New Year, Sun and Snow in Triund

This season of 2014 January Triund and mountains of Himalayan range have received good level of snow (as appears by current pattern of snow fall) and particularly for Continue reading

Illaqa to Lahesh Cave

mineral water on the way of Lahesh Cave a head Laka Glacier

Illaqa to Lahesh Cave

As we reached the centre of Illaqa we were welcomed by in-bounding thick  fog with visibility of 5 to 10 meters. Now we were dependent on the Cairn.

Thick Fog on the way to Indrahar Pass(I recalled the night of Dec 15th-16th 2012 when in snow I’d lost my way here while attempting to reach Lahesh Cave and had to take shelter under a rock  makeshift cave and to save myself from cold…and initiate a night run to SnowLine Cafe. Well that was a lesson and I learned that I’m not experienced in trekking in dark and need to work on that.)

I asked Gordon to sit and wait for me and went further searching for Red Arrow markings. At one moment the thick fog forced me to think whether we’ll be able to reach even Lahesh Cave or not. But I kept searching for the “Om” symbol and Red Arrow markings and was lucky to spot the arrows and finally the “Om” symbol.

mineral waterIt took more than 45 minutes for us to spot the markings and then only we were able to resume our Lahesh Cave trail. We refilled our water bottles from the Mineral Water Stream coming right from the Glaciers of Dhauladhar Mountain.

From that point it was a smooth climb even in thick fog but we were not overconfident and were stepping up cautiously.  I told Gordon that in Dec 17th 2012, it was the same trail where I’d lost my Sleeping bag in snow.

Gordon Cole making his way to Lahesh CaveBut this time I was confident and we reached Lahesh Cave at 10:00 AM. The Glacier on the opposite ridge of Lahesh Cave had shrunk to smaller size and the strength of waterfall was also considerably weak.Entrance of Lahesh CaveWe sat up on the huge rock of Lahesh Cave and eat “Parle-G” Glucose biscuits and Gordon was not happy with cave. For him this was not a cave. He kept on defining what a cave is like and I was listening to him and also enjoying. Well after some time Gordon started video recording the flow of waterfall and started enjoying the surrounding.

Lahesh Cave and Glacier WaterFallThe fog was still thick and now our concern was the group of Manu Singh Panwar. We were not sure on seeing this type of dense fog they will come up for Indrahar trail. But we were optimistic, so we waited for them and in the mean time enjoyed the Fog and mystique sounds of waterfall (sounds like of some girl singing with the flow of water).

Beauty of Dhauladhar MountainsAround 30 minutes later we heard some voices…they were shouting…..hearing them we shouted back since it was not possible to see in thick fog. We shouted about the directions for Lahesh Cave, so that they could follow our voice.

It took another 30 minutes and we saw two silhouettes appearing in distance and realized that it was Manu Singh and his friends….but wait we saw only two and we’d met four of them in SnowLine Cafe.

We could see only Manu Singh and Vicky but Nirpender Singh and Kirit were not in scene. Vicky shouted that they had lost traces of two of their friends. Now that was not good. Our eyes tried to scan around through the fog but no use. (During trekking or hiking never get separated from the group)

We kept on looking for them and then Gordon pointed towards waterfall. We were able to spot Nirpender and his friend and that was relaxing. Now we were a group of 6 persons ready for Indrahar Pass and with the blessings of Dhauladhar Mountain the dense fog was not causing any trouble and from Laka Glacier waterfall we started our unplanned Indrahar Pass trek

SnowLine Cafe from Triund Hill

SnowLine Cafe from Triund Hill

August 18th 2013 by 06:00 am we were prepared and ready to leave….for SnowLine Cafe (Though I’d planned to take Gordon up to Lahesh Cave beyond SnowLine Cafe and Illaqa). The morning sky above Dharamsala and Kangra was cloudy but something bit of different from the sky above Triund Hill (Sometimes we see city sky cloudy but often it is not same up in high mountains). The morning sky above Dharamsala and KangraAs we moved upward and took the first turn to SnowLine Cafe we saw family of Red Jungle fowl gliding towards the water source in the ridge of Triund Hill Continue reading

