Dalhousie #AtoZChallenge

Dalhousie – A poet’s paradise

D #atozchallenge blogging

Well it is the D-day. And all I can think of for today’s challenge is Dalhousie.

I can’t forget this beautiful hill station nestled in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, India.

By the Dalhousie Woods on a rainy evening
By the Dalhousie woods on a rainy evening

I spent my Birthday week last year at this place. The monsoons in July made it all the more beautiful. Lush landscapes, rolling hills, hot food and the misty woods made it all the more lovely.

Lush landscape, woods at Dalhousie
Lush landscape, woods at Dalhousie

It is located in the Dhauladhar mountain ranges of the Himalayas at an altitude of 6000 to 9000 feet above sea-level. The ride through Dalhousie kept me on my toes as I wished that I would make a home in the woods…. Well the dream stays…

Misty Roads, Dalhousie
Misty Roads, Dalhousie

TRIUND, An abode amidst the clouds!

Dhauladhar range
Dhauladhar range…

“You cannot go! It is dangerous. The weather is bad. You cannot see the path, you will get lost! Read this notice….”

My friend and me stared at the Hotel concierge as he said the most discouraging words. He kept aside the tray which he was carrying and waited for our decision for the D day.

We read the most saddening Govt. Notice for trekkers, climbers to not get atop the mountain in harsh rainy conditions. And to take a local guide along  the trail.

It was raining cats and dogs, McLeodganj seemed to be on a high!

We asked about the Guide whereabouts to which the concierge happily gave the details and made sure that we won’t leave without the guide. 🙂

As the rain pelted against the window panes, we shared the news with our third fellow trekker.

After analysing the pros and cons, we decided to take on the trail but with a guide after all, trekking in the rains on the Himalayas is a risky affair all the more!

We hit the sack hoping that the next day was sunny enough to make it to the beautiful Dhauladhar ranges.

Morning turned out to be sunny and magnificent! The quaint town of McLeodganj was getting ready for the usual hustle bustle after a heavy downpour. But we did get a guide who accepted our proposal to take us along and we headed for the trail right away.

Triund trek is the most beautiful and scenic trek in Himachal Pradesh. The trek starts from Galu Devi temple, 2 km ahead of McLeodganj. Nestled in the Kangra valley, it offers a hike through Deodar, Rhododendron forests and of course gives a magnanimous view of the mighty Dhauladhar range and the Kangra valley.

Clouds passing by the Dhauladhar range
Clouds passing by the Dhauladhar range

We met our guide who happened to be very courteous and we gained insight about Himachal Pradesh as well through him. We started the hike close to 9:45 AM after registering our names at the Start point, a protocol closely followed by the Forest Department.

After an hour’s walk along the deodar trees, rhododendron trees we reached a stony path from where we could see the Dharamsala Cricket stadium, the stadium at the highest altitude in India at about 4780 feet above sea level.

Further walk through stony paths, we reached the Magic View Cafe which is the oldest cafe. A cup of hot tea soothed our throats and energized us for the rest of the journey. The clouds played around and brought in a slight chill to the air around. Being a Monday not many trekkers, local crowd were present on the trail. But a lot of them were on the way back after spending the  Sunday night at Triund Hill.

Triund Trail
Triund Trail

The stony path was now damp owing to a nearby small waterfall. But when it rains, the path would be very risky to tread upon. The villagers who were on the trail, time and again advised us not to walk at the edge of the path owing to uneven ground and loose stones.

As we hiked up the hill we came across yet another cafe Scenic View. With tad bit of a rest we hiked towards the last leg of the trail- The famous 22 curves before the Triund peak. It was a hike along stony paths, mushroom laden trunks of trees, lovely flowers with the mesmerising dew on the petals. The clouds did cover the trail on and off.

Lovely colorful Mushrooms on a fallen tree...
Lovely colorful Mushrooms on a fallen tree…

After a hiking for four hours, I reached the peak. A lush green meadow ran across the hill. A couple of cafes were present which catered to the needs of the few then trekkers.

The TRIO at the Triund Peak
The TRIO at the Triund Peak

As we strolled about the meadow, the clouds impulsively gave way to the Himalayas. The slightly snow clad Dhauladhar ranges came into view. It was a marvelous sight. As the clouds played about, we could catch a glimpse of Mcleodganj, Bhagsu way below.

Meadows, Ranges, Clouds at Triund Hill
Meadows, Ranges, Clouds at Triund Hill

After a sumptuous lunch of Roti, Rice and yummy Dal, we headed towards our tent with a view of the Kangra valley and the Dhauladhar ranges towards the side.

For our Siesta!
For our Siesta!

After a long stroll up and down the meadow, we retired for the night under a cloudy sky. We woke up to a not so cloudy day and welcomed the sunrise!

Sunrise atop Triund!
Sunrise atop Triund!

As we bid goodbye to the ranges and the valley, McLeodganj ushered us to explore the quaint town and the Dalai Lama Temple…. More on in the next post….

Well that was the end to the lovely Triund trek. Plan for it and enjoy the enthralling journey and the lovely mountains of course!

Quaint little Tosh!

guitar-6

My body ached as I sat in the backseat of the car after a blissful trek on the Kheerganga trail the previous day. We (my fellow friend and trekker) would be in Tosh, a village in the next 15 minutes. The car made its way up the damp rocky mountain path. It had rained the previous night, thanks to the peak monsoon month July.

My mind wandered to a bathtub with bubbling hot water, aromatic candles lit around the tub, a soothing music which played in tune with my mood………..

The car jerked, oh well I was out of my luxurious reverie and we had certainly reached Tosh. There we were standing before a bridge, the only wooden bridge to get across to Tosh. We opted to stay at the nearest hotel across the bridge owing to our exhausted, famished selves.

We were then joined by our friend who had stayed back and enjoyed Tosh much against treading up the Kheerganga trail. More on Kheerganga in my next blog post.

After a not so luxurious shower, we explored the nook and corners of Tosh only to find a good restaurant/cafe. The village Tosh is at about 7800 feet at the far end of the Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It is a small village with narrow paved pathways which increases gradually in height as one walks through the village. After Kasol, Rasol, Manikaran, Chalal, Tosh happens to be a haven for tourists. We did find a few homestays and cafes on the way. The village seemed to be on a lazy spell or rather the mountain life happens to be laid-back!?

I shuddered as we climbed up the narrow alleys. A chill breeze pranced about me and I was not in the mood to join in for a dance.

Well we finally gave in to the search and headed to the famous Pinky Didi’s cafe or the 360 deg view cafe. It was a cafe at the edge of the mountain. The Himalayas can be viewed all around this place. So, we were surrounded by the gigantic spell-binding mountain ranges! Wow! I can quite trace back to that feeling!

We ordered for food and enjoyed the sublime views that Himalayas threw at us. Oh my! We were surrounded by the beautiful landscapes; Snow covered ranges, forests, rocky mountains!

Sitting by the cafe, looking at the mesmerising ranges, soaking in the silence or the music of the mountain air, eating sumptuous food, reading a book, sipping on green tea with the sun shining down upon us- Happiness is what I call it!

A few tourists came and went but we the trio sat gaping at the mountains for we were in no hurry to be anywhere else.

So what happened further in Tosh, stays in Tosh…… It ain’t called the ‘Amsterdam of India’ for no reason!