Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kasargod - Bike trip

[May 14-16, 2009]

Fact file:

Place:Kasargod (Kerala)

Famous for: Beaches, Bekal fort

How to reach:

Bangalore - Mysore - Madikeri - Sullya - Kasargod

What to do there:

Relax at the beach. Don't forget to visit Bekal fort.

Best time to visit: Winter, Summer will be damn hot, but then one can relax at the beach. At the most, u can spend 2 days there.

Place to stay: Probably the Bekal resort is the best place, but it would be expensive. Otherwise, there are several smaller places at Kasargod.


The last few weeks has been quite tense and hectic for me. First, for the fact that my days in IISc are numbered, I have to catch up with several people on campus and secondly, there is a sudden load of work pressure from several directions. The mental and physical stress is really a tough one to beat ! Thanks to many of my good friends, few who gave me company for tea and coffee breaks and few who called me up during that time, but for them, it would have been a really stressful time.

Before the stress gets on you, it should be released and can there be a better option than a bike ride (during this hot summer heat) to kill the stress. You sweat a lot and thats it - all your stresses are gone :). Our usual gang of people, Sammy, Shishir, Venky, Kunal, Nimish and myself had been planning a bike trip for quite some time and this was the perfect time to seal it. We had just two days at our disposal and we wanted to enjoy it. Everytime, we plan to go for a trek during our bike trip, but this time we decided to go for a leisure trip instead and a beach seemed to be a good choice. After deliberating on several options - mangalore,gokarna, udupi, pondicherry, calicut etc., we finally froze on Kasargod. Two reasons for choosing Kasargod - first, we have not visited this place yet and secondly the drive to Kasargod through Madikeri it seems is good.

This time Shishir wanted to take his Swift for the trip and Nimish promised to give him company. For the rest of us, we were taking our bikes with Venky pillion riding with me. We all got together on Mysore road on Thursday, 14th May evening and started for Mysore. Our plan was to halt at Mysore for the night and proceed to Kasargod the next day morning. Driving on the new Mysore road highway has been always smooth, but offlate, the traffic has increased significantly. We drove comfortably up to Kamat restaurant just ahead of Ramanagaram and stopped there for snacks. Do try the Chilli Bajji if you happen to be there in the evening. Its just great !! From Kamat, the drive towards Mysore was good. One of the general problems of driving on Mysore road was the occasional trespass by people staying on the sides of the highways and people have to be very careful while driving. We decided not to enter Mysore and planned to take the bypass from Ranganathittu and stay at some hotel on the way for the night. It was not very difficult for us to find a place to stay and for 500 rupees, we got two rooms for 5 of us. People were tired - had almost a full day at office, then driving for 150 kms up to Mysore. Finished dinner, watched the dramatic IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals which Mumbai XI managed to lose in the last over and then off to sleep.

The next day morning was cloudy and we were set for our next destination - Madikeri. Started our drive at 7:30AM and within 30-45 minutes, we hit the main highway SH88 towards Madikeri. This highway was under construction when we came to Madikeri a year back, but now it was fully ready and it was a pleasure to drive. The highway didn't have too much of traffic except in those stretches where you cross any small town or village. We reached Kushalnagar pretty fast and here started the stretch of bad roads. This road has been like this for several years now and I don't see any reason why this 30km stretch of road is left like this. It took us another 45 minutes to reach Madikeri. After a quick break for filling petrol, we were on our way to Sullya, from where we have to take a diversion to Kasargod. Sullya is on the Madikeri-Mangalore highway and we found the road to be decent for a comfortable ride. This section is a ghat road and although the road is not very smooth for around 40 kms or so, the drive is too good. The greenery of the hills and the sharp turns on the road keeps you engaged throughout. From Sullya onwards, the road to Kasargod is fantastic. We reached Kasargod just in time for lunch and we started hunting for a place to stay close to the beach. We found that the beaches right in the city was not good and we were told to go towards Bekal for the better beaches. We had our lunch at a Chinese restaurant and had "biryani" there. Man, the biryani was just fabulous. After having the sumptuous lunch, we started for Bekal. Bekal is around 14 kms from Kasargod towards Kannur and is known for a fort right on the sea coast. We took around 30 minutes to reach Bekal along bumpy roads. Driving along such type of roads has become a habit for us and the only part of the drive we liked was the steep slope and climb at a certain section. Bekal is in Pallikare village and Bekal Resorts Development Corporation has developed a very nice theme park just on the beach with the facility for cottages to stay. We found the cottages to be very expensive, so decided against staying there and took up a hotel around 500 metres from the resort. The entry to the resort is Rs. 5.00 and the beach there is just fabulous. During the evening, we went to Bekal fort. Its just wonderful. One can get down on the beach from the other side of the fort and spend a good time there, although the security fellows won't let you go too far into the waters. We spent around an hour at the fort and then went to the Bekal resort beach. The sun was about to set, the air was humid and several kids and ladies and gentlemen were frolicking on the beach. We too had a bit of fun playing with a tennis ball in the beach waters. Then it was time to go back to our hotel and relax. We had varieties of fish dishes (how can you avoid fish in malluland) for dinner, then watched IPL before taking our much needed rest for the night. Somehow, we all managed to get some sleep in the humid weather conditions. The next day morning was cool, 3 of us made a visit to the temple nearby called the Ananthapura Lake Temple. We spent a few hours at the temple and then came back well in time to make our trip back to Bangalore. Although there was an option to take the Mangalore route, we took the same way via Madikeri. The drive was as usual very pleasant and we were back in Bangalore by 8:00pm. This ended my last but nice bike trip with these folks. I hope I catch up with them again sometimes in the near future.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cherrapunjee - a paradise in the north-east

