I always tell people that Mcleodganj has lot to offer everyone. Few weeks back, I got a chance to show my favourite hill station to my friends. Kaushal, Isha and Deeksha (KID) wanted to spend their weekend away from the hustle bustle of NCR and I suggested them Mcleodganj. A conference call and few stories from my previous trip to Mcleodganj was enough to convince.
To sketch out these 3 characters (KID) in your mind, let me describe them. Kaushal is a lazy ass. He wishes to settle down at every place he visits. Isha is a wanderer. She wants to visit each and every sightseeing spot of a place before boarding the return bus. And Deeksha is someone who has crush on a momo-wala and a watchman.
Gupshup and the beauty of Kangra
Friday evening around 8 PM, we all boarded the bus for Mcleodganj near Majnu Ka Tilla (a tibetan colony in Delhi). We loaded ourself with all sorts of snacks. The bus started. Absorbed in our gupshup (chit-chat), snacks fight and couple of power-naps, time passed quickly. By the time we realized, it wasn’t dark anymore outside and we were in the beautiful city of Kangra, 25km away from Mcleodganj. The next 1 hour ride was picturesque, beautiful valleys of Kangra, then Dharamsala and finally Mcleodganj.
In the mountains
We got off the bus. It was cold and beautiful outside. Roads were almost empty. While Kaushal was busy clicking pictures, Deeksha and Isha pulled their sweater on and I asked a stranger the way to our hotel. Strolling on the Jogiwara road, listening the birds chirping, Isha added all the cafes she encountered on the way to her imaginary todo list in her mind. We reached our hotel too early. The check-in time was 10AM and we were two hour early. So the owner asked us to wait on the rooftop until the room gets ready. We sat down on the rooftop, soaking some sun and planning our day. We had two days to cover Mcleodganj. We kept Saturday for Mcleodganj and Sunday for Triund.
At 11AM, we were ready to explore the city. Of 100s of must-see-places in Mcleodganj, the 2 most important ones are cafes of Mcleodganj and the Dalai Lama temple. We started with Illiterati Cafe. A beautiful cafe on the Jogiwara road, towards Lower Dharamsala, from where you get the perfect view of Dhauladhar range of Himalayas. The cafe has lots of books. A hell lot of. Books, beautiful mountains in front and Pink Floyd in backgroud. We all felt in peace. Isha ordered food, Deeksha was lost gazing the beautiful mountains, Kaushal kept clicking pictures and I picked Scrabble from the rack to play. We played, ate, read, gazed at the mountains and spent 4 hours the cafe. Sitting at Illiterati, I felt blissful. The quote on Menu card rightly says, “There is no good explanation for what is going on here”.
At 3 PM, we left Illiterati and kept walking towards Lower Dharamsala and reached Dharamsala. From the bus stand, we hired a cab for Dharamsala sightseeing. By 5 PM, we had covered Dharamsala Stadium, Tea Estate, Devi Kunal Pathri Mandir and the War Memorial Park. He left us again at the bus stand, from where we took a shared cab, came back to Mcleodganj and headed towards the Dalai Lama temple. On the right side of temple road, there are street vendors selling junk jewellery. Amazing colours and designs. On the left side, you have souvenir shops decorated with prayer flags. And on the road you see Monks, wearing red-saffron robes with prayer beads in hand. We bought some souvenirs for our friends and then entered the temple.
Anyone who enters the Dalai Lama temple, starts feeling disassociated with the materialistic life. The enchanting aura of the temple, the meditating monks, bowls containing saffron infused water, huge idols of Buddha, view of deep green valleys of Kangra on one side and lot of open space to sit quietly, teaches you that the God is nowhere but inside you so shut up and listen to your inner self (atleast for some time). We took a tour of the complete temple. Seeing the monks debating was one of the best things we saw inside the temple.
The sunlight had already died and it was cold now. We went to another beautiful cafe – The Seed Cafe. Just like Illiterati, Seed Cafe is on Jogiwara Road but much before. With good food, live music and open mic night, Seed took us to a different world! My friends were in love with the place. (All credits to me!) And finally we ended our day and went back to our hotel.
New Day and Triund
We started with breakfast at the Black Hut Cafe. The most interesting thing about this cafe is the cute-little-notes people leave behind. The notes has stories, thoughts, wisdom and some good wishes. After the breakfast, Isha and Deeksha got up for the Triund trek. Kaushal being the laziest, wasn’t in favour of trek and for obvious reason. But Isha’s angry face was enough to convince him. [Scroll up and check the description I gave about Isha] And I forgot to mention, the Cafe’s menu had Momos and Deeksha was missing his momo-wala all this time.
So we started our Triund trek from Dharamkot at 11 AM. The trail was so beautiful, it reminded me of the paradise that Coldplay sings about in Para-Para-Paradise song. Triund is situated in the lap of Dhauladhar mountains and is a must see place near Mcleodganj. The trek was easy and we all completed it within 3 hours. The trek ends once you reach the grassy meadows and from there you get a spectacular panoramic view. We had our bus to catch in late evening, so after spending an hour at Triund, we turned back and came back to our hotel. Deeksha was tired. Isha was hungry and the lazy Kaushal still had some energy. We picked our bags from the hotel and went straight to the bus stand.
So, this was our journey to the land of Monks. We all came here not to see the place but to relight our-self.
Read our other posts about Mcleodganj –
1) Top 10 places to visit in Mcleodganj
2) How I explored Mcleodganj solo on foot in 4 days!
3) Top 5 cafes in Mcleodganj you cannot afford to miss!
4) The answer is in the journey! – Mcleodganj affair