Life of a travel and hospitality entrepreneur comes with its own challenges. A day is never enough and the nights put up a pause in number of things you can do. There is no weekend, day-off, holiday, as a matter of fact ‘holidays’ are busier than regular days.
Last year, around this time, I managed to squeeze some time out for myself with the sole motive of a reccee trip, which is aimed at discovering a new place, new experience. I managed to finish some work and pushed all pending assignments to future. A 4-day solo
motorcycle expedition across the northernmost part of Himachal around to the amazingly beautiful and smooth Pathankot Mandi route.
Somehow the idea of a solo long motorcycle trip over a new route infuses an amazing sense of adventure in you. Moving away from concrete roads and sights of garbage towards no roads and views of approaching mountains is a happy feeling. The unfamiliar terrains
instilled the same effect as did the Mumbai – Delhi motorcycle ride a couple of year ago. At dusk, the motorcycle headlight was matching its way with the center line markings right in the middle of mountains and deep valleys. With the surroundings being completely dark
and nothing to witness other than an occasional fox, porcupine and wild rabbits, it was kind of getting sheepishly boring. Right at that moment, I spotted it staring at me with such love and a bright off-white illuminance. I have not particularly been an admirer of the brightest and the closest star in the sky, but let us blame it on the past few hours of looking through the helmet blinders, the moon really appeared as if it was talking to me. As I tried to comprehend the exact meaning of our distinguished conversation, I was disturbed by a
panicking honk. As I stopped to notice the disturbance, there was this startled gentleman in his mid 20s staring at me with fear in his eyes and mouth wide-open. As I turned back to understand his agony, it appeared I had lost track of the line markings and was heading
straight towards the drop (moon, if my opinion counts here). With an awkward smile, I turned and rode past that angel while he stood their frozen and dazed to exchange any words or even reply to my awkward smile.
After a fifteen-hour tiring ordeal, Dharamshala welcomed me with such soothing arms that I literally gave in to the comfort of the mattress and white clean linen unmindful of hunger and other formalities. I woke up next morning to breakfast overlooking the Dhauladhars. I met a couple of Australians who schooled me on the best things to do and places to see in and around Dharamshala. Overwhelmed by their detailed itineraries and quest to help me do / see the right things, I deemed it fit to leave the place before they started fighting and set out towards the globally renowned Triund peak; although it was my first time in the vicinity. Mcleodganj is the in-thing they say and it is so packed that you might want to stay on its circumference if you are looking at a date with the mountains. But sadly so, the route to Triund passes through the overcrowded, honk-full cross-road in the main market of Mcleodganj. It is time, we preserve the sanctity of such places by making them vehicle-free.
You are not a ‘traveler’ if you don’t know that Triund is approx. 8kms from the Mcleodganj parking spot, but if you have a pair pf two-wheels with you, you can shorten the hike by another 2 kms. Pleased with my smart move like many others, I started my 6km hike
towards Triund top around noon. I was told that it’s a long a not-so-easy trek. As I walked past the police check-point at the beginning, it was humbling to note the garbage-bins and garbage bags being offered to all trekkers. God bless all our waste warriors.
My garbage bag was soon filled with all the plastic lying on the route and I used my rucksack to store the remaining pieces, till that was full too. It dawned on me that I am probably the most inexperienced hiker in our country as I walked through the ‘travelers’ devoid of
Bluetooth speakers, loud chatting friends, fried chips, cool sunglasses, cold-drink bottles, the occasional hat and the ubiquitous ‘ J-stuff’ in my pocket.
The trek to Triund top is beautiful, thankfully the path is not covered with tiles offering a natural feel just like valley of flowers and few other treks / hikes in our country. A little over couple of hours and I was welcomed at the top with rain and sunshine at the same time
giving birth to multiple rainbows. While I was struggling to click a selfie with the rainbows in the background, a soft-spoken god-sent girl pulled me out of my misery and helped me spoil an otherwise beautiful image of the valley, rainbows and a hill dog. It took a while for the
rain to subside and there was ample time for us to exchange words under a little shed offered by the chai-ki-tapri.
I had not realized till that very moment, that if you do not have a chalked-out itinerary of your trip, do not know much about the place or choose to listen than talk and are just taking things as they come, you are interestingly cool, not strange. After the rain, there was a lot of
work for the limited caretakers and too many tourists as I found my tent for the night. There was suddenly a barrage of ‘travelers’ emerging out of different tents and corners of the Triund ridge as they overtook one huge rock at a time and their partners clicked new profile pictures for their social media pages. Somethings are witnessed better with eyes and the go-pro set to capture the sunset time-lapse didn’t help much, else that and not the sunset would have become the highlight of my Triund video.
I met another lone soul who had lost his friends to another group and was struggling to get a good picture of himself with the amazing background. I helped and the same was reciprocated. My picture went on to get me the highest number of likes on my Instagram till
date, thanks much (really tried finding his insta handle, hope he reads this and helps me update the same). Let’s call him Harsh (pls don’t kill me for this). After a brief exchange of words with Harsh while shooting lightening in the shy, he decided to join me in the latter
part of my road trip. He was warned of all the uncomfortable adventures that could present themselves in the days to come, but looked like Harsh is a risk-seeker. So, he gave up his tent and moved next to mine. The night was pretty much uneventful minus the loud
cheering and singing and tripping over tents by all the party people at The Triund ridge. After finishing the sunrise shot and watching a restless line outside the only toilet at the Triund ridge, we decided to race back to Mcleodganj with our intestines tied to each other
preventing mishap on the way down. We shot the introduction shot for the Triund video on the way down as I had Harsh hold my smartphone for a couple of retakes (P.S. if you don’t like the intro, please remember the situation we were in). We moved on to cover more of Mandi-Pathankot National Highway in the following two days, more on that later.
Facts and information about Triund:
- The trek till Triund ridge is popular (read overhyped) among the college crowd of North India who would lose their breath while trekking up but will sing loud songs over liquor and marijuana outside their tents all night.
- Travelers do not care of cleanliness or hygiene, though there are some real warriors who are trying to help preserve the place for the next generation (if at all).
- A lot of travel agents are overselling Triund as a hot cake and the cost for a tent ranges between INR 600 – INR 1500 per night depending on your vulnerability and their smartness. The local agents’ coterie does not really allow you to pitch your
tents on the top as also there is no place left.
- It is a beautiful ridge with amazing views of Dhauladhar and the valleys. It is an easy trek for anyone with average levels of fitness. The height of the ridge is over 2800 meters, 9350 ft.
- If you are looking for a decent sleep at night, Try and take a tent farthest from the crowd and hope for the best.
- The trek till Indrahar pass (Altitude 4342 meters, 14245 ft) is ideal but only deal with it if you are serious and prepared for it. It is ideal to take a guide along for Indrahar pass.
Request: If you are heading to Triund anytime soon, please respect nature and try and leave the place as you would like to see it again.
Watch the video for a visual delight.