Travel

Hello guys,

So lately I have been traveling and trying a few things here and there. But the last weekend I did something that I had planned since a very long time.

I stay at Chandigarh so I have an easy access to the mountains, the advantage that seems very important to me.

Since I traveled in the month of May, it was very pleasant in Mc Leo as well as Triund. We were three girls who were traveling alone so we had a few apprehensions, but decided to take the plunge!

We started at about 5PM from Chandigarh since we were working on the day we left, and reached at 11PM. The journey of 6 hours has only about 2hours of a hilly drive, the rest is on plains. We stopped for Tea at Zimmidara Dhaba.

When we reached, we insisted on having dinner at Shiva Cafe, but then our driver managed to scare us of all the perils on the way, and quite frankly we were convinced. Two kilometers of walking at 11 in the night didn’t seem doable at a land where we could see only men all around. So we decided to devour our dinner at a cafe on the square.

So there is street food in Mc Leo that you must try. Oh yes – Momos. So as soon as we reached the square, we ordered two plates of momos and you have no idea how our tired souls rejoiced! And I don’t remember the name of the Cafe we went to because literally all the cafes that I have been to in Kasol/Himachal have a similar pricing and great taste, and I do distinguish between all flavours and textures! One doesn’t need to think twice before entering any pretty cafe because chances of it ruining your meal are very very grim. However, if any of you will insist, I’ll try looking for the name. 🙂

With a tummy full of tandoori chicken and chow chow, we were all set to find out Hotel – Greenwoods Inn (see I remember the name!), but after half an hour of a drive to and fromDharamkot we realised we didn’t have a clue. Finally someone nice told us to not follow google maps, and take a different route. I am glad we did because then we found the hotel.

I’d like to make a point here about people from Himachal. I have literally never come across anyone who wanted to cheat or deceive me. This is not to be generalized because I have also taken a lot of measures to stay out of trouble, but if you are prepared well, there is no chance himachal will betray you. Especially for all the girl travelers and solo travelers – have a swiss knife, don’t go out very late, try to figure out as many things over the internet, and you’ll be okay.

Three girls one room. What do you think? Though we were super tired, we managed to stay awake until 3AM, and were very ambitious in making a plan of starting at 7AM. But we woke up at 8, checked out by 10AM with parathas in our tummy, and in about 5mins reached our starting point. We started from Mc Leo, that was an extra 1km trek but what the heck, we had gone for trekking anyway.

About two kms from that point, there was police taking the count of people going for the trek along with taking their govt ID proofs and phone numbers to call back the family in case we die. As much as I have heard from the grapevine, these guys started this initiative after someone stoned jumped from the cliff.

Do stop at places and click pictures because the journey is always mightier than the destination. I know we all like to reach the camping site in a record time, but there’s no point if you can’t enjoy what you are here for – Trekking! Stop at Magic view cafe for sure because as it’s name suggests, it has a magic view, it is the oldest cafe of the place, and because old is gold.

We stopped at Triund only, and didn’t go any further because we were just happy with the place. The view is amazing. On the hill top where you stand, you see a tiny little temple, snow clad mountains on one side, the colorful city on the other, and interspersed colorful tents all around.

The three of us went berserk, we roamed without any sense of direction, we sang, got drenched in the rain a bit, lied down on the grass to see the sky from a bit closer, ate, and ate and ate.

So this is not a primitive sort of a trek where one doesn’t have food and people. It is the “yo” kind of trek that has a LOT of people, nutella pancakes, gatorade, rajma chawal and chai. You can call it the trek of the rich and the inexperienced, although a little not so rich people like me could also easily afford it. I say rich because they have demands, and they can place orders here for what they want (Although if you are rich, don’t push it too much, you might be denied food!)

In the night it was chilly, even in the month of May and do carry sweaters and jackets. You can also rent extra blankets from the guys who have given you the tent. Also our tent was on slope, so we were slipping down constantly. So if you guys think you have a trouble in getting a good night’s sleep, have your tent on a plain.

For girls, the biggest challenge is where to pee, because we HAVE to pee in the open. And with the place full of people, it becomes a challenge. Also, please carry toilet paper.