[Jan 9-10, 2009]

Fact file:

Place: Cherrapunjee (Meghalaya)

Famous for: Rains, natural beauty, deep valleys, numerous waterfalls, trekking, cave explorations, living root bridges and several other adventure activities.

How to reach:

One can reach Cherrapunjee from Shillong Nearest air and rail head for Shillong is Guwahati. Guwahati-Shillong distance is around 150 kms and it takes around 3 hours. Cherrapunjee is around 50 kms from Shillong and its a one and a half hour drive. A round trip taxi fare from Shillong to Cherrapunjee would come to around Rs. 2400.00 (upto Cherrapunjee Resorts).

What to do there:

Don't miss the living root bridge and the double decker bridge. Visit the Mawsmai cave and if you have time, go for cave explorations. Visit all the waterfalls around Cherrapunjee. Go for trekking. It is best to spend at least 3 days out there to have real fun and enjoy the place.

Best time to visit: During rains. Go around with a rain coat and have fun.

Place to stay: Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort is the best place (

Although I belong to Assam, a state in the north-eastern part of India, I have never visited places in the entire north-east. And there are many of my friends from Bangalore who have made a trip to the north-east and are all ga-ga over the natural beauty of the entire region. Whenever I used to go home, I used to make plans for visiting few places, but due to the scarcity of company and also for many other unknown reasons, my trips never materialized. So, when I was at home in Guwahati during the first weekend of January 2009, I got another opportunity to plan a trip. Few of my friends were coming down to Guwahati for attending a conference and it was my job to see that they are entertained. We had a weekend at our disposal and the only place where I could take them was to Cherrapunjee. I have heard a lot about Cherrapunjee, but never got a chance to make a trip there and this I found was the best opportunity I could get. I did a quick browsing and made the action plan as to what to do after going there. Our plan was to reach Shillong from Guwahati in the evening, visit some of the places of interest around Shillong, stay there for the night and visit Cherrapunjee the next day for a full day tour.

Cherrapunjee is a small town in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya and is well-known as the wettest place on earth, but it seems that the record is taken over by another place called Mawsynram, which is around 16 kms west of Cherrapunjee. Cherrapunjee is around 50 kms from Shillong and it takes around an hour and a half to reach there by taxi. Locally, Cherrapunjee is also known as Sohra. Since we had only a day for the trip, I planned for two things - trek to the living root bridge and also visit the Mawsmai caves.

We started for Shillong on Friday evening from Guwahati in a hired Tata Sumo. Shillong is around 140 kms from Guwahati and the travel time is around 3 hours. Our planned starting time got delayed due to unheralded delays and by the time we were on our way, it was already 4:30pm. By the time we reached Shillong it was around 8:30pm, already late to visit some of the places inside the city. It was decently cold in Shillong during that time of the year and we had a tough time negotiating the cold in the hotel where I had booked (poor choice on my side in trying to make it economical). For the Cherrapunjee trip, the hotel had promised to arrange a vehicle and we found out that it was a Maruti 800 and we were 5 people. The owner of the vehicle was an employee at the hotel only and he assured that we could all sit in the vehicle. As the time was already late to search for a different vehicle, we decided to go for it.

