A Hike To A Starry Sky Campsite: Triund Hill, Himachal Pradesh
While in the Himalayan spiritual town of Mcleod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh, a hike to the famous camp site at Triund which is situated at an altitude of around 9,760 feel above sea level (3242 metres) is a must for everyone. This one is not just for the adventure junkies but more for the 9-5 corporate worker who is looking out for something novel to explore.
To reach Triund, one has to first reach the village of Dharamkot either on foot from the Main Square of McLeod Ganj which takes around 20 minutes and just at the entrance of the village from the left side of the Water Storage Tank and the main gate of the government primary school, is a jungle trail start which will take roughly one hour to walk and will lead to Gallu Devi Temple. Hikers can even hire a taxi from Mcelod Ganj to Gallu Devi temple, the last point up to which vehicles can go.
After reaching Gallu Devi Temple, one will come across a couple of small dhabas. From Gallu Devi Temple, one can see Kareri and Bahl villages in the North-West direction and BhagsuNag in the East. Here there are also find a couple of guest houses providing rooms for night stay. From this point the real hike starts which is seven kms one way.
There is only a single hiking trail from here which goes in the upward direction starting behind the Gallu Devi temple and will lead you directly to Triund hill. The hike gets tough, with some steep curves and a handful of moderate trails. It takes about four hours to reach the top of Triund hill but for some it takes even six hours. All depends on the number and length of breaks one takes.
On the hike to Triund one will come across two refreshment shops, first one named Magic View Cafė at an altitude of 8200 feet above sea-level and Best View Cafė. This is the last place where hikers will get some food and snacks to eat. The Maggie and bread omelette served at both these cafes is surely worth a try.
The view from the cafes are simply breath taking and you can see the entire valley right down to Bhagsunag. A stop here while on the hike is an absolute must for all. These cafes indicate around 55-60% of the hike is complete.
The hike from here gets pretty steep and the inclination roughly around 65-70°. The good thing is that the trail is pretty broad and does not have any lose soil but is made up of hard rock all along the way. The steep part is the last ascend and takes around an hour or two to reach the top depending on your fitness level. The last stall is located around 80% of the way and serves only tea and biscuits.
On reaching the top of the hill all your body tiredness and soreness will be forgotten and one will be greeted with a 360° view of the snow capped Himalayas. The top of Triund is a relatively flat and narrow strip of the mountain top around 60 metres wide and over a couple of kilometres long. The top is covered in lush grass and has plenty of rocks and gives one the feeling of wanderlust.
Accommodation on the top of Triund hill is limited to only tents. Being a camp site there are just a couple of government rest houses which are built of concrete, the rest are all camps. The cost of the tent for a night differs based on the season and weekends are generally costlier. These campsites even provide sleeping bags at an additional cost. One can also carry your own tent and pitch it up for the night.
Spending a night at Triund is an absolute must for everyone who does the hike since the real fun of camping is after sundown when the bonfire is lit around the camp site and hikers chill all night singing songs and star gazing. On a clear night, one will easily see over a million stars and countless shooting stars.
Food provisions at Triund top are very basic with dhabas selling the usual Maggie, dal-rice and parathas. Cold drinks and tea along with chips are sold at a price nearly double the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) since porters have to physically carry supplies to the top either on their own backs or with the help of horses and mules.
There is no network at the top of Triund but network is there all along the way till around the last chai stall. Triund is a hike which can be done all through the year but the best time to do it is during the summer months from March to May. There are no water streams along the way so make sure you start the hike with a full bottle and refill at every possible point.
A hike to Triund is one which everyone who travels to Daramshala must do and is more mind over body. The hike is a good place to hike solo.
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