Tuesday, November 08, 2005


For a long time , i wanted to go to the mountains but then things came up. Sometimes a new posting , sometimes family business and it took me some time to make up my mind. I didnt have much time so i decided upon TRIUND - LLAKA GLACIER as the destination. I have been to place once so i didnt plan much.

Like many things, its difficult to plan and start and we were no exception. I clubbed with a college time friend, Arun for the trek. We booked a Himachal Tourism Luxury bus which started from Chandralok Building at Janpath. Though later we realized that a 14 hour bus journey is never really luxurious.
Meet the team:

Out of the 7 people in the picture only Arun (centre) was to join me for the trek.
We started at 5.30 Pm from the meeting point and were soon engaged in some serious conversation about every topic we could think of. Time actually flied and then we got hungry. Antra (third from left) was worried about the kind of food we will get at the Roadside Dhaba. I love the dhaba food but over the years the dhaba culture has changed. Now you can see spanky lighting, and decorated interiors and giant pepsi coke hoardings instead of the rubber wrapped 'charpaie' and simple village ambiance.
(This is where we had our dinner. Dhaba in its new avatar.)

We reached Dharamsala at around 6 next morning. The temperature was cold for somebody coming from delhi. But we were adequately dressed for the ocassion and soon were on our way to the forest office at dharamsala where we were supposed to book the rest house at Triund . on top of the ridge ( Height: 2700m). But the day was a national holiday because of ID. However we took our chances and came to the conclusion that the the rest house would be empty and we will bribe our way into it without booking.
Treks challange people. And perhaps that was the reason that people from the bus journey joined us for the trek. We hired a guide (Raaja) from a local travel agency and got our sleeping bags and mats.
The dogs you see in hills are different. They are calm just like the humans out there and are very friendly. Some of them go with you all the way to the top. This one was particulary friendly and i think he showed me the way in the dark.

We soon climbed our way to the Ghelu Temple from where the trail actually starts. The route to ghelu temple was a pretty uphill climb and soon we were tired and out of breath. We were making slow progress.
After working our way upto the mid way point ( The magic view cafe ) we took rest and had some snacks. Its better to stock your bags from the town as the rates go up in proportion as you gain altitude. But paying 4o rs for a maggi doesnt pinch people as trekkers can appreciate the effort it takes to get stuff to the top.
I was worried at magic view cafe as it was getting dark and we were moving slow. I and the guide had a torch each but mine somehow didnt work and the guide didnt have batteries. I gave the batteries to the guide as he was sweeping the group from behind and was consantly motivating people to move fast.

It was around 5.30 and we were still one hour from the top. The sun was setting fast behind the hills. Mountains change colors.
From a beautiful landscape it turned scary when the lights were off. The guide was far behind and people in between the guide and me didnt know the trail. I and arun decided to move fast leaving rest of the people behind to try get to the top while it was visible. We thought that once anyone of us reached the ridge we could ask people on top for help. I reached the ridge in time while it was still visible and asked campers for lamps and help came without delay. After dropping my backpack , i rushed down again and found people from the group. Fortunately things didnt turn as bad as they could and all of us reached the ridge safely.
Our calculations about the probability of the rest room being not completely booked went wrong and we were seeking shelter frantically as it was getting cold. One of the chaukidaars helped us with a single room for 6 of us. I think that after the trek to triund, some of the group members changed mind and wanted to go no further but its always a personnal decision on the mountains to go or stay.
I and arun planned to get up early in the morning and take some snaps and then head up
to the next stop. The llaka glacier. The snowline here is the lowest in India. We took some
snaps at Triund and after having our breakfast headed up.

The path ahead was as steep as can be handled without scrambling. However the Guide was moving up like a mountain goat with his hands in his pocket and we were finding it difficult to catch up with him. We took turns making excuses to stop for a minute after small intervals.

We reached the snowline in about 1.5 hours from triund. Being early winters and no snow, the glacier had retreated. We relaxed and had some snacks. Our guide showed us a nice spot. A natural refridgerator. A snow cave where we spent our next half hour and then headed back. The interiors of the cave were at freezing point and the ice which was melting under the sun was getting converted back to ice after the droplets fell on the rocks inside the cave. It was time for another biscuit break. We though about our chances to go to Lahes caves which was another one hour from the glacier but then decided against it as the rest of the members were waiting at triund for us and we had a 7 pm bus to catch.

We had oor lunch at triund and then headed back for dharamsala for the bus back home.

To view all the photos
check out this link.


All photos copyright hitesh sharma . All photos have been taken with a Canon EOS 300x with 28-90 mm non-usm lens.

Incase anyone is interested in going to Triund here is a quick plan:
1)catch a evening bus from ISBT to dharamsala. Prefer haryana roadways , they take only 10 hours as compared to the luxury buses.
2) get the forest resthouse at triund booked at the forest office dharamsala.
3) take a jeep to mcleodgunj for rs 7.
4) take a room for one hour at mcleodgunj to freshen up.
5) head up to triund. if going in winters make sure you have the booked room, sleeping bag and mats. If not a room then u must have a tent.
6) its better to start early in the morning. you can enjoy the evening on the ridge.
7) spend a night at triund.
8) start very early morning say 5.00 for snowline and lahes caves.
9) same day head back to mcleodjunj to catch the evening bus again.
10) a samsonite travel pillow will come handy during the journey.
11) do not eat too much chips, chocolates, etc etc during the trip. they upset the digestive system.

No comments: