The land of Gods, Himachal Pradesh, is famous not just for its never-ending spiritual essence but is also for its picturesque sceneries and treks filled with adventure. There are multiple places, with a marvelous history that would attract even the strongest of the nonbelievers. These places often help you meet the inner you and realize potential that you never imagined you could possess. So here in this travel story, I bring you the first trek that I completed that too in awry weather.
At around 2800 m above ocean level, Triund is a part of the Dhauladhar scope of Himalayas and lies 18 km away from McLeod Ganj. It is viewed as one of the most open trips in the whole Himalayan reach. Triund is a well-known trip in all seasons, however, it was pouring when we did this journey. This trip happened during my 12th class board examination. I remember it as if it was yesterday. We just had our Maths exam done and it didn’t go quite as good.
We had a long gap of 14 days before the next exam which was Physically Education. It was a piece of cake. We didn’t just know this subject inside out, be we literally lived this as we were too much into sports and physical fitness. So giving this exam, was not at all a big deal. Just after the maths exam, we noticed that almost all of our friends were joining various coaching institutes for crash courses so that they could score good marks in the upcoming JEE and NEET exams.
We? We were a hell lot different. Thinking about how to make the most of these 2 weeks, we thought what else other than a nice week long trip to relieve the stress of exams. Just like that, and a plan was made to go to Triund. Everything was planned, what to take, what to eat, where to go, where to stay. The only thing needed was our parents consent. Luckily, it went far better than we expected. So when everyone was busy concentrated on their academic qualifications, we went ahead with our first experience of travelling. We went to a place called Ghagas from where had to board our bus to Kangra.
As we were still teenagers, the money given to us by our parents was limited. It was simple, minimize expenses maximize fun. Therefore, we had planned on staying with Anirudh’s maternal aunt’s home at Kangra. It was when we reached there we realised that we did not look at every aspect of this journey. We missed a major component that could affect our journey, it was, weather. When we reached Kangra, uncle scolded us angrily for not checking the weather reports and access to that place beforehand.
There were warnings about the heavy storms and heavy snowfall along the Triund trek. An advisory was also given by the government officials stating that the trek is closed due to very harsh conditions. But we are talking about two young, adolescent and rebellious kids who were known for their sheer will. We went on an evening walk and had a chat about what to do. We decided that we will go there no matter what. Luckily, we had the support of aunty and with this uncle dropped us at the bus stand the next morning with a straight face. He said that if anything happens, it’s all on our own responsibility and our parent’s responsibility. We agreed and boarded our bus. I still remember the first song that played on the radio that day, “Aaj Mausam, bada beimaan hai bada”. We both looked at each other and started laughing.
We reached Dharamshala and took a local taxi to Mcleodganj. After reaching Mcleodganj, we headed towards a camping organizer whose number was shared with us by one of our old acquaintances. We went there only to find that the shop was closed and we didn’t have any other contacts. We had decided to spend a night there and come back the next day. There we found a local store owner who became friendly once I started talking to him in the local language. He told us that we could go and come back on the very same day as it was not as long. He then arranged a taxi for us to go to Galu Mandir, the last motor accessible point on the trek.
We boarded the taxi and reached Galu Mandir in about 20 minutes. That was the last spot where there was network coverage and after that point, we’d be on our own. We called our parents from there and told them that we’d go as far as we could and in case we sensed any danger, we’d come back. But we knew that was just an assurance.
Just before we began, we asked a cafe owner about the time and conditions of the trek, he told us that no had gone before us that day and we were the first ones to come. He had not expected anyone to come since the warning had already been issued. But he also told us that as we had come early in the morning, we could go and come back in time as the snow would start later in the noon. That was the benefit of being a localite and knowing those valleys inside out. He made us make our registrations in the register and noted down all the information required. From there, we were on our own.
We started our trek and the weather gave us full support. Almost halfway on the trek, we found a cafe named The Oldest Tea Stall Cafe, since 1984. It was a beautiful point with lots of beautiful sceneries all around. We could see the Triund top from there right above our foreheads. We decided to stop here while returning. After about an hour or so, we stopped near big rock to enjoy the view, the peace, and the tasty sandwiches that auntie had prepared for us early in the morning. Just as we were eating, we saw someone coming right behind us. A person with a blue HUL jacket, and blue track pants, was walking with his hands in pocket. He saw us and waived. After that he came and sat with us, we had a little chat and he told us his name was Phillips.
He then stood up and started walking and told us that he’d meet us on the top. We said goodbyes and went on eating the remaining sandwich. After that we stood up and started walking. It took us about two hours to reach the point where snowfall had happened the last night. Since no one went before us, the path was not clear as the snow was still fresh and the path was covered. We stopped for lighting fire to warm our bodies but seems like the wood was very wet to burn. After many failed attempts, we decided to move on with the remaining journey. After an hour of the steepest of the climbs on the whole trek, we finally reached the top.
The top was as expected, mesmerizing. It was all covered with snow and there were only 4-5 cafes that were still there. Rest all were closed as it was off season. We started clicking pictures and saving those beautiful memories in our minds forever. After enjoying a bit in the snow, we went to a cafe and saw Phillips already sitting there. We all ordered Maggie and tea and it tasted the most delicious meal ever because of the tiredness. We then decided to go back as it was getting a little late and dark outside.
Just as we came out of the cafe, we had the shock of our life. It had started snowing with full acceleration and the snow storm that we were warned about, had hit a little early. We still started going back but it was the most difficult walk I ever had to do. It was snowing like hell, the snow was fresh and hence was really very slippery. We fell once or twice on our way down. After coming down for about 2 hours, the snow stopped and it was raining heavily.
We decided to move quickly as the winds were getting stronger and as a result, it would start snowing at the lower altitudes as well. It took us about half the time to reach The Oldest Tea Stall Cafe. We ordered some coffee and sat down near the fire. Just as we looked out, we saw a scenery, a view that is forever trenched inside our minds. We could see snowfall towards our left hand, and rain towards our right, with sunlight in the background. It felt like the heaven had open its doors and allowed us to take a peek.
We just sat there and it felt like ages. We realised it’s getting darker so we decided to go ahead and reach Galu Mandir. It took as an hour or more to reach Galu Mandir, we reached there and the same guy who made our entries, literally applauded and told us that he never thought 2 kids would make it to the top and that too in this weather. He called us inside, made us some tea and fire to warm ourselves up. We changed our clothes nearby at the temple and then took off with a feeling of accomplishment.
This jouney shaped and sparked a moment in us. A moment we look forward on all such adventures and trips planned with everyone of our friends.