Triund is a beautiful mountain-top area in Himachal Pradesh, accessible by a 6 kilometre up-hill trek from McLeod Ganj. The night-sky is inexplicably vivid and the stars and moon will never be the same for you again.
How to get there:
Bus from Kashmere Gate ISBT, New Delhi. Costs Rs 600 – 1700
Flight to Dharamshala and then a taxi/bus from there to McLeodGanj – Rs 6000 – Rs 7000
Cab from New Delhi to McLeod Ganj – Rs 6800
How we went:
May 16, 2017: 4 of us booked a TajTrip car since I had work till 9pm and the last bus left at 7:30 pm. We boarded the cab at 10:30 pm. The journey was pretty comfortable and our driver was a very friendly person who dropped us to our tour guide’s door step in McLeod Ganj, where we landed at about 8:30 am the next morning.
After a quick breakfast of piping hot paranthas, our guide led us through the mountainside to make that 4-hour trek up to the fabled Triund hill-top.
Tips for Triund Trek:
1. Pack super light
For the love of God, carry only a jacket, phone, money pouch and water bottle when you trek up to Triund. I was a little too over-prepared for every possibility and lugged a sackful of unecessary things. I think I would have passed out somewhere along the trail if my kind (and supremely strong) trek guide hadn’t offered to carry it for me.
2. Carry thermal wear:
McCleod Ganj was slightly cooler than Delhi but still on the warmer side. But the Triund hill top can get freezing at night. Armed with only a thin jacket, we spent the entire night trying to zip ourselves up completely in sleeping bags like Kenny from South Park. Even that wasn’t enough to stop our teeth from chattering all night long. Brrrrrrr
It’s going to be a tough trek up-hill. If you are a classic couch potato like me, you WILL suffer. Do some light training and stretching in the days before your trip. At the least, your legs won’t turn into useless lumps of flesh when you return (mine are still aching btw)
4. Buy your snacks in McLeod Ganj:
Since donkeys have to transport essentials to Triund, everything gets pricey. For example, one bowl of Maggi (usually Rs 10) costs a whopping Rs 70. There is no point in bargaining as everything is set at double the price. One bottle of water is Rs 50. So carry your snacks if they aren’t too heavy and your hunger won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
5. Carry petty cash:
There won’t be any ATMs once you leave McLeod Ganj and you won’t have any network for you to PayTM anything. And trust me, hunger and thirst will dominate your mind as you make the trek. And every hot chai will feel like ambrosia in Triund, so you need that cash.
6. Keep a torch handy:
There is absolutely no electricity in Triund. So unless you want to tumble down the mountainside in the dark, carry a flashlight. Fun Tip: It makes your tent light up, fooling other people into thinking you’re a UFO from a distance.
7. Get good shoes:
While sport shoes are great, you need shoes with a good grip, particularly for the downward ascent. The rocks are pretty smooth and you WILL slip if you want to leap around like a mountain goat.
8. Stray off the path:
My lower body was giving up as the trek wore on. Luckily for me, my trek guide, the effervescent Mr Bikram Singh, guided me through many shortcuts where I could cut through torturous winding uphill paths by grabbing onto exposed rocks and roots and hoist myself up.
9. Get a guide:
You could do without a guide as well, since there’s a pretty clear path to the hill-top. Our guide cost us Rs 1500 each which covered the cost of the tent, three meals and the more importantly an interesting travel companion. Bikramji kept pushing me to try fun stuff and was my ultimate “Why Not?” partner. He showed me hidden paths in the mountain, introduced me to fun cafe owners, pushed me to climb trees and rocks and whatnot. He can be contacted at: +91 9882112368, http://www.himalayanwildadventure.com
You will meet several weary travellers making their way either up or down the mountain. A smile, hello, good morning/evening can go a long way and you can meet interesting people from all over the world. I met a 50 year old couple from South Korea, a young animal behavorist from Pune, 14-year-olds from Gujarat, a Japanese children’s book illustrator and many more.
May 18, 2017: After roaming the streets of McLeod Ganj for a while, we headed to the McLeod Ganj bus stop to board the 5pm bus back to Delhi that dropped us back to Kashmere Gate ISBT by 5:30 am on May 19.