Monday, 12 June 2017

McLeodganj diaries

Hey guys

Since long I have had a lust for traveling to high altitudes and now summer vacations was finally the right time. And so on Thursday morning, I packed off for a roadtrip to Dharamshala - Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh with my family, at 6:30 in the morning.

It is a 5-hour drive (206 km) from Ludhiana via Hoshiarpur and then forward to the Himachals ( the most convenient and fastest route ). The inclination of roads starts early on, much before the inter-state border.

We stopped for breakfast and some tea at a Punjabi dhaba in Dhaliara, near Kangra. Well, I must comment on the quality of roads and the scenics that really make you take your camera out for shoot. First, the roads are very steep, smooth and silky with many sexy and deep curves and hair-pin bends that can make you drift away from your seat, if driven through at high speeds. Hence, the journey was so full of thrill and adventures plus breathtaking due to the amazing scenic views of huge hills and mountain ranges all around. Since I tripped in June, the weather was obviously hot uptill lower Dharmshala. Fortunately, it was very pleasant in Mcleodganj and Dharmkot, the place where we stayed.

We reached at around 11:30 am, checked in to the hotel which was just a half- kilometre away from Dharmkot. And what next - Scattered thunderstorms, as it was predicted by weather forecasts <3

I loved the view of hills and the city from the rooftop. The beautiful slivery line of these hills hid behind the snow - flaky clouds while raining. And for the pluviophiles like me, it was the most stunning way of welcoming into the world of wanderers.

Since Mcleodganj is known as the "little Tibet" of India, we surely can't miss visiting the famous Namgyal monastery of Buddhists. And so at around 4, we visited this holy place, the home to Dalai Lama.

MANI Prayer Wheel
I interacted with a monk whilst at the main square; I was really amazed how in a few minutes he had talked about so many deep thoughts and so I came to know about their beliefs and how he modified his life and style to be the one. He had travelled from Tibet to Mysore and then finally came here for doing service to God.

Next, we explored the way through the shops and restaurants around the main square. The monks were seen everywhere out there. Plus the tourists, especially foreigners wandered around and explored the streets; some even settled in the mainland.

I paused to admire the beautiful nature at the sunset point. The view of sun rays dipping into the curves of huge mountains was really breathtaking. But I couldn't just stand there for another moment because of the air which was filled with odours of smoked cigarettes by foreigners. I captured the beauty in my lens, and walked off.

It was my Dad's birthday. So we had dinner at a restaurant - ordered a plate of dal with shahi paneer and tandoori roti - the usual yet favorite combo of every Punjabi <3 . Plus, a cake and special pastries were a must for the celebrations. Wohhooo !! :D

The next day, we tripped to Dal lake, and then forward to a village, Naddi. The Dal lake was not so attractive for tourists, except a nearby temple to visit and the not-so-famous special sweets to wet your mouth.

So we rolled on to the Naddi village for seeking some amazing views and trekking on the sunset point road. And yes, a visit to the Sahaja Yoga Meditation Centre is a must.

Well, I must say - a 15 minute session of meditation in midst of the beautiful scenics and peaceful environment of the place is truly an experience worth taking for self - realisation and internal peace. You can literally feel the difference between your health states before and after the session. I recommend doing the meditation everyday before bedtime and after waking up, to calm your nerves. :)

It started raining on our way back to the parking site, but thank God it was just a little shower. We drove back off from there to head on towards the Bhagsu Nag temple and waterfall for some trekking. Approx 2km trek from the main square, the Bhagsu waterfall stays at about 7112 feet high above sea level. From the parking site, the temple is 800m and from there we do trekking of about 750m to reach the stunning waterfall.

There are many pause-freshen up-and-go cafes and mini- restaurants on the way up. So don't worry about filling your appetite while trekking. First I went to the rocks for scrambling and hill-walking, then trekked to the falls. However, due to lack of time, we couldn't go through the entire distance.

We filled our stomach with a bowl of veg chinese choupsey plus plain rice and veg noodles with a dose of caffeine, then walked through the streets of Bhagsu, the temple and back to the main square. While wandering through the shops in the marketplace, I watered my mouth with a pack of momos - one of the most delicious snacks to eat while you are here. There are a variety of different restaurants, mostly specialised in Punjabi and Chinese dishes and snacks. Hotel Mc'Llo is one of the best in this place, where many celebrities and cricket players visit to have some food and rest.. and I must say the quality of service and food is just too good.

Next morning, we packed off and started our journey back home. We missed a number of places to visit whilst there - the Dhauladhar range of hills, do paragliding at Bir Billing, read books while having coffee and your favorite meals at Illiterati cafe ( a perfect place for bibliophiles like me ), and of course the Triund Trek Trail. Overall, it was a truly mesmerising trip I have had so far. :D

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