We were all awake early in the morning the next day and we hit the road in the Maruti 800 around 7:00AM. Our first destination was to reach Cherrapunjee Holiday Resorts ( at Laitkynsew village in Cherrapunjee. The owner of the resort was the one person who made the root bridges popular. A brief history of the root bridges can be read here ( The drive to Cherrapunjee passes through beautiful winding terrain with deep valleys all around. Cherrapunjee comes to life during the rainy season when the surroundings become fully green and all the waterfalls are in full flow. January, being a dry period, most of the waterfalls didn't have enough water and few of the major waterfalls were fully dry. Still, the valleys provided an enchanting view. It took us around around 3 hours to reach the resort as the last road stretch of 15 kms was pathetic. But, the moment we reached the resort, all of us were energized to see the beauty of the surroundings. There were several deep valleys all around the resort which I believe would look great during the rainy season when several waterfalls will form on the steep and straight side walls. After a quick round of snacks and with the help of a young guide, we set out for the living root bridge. We were told that it will take around one and half to two hours to reach the place which was deep down in a valley. The path was rocky and through a thick forest and the descent was very steep. A couple of my friends were first time trekkers, but they were enjoying the trek through the forest. We didn't know how the time passed by and we were there at the entry point of the bridge. The bridge can be termed as a unique and natural bio-engineering concept and is used by the villagers for crossing the river which flows below it. We were all awestruck at the natural formation in front of our eyes. During the rainy season, we were told that the river is in full flow and one has to cross to the other side using the bridge only. We spent around an hour around that place taking snaps on the bridge and also eating some of the packed stuff which we had brought. There's another bridge in a nearby village where the bridge is mainly in two tiers and its known as the double decker bridge. We didn't have enough time on our hands, so we were not lucky enough to see the double decker bridge. Now, the tough part of the trek starts. We have to climb back up the same steep way. The enthusiasm amongst my friends were still strong, so there was no major problem as such in climbing back. We realized that the trek path would be dangerous during rains mainly due to the formation of moss which will make the stones slippery. We were slow no doubt and we took around 2 hours to reach our resort. All of us were tired and hungry and we had a good sumptuous lunch. We were getting late since we have to visit the caves also and then get back to Guwahati by night. Quickly we were off from the resort with the promise that we will be back again sometimes soon the enjoy the place fully.

The Mawsmai caves were around an hours distance from the resort and we reached there soon enough. This was the first time I was visiting a cave. Meghalaya is known for its huge network of caves and it seems there are several caves which are not fully explored as yet. This particular cave was a smaller one and the Meghalaya govt. has put lights inside the caves for the tourists to have a good view of the rock formations. The inside of the cave was just awesome and at some places, one has to go through very narrow openings. It was a unique experience for all of us. I decided that I would again visit Meghalaya on a caving expedition. Here too, we spent about an hour and by the time we finished our exploration, the sun was about to set. We hurried towards our taxi and started our way back to Shillong. Thats the end of our short but wonderful and exciting trip to Cherrapunjee. We have just covered the bare minimum places during this trip. For all adventure lovers, Cherrapunjee is the place to show your guts. By the time we got back to Guwahati, it was 11:00 pm and we were all dead tired. The only satisfaction was that we had a successful and unique trip.

Kausani - A thing of beauty is a joy for ever

[Nov. 14-16, 2008]

Place: Kausani, Kumaon region, Uttarakhand

Famous for: Captivating Himalayan range with several peaks like Trishul, Nanda Devi range etc. to view

How to reach Kausani (from Delhi):

Take bus or train to reach Haldwani. A train is preferable for a comfortable journey. Ranikhet Exp. leaves Delhi at night which reaches Haldwani early in the morning whereas Shatabdi Exp. leaves Delhi in the afternoon and reaches Haldwani in the evening. It takes around 6-7 hours to reach Haldwani from Delhi. From Haldwani, take a bus to reach Kausani. The Kumaon Mandal private bus stand is walkable distance from the railway station. Just walk out of the station, take the road on your left and keep walking for around 600 meters or so to reach the bus stand. It takes 6-7 hours to reach Kausani from Haldwani. Sleeper class train fare from Delhi to Haldwani is around Rs. 150.00 per person. Bus fare from Haldwani to Kausani was Rs. 118.00 per person.

Places to Stay: Several hotels are around. It would be best if you go there and search for a suitable hotel. Else, you can book several hotels online also and one can have a good deal too. All the hotels offer 50% discount during winter – November to February. The KMVN guest house is very ideally located for an excellent view, although I am not sure about how good the place is for staying.

Expected budget: Rs. 500-5000 per night (Cheaper options are also available)

What to do: Go for long walks through the pine and deodar forests, visit the Anashakti Ashram, laze around in the shades of pine and oak trees in the forest, sleep below a tall pine tree on the top of a hill, enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas at sunrise and sunset.

Best time to visit: Everybody says visit these places in summer, but I would suggest going there during winter maybe between December and March. The place would have few visitors and there would be more peaceful and tranquility.

Trekking: Adi Kailash trek and the Bageswar Sunderdhanga trek. One can go for a short trek to Rudrahari waterfalls too which is on the Kausani Almora road. ___________________________________________________________________________

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
It’s loveliness increases; it will never”

This is what Keats had to say and I realized how true it is when I had a glimpse of the beautiful panoramic range of Himalayan peaks from Kausani, a little idyllic town in the state of Uttarakhand. It can be described as love at first sight. It is already several months since I visited Kausani, but I only know how many times I have gone through the images I captured on my camera. In fact, at Kausani, I had taken a snap whenever I had turned my eyes towards the majestic range. But the ecstasy of seeing the magnificient himalayan peaks right in front of your eyes can never be imagined and I am sure that I would be treasuring those joyous moments in the times to come.

I managed to get a couple of extra days in Delhi and I felt like running out of the city, far away from the noisy and dusty atmosphere, to the mountains where you have all the time for yourself. When one is in the northern part of India and if the idea is to go to the mountains, is there any place to think of other than the Himalayas? Usually I would prefer to do a trek when in the mountains, but I had only

3 days available for the trip and this duration was just not sufficient for a trek. The only choice was to relax, but then who is complaining.

The enchanting beauty of the Himalayan range can be best explored from Uttaranchal, one of the Indian states bordering Uttar Pradesh and there are several places in this region from where one can enjoy the Himalayan surroundings. Now, the toughest task on hand

was to decide the place as one of the difficulties associated with a trip to Uttaranchal was that it takes a good amount of travel time to reach some of the best places. Considering the number of days on hand, two places were identified - Pithoragarh and Kausani, both very good locations as far as a leisure trip is concerned. I preferred going to Kausani considering the shorter travel distance from Delhi


Uttarakhand is broadly divided into two zones - Kumaon and Garhwal and Kausani falls in the Kumaon region. To reach this place, one has to reach Kathgodam first and then take a bus. Kathgodam is around 200 kms from Delhi and is well connected by trains and buses. The best option is to take a train and my ticket was booked on the Ranikhet Express which starts from old Delhi at 22:30hrs. I was told that it is better to get down at a place called Haldwani which is one stop before Kathgodam as all the

buses to Kausani and other places start from Haldwani and it goes via Kathgodam. So, there I was at Haldwani early in the morning at 6:00AM. I didn’t know as to how far the bus-stop was from the railway station, so took a cycle rickshaw for Rs. 10.00 and found that it was actually very close and walkable. The Uttaranchal state road transport bus stand and the private bus stand were next to each other and after a little enquiry found out that it would be actually easier to take the private buses to Kausani. I was lucky to find that there was a bus scheduled to depart at 7:00AM and after buying some snacks for the journey, I was ready for the journey. The bus started dot on time and as the

windings roads shaped its way up the hills, the intensity of the thrill slowly began to increase. The bus goes through Kathgodam and Almora to reach Kausani with short stoppages at Almora and few other places. The roads were very good throughout and as the bus reached closer to Kausani, one can start seeing the Trishul peak very clearly. The bus dropped me at Kausani at around 14:00hrs. It was not difficult to find an accommodation at Kausani since it was off-season and all the hotels were offering 50% discount on their actual rates. I took a room at a hotel from where the himalayan range could be seen clearly, at least I wanted to see the effects of sunrise and sunset on the snow peaks.