The next morning we had a nice glass of lemon honey, strategically found a place to pee and started our descent at about 7AM. We had our breakfast in the magic view cafe – omelette and tea. One of my very enthusiastic friends wanted to take a detour to Bhagsu, and so we did. The path was definitely more worse than the regular trek, and I’d recommend it to you only if you are an absolute trek enthusiast, and felt that Triund was a simple trek.

We found our way to Bhagsu by 12.30PM, and since Shiva Cafe is very close to Bhagsu, we went to Shiva Cafe first. Now this was “the cafe” of Mc Leo but it had nothing to eat. They fed us with knorr soups, bad pancake, but definitely a good ambiance. We then left for bhagsu. After all the trek, Bhagsu was blissful. We took a bath with our clothes on, and enjoyed the icy cold water. I paid a visit to the tiny old Bhagsu Nath temple on the way, and then shopped a bit.

We finally sat in the cab, and trust me I had never felt more comfortable in a Swift Dzire.

The cab driver took us to the main square, where he parked and we walked a bit to see the local market and the monastery. The local market is very vibrant with street kids, foreigners settled in this part of the land, monks walking everywhere, some of them asking for bheeksha, and of course the lovely weather to make other things more alluring.

A sweet guy Steve, settled in this part of the world from the US, was selling this hat, and while I was trying offered to click this picture. We really find the sweetest of people in Himachal.

We had thugpa and apple cinnamon at khana Nirvana, where we had to rush because it had started to rain. It was a comfortable cafe, but the food was a little on the expensive side.

On our way to the temple it started to rain again, and two wonderful monks shared their umbrellas with us till the monastery. On my way, I asked him about his monk journey, and he opened up! He said that he had a girlfriend for whom he worried, so at the age of 20 he decided to be a monk. Does care and worry teach nothing to us that we need to shun it completely? I still wonder.

We finally got some momos packed for our journey and left. It was one of the most paisa wasool trip of my life. 🙂

MONEY MATTERS

Conveyance: Cab – Swift Dzire. Chandigarh – Mc Leodganj – Chandigarh (2N/3D). It took INR 7000 (Including toll and driver’s night charges)

Hotel: Just a one night stay on Friday @Greenwoods Inn for INR1200.

Trekking: Trekked on Saturday. Started at 11AM, and reached the base at about 3PM. Got tents, including sleeping bags, for INR300 per person.

Shopped: Harrem pants for INR200. Cotton Kurta INR175. (I don’t think it could get any cheaper than this!)

Travel

Well if you are in that lucky state where you can choose the company for your next trip, I have a few pros and cons listed here. Do let me know if you think I have missed out on something.

The good things about a girls trip are
1. You are more comfortable with them, if you know what kind of people they are. In my case, the other two girls were crazier than me so I was super comfortable. They didn’t really question me when I wanted my lone time, they sort of understood. Also since the three of us were heartbroken so we had a good theme to discuss.
2. You click more pictures than you think. Now most guys always question when you click a selfie or make you feel embarassed if you click too many. Here, one of us always wanted a picture here and there so everyone was super comfortable.
3. All girls understand diet food. Even though most guys do, they think that it is uncool to talk about healthy food, so we generally end up eating some trash.

A few drawbacks of a girls trip are
1. Security. Now no matter how nice the place is, a girl cannot really hang out alone outside. Infact when we reached Mc Leo, I could only see men. I was so confused but later figured that it was only because we reached at 11PM.

2. Guys EAT. Yes, I have this problem because I eat a lot, and I am used to seeing people around who eat even more. But girls don’t eat that much, and the only person who could match my appetite was our taxi driver.

3. We can relax more. So it is a habit of men to take the charge, navigate, guide, know, talk to the receptionist, check the facilities etc. We could do all that but somehow you can behave like a queen when they are around. Nevertheless, we had fun doing all of this. 🙂

4. Mediate fights: A few of my girl friends went on a girl trip, and came back home with so many disturbances. But we can’t be

At the end of this post, my verdict would be “Yay!”

But of course you know your friends, you know your outlook, and also you know your options (I know a lot of girls don’t go for all girls trips). So decide what you want, all girls, mixed or solo, but at the end of the day – do travel.