Triund Hike August

Triund Rainbow

Triund Hike August

We started our Triund Hike on August 17th 2013 at 10:00 am and with brilliant views and company of fellow tourists and hill walkers we reached the top by 12:00 pm. Though monsoon was in full swing we found plenty of tourists in Triund Hill, some were climbing enjoying the drizzle on the trail and some were preparing to head back to hot and humid city plains. The shield of dense fog was preventing the view of Dhauladhar Mountains and it was some movie like scene in Triund with fog all over and visibility up to 10 to 15 meters. Though everything was same still fog effect was making a great moment for the silhouette shots. Rest House of the Himachal Forest Department was reserved up to next three days and we still had not made any arrangement for our one night stay. We headed towards Sunil Tea Shop for lunch and noticed newly set up temple dedicated to Lord SHIVA. After setting up our place for stay we had our lunch and then it was time for more of rain and fog. The play of fog was showcasing amazing views of Triund landscape. After rains we walked to meet Lalu and there we met the youngest and courageous trekkers seen till now.

Father of Sumit DattaGordon got himself engaged playing with little black puppy in the shop of Lalu and I was standing watching Mun Peak of Dhauladhar. The western sky was opening up slowly and we saw two tourists/hikers coming from SnowLine Cafe….as they passed by we asked where to they been and they said the “PASS, Indrahar Pass”. By the time Gordon also joined me. We were discussing about Mountains in England (Gordon is from England). As we were chatting and enjoying ourselves, sun rays pierced through the clouds and lit up  a small part of Triund right in front of the shop of Lalu. Magic Rays in TriundThe mix of Blue tent, Green grass and Sun rays was the best view of the day and in the distant on the Eastern side we noticed a faint Rainbow (I’d been to Triund many times but this was my and Gordon’s first sighting of Rainbow).

Triund RainbowA moment later as the sun was going down in western horizon the rays were doing magic with Dhauladhar Mountain and then came another brilliant view of the day with angular sun rays over the trail of Indrahar Pass over Lahesh Cave and clouds throwing dark shade on the edges of Dhauladhar Mountain and Indrahar Pass (The words can’t do the justice to the moment and view you experience with your own eyes and soul).

Final Steps of Magic Show by Clouds with Sun raysAfter sun set we headed to Sunil Tea Shop and there we met two tourists from Finland and they were planning for another walk up to SnowLine Cafe and also asked if we were interested. Gordon looked at me with questioning eyes and then I put down my words “If I go to Snow Line Cafe, I’ll be tempted for more….!” Sunil served us Dal and Chawal and after dinner we headed to sleep. My mind was playing with decisions whether to go to Snowline Cafe or return and after arriving at the conclusion, I suggested Gordon to set up an Alarm for 05:00 am for the next morning and went to sleep. In the middle of night it started raining and while asleep I wished it should continue to rain till morning. Well it was 04:30 AM and I was up but still in bed….it was not raining and I heard the sounds of birds and raven. I got out of the bed and refreshed myself and asked Gordon to get ready. There were other tourists too from Delhi and they wanted to photograph the sun rise, but seeing the clouds in the East I doubted a clear sunrise. By 06:00 AM we were prepared and ready to leave….for SnowLine Cafe (I’d planned to take Gordon up to Lahesh Cave beyond SnowLine Cafe and Illaqa)……!

Through Rain and Fog

Magic View of Bhagsunag from Magic View Cafe

On August 17th 2013 at 10:00 am we (Gordon Cole) decided to meet up in Sun & Moon Cafe behind Gallu Devi Temple above Bhagsunag and 2km ahead of Dharamkot.

We had planned a Triund hike through possible rain and thick fog, so after having tea and noodles at Sun & Moon Cafe, we started our climb. As usual plenty of tourists were heading to Triund Hill. The views as expected were brilliant with light fog all over. But the rain was still absent.