At an altitude of around 1900 m and nestled in the midst of pine, oak and deodar forests on a narrow ridge and in the foreground of a long chain of snowy himalayan range, Kausani is a beautiful little town. There are probably more hotels and resorts than regular shops and I was told that tourism is the main source of income for many of the people here. Once you are in Kausani, there’s actually nothing much to do. This place is more popular as a honeymoon destination or a lovers’ paradise. For couples, I can probably think that since one doesn’t have anything to do at all, you have no option but to come close to each other and talk. On the contrary, for a bachelor like me, I can only love the snow peaks and the thick forests and would like to be as close to them as possible. This place is meant for leisure and peace and if you are a poet or writer, there’s nothing better than to be at Kausani. Imaginations can probably go wild if you go for long walks through the hills and forests around and within no time, you will have your beautiful thoughts in few enchanting lines of poetry or a story. There are mainly two major roads (which go towards the left if you get down from the bus coming from Haldwani) from the main Kausani circle and both these roads are almost parallel to the mountain range. The road (linking the Anashakti Ashram) is lined with tall pine trees and since the number of vehicles plying in Kausani is less, one can enjoy their walk in total peace. I didn’t have any major thing to do there, so just roamed around the pine forests for 2 days watching the beauty of sunrise and sunset from various locations around. One of the best places where the peaks of Trishul and the entire range can be enjoyed during sunset is from near the KMVN guest house. This guest house is slightly far from the main Kausani circle and it would take

around 30 minutes to walk up to this place. Kausani is probably frequented by Bengalis a lot since there were several signboards written in Bengali all around. The most common signboard was “ekhane bangali khaabar paowa jai” which means “you will get Bengali food here”. As for the food options, you don’t have many choices as such other than the regular options of Chinese, north indian and south indian food which are available in the attached restaurants of all the resorts. Being a trekking enthusiast, I was interested in knowing the places to trek nearby and it seems there are quite a few good treks possible from or through this place – mainly the Adi Kailash trek and the Bageswar Sunderdhanga trek. In fact, within 50-60 kms of Kausani, there are several beautiful places which one can visit like Bageswar, Ranikhet etc. and I was told that the Himalayan ranges are equally captivating from these places. If you have your own vehicle, take a week’s break and you can have your own time visiting all these places at leisure and encompass yourself in the mesmerizing charms of nature. No, doubt, Kausani is generally referred to as the “Switzerland of India”.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mcleodganj and Trek to Triund

[April 24-26, 2009]

Fact file:

Place: Mcleodganj and Triund
Itinerary: Delhi - Dharamshala - Mcleodganj and back to Delhi

Delhi -
Dharamshala: Volvo or TATA AC bus (online book
Fare: Rs. 840.00 by Volvo and Rs. 640.00 by TATA AC (one way).
Buses leave at 20:00 hrs.

Dharamshala to Mcleodganj: 13km (take a taxi or bus)

Place to stay: I prefer staying at Naddi village - 5kms from Mcleodganj, very peaceful place with a nice view of the mountain peaks. Several hotels and resorts are available for stay. Taxi charges Rs. 250.00 from Dharamshala to Naddi village. Hotels are available from Rs. 500.00 - Rs. 2500.00 per night.

Things to do: Visit Dalai Lama temple, St. John's church and
go for walks in the forest. Eat momos and other Tibetan dishes.

Trekking places: Triund (around 9 kms from Mcleodganj and 14 kms from Naddi Village), a 1 day trek

Triund trek route: Naddi - Galu temple -
Triund - Inderhar pass
Mcleodganj -
Dharmakot - Galu temple - Triund - Inderhar pass

If you stay at Naddi village, there are several walking trails in the nearby forests and if you plan to trek to Triund, just ask your hotel and take the forest trail up to Galu temple instead of a drop by vehicle which will cost around Rs. 500.00. Also, you don't need a guide for this trek and you can enjoy the forest and the trek if you are on your own. The trek route is rocky, so have a nice pair of shoes. The trek to Triund is moderate except for the last stretch of 500 meters, so take your time and have a leisure walk. Start early around 6:00 AM and come back peacefully by 3:00 PM. Take lots of water and of course your camera, but I bet that whatever you see up there at Triund would be embedded in your mind for years to come.

