I had read about Lahaul and Spiti in a book अरे यायावर रहेगा याद (Arey Yayavar Rahega Yaad ) a long time back . Though I don’t remember much details now, but visiting the place became a ‘thing to do before I die’ for me. I love trekking in mountains, but never had the opportunity to do so in way that I like. So when a chance came up to visit the place on a solo trekking trip, I dropped everything else for this .
The place is remote, rugged and not easy to travel compared to most other tourist destinations. So it took some preparation, physical as well as material. One needs good stamina for trekking specially at that altitude of 4000m +. Just lifting weights and beefing up muscles is not the solution. I could write something on this but I’m hardly an expert and this blog is not the place for this topic either. Choosing luggage, tools etc was another area where I had very little experience in. I browsed a lot of websites, asked a lot of silly questions but managed to gather a list which could help me survive the trip. I picked up a 70 litres rucksack, sleeping bag, multi-tool from Delhi and bought propane stove, tent, mat, ready to eat meals, etc from Manali. This was in addition to the other stuff that one carries like clothes, first-aid kit, high energy snacks etc.
I reached Manali on 15th August via a Volvo bus. Now I’m thinking of avoiding these buses operated by private operators as they are generally in poor condition, seats are mismanaged and the staff is rude and stupid. Even that bus ride was late by 2-3 hours and reached Manali by 11:30 am. Continue reading
This is 6th post in this series of posts describing my visit Mcleodganj. Other posts are on this link.
The day begun with An joining me for a breakfast of parantha, omelette and tea in a small eating joint. She wanted to sample only Indian food that day. Parantha was too salty for my taste and tea too sugary for her. Most foreigners don’t like the sweet milky concoction which passes for tea in India. Tibetan tea is mostly a mixture of herbs in boiling water or they drink salty butter tea. Start wasn’t good enough but we had a lot of time to sample food from other places.
Our plan for the day was a trek to that waterfall in Dharmkot. It isn’t even mentioned in most tourist guides but whatever I had inferred, it promised to be one of the best places to visit. I had thought about seeing it twice in previous two days but it had proven elusive. I know, elusive isn’t the right word for something stationary, but still… Continue reading
Other posts in this series of posts are on this link.
On day three I got out of hotel room and walked in market for a while before entering a cafe for breakfast. Took the road to Dharmkot again and met the same man I had asked for directions in lower Dharmkot village previous day. He had come this far just to get some work done in a bank. He gave some more tips regarding shortcuts and paths.
Easier part of the trek
I found another trail and took it which led to a canine breeding compound full of menacing looking dogs. A pair which looked like Pitbull was in a steel wire enclosure. They didn’t seem very happy to see me and and I hurried on my way. Continue reading
This is my 4th post in the series of posts describing my visit to McLeodganj. First 3 parts are in this link.
Way to Dharmkot
After lunch of momos, I took the road to Dharmkot. It’s a steep climb for quite a distance as you may observe in the picture. After walking for a while, I left the road and took a less traveled trail which passed through heavily wooded area. Massive Deodar trees formed such a dense canopy that no sunlight reached the ground below. The place not only looked good but smelled great too. Fresh fragrant air :)
After some time I met a Tibetan man walking and asked him for directions. He guided me to point where trail ended on a bend on main road to Dharmkot. He owned a small shop there. Walking on main road was not as serene but at least it had some great views. After walking for more than 90 minutes, I reached a point, where 3 paths diverged.Continue reading
This is 3rd post in a series of posts describing my visit to Mcleodganj. You can read previous posts on this link.
Day two started with me waking up at 8 am and getting out of the hotel approximately half an hour later. Walking through the market, I came across one small restaurant named Peace with a Korean flag on the door. It claimed to be completely vegetarian Curious, I entered to check out the menu. There were 5-6 tables, all except 1 of which were occupied by foreigners. Owners of the place certainly didn’t look Tibetan but I didn’t ask.
I browsed through the menu and ordered Tibetan white and brown bread with butter along with herbal tea. I had no idea what they looked or tasted like. My eating out is almost always like this. :)
Tibetan white bread turned out to be soft, puffy and slightly salty while the brown was hard. White bread tasted great with butter. Herbal tea was a bit of disappointment in the form of a tea-bag in a glass of hot water. For some reason, I never liked teabags.
Bhagsu Nag spring
After finishing, I walked to the town square again and took the road to Bhagsu. It’s walk of 30-40 minutes. My first destination was spring near Bhagu Nag temple. As with most of natural caves, springs etc, this place too has been robbed of it’s natural beauty by mindless construction and commercialisation. People have added shops, marble, concrete etc on and around old stone work and even constructed a swimming pool right next to it. If you are looking for a place to enjoy serenity of nature, skip it. Place is heavily congested and crowded.
This is second post of my series of posts describing my visit to McLeodganj. First part is here.
Coming back to the road, I started walking back towards McLeodganj when I came across a a small trail going upwards which I thought led to another road above. I was right in this assumption, but I wasn’t 100% sure if it led back to the town. Nevertheless, I kept walking. I wasn’t really sure about where to go next. I thought about walking to Dal lake, which didn’t seem too far away according to the map that I was carrying. But I was wary of visiting so many places in one day and getting bored during rest of my stay. A few minutes later I came across a foreign tourist who asked me directions to some place in broken heavily accented English. Then she showed me pictures of the place she wanted to go on her phone. It seemed like Dal lake but I was not 100% sure. So I asked an aged local who was walking by. He was fairly certain that it was Dal lake and told us that it was about 2 km away.
Dal lake in Mcleodganj
2km didn’t sound that far to me and I asked her if I could tag along with her to which she accepted happily. Turns out that she was a retired dance teacher from Taiwan who had came to Mcleodganj to study Buddhist Lama teachings and to learn yog Continue reading