My First Sojourn in Little Lhasa!

Working in IT Sector, brings life at a standstill. Phew!!! I and my friends wanted to run from our mundane life and experience some adventure. After hours of discussions, we chose Mcleodganj (Upper Dharamshala) as our weekend getaway. Mcleodganj is in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. It is often called Little Lhasa.

Distance: Delhi -to- Mcleodganj àApproximately 500km

Estimated Time: Approximately 11-12 hours by road

Route 1: Delhi – Panipat – Ropar – Anandpur Sahib – Una – Dharamshala – Mcleodganj

(This is the route which we followed)

Route 2: Via Train from Delhi to Pathankot (many trains run from Delhi to Pathankot). From Pathankot to Mcleodganj via cab/bus.

We started our journey from Delhi on Friday after office hours at around 8:30pm. The first stoppage was at Murthal (popular for its dhabas). There are two famous dhabas here – Sukhdev and Gulshan. We took a halt at Gulshan and the food there was quite good. What to say Punjabi blood is delighted at the sight of  ‘white makkhan’ which they thankfully served!. The best part of NH-1 (Delhi – Punjab Highway) is that you will get many roadside dhabas which are good and within budget. Oh yes! Punjab is famous for its food. There’s a saying “punjabiyon ka pyar unke khane me hota hai” (the love of Punjabis resides in their food), which is very true!. Apart from taking one or two tea breaks, we went nonstop to Sri Anandpur Sahib. It was 4:00 am; the aura at Gurdwara Sahib was blissful. Taking yet another one or two breaks and going at an average speed of 80km/hr, we reached Mcleodganj on Saturday around 10:00 am. In Mcleodganj, there is a rule of not displaying signboards on main roads. As a result, we had great difficulty in locating the hotel. But the staff was very helpful and with their support we managed to reach our hotel. The hotel is few stairs down the road but the view from the balcony of the room and terrace was magnificent. As we entered our rooms, we were told that Wi-Fi was free and were given the password. Well! Happiness is free Wi-Fi when you are on roaming. Hahaha!! So, after getting fresh and having breakfast at the hotel itself, we were ready to explore Mcleodganj.

View from Hotel Pink House

View from Hotel Pink House, Mcleodganj

Day1

“Hum jaise musafiron ko do waqt ki coffee aur sath me ek delicious cake mil jaye to zindagi me aur kya chahiye” (what do travelers like us need?—2 cups of coffee and a delicious cake per day) .

Coffee @ Chocolate Log

Coffee @ Chocolate Log. Pic Courtesy – Raj

So here we were at ‘Chocolate log’, to slake our thirst for coffee. It is a small quaint old restaurant maintained by two oldies. They start by 9:00am and close by 6:00pm. The place had a unique charm. We enjoyed our coffee and toothsome cake with breathtaking view of the Dhauldhar mountain range and we felt rejuvenated. Before going for sightseeing, we decided to peregrinate the market and click some photographs. In the local market of Mcleodganj, you can get anything to everything. After exploring streets of Mcleodganj, we again went to yet another café called – Peace Café to quench our thirst. This restaurant is generally believed to be full of monks in the evening. Though, we didn’t find one. Mcleodganj is full of small restaurants and coffee shops and the best part is they all offer free Wi-Fi connection.

 

In the evening, we were to head for Bhagsu Temple, Bhagsu Waterfall and Naddi Point (Sunset point). Some locals told us that because of summers, the Bhagsu Waterfall has got dried up. So we decided to drop it from our itinerary and head towards Naddi Point to see the setting sun.

Naddi Point

Sunset @ Naddi Point

There is only one small shop here which serves light snacks like Maggi, coffee and soft drinks. One can have some mouthful Maggi and relax here under the blushing orange sky surrounded by magnificent Dhauldhar Range. Spending our time at leisure at Naddi, we headed towards Main Square to search new Restaurant for dinner. We had Tibetan Kitchen on our list which is close to Main Square on Jogiwara Road. It serves Tibetan food. We ordered Chilly Prawns, Veg and Non Veg steamed momos and rice. Food was good though but service was a little slow. Anyways, we gorged on the scrumptious food and walked towards our hotel which happens to be on the same road. We spent few hours on terrace under starry sky which is unusual sight in Delhi because of pollution. My friends tried star trails here. And we were off for the day.