It's not everyday that one gets the opportunity to be closer to the Himalayas and being from Bangalore, its probably a dream. I was in Delhi recently for an official work and I had one of the weekends to spare and the urge was to go somewhere in the mountains. The nearest places which I could think of was in Uttarakhand, but it is a pain to reach there if you don't have your own vehicle. If you plan to visit places like Pithoragarh, Kausani, Uttarkashi etc., it takes atleast 18-20 hours of travel by public transport, then it becomes difficult to enjoy the place with just two days in hand. The other option I had was to visit some place in Himachal Pradesh and after a bit of search, I decided to visit Mcleodganj and trek to Triund.

Mcleodganj is a hill station which headquarters the Tibetan Government in exile and is popularly known as the Little Lhasa. It lies on the Dhauladhar range of the majestic Himalayas and it is at a height of around 2082 metres. The entire Mcleodganj area is surrounded by thick forests of chir, pine, rhododendron and himalayan oak and the place is set against a backdrop of high peaks on three sides.

Dharamshala is the transit point to reach Mcleodganj and it takes around 30 minutes by cab from Dharamshala to reach Mcleodganj. From Delhi, it takes around 12 hours to reach Dharamshala by bus and there are regular bus connections which are available. The best and popular option is to take the Volvo run by Himachal Road Transport Corporation ( One can book the tickets online at "". I was not lucky enough to get a seat on the Volvo, but then I could book a ticket on the other bus which is the TATA AC run by HRTC only. The options are available on the online site. Both the buses start from Delhi's ISBT Kashmiri Gate with the Volvo leaving at 8:00PM and the TATA AC leaving 15 minutes later. I boarded the TATA AC bus on friday (24th April) evening and I was expecting the bus ride to be a painful one, but it turned out to be otherwise. The ride was comfortable and by 8:30AM of saturday, I was at Dharamshala. The last stretch of journey through the hills via Kangra to Dharamshala was breathtaking. I had booked a place to stay at Naddi village which was around 17 kms from Dharamshala and 5 kms further up from Mcleodganj. I hired a taxi directly to Naddi village and I was there at the resort by 9:00AM. The resort was very nicely located on the slope of a small hill and from the window of the room, one can have a amazing view of the snow covered peaks of the Himalayas right next to it.

After a quick rest and shower, I was ready to go down to Mcleodganj. I was told that there was a nice walkable path (about 4 kms) from Naddi village to Mcleodganj through thick forests and I decided to take that. The path initially takes you to Dal lake, considered a sacred place and surrounded by deodar trees. On the banks of the lake, one can see a temple too. There was not much water in the lake at this time of the year. Once you cross the lake, you have to go up towards the football ground of the Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) school. Right next to the lake and at the junction of the lake and school, there's a lady who sells aaloo momos - 5 momos for Rs. 10. She seems to have a good business as the students from the school were her main customers. I too tasted the momos and they were really good. Well, I was in the land of momos. Cross the football ground and on the left side, one can see the track through the forest which leads to Mcleodganj. There are no signboards around, so under any confusion, just ask someone out there. The moment you enter the thick forests, u can feel the difference in the air, its just ecstatic. On one side you have the valley on the other side you have the steep slope of the mountain. The last km of the path is on tar road and it took me around 45 minutes to cover the distance to Mcleodganj leisurely. It was lunch time and the hunt started to find a suitable place where I could get to taste Tibetan food. There were several restaurants, but I decided to try a restaurant which was there right at the main circle on the first floor (forgot the name though). Again, tasted veg momos (both steamed and fried ones) and egg chowmein - it was just delicious. Now it was time to visit the Dalai Lama temple complex which was very close by. Several shops selling Tibetan art and literature stuff line both the sides of the streets which lead to the temple. The temple is very beautiful from inside and for the first time, I had the opportunity to rotate the prayer wheels in a monastery. I spent a short but peaceful time in the monastery. The next item on my agenda was to visit the St. John's church which was a km away towards Dharamshala on the main road. It was a very nice walk to the church along the main road lined with deodar trees. The church was built in 1852 and is beautifully located in the midst of deodar groves. The surrounding environment was as peaceful as the temple I visited earlier. The time was now 4 pm and slowly the the body was wearing down and I needed rest for the trek to Triund the next day. I went back to the main Mcleodganj marketplace again, did some buying for the trek and then started my way back to the resort at Naddi village through the same forest path on which I came. A match was on at the TCV football ground when I reached there and it was nice to see a good crowd watching the match. Shortly, I crossed Dal lake and hit the main road towards my resort. It was evening time and there were several people around the Dal lake and on the road. The view of the snow laden peak was awesome and I spent some time sitting on top of a small hillock admiring the beauty of the surroundings. It was getting dark pretty fast and for dinner, I decided to try the veg thuppa (another Tibetan dish) and I found it to be very plain and good, so try it out.

