If you’ve read Himachal Pradesh – Chronicles V.1, you might already know how my life in Mcleod Ganj progressed. This is the second part of the series and unlike the first part, we traveled outside Mcloed Ganj and this article titled Himachal Pradesh – Chronicles V.2 will throw some light on our expedition to Jibhi, a least explored place in Himachal and sum up our trek to Triund.

21st March, 2016

As you know, while preparing for this month long (it got extended later) vacation, I was really void of any solid plans – except to stay at Mcleod Ganj for a month, visit Parvati Valley along with Kasol during the course of a week. We also had Spiti and Jibhi in mind, but wasn’t sure about choosing one. I was more inclined to visit Jibhi because as mentioned by Pradnya, it was a least explored locality in Himachal.

A week or two after our arrival at Mcleod Ganj, I spotted a wall sticker about Jibhi Camps at Anandam, our home-stay. We enquired to Dada about the same, and he described the way Jibhi is, how he went there for the first time with a plan of staying for 2 days, but ended up staying for 5 days instead. That made us finalize our plans. So we chose Jibhi from our tentative destination-list with a plan of staying there for 1 night and then head to visit the Golden Temple at Amritsar. But soon after reaching Jibhi, we got immersed in the beauty of the place, thereby chucking the Amritsar plan and extending our stay for 3 nights in total.

mudhouse-at-jibhi-camp

Although Jibhi was in our plan, none of us had a clue on where to head and what to see around once we reach there. So Sandeep Ji (the one who runs our camping site) suggested visiting Anant Balu Nag Temple; an ancient temple at the top of a mountain and visit Jalori Pass along with Serolsar Lake the next day.

22nd March, 2016

The next morning, Sandeep Ji took us to a nearby waterfall through a forest trail. The interesting thing about the fall is, a rainbow forms across the fall everyday. Yes. Every. Single. Sunny. Day. The rainbow forms at the top of the fall by 7:30, when the morning rays fall from the opposite direction. As time goes, it starts to slide down and finally by around 9:30, it disappears.

The Daily Rainbow at a Waterfall near Jibhi Camp

 Post breakfast from the camp, Josh, our cab driver drove us to a point from where we had to walk for an hour to Anant Balu Nag Temple. The trail took us through Khabal village with picturesque view of mountains to our left. Where the path diverged for once, we took the wrong route, but soon realized it and got back to the actual one.
 
The Temple is located in the midst of a beautiful meadow surrounded by pine trees. Natives were rarely seen and we were the only people in that vicinity except for a boy, his flock of sheep and cattle grazing. Since the temple was renovated recently, it has lost its 100-year-old ancient look, but nonetheless, the milieu had everything to keep us happy, carefree and occupied for the rest of the day.

Anant Balu Nag Temple at Jibhi

23rd March, 2016

As per plan, the next day, we headed to Jalori Pass. But since the way to Jalori Pass was snow covered, we got down from the cab one kilometer away and trekked up all the way through one foot thick snow. While I managed to learn the art of walking in snow with a pair of hiking shoes from Quechua, the only thing that made it hard to proceed was the Sun. As it was almost noon, Sun was right above us. The path was completely snow covered thereby reflecting sunlight from all sides making it a tough task to open eyes. And I realized – walking on snow and that too, without proper snow gear isn’t an easy task.

Jalori Pass, Himachal Pradesh

Even though it took more than an hour to cover the one kilometer to Jalori Pass, the distant view of snow capped mountains as well as widespread landscapes by the way was more than enough to keep us going.

Situated at an altitude of 10,800 ft, Jalori Pass is said to be the first Indian pass to open every year and is accessible by all vehicles. There’s a Mahakali Temple at the pass, which is also known as Jalori Mata Temple. Alongside, you can spot a few tea shops that serve necessary eatables for the comers.

Jalori Mata Templ at Jalori Pass

We had Maggi and Tea from one of the shops at Jalori Pass before proceeding to visit the Temple enroute Serolsar Lake. Compared to our pathway to the Pass, proceeding further up was even harder as we had to walk on thicker accumulation of snow. Yet, chances of stumbling down were less as I could pierce each step into the snow, affirming that I won’t fall. If not for our 16 year old guide, locally known as Majnu Bhaaaaai, we would’ve easily lost our way in the vastness of that white land.

Trekking Through Snow to visit the Temple enroute Serolsar Lake at Jalori Pass

Although the distance from Jalori Pass to Serolsar Lake is 5 kilometers one-side, we couldn’t do the whole stretch due to lack of proper snow gear. Yet, we trekked up until the Temple that lies one kilometer away from the Pass, en route Serolsar lake. A few combination scenes of Ranbir and Deepika in the movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was shot here – the Bhooth Temple where they head to in the night, if you remember.

The Temple enroute Serolsar Lake at Jalori Pass

27th March, 2016

A plan that got lost in the beauty of Jibhi found its way after we got back. Myself, Priyanka and Gurveer decided to visit the Golden Temple at Amritsar during a weekend.