 

Star Trails

Star Trails by Joy Nath

 

Day 2

It started little early as we were to go for trekking to Triund.

Triund is a popular trekking point from Mcleodganj. It is 9km from Mcleodganj. One can either start trekking from Dharamkot or from Gallu Temple which is the highest driving point. As you reach within the vicinity of Triund, your ears are greeted by the loud and untamed noise of the mountainous breeze which is hard to be heard in some city. The Triund glacier situated at a gigantic height offers you an overwhelming of the entire valley underneath.

The drive is risky as there was a point where our Innova got stuck (and trust me I got scared and evoked all gods in those 5 minutes until we were able to have a safe escape out of the stuck vehicle).

Sun & Moon Restaurant

Sun & Moon Restaurant – Starting point for Triund Trekking

 

 

I would suggest hiring a local taxi from Main Square for Gallu. Charges for small cabs from there to triund are from Rs400 – Rs450. There is a restaurant Sun & Moon and above it is a hotel. We were quite surprised that they have every sought of biscuits and drinks to imported chocolates too.  The Locals said it takes three to three and a half hours of trekking to reach Triund. But delhites like us, who are not used to much walking, took good 5 hours to reach Triund.

 

 

En-route Triund

En-route Triund!

At midway, there is a Magic View Restaurant, where we grabbed snickers and started again to cover rest of the journey which was going to be more steep and difficult. At few steps from Magic view, there is another restaurant, where a man was playing flute. Amidst of trekking, surrounded by the Himalyas, listening to flute was sonorous to ears. They sell good flutes here. On tenterhooks, we managed to reach Triund valley, the view was jaw-dropping. Alas! It’s not that simple but we did it. Yay!!! Due to summers, the sun was scorching. We spent around 2 hours before we started our journey back to the grounds.

Triund Valley

Triund Valley! Pic Courtesy – Asad Abdin

 

Coffee @ Snow Lion Cafe

Coffee @ Snow Lion Cafe. Pic Courtesy – Manisha

Camping option is also available at Triund for Rs 500/night but for nature’s call you need to find place in nature itself :P. We took around two and half hours to come down to the Gallu Point and hired a local cab for Main Square. After all the trekking, we were parched and went to Snow Lion Café to have a coffee and a cake. I certainly believe that coffee breathe new life in you. Though we were tired, but we decided go for some shopping instead and buy souvenirs for our loved ones back home. We bought stuff from TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village). To satisfy gastronome in us, we went to Moon peak Café which is on Temple Road. It served simple and delicious Himachali thali. We walked towards our hotel and for hours sat under the starry sky.

 

Day 3

Hotel Green Restarant

View from Hotel Green Restarant

We were supposed to wake up late after the trek yesterday but the explorer in me made me start my day early! I got ready and left for Hotel Green Restaurant which serves early breakfast in the town. It is on Bhagsu road and was empty. I ordered Kangra tea and Tibetan bread butter (bread was a little hard). Watching rising sun in the Himalayas gives peace to soul. Sitting there you can also spot small birds chirping. From here, I decided to walk on the streets of Mcleodganj and do some photography. My friends joined me and we went to ‘Crepe Pancake’ for breakfast and this was one of the best breakfasts I ever had. We then went to Dalai Lama’s temple. Photography is not allowed here.

 

 

Monks

Monks @ Jogiwara Road

Though I am back to the same mundane life of IT Sector, but hope this short and adventurous escape to the mountains will help me stand Delhi’s hot weather and hectic life until I tell you about my next adventure!

Attractions:

  • Coffee Shops
  • Free Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • Trekking to Triund
  • Night Club
  • Woeser Bakery (which we missed)

 

I end my travelogue on a note of visiting this small town again!

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