I am finally back from my much needed vacation to Himachal Pradesh. Though it was a five day long trip,yet it seemed to pass by so quickly that I was left yearning for more.The mountainous Himalayas,the breath-taking views,the scenic routes and the company of some great friends made my trip mesmerizing.I really wish I had a time machine,so that I could relive the beautiful days again and again. However,this is no Hogwarts,so owning a time machine is quite not possible(neither practical). 😛 But as I write this post, I am getting a chance to reminiscence the picture perfect days of my trip and it feels as good as travelling back in time.
There were six of us in the trip,me,Bharti,Harshada,Ankur,Priyavrat(Priya)and Geetika(Geetu).Before I dive into the details of the first day,let me give you a brief background of the people involved and how we came together and planned the trip. Harshada and I (both of us work together) were travelling from Pune,Geetu(Bharti’s sister) from Hyderabad and Ankur and Priya(Bharti’s friends) and Bharti from Chandigarh. Bharti being our mutual friend,we decided to make a stay at her place(in Chandigarh) before we head on our road trip.So,as per present trip norms,we formed a whatsapp group a month before the trip so that all of us can interact and plan our travel and get to know each other.
A day before the trip,i.e on 28th April,2017,Harshada,Geetu and I took our respective flights to Chandigarh. The one month of excitement,anticipation and day dreaming was finally taking its shape.Also,there was the eagerness of reuniting with an old friend(Bharti) and making some new ones (Ankur,Priya and Geetu).As scheduled,Harshada and I reached Chandigarh at 5 PM in the evening. Geetu arrived the next morning at 4 AM ( 2 hours before the trip started),as her flight was till Delhi and she was unable to find a connecting transport to Chandigarh on time(courtesy to the long weekend).
After a warm welcome and evening snacks at Bharti’s place,we went to Sukhna Lake where we met Priya. The evening passed by chatting and revisiting old days.We returned back home,had a yummy dinner prepared by Bharti’s mom,indulged in some late night talks and then crashed for the night as we had to start early next morning.
The next morning,i.e. 29th April,we all were ready and packed to leave by 6.00 AM.We had booked a seven seater Toyota Innova for our trip. Due to delay from the cab driver’s end,it was 8 by the time we left Chandigarh.This day we met Ankur,the sixth and final member of our trip. As soon as we all met,it felt like we had known each other for ages and no where it seemed as if some of us were meeting for the first time.The road trip started with all of us blabbering,cracking jokes,fighting for desired seats and playing our choicest music.As I look back to the day,it seems I am remembering the scenes of a well-formed movie and such was the start of the mind-blowing five days of our trip.
The first destination was McLeod Ganj,Dharamshala in Himachal. As we were already delayed while leaving Chandigarh,we decided to have breakfast on our way.After all,the trip would have been incomplete without gorging on some delicious dhaba food <3.We stopped at a small dhaba in Una (a district in Himachal Pradesh that shares its border with the Hoshiarpur District and Rupnagar district of Punjab) and had a full filling breakfast comprising of ‘tandoori parathas’ and ‘curd’.It was 11.00 AM by the time we left the dhaba,so we decided not to make any further stops till we reach Dharamshala.
As soon as we started nearing our first destination,the beauty of the Himalayan mountains began to unfold and we were caught up in the spell of the snow-capped mountains,the cool wind and the Pine tree forests.On our way we also had a religious sighting of a group of married women,all dressed in yellow ensemble walking down the streets carrying ‘matkas’,heading for some traditional ritual.I couldn’t stop myself from taking out my camera and clicking as many pictures as I can of the beautiful roads,the gigantic mountains,the panoramic views and the lovely people.Few of the pictures in the blog are taken from Ankur’s iPhone,where I was not quick enough to take out the DSLR and click the picture on time(Thank you Ankur for helping me out with the same!!).
It was 2.00 in the afternoon by the time we checked into ‘Hotel Aakriti’.All the bookings were done in advance and we had carried enough water bottle crates,juices,energy drinks and snacks to last throughout the journey as we had long travel hours.All these arrangements were looked after by Priya and thanks to him the trip went by quite smoothly.It was 3.00 by the time we freshened up and left the hotel to explore the town.Our plan was to visit the Bhagsunag temple and the waterfall and then explore the markets of McLeod Ganj,Dharamshala in the evening.
Bhagsunag is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is 2km from the town of McLeod Ganj. From the temple,a trek of about 1.5 km leads you to the Bhagsunag waterfall,where cold water springs out of the fall and the enthralling view from the top leaves you spell bound. Instead of driving till the temple we decided to park our car in the market area and walk to the fall. That way we got to explore the place in a better way.
Before we began our trek,we had our meal in the Mc’llo restaurant situated in the main market square.If you are here,do visit the place for some authentic Tibetan food and take a seat on the top floor of the restaurant for the cool view.Once we were finished feasting on a sumptuous meal comprising of Thukpa( must try),Pizza,Veg Noodles and cold coffee,we started walking towards our destination.Talking, singing, clicking pictures we finally reached the water fall. As soon as we were there,we removed our shoes and dipped our feet in the cold water. The water was so cold that it felt like standing barefoot on shards of ice.However,no matter how cold the water was,we thoroughly enjoyed the part.There are stalls on the top where you can have the famous ‘pahado wali maggi’ and ‘hot coffee’ to beat the cold.
We spent few hours on the top and then made our way back to visit the market area.On the way down you will find small stalls selling trinkets,silver jewelleries,warm clothes,jackets etc. There are many stalls selling colorful dream catchers as well,and if you are good at bargaining,then you can get all this stuff at reasonable rates. 😉
After roaming around in the market for few hours and having a dinner of ‘pahadi momos’,we called it a day and left for the hotel.Later at night we gathered in Ankur and Priya’s room to play the card and board games that we had carried along with us. As the day ended,we bonded some more,talking,making fun of each other,playing and having some serious life discussions. So,at the end of Day 1,we were no more strangers,but great friends in making and with this the first episode of the my Himachal travel blog comes to an end.
There are many other spots like the monasteries and Dharamshala stadium which you can visit.However, as we had only five days in our hand and lots of places to cover,we decided to visit the ones we found the most interesting.Clearly,one day is not enough to explore the beauty of Dharamshala. So, before visiting do research on the places you want to cover and plan accordingly.
As of now I will stop writing here. Check out the pictures of Day 1 below and leave your lovely comments and feedback. I will soon be back with other posts from my Himachal travel diaries. 🙂
Till then,HAPPY WEEKEND !! 🙂 🙂