We were in no hurry and after 1 hour climb we arrived at Magic View Cafe and paused there for a cup of tea and as the name suggest the view of Bhagsunag and Dharamsala from there were magical with Fog and Clouds acting as frames on both sides of Bhagsunag and in the centre Bhagsunag was all clear with green fields, trees, stream that flows out from Bhagsu Waterfall and concrete buildings.

Magic View of Bhagsunag from Magic View Cafe

Indrahar pass

Indrahar Pass ahead Laka and Triund

Indrahar Pass

Indrahar Pass a mountain Pass at an altitude of 4,342 metres (14,245 ft) beyond Triund Hill, Snow-Line Cafe and Illaqa, a traditional gateway to Chamba/Bharmour from Dharamsala. When there was no road connectivity the people of Chamba and Kangra used Indrahar Pass to travel both side and it was not only for hikers, whole of the families used to migrate from this route and due to heavy snow in those days they even had to come across causalities and more.  Though today with the convenience of roads and public transport all have switched to bus and other means of transport. So now a days during summer and monsoon in search of green pastures for their live-stocks, only Gaddi shepherds use this pass to cross over to Holi, Bharmour and Lahaul Spiti and they are joined by hikers and mountaineers.

Kuwarasi in Chamba district is the first village you will come across if you start your hike from Dharamsala, Triund and Indrahar Pass.

Indrahar Pass Triund Baba

Triund Hill Pilgrimage

Triund Pilgrimage in 2012

This summer of 2012 Triund Hill has turned up to be some like a favorite place for a sort of a delightful pilgrimage and people from all walks of life are showing up every day in number of 20 to 40. Some are coming without guide, some are coming with guides and porters carrying tents, sleeping bags and food supplies and then there are solo trekkers and some are couples in love, some are even new ones who are coming to Triond for the first time and counting their every breath on every step towards Triyund or Triund Hill. The Rest House of Forest Department is reserved every day.

Once you reach the top of Triund, you are welcomed by the majestic view of partly snow clad and glaciated Mighty Dhauladhar and Triund occupied by colorful tents and different people from all over the World.

On our Lunch in Triund on May 30th 2012, we noticed activities in Triund something like this: –

  • Though most of the foreign tourists hesitate or don’t prefer to indulge with locals but then there are a few who initiate conversation with locals and share their feelings with each other.
  • There are plenty of dogs who come along with the tourists all the way from McLeodganj and stay in Triund.
  • City tourists exclaim with joy on seeing the Mighty Dhauladhar and the beauty of Triund and they even stand on the edge of the hill and try to catch the faint signals of the mobiles service providers so that they could call and tell their relatives back at home, “Where they are standing and how happy they are feeling for being on the top of Triund and seeing the snow clad Mighty Dhauladhar!”
  • Some tourists just sit and read a book, some play cards and the ones in groups indulge in a sort of group discussion.
  • Then there are the shopkeepers who are busy in preparing noodles or tea for the tourists who have just arrived. The supervisor of the Forest Department Rest House is busy in helping the guests.
  • Then there are couples who are in love, they just need a peaceful, secluded point right in front of the Mighty Dhauladhar and prefer to be lost in each other.
  • Some tourists planning to trek beyond Triund up to Illaka and the Lahesh Caves and are in constant discussion with each other.
  • The shepherds are also busy and moving upward to Illaka, laka or Illaqa in search of green pastures.
  • The city tourists are very curious to see the glacier in snowline point above Illaka and some are more eager to see the eagle nest.
  • Then there is news of bear sightings on the upper reaches of Triund.
  • Most of the tourists are still careless are and not good to Nature and are throwing garbage on the trail to Triund.
  • We still observed that the treks to Triund are again trashed, tourists have thrown plastic water bottles, beer tin cans, chocolate wafers, energy drink tin cans, on the trek and down in the hills and even the mountain cleaners are not doing their job honestly as they claim.