visibility had reduced drastically and we were grateful that we had reached the top before the worst. In retrospect, the snowfall was a blessing in disguise – it ensured the slightest doubts among the trekkers minds were dispelled because there was no break from half way point till the top.
The path was uneven at some places and a steep winding climb at other moments, a perfect start for someone who is a beginner at trekking in the Himalayas. The group split after reaching the top. Two of us went exploring the dhabas in the white landscape with the adrenaline rush, while the 3 trekkers lagging behind went directly to the Forest Rest House. Our clothes had got drenched in the rain; chattering teeth and wet shoes do not exactly make for a memorable memory.
The caretaker was a cranky old fellow and the rest house was a cold, cold place. Everyone warmed themselves in the small fire that the caretaker had started in the ramshackle kitchen. Socks were put to dry near the fire and everyone had a first hand taste of stories from an old man in the Himalayas. Someone made the flavoured sheesha using ice as base and everyone had a gala time smoking it.
Visibility improved in the evening, making for a good opportunity for photography. Everyone was happy. This was an easy trek with spectacular rewards on offer. We had carried maggi with us and asked the caretaker to melt some ice and cook it. It was lovely to gobble it up with a cup of black tea. Everyone had dinner at 7 and interested people warmed themselves up with vodka later.
Morning rituals were done hiding behind the tin shed in the snow. There was a thin layer of divine light behind the ridge on Triund Top, where the temple was located. It seemed surreal. We left for McLeodganj at 9 in the morning after having some black tea. As a goodbye gesture, it started snowing again when we started our descent. We were happy. The first timers were joyous and felt a huge sense of accomplishment when they slid down the snowed out slopes without falling down even once.
Trekking makes everyone happy, some for the views, some for the physical activity, some for the feeling of being one with the nature, some to get away from city life; and some like to have it all.
Begin your journey of trekking the Himalaya with Triund. It is a perfect way to start your way up on the wonderful world of trekking in the Himalayas.
“No matter what the question is. Your heart already knows the answer.” You will find them at Triund.
|The altitude at the top of Triund is lesser than 3000m. AMS is usually known to affect people at higher altitudes. The path is well marked and there are little chances of someone losing their way. Anytime is a best time to visit Triund, it is accessible and beautiful throughout the year.|
|A trek to Triund can easily be done as a day trek. It is roughly 6-7 kms from Galu Temple and takes 3-4 hours to climb up and two hours to descend. There is a lovely ridge on top to walk around and be spellbound by the views.|
|Basic dhabas and facilities available all along the trail from Galu Temple to Triund Top. There are two lodges for travellers to spend the night at Triund; also trekkers can sleep in dhabas in case of emergencies.|
|There are trekking agencies & guides available aplenty for organising this trek, you can spend the night in comfortable tents and feel on top of the world with surreal views.|