Triund. Trekkers, hippies, natives, musicians, herders all have climbed these peaceful camping grounds above the trippy bhagsu village in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
People from all faith and all countries visit Himachal Pradesh in India for its majestic lord of the ringsy mountains and equally beautiful and interesting people.
Triund is a camping ground near the famous Mcleodganj hill station above Dharamshala. Why would one go here? Climb to a mean altitude of 2840 m above sea level? The answer is simple. Because you f*in have to. Well, that is true for all of the Himalayas. No matter whether you are in Uttaranchal or Arunachal or Tibet or Bhutan or Nepal, the Himalayas are freakin’ awesome. Aahhh, I am digressing! I am like a forlorn lover of the Himalayas, always waiting to get a glimpse and talking about it!
This is about Triund. Where you get rewards in only 4 hours of climb. What do you ask? I say the mesmerizing view of the dhauladhar range, greenest grass to pitch your camp in, water better than your bottled freakin’ mineral water, and clean Himalayan air that will knock you out with a freshness you have forgotten with the years passing by. I know I know why would you believe what you have not seen. Go figure on your own:
Now that I have got you fixed lemme tell you how to enjoy this trip tonic of place to the max. No spilling of the fun that one can have at a place like Triund. First thing first- if you litter, if you don’t love the mountains, I would say don’t go to Triund or any other Himalayan holiday that you’re planning or someone else is planning for you. Okay, okay enough of preaching. Just make sure to leave the place as it was before your arrival, if not better! You would definitely feel better here that I can clairvoyantly say ☺
One can reach Triund top from New Delhi in max 24 hrs. However, let me not fix you a speedy ☺ From Delhi head to mcleodganj in an overnight bus ride. There are excellent bus services from the Interstate bus terminus at popularly known as ISBT Kashmere gate. Try to get a government bus as its better and more reliable. Avoid the touts at the entrance and all over the place on Kashmere gate. And if you are reading this online, then you ought to book your bus tickets online. Book your online bus tickets for any place in Himachal Pradesh from this website. Regular, Deluxe, AC, AC Volvo, there are many buses to choose. Lemme decipher the AC and AC Volvo anagram for you. The AC Volvo bus is the bus of the company Volvo which is more comfortable and faster than the standard AC bus. If you’re short on money, I’d suggest the Deluxe option, which is comfortable and quite nice for a night-long bus ride. I am assuming all of you (all 3 of you who are reading this blog :P) would know how to arrive in New Delhi! Alternatively, you can arrive in Chandigarh or Pathankot also and take a bus from there to Mcleodganj or Dharamshala. From Pathankot its 2 hours road journey and Chandigarh, it is 5 hrs road journey.
Once in Mcleod, you can take a hotel room in Dharamshala/ Mcleod or go to the quieter and serene villages like Bhagsu or Dharmkot. The rule is simple; higher you climb from the town cheaper the rooms become, lesser is the noise from the touristy town of Mcleod, fresher is the air and better is the view. It is quite fantastic and straightforward. So once you’re settled in your room, best is to relax that day and walk around the hills to dharmkot or bhagsu or Shiva café near the bhagsu waterfall. Now for people who have the time they can chill in Bhagsu or Dharmkot for many days just relaxing, eating excellent food, meeting all the fantastic and eclectic mix of people who cool their hippy heals in these quaint villages all around the year. For people with less time on their hands (these would be my working professionals of the Indian mainstream), you gotta hike Triund as soon as you can. One day is enough to get rid of the bus ride lethargy, buy some hike necessities and leave for Triund the next day at the break of the dawn.
Now for all the highs of Triund, there is a downer for the pocket-friendly travelers at Triund. Everything is expensive on the Triund top. As one of my close friends who is a Triund and Bhagsu regular, it is like arriving in Europe where one Banana costs 20 rupees, Biscuits 3 times the MRP, and a bottle of water for INR 80! Yes, it is expensive but don’t think that there is some evil corporate who is milking your money. All of this stuff goes to the top on the back of the mules or humans. So there is an effort that goes into it.
Even if you have money, I’d say buy some of the things like chocolates, dry fruits, biscuits, fruits, Maggi noodles (if you have camp cooking gear), and try to take some water with you. There are streams nearby camping grounds from where you can fill and drink crystal clear water, which is better than the bottled mineral water we drink. There aren’t any toilets, what do you think would happen on freakin’ hike? Buy toiler paper rolls; they ll be quite handy ☺ Don’t buy too many things and overload yourself with so much stuff that your climb becomes painful.
Now ask any local the way to Triund. This is the best way to start. It is not that people would give you misleading directions. Its Himachal Pradesh, after all, and people are not trying to screw with you generally. Okay, okay, you can ask anyone way to Galu Devi temple. From the temple, there is a clear trail that goes up the mountain where you have the hill on your left and the view of Dharmkot village and the valley beyond below on your right. The climb is easy and doable by anyone capable of climbing for 4-5 hours. There are 2-3 cafés on the way to the top. You can stop for a cuppa or general chitchat and enjoy the view of the valley below. The best time to trek is as early in the day as possible because the Sun is easier on the human body during the early hours of the day.
Don’t litter on these mountains. They are guarded by the fearsome samurai’s popularly known as the Waste Warriors. This not for profit is the brainchild of Jodie from England. They collect waste on this trail and have clean up hikes every week to clear the trails and the bins, which they have installed on the trail over the years. Don’t worry, all they want is to take your waste with you or at the least throw it in the bins and don’t litter this beautiful place. You can volunteer for them and have an awesome time doing it! You can find more info about Waste Warriors here.
Once on the Triund top, soak in the 360-degree view: The valley on your right overlooking Dharmashala and dale on your left looking at the Dhauladhar range up close. After you get back to your senses, find a beautiful corner to pitch your tent. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tent on you. There are two dhabas on Triund top who provide tents, sleeping bags, bedding, etc. that you can choose. Only limited stuff is available on top, so book as soon as you can. There is a possibility that somebody in Bhagsu might have contact with them (Ask any local shop) and you can call in advance and book your tent.
Once you have found your camping spot, do I need to tell you what you ought to be doing? There are the beautiful Himalayas all around you, the millions of stars which were hiding behind the worldly affairs now appear in full shine blinking and talking to you one on one and amazing people from all over the world.
Your fix is ready sirs and madam’s, please take a hit.