Post visiting the historical Jallianwala Bagh, we walked past the weekend crowd to reach Golden Temple at Amritsar. The crowd and chaos outside the temple premises didn’t quite give me good vibes; but as soon as I had my first step placed inside, an immediate presence of divine aura could be felt. Devotional songs that kept playing in background added to the beauty of the temple that shone in the setting Sun’s golden light.

The Golden Temple at Amritsar

31st March, 2016

Upon reaching our homestay on the very first day, we were kind of amazed to realize that we get to see snow-capped mountains right from our bed every day. But only when @abhiandnow came to our place, we came to know that the curve we see is Triund and the silver mountains behind that curvature are Moon Peak and Indrahar Pass.

View of Moon Peak in Dhauladhar Range Through Triund

Due to climatic conditions and some other reasons, my plan to trek Triund with Gurveer didn’t find its way through. Likewise, myself and Abhinav also planned for the same, but that too, didn’t work out. Then, towards the end of March, when Piyush came to Mcleod Ganj for a short-vacation, he planned for Triund with Gurveer and I joined them.

Forming a part of Dhauladhar ranges, Triund is at an altitude of 2875 meters above sea level with an exhilarating view of snowcapped mountains on one side and a widespread view of Kangra Valley on the other. It is said to be an easy to moderate trek depending upon your stamina, and is very good to start off if you want to get into some serious trekking. The most popular trek-route to Triund is via Dharamsala-Mcleod Ganj-Dharamkot-Gallu. Alternatively, one can also opt for the trek route from Bhagsu Nag; but it’s said to be much tougher and hence, a less preferred one among tourists.

Since we were hailing from Mcleod Ganj side, our 7 kilometer long trek started from Gallu past 9:30 and we reached Magic View Cafe – our first pit stop by 10:30. The cafe is run by Shri Joginder Sharma since 1984 and is at an altitude of 2500 mts above sea level.

View From Magic View Cafe Enroute Triund

Resuming the trek after about 15 minutes, we reached Best View Cafe in the next 30 minutes time. Post a 10 minute rest, we trekked further up. Since Gurveer was a native, he had been to Triund several times and was familiar with the shortcuts very well. Hence we took the shortcuts and although it did cut short the whole duration of trek, they were all relatively tough and steep to climb. While taking the first or the second one among them, I hit my head against the bark of a tree; but thankfully it didn’t hurt for long.

The final trek of one kilometer was steep and tests one’s stamina. With one more halt during the last half kilometer stretch, we reached Triund past 11:45 after a pretty exhausting final climb. Moon Peak and Indrahar Pass stood right in front of me, boasting its magnificence. I was so close to them and the joy of seeing those snow-capped mountains which we only used to see from our room filled my heart.

A View of Moon Peak from Triund

But for some reason, I was feeling a bit off. So before exploring the place, I thought of giving myself some ample time and got to the shade of the nearby seen Cafe. I lay flat in there and took a cat nap.

Past 13:00, I ventured out to explore the locality and walked towards the other end. While I walked past two guys who shared a joint sitting across from mountains, many others were seen in and around their pitched tents. Finding my way through rocks, I reached the end of that range where Triund Mountain Lodge is located. A few meters away, I spotted a foreigner resting above a rock. I approached and greeted him and in a conversation that followed, I got to know that he is Marlon, a German who has been solo traveling across India for a while. He was coming from the Bhagsu Nag side after staying near Latte Matha Temple the previous night. We bid goodbye after a while and as soon as he left, I got back into a jovial mood – probably because I realized I can start off a pretty good conversation with a foreigner.

Triund Mountain Lodge

Back on the way, since I gained more confidence in starting conversation with a stranger, I stopped to talk with Peter, another foreigner who hailed from France. He is around 80 and travels alone since long. I got back, had the pre-ordered Daal-Chawal from the Cafe where I took rest and waited for some more time for the clouds to get cleared so that I can take a few more pictures before heading back.

Our initial plan was to trek down by 17:00, but since it’s already been 3 hours after reaching there, and because the clouds were getting darker, we decided to return. So by 14:45, we started to trek down. We didn’t take many shortcuts this time; instead we jumped and almost ran. That’s a good technique to trek down a mountain – because if you are slow in placing steps, eventually it will become tiring and your legs might ache. So the whole idea is to move swiftly without giving much pressure to your feet.

Trekking Down Triund

We got back to Gallu by 16:15 and stopped for Tea at Sun & Moon Cafe run by Mr. Thapa. Later, by 16:30, we walked further down the hill by taking another shortcut named The Woods which was full of almost identical/parallel grown pine trees to reach Mcleod Ganj Square past 17:00.

P.S: I thought of writing a separate travel note titled The Triund Ways at first, but in the process of procrastination, I gave it up and decided to brief it like this.

 ..to be continued.