Dharamshala, McLeodganj & Triund

Dharamshala, McLeodganj & Triund

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Dharamshala, formerly known as Bhagsu, is a hill station in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is famously known as the residence of the Dalai Lama, and the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration. The CTA attends to the welfare of the Tibetan exile community in India – refugees who enter India from China via Nepal. The upper Dharamshala region is called McLeodganj, and is a popular tourist destination due to its vicinity to Punjab and Chandigarh. There are several hiking trails from McLeodganj to Bhagsu, Dharamkot and Naddi. The Triund trek is very popular in McLeodganj because it’s short (you can go up and down in a single day), easy (the trail is clearly laid out and not very steep) and offers a spectacular view of the snow-capped peaks of the Dhauladhar range on one side and the Kangra Valley on the other.

Last year, I celebrated New Year’s on the White Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. This year, I welcomed 2016 on the hill-top of Triund, amidst the company of friends and some fellow trekkers from Punjab. Our 3-day snow trek to Triund and the Snowline Cafe was very well organized by Great Indian Outdoors. I also spent a couple of days exploring places in and around Dharamshala and McLeodganj. Here are some glimpses from my trip (do watch it in 1080p!):

 

 

What to See

DHARAMSHALA

  • Norbulingka Institute of Art and Crafts
  • Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium

MCLEODGANJ

  • Dalai Lama Temple
  • Bhagsu Waterfall and trail to Shiva Cafe
  • Naddi
  • Dal Lake

Where to Eat

  • Shambhala (near McLeodganj chowk)
  • Coffee Talk (near the Dalai Lama temple)
  • Clay Oven (on Bhagsu Road)

Where to Stay

  • Hotel Greenwoods Inn (Dharamkot)
  • Pink House (near McLeodganj chowk)
  • Hotel Hill Town (next to Pink House)

Preparing for the Triund Trek

The Triund trek is perfect for beginners, and can be completed in a day, but I’d recommend spending at least one night camping on the hill-top to enjoy the views of the starscape and sunset/sunrise. If you have an extra day, you can trek up another 1,000 feet to the Snowline Cafe. If you’re trekking in December, you’d have to be careful crossing the sections that have melted snow – they’re quite dangerous and slippery!

In December, the day temperatures are warm and night temperatures vary between -5° C and -10° C, so it’s important to layer the right kind of clothes to keep you comfortable through the day. The trekking group you travel with will make all the necessary arrangements for camping and food, so nothing to worry about there.

Sunrise at Triund
Sunrise at Triund

What to Wear

  • Base Layer: Polyester-based thermal inners (upper and lower)
  • Insulating Layer: Fleece jacket
  • Outer Shell: Down Jacket
  • Pants: Good quality hiking pants (E.g. FORCLAZ 500 Hiking Trousers by Quechua), preferably waterproof
  • Head gear: Balaclava (fleece or woolen)
  • Socks: Breathable socks (E.g. FORCLAZ MID 100 by Quechua) for trekking, and woolen socks for sleeping at night
  • Shoes: Trekking shoes/boots, preferably waterproof (E.g. FORCLAZ 500 by Quechua)

What to Carry

  • 55L Trekking bag (Wildcraft or Quechua)
  • Sturdy water bottles (3L)
  • Lip balm
  • Torch
  • Power bank (15,000 mAh)
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Medicines
  • Poncho and polythene bags (in case of heavy rain)
  • Extra T-shirts (2) and a pair of trousers