Saturday, 10 August 2013

The perfect McleodGanj Trip

This place is not just about beauty. More importantly, it is about the feel. When you go a bit deep, a bit ahead of the surge,  you will find this is different. The little beautiful roadside cafes, massage centres, the holiness of the relaxing music,  will remain in your memory forever. In short, it is beautiful and you will love the place.

Go Beyond : Where to stay

Don't just go and stay in the rush and hush of Dharamshala city or Mcleodganj or even Bhagsu . It takes a bit of effort , but what i am emphasizing on again is, go ahead, simply because you cannot afford to miss it.

Stay in a guesthouse

Leave behind the lavish hotels, resorts,just  live in a simple, clean and a remote guesthouse, and believe me, there are plenty of them.

Undoubtedly, the best one is my opinion is the Jagatram Niwas. You will realise, it happens to be perfect home away from home. Everything about it is great, especially the way to it. The hosts are just awesome and rent is great too, just around Rs. 1000 for a nice room, and a simple healthy breakfast of bread omellete or dalia. Located away from hustle bustle of the city life, it is a perfect place for adventure and nature lovers, and can also serve as your starting point for treks and explorations about which i talk later.
You will mostly find foreigners staying there. We were only the 2nd group of Indians to have stayed there.

You can reach this awesome guesthouse in two ways..

For your first day, I would suggest you to take a taxi from dharamkot to Heini Cafe, from where they would would send someone to lead you till the guesthouse (a 15 min walk through the hills). The 10 minute taxi ride in itself  is a great adventure, a really thrilling, and somewhat dangerous drive.  They would charge you  arouund Rs.150 per taxi (4 persons).

Alternatively, for the more adventurous , you could walk up from a path having little cafes, starting from the Bhagsu market. It is a bit of a hike, and if you going at night, better carry a torch. Having a pair of good shoes definitely helps. It will take you around 30-45 minutes depending
 on your pace of walking.

On the way, you will find nice little dine-in cafes with an awesome aura about them, there is definitely something different about them, maybe the music, the fresh food or the atmosphere. If you are lucky enough, you find  people playing soothing music on the way, the traditional Indian music. It's like falling in love. The purity and the sanctity of the music, merged with the godly atmosphere will leave you spellbound, and it will, at once bring you in the present.

The morning

First things first : wake up early. The splendid sunrise , the chirping of the birds will make your day. Go for a small walk in the hills.  Have a cup of refreshing lemon tea and a good breakfast.

The beautiful Triund Trek  : 
If there are 'heavens' on earth, Triund surely has to be one of them. It is an easy though quite steep at some points , one day 9km trek from Mcleodganj. There will be small tea shops along the way. The route might not amuse you much, but just as you reach triund, its like magic. A liitle scenic hill, with a beautiful campsite, its a treat for the eyes,and  for the soul. I like to call it 'dramatic'. Camp for the night. There is also a government resthouse over there, but camping will add to the fun. For the more adventurous,next morning, you may trek up to llaqua, 5km from Triund . Those, with much more appetite and love for trekking, may look to cross the Indrahar Pass .  The pictures below sum it all .

The Perfect Itinerary : 

Many people ask or google ' The perfect/ideal itinerary  for my trip '.  The Simple answer is 'No itinerary is perfect '  or  Simply, the perfect for you is unique  . Because, for passionate travellers like you and me, Travelling is life, our first love . No one can tell us what is perfect. Just go out and explore, find awesome remote places where science and technology  is yet to destroy the beauty and the charm. 

The 'perfect' itinerary  will vary according to what you expect of a trip , whether you are a hard core adventurer , or a luxury seeker, or a blend of both .
Here, I  make an attempt to describe what i find a good itinerary around which you can plan your trip, if you like travelling with a plan.

Day 1 

Reach McleodGanj and find a good guesthouse, a bit away from the city , in the upper Bhagsu. 
Relax , go for a walk in the nearby. Walk to Bhagsu through the hills, talk to people from various countries ( lots of foreigners visit this place) and make friends. Explore the lovely little cafes on the roadsides. You can even spend your whole night there, and you will find the place as lively as any.
Also , start a bit of preparation by meeting the local people  for your trek on day 3 , especially if you planning to camp. 

Day 2

Mornings are beautiful. After rejuvenating yourself with the fresh air, and having a breakfast, you can go out to explore the McleodGanj city. Visit the peaceful Dalai Lama Temple. You might also like to visit the various museums  and memorials.

Visit the BhagsuNag Temple and have fun in the swimming pool with crystal clear and freezing cold water. And then head towards the BhagsuNag Waterfall. A walk of around an hour along a path with scenic views, you will see an amazing waterfall , and loads of people having fun in their own ways .

Day 3 

You can spend one more day exploring and enjoying the streets of Dharamshala, McleodGanj and Bhagsu , visit temples,monastries,  talk to the local people and make arrangements for your Triund trek. ( which is not that difficult , so doesnt require much preparation) .

If you planning to trek on day three itself, leave early. Around 4-5 hr trek. Enjoy 2 hrs  in Triund, make camping arrangements  and leave for llaqua . You will be back to Triund within 2-3 hours. Camp for the night.

Day 4

Back to your guesthouse leisurely after feeling the love and beauty of the nature and the splendid sunrise. It is a treat for the eyes and a dream come true. Chill out and relax for the day. Plan your next trip with your friends, write a diary and take a good sleep.

This is all i have for your trip. Hope i could add some value to your trip. All the passionate travellers ,post your comments. You are most welcome to share your experiences and suggestions to improve this post.

Suggested Reading : 
Trekking in the Tirthan Valley