Travelling has always been one of those activities that my non-pathetic alter ego has always yearned for. But rarely have I got an opportunity to indulge in the same. Accumulated paid leaves of one year that my office offered, my two school best friends who have now got into Indian Defense Services and are somehow posted in Delhi’s vicinity, my newly bought Nikon D5200 and the never lasting desire to travel the world with my significant half- all worked together to make us try Triund this time. We planned a five days trip to Shimla, Dharamshala, Mc-Leod Ganj and Triund. After a well spent day at Shimla which actually set up the tone for the entire trip with its rainy fervor, we took our bus for Dharamshala- the land of Dalai. We did have a bigger than usual breakfast at the hotel on the trekking day in McLeod Ganj which was fair because we were going to have a tough time. The guide, after having met the girl in our team, suggested us to hire an auto from McLeod Ganj to Dharamkot. It is a smaller settlement barely a couple of KMs away and it is better to take some vehicle to this point to save time. At this point, the real trek starts and it is 7KMs from here to the peak of Triund. All thanks to my Defense buds, “We will climb the mountains like we own them”-; we started our trek right from Bagsunath- 9KMs from the Triund top.>The first few yards of the trek and the lady charm of our team was out of breath. Years of lethargic urban lifestyle – this is what it does to you. The motivation from the defense buddies and her solid desire to prove her potent- we move ahead with a continuous doze of both and a dozen of bananas that we purchased on the way. There were no proper steps, no smooth roads, but a clearly defined path which was very rocky and steep. Eventually, we could find ourselves climbing a mountain. The sun was warm but the shades were chilly and the two water bottles were tasting our control. SAVE WATER- we barely had realized this slogan’s essence. The trek was broad enough for two people to walk besides each other but there were some narrow paths where you have to literally hold the mountain to take further steps. In no time, we found ourselves in between huge mountains, covered with giant slanting trees, facing a deep valley. It was so new for all of us. I could picture myself from a distance in between those huge mountains and the tremendous flora and fauna spread. It felt so small and insignificant in the greatness of the spot on which I stood. We kept climbing till we reached the middle of the trek, where there was a small tea shop which had all sorts of refreshments. That little break was really required. The second half was more challenging as the slope got steeper and the path got rougher. We could hear a tune being played by some local who was there somewhere along the trek. He was playing a flute and the music echoed in the valley. It was so peaceful and it kept all the trekkers going. With every turn the Dhauladhars became clearer with vibrant colors. The last stretch was becoming more and more challenging. The weather did a volte-face when we were about a km away from the top. An incessant rain which refused to go for a couple of hours made us halt at the café. Not that I dislike rain but the view was completely blurred and practically blocked. After several breaks and loads of gasping we finally made it to the Triund top. This one glimpse of the place is a curtain raiser to all your expectations about the place. That very first glance will soak away all the tiredness and one starts feeling light with every moment spent there. Snow was a surprise during the last few steps. Triund is a large pasture-like land carpeted with green grass. One can see the mighty Dhauladhar ranges right in front. This is the base camp and acclimatization point for the trekkers climbing to the Indrahara pass on the Mt. Dhauladhar.
If there’s one thing I’m going to tell you to do is to light a bonfire and sing songs with your friends (the other travelers, in case you go alone) under the Milky Way. Be it here, in Triund, or anywhere in the hills. Nothing makes you feel as small as looking at the Milkyway with your naked eye. A view that has snowcapped Dhauladhars in the North, the Milky Way rising from the East and the night lights of Kangra valley in the South – a night like this and you’re fresh with stories for an entire year. Camping in the middle of nowhere. Waking up to the forever standing tall Dhauladhar peaks with sun melting the while patches. I try to never lose track of how lucky I am proud that my work as a travel writer and photographer introduces me to extraordinary locations, experiences and people. Without a doubt it stands alone as the most incredible, breathtaking travel experience of my life.