Cost – 8000 INR inclusive of travel from Delhi in Volvo, all meals and guide
Trek level - Easy to moderate till Lhasa caves and difficult from there on to Indrahar pass
Duration – 3 days
Guide – Uttamchand ( the popular name is Django and have over 45 years of trekking experience) and his son Sachin (very helpful and energetic).
Essentials to carry – Raincoat or Poncho, medicines for altitude sickness, enough water, and energy drink, snacks, lighter or match boxes, socks, jackets and a lot of courage.
As the quote says “Don’t listen, Go see” – I would apologize because my camera has not justified the true essence of the scenic beauty in its images. We reached Mcleodganj on a weekday and started our trek on Friday after one full day of rest and local sightseeing of the beautiful hamlet in the hill. I would suggest passing the Triund part of the trek before the weekend as it gets really crowdy and noisy. Unless you are a pro trekker I would advise not to travel to Indrahar solo because the trek gets really difficult and the road gets very confusing after Lhasa caves (during the monsoons the rain just adds to the strenuous quotient in the trek). Our guide advised us to take raincoats and some altitude medicines with us as it gets tough to acclimatize in such a small duration. I would like to mention my friend (Jaya – you deserve a special mention) who encouraged my way to the top and the most faithful friend a man can get (a Himalayan dog) who accompanied me to the top.
We started around 7 am from Mcleodganj Chowk and reached Gallu Devi Temple in a booked cab (cost you around 400 INR). This will actually save time and effort before the trek actually starts. The temple is the last motorable spot before the trek. After registering our names we started our uphill walk towards our first destination – Triund. Our guide asked us not to waste much time in Triund because we have to make it to Lhasa caves in a single day otherwise the next day trek to Indrahar will get tougher. Soon we found ourselves walking through rocks on one side and rhododendron trees on another. We made our way through wet rocks and dried leaves. Soon we reached a waterfall from where we filled our bottles nad the view is just started getting stunning. After a refreshing drink, we started our trek once again and reached a café where we have tea and some biscuits. After a daunting 3.5 hours of trek, we reached Triund and were really amazed at the view. The clouds and fog have made the mountains more serene. We didn’t waste much time and soon trekked our way towards Snowline café.
The road gets a bit easier from here. We found green meadows and flat walking areas to pass and soon reached the café where we find many fellow travelers were camping. Don’t miss the small water pond just behind the café. The backdrop of mountains and trees makes the water heavenly. Just after the café, there is another café called Mountain quest café which is the last recognized café on the way up. After we passed the area the weather started getting worse with clouds accumulating over the mountains which signaled rain was approaching. You will find a small café with posters of “Youth organization” on the way. They charged us 80 INR for a bottle of water. We increased our speed but unfortunately as soon as we reached close to the Lhasa caves from where the trek actually gets difficult it started raining. We ascended with our backpacks on our back in the strong rain. The rocks got wet and the soil under our feet started eroding. It was getting really frustrating with heavy rain pouring over our heads and we couldn’t find a little shelter. We all got wet but fortunately made it to the caves before 5 pm. We were totally exhausted once we reached the cave. Soon we prepared our dinner and closed the day after some clicks as the weather got cleared. We planned to start our trek early next day as we have to come down before the afternoon as rain was predicted.
We started our day around 7 am after having breakfast. As I started my trek after 15 minutes, I started feeling dizzy and I thought maybe I was trying harder. I rested a bit and fortunately, it was getting better but the route was getting much difficulty.
I literally had to crawl my way even though one can find distorted steps made of rocks by the Gaddi shepherds. (A local tribe who travels each day across Indrahar pass over the snow and reach Chamba district on the other side). Halfway through the trek, we have to cross a frozen waterfall which was very difficult because it is very steep and we have to make our way with axes to fit our shoes. One has to very careful because one wrong step and you can slide down almost 500m through the broken and slippery snow.
Once we cross the snow, the rocky terrain continued. You can spot different species of ferns and flora (beautiful small yellow flowers surrounded our way). After bruising my elbow, slipping a lot more times than I expected I reached the top and the breathtakingly stunning from the top just worth every pain. Soon I traversed a bit sideways and reached the small mountain goddess placed at the top. It had taken 3.5 hours for me to reach the top from Lhasa caves. The other side was full of snow and there are no traces of any human as far as my eyes could see. I cherished the moment for some time and imbibed the fresh Himalayan air. One will literally feel above cloud nine here.
The scenic view engulfed me and made me speechless. After some clicks, I started descending downwards and it was not that easy as I expected. You need to have strong knees because it gets very strenuous to control your descent
After 2.5 hours we reached the caves and then we soon descended to Snowline café where we camped for the night before our final descent to Mcleodganj. On the final day, we started around 6 am and reached Mcleodganj Chowk around 11 am.