Location : Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh (India)
Trek difficulty : Easy to moderate
Starting point : Galu Devi Temple above Dharamkot village
Elevation : 2,842 metres (8,200 ft approx.)
Best Season : April to October
As soon as you hit the busy streets of Mcleodganj, our very own Little Lhasa, you can’t help but notice the Dhauladhar peaks standing tall in the backdrop. Triund is a ridge that overlooks Dhauladhars and you can easily spot the Triund hill from Mcleodganj market with your bare eyes.
“Trust me on this, Triund is going to be such an experience that you won’t stop raving about your whole life! Making your way through fragrant pines and oaks to reach a ridge as beautiful as Triund which offers the views of moonrise so gorgeous over wide horizon stretched across the mighty Dhauladhars that will leave you in awe! A view that will render you speechless! ”
Pardon me if I got little carried away here, its Triund after all, rightly deserves all the exaggeration. Well, getting back to the trek – it starts from Galu Devi Temple which is the last motorable point. You can either walk all the way from Mcleodganj to this point (which is around 3km) or take a cab to get here. The remaining trek from this point will be around 7 km. There are a couple of cafes around Galu Devi Temple where you can have your breakfast and restock your eatables. From here starts the steep climb, nonetheless with crisp mountain air and arresting views guaranteed to enliven all of your senses.
As you carve your way through fragrant Oak and Rhododendron trees, stop a while to take the sights in. You will come across several cafes on the way like Magic view Café and Snowline Café. Past the halfway beyond Magic View Café, the trail gets steeper. You will come across many beautiful songbirds here. This stretch will be a treat for the birdwatchers.
Be prepared for the strenuous climb from this point onwards, through the grooves of Oak trees to finally reach the grassy ridge of Triund. As you reach atop, you will realise how far you have arrived from the disquiet of city life right into the lap of pristine Dhauladhars. Take time to marvel at the Dhauladhar ranges around you namely Mun, Rifle Horn, Arthur’s Seat and Slab. On a second thought, you would want to camp here and absorb the views around more closely. So be it. You can take a room in the Forest Rest House (which will cost around 500 INR) or explore the camping options. There is no electricity or water here and expect food to be bit overpriced here.
On a clear day, the gorgeous view of Kangra valley from Triund will be a spectacle indeed. Notice the moonrise (in broad daylight) coupled with mist laden mountains in the backdrop. It will be nothing less than walking among the clouds. Witness the sky changing color from red to streaked violet along the horizon and let yourself be swept over by the force of beauty. Realize the beauty and grandeur of the moment and just like me, a part of you will always live here.
As you go little further, you will spot a small temple of Shri Kunal Pathri Devi which is possibly the highest point of Triund hill. From here, you can trek further to Snowline Café to Illaqa then to Lahesh Cave which eventually leads to Indrahar Pass (4300 m). Abandoned stone houses can be spotted ahead of Snowline café which was once used by Gaddi Shepherds. Illaqa is a grazing ground used by shepherds. Many monks come here for meditation during summers. From here, Lahesh Cave (3475 m) is just 2 kilometres away. If you have a spare day, you can trek up to this cave which can accommodate 20 people easily.
Triund had been one of the oldest migratory route used by Gaddi shepherds of Chamba and Kangra valley since time immemorial. The whole trek will take four to five hours (leisurely trek) or less. In the spring season, the trail welcomes you with many species of wild flowers like hollyhock and others.
A few things to remember :
- Advanced booking is required to reserve a room in the Forest Rest House in Triund. It is advisable to contact the Divisional Forest Officer in Dharmasala prior to the trek.
- Be careful if it rained recently, the trail can get really slippery and risky.
- Start your trek as early as possible if you want to get back on the same day.
- Water is scarce there, so carry some water bottles if you don’t want to shell out big on water.
So throw your hiking boots in your travel stash with a few eatables and let yourself on loose. Marvel at the snowy peaks, stargaze, click, sit by the bonfire or simply laze around indefinitely. But don’t miss out on this one!
Do share your experiences in the comments below.