Next day, I started the trek to Triund around 6:45AM. Triund is a nice trekking spot in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas and it is around 9 kms from Mcleodganj. This place is very popular amongst tourists and so it is not very difficult to find details on the net. Depending on the place one stays, there are different options for the trek. The route to Triund from Mcleodganj goes through Dharamkot and Galu temple. The road is motorable upto Galu temple from Mcleodganj and a taxi will charge anywhere between Rs. 350.00 - 500.00 for a drop at Galu temple. Beyond Galu temple, the actual trek path to Triund starts. If somebody wants to save time, they can take the cab, or it would probably be a nice walk too from Mcleodganj to Galu temple. As I was staying at Naddi village, I had initially planned to go to Mcleodganj and then walk down to Galu temple and trek to Triund. But as luck would have it, the manager at the resort told me that there's a nice forest trail of around 4 kms starting right from Naddi village up to Galu temple. I was excited and I decided to take this route instead of going down to Mcleodganj. The trail starts on the road going just opposite Anupam resorts at Naddi village. The walk through the thick forests was very peaceful and invigorating and it took me about an hour to reach Galu temple. The last 1 km of the path to Galu temple is actually on the jeep route which comes from Dharmakot. After taking a short rest at Galu temple, I started for the trek to Triund which was a gradual uphill climb. The sun was slowly rising on the horizon and the air was getting hotter. The trek route is very rocky and one needs to be careful when walking. As I climbed up, the valley below became very clear and the views were an awesome treat for the eyes. On one side of the trail was the valley whereas on the other side, you have the hill and in the front you can see the magnificient views of the hills and the distant towns all around. I was wondering as to how nice it would be to trek when there's lot of snow around. In an hour into the trek, I could see the snow clad peaks in the front. Very soon, I reached almost the half way stage of the trek where there are a couple of tea shops for the tired trekkers. From this point, one can see the destination (a house) atop Triund at a distance with the snow peak as a backdrop. Upto this stage, the trek doesn't seem to be challenging at all and it should be actually a test of stamina for people. The trek path beyond this point became more and more rocky and the steepness of the trail also started to increase. Since there was no snow along the trail, the path could be easily identified. Also, suddenly I could see a lot of other folks also trekking up to Triund. There were many other people also who were coming down from the top. Amongst them, there was a big group of schoolgirls from Pune who were coming down in a line and it was so good to see the enthusiasm of the crowd. Within a short time, I was at Triund top and the majestic view of the snow mountain right in front of your eyes was just breathtaking. I was actually shocked to see so many non-Indians out there with lot of kids. The entire place was filled. The place is probably getting commercialised as you can see a couple of tea stalls out there too. I could locate a slightly secluded place right next to the valley starting point with the peaks right in front of me. It took me 4 hours to climb up to Triund from Naddi village. The trek can be best enjoyed if one walks in a leisurely manner rather than hurrying to reach the top. From Triund, one can still trek further up to Inderhar pass and that would probably take two full days. I stayed at Triund admiring the beauty of the place for around 2 hours and started my trek back down and it took me around 3 hours to reach the resort. It was around 4:00PM and I have to catch my Volvo back to Delhi at 8:00PM from Dharamshala.

That was the end of a short but exciting and wonderful trip to Mcleodganj and Triund. I loved the place and I have already planned to visit the place again sometimes next year but during winter and when lot of snow is there. Also, I plan to do the trek up to Inderhar pass too. The return trip to Delhi by Volvo was comfortable and I was back in the hustle and bustle of life by 7:00AM on Monday. This trip is probably one of the complete trips which can be made from Delhi during the weekend. There are actually many more places ( to see in Mcleodganj and several treks possible, but one needs to spend at least a week out there.