Near the end of the year 2017, we received a mail on our office email Id, It was the list of holidays for 2018. Most people in the corporate were excited about the long weekends this year, especially, the backpackers.
I started planning my treks for this year. The first long weekend was on Republic day, 26 January, and I started searching for a trek which can be done in the month of January.
Major treks were closed due to snowfall and after doing some research, Triund trek seemed like to be the only option.
Now Triund is an easy level trek but It was January and snowfall was expected so I thought it would make it a bit more challenging. To be honest, I am not a fan of Triund because that place is too much crowded.
I decided to go there anyway because that seemed like to be the only option and I didn’t want to waste my long weekend. This was going to be a solo trip. I took a night bus for McLeod Ganj and reached there next morning, the Bus goes till Dharamshala Bus stand and you will have to take a shared Taxi/ Bus to McLeod Ganj, its just 5 or 6 Kilometres from there.
The Taxi will drop you near McLeod Ganj Taxi stand, I roamed there aimlessly for a few minutes and saw a lot of monks, that place is like a mini Tibet.
One thing I felt about those monks was that they seemed to be in peace, they were happy in their world and looked so disciplined. The small kids and toddlers were super cute with red plum cheeks.
I got a room near the main square for Rs 500 per day which was cheap, I packed Aloo parathas for my breakfast from a nearby Dhaba and just slept for a couple of hours after. Upon waking up in the afternoon I decided to take a walk around the town and again started roaming aimlessly. To my surprise, I covered a majority of McLeod Ganj in just around 1 hour, its a very small place.
There are many street food options, especially Tibetan cuisine. Being a vegetarian I ate just regular rice meals and had some Ginger-honey-lemon tea (weird taste) in the evening.
I went to the Kalachakra temple which was a very interesting and significant place, I never read about Buddhism exclusively but came to know about many things which were common in Hinduism and Buddhism, while going through the texts inside the temple I found things which were common in both Hinduism and Buddhism, for e.g., the mention of the mythical kingdom Shambhala where Kalki avatar (10th and final avatar of God Vishnu) will take place at the end of Kaliyug.
Outside the Kalachakra temple, on the way back to the main square, there are plenty of stalls lined up to the left side which sells some interesting handmade stuff, like Jewellery, wristbands and some girly stuff etc. Nothing of my interest. I just came back to my hotel room as there was not much to do.
Next day I woke up early because I wanted to reach Triund as soon as possible and have some good time up there, I packed some apples and chocolates for the trek.
I left my hotel room at around 6:30 AM and went up to the main square, the actual trek starts from Gallu Devi temple and you need to hire an auto/ taxi to take you there, I hired an auto for Rs 300. The way to Gallu Devi is a very rough unmetalled road with full of rocks.
After reaching Gallu Devi temple you will see two shops on your left, I ordered Chai, ate some chocolates and asked the shop owner about the way to Triund. It’s very easy from there, the whole trail is laid out in front of you, you just need to follow it, the shop owner told me it takes around 3 hours to reach the top.
I started my trek at around 7:30 AM and there was no one on the trail at that time except me and a small group of young lads, it was empty, the trek is easy, it’s not a trek actually… Its a hike, you are walking on a well-made trail and there are no chances of getting lost. My pace was normal and I was only stopping to click pictures, there are some popular places on the trek like magic view cafe, a tea shop etc. they all were closed at that time of the day.
After walking for some more time I reached near the snowline, It was January and still, the snowfall was very less, there were just 4 or 5 inches of snow. Just walk for a few more minutes and you will reach the top, the beauty of Triund is when you reach the top, the Dhauladhar ranges suddenly appears in front of you and the view is beautiful.
You will see a huge mountain range covered with snow (not much that time). I reached there at 9:25 AM so it took me 2 hours of hiking to the top. What I didn’t like about the top were broken liquor bottles and some litter scattered over the place, the site was not clean. luckily, there were just a few people present there at that time, the place lacked that peaceful vibe and calm feeling which you get on other secluded places, but we humans are the only ones to blame for this.
I just waited there for one hour to click some pictures and left the place after that. While descending down, I was shocked, the trail was filled and jammed with nearly thousands of people coming up, with a majority of them blasting crap music on their mini woofers.
I wanted to get off the trail as soon as possible because I am not a fan of the crowd so I was descending very fast, almost running down. Many times I heard people saying on my back “ye pakka Pahari hoga” 🙂
It didn’t take me much time to reach to Gallu Devi temple and I was shocked for the second time. Hundreds of more people were lined up for the registration to go to Triund, God! I was not the only one with a long weekend huh :), but seriously, it was like a Mela. A policeman was sitting at the start of the trek with a chair and table and you need to register first then only you will be allowed to go ahead. He was not there in the morning. so if you are planning to go there, go early in the morning to avoid the crowd and the registration line.
I took a cab from Gallu Devi temple and reached my hotel room at 1:30 PM, after taking some rest I left the place to catch a night bus to Delhi and booked a taxi for Dharamshala bus stand, you need to go there to catch the bus. McLeod Ganj is a very small place and in January itself it was too much crowded, the taxi driver told me that the condition gets worse during summer.
My thoughts about the Triund trek? surely it’s a beautiful place, especially for people who are new to trekking and the views are picturesque but we have to take care of it, please don’t litter in the mountains, where ever you go. Also, the govt should limit the number of people going up there in a day.
I took a night bus to Delhi and as soon as I reached my apartment I saw a news about Triund on Instagram, it was that the government is going to limit the number of hikers going to Triund to 500 people per day, which is still a lot but it was cool, I don’t know if it’s going to get implemented or not.
Triund really needs some rest.