My trek experience to Triund peak - Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh - December 2021

In this article, I will take you through my experience of a trek to Triund peak which is located near McleodGanj, a suburb of Dharamshala in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The path is famous for the variety of landscapes it offers - such as forests, valleys, snowcapped mountains of Dhauladhar ranges, and a Waterfall along the way. Camped in the tents amidst the mountains at freezing winter temperatures and cold winds.

McleodGanj is a suburb of Dharamshala and is located 5 Kms from Dharamshala town in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Known for the largest Tibetian Colony in India and Namgyal Monastery - which is home to the Tibetian Spiritual Leader Dalai Lama. The hill station attracts large crowds not only for its Tibetian culture but also for its astounding scenic beauty. It is situated at 6380 Feet(2082 meters) above sea level, which is at a higher altitude of over 1700 Feet from the town of Dharamshala.

Triund peak is at 9350 Feet(2850 meters) and there is no motorable way to reach there and can be only reached via trekking. Usually a day-long trek from the starting point Bhagsu Nag taxistand (2 Kms from McLeodGanj), can be completed with or without trek guides in Summers, but preferably with a trek guide during extreme winters due to possible heavy snow on the path and lack of direction indicators. It is popular among tourists because of the package offered by trek agencies - night camping and dinner arrangements on Day 1 after the trek to the peak and return on Day 2 after breakfast at campsite.

Day 1 : Journey to Triund peak


We had booked for this trek via Thrillophilia and had received confirmation and contact of a local agency to which they are tied up. The trek cost us around 1000 INR per person as it was peak season. Included in the package were a trek guide to the entirety of the journey, tent accomodation at campsite, dinner on Day 1, and breakfast on Day 2. Sagar, Srineel, Pawan and I started early from our room at McLeodGanj and reached the meeting point by cab on time and there were around 15 people already waiting at the agency's office. We waited for a few minutes as more people were supposed to join. Once all were in, the organizer briefed us about the trek and explained the rules and guidelines to be mandatorily followed by everyone. Major points - to stay as a team together at all times, carry appropriate clothes as temperatures were to drop at night to subzero and strict instructions to not leave the camping area at night, as there were Black Bears and Leopards in the forest. He also suggested that the difficulty level of the trek was Easy and fit for beginners - which by the end of the trip, we had slight disagreement from our experience. Also, he introduced us to the trek guide Vishal. He was very young but also had 3 years' experience in being a guide. The agency also conducted other treks and some people had opted for that, he segregated the people who were present for Triund Trek and took a headcount, we were 18 of us in total. We followed him through the tiny roads of the town and our first stop was at a mart, for people who wanted to buy a torch for the trek and possibly snacks and water. We had already a variety of fruits with us for energy during the trek. We stacked up with some snacks and water as well. Purchased 2 torches, thinking we could manage between us 4. That was a mistake though, as we realized later at night!

The trek continued through the streets and within the next 10 minutes, we were in the outskirts with a path covered by trees. As we moved along, the steepness increased and we realized that the actual trek had started. The enthusiasm is always high at the start of any trek and we clicked photos at the slightest hint of scenery. Then we moved into a well-defined path with cement toppings and it led to the Bhagsu Nag waterfalls, a popular tourist spot. There was a good crowd in surrounding areas and several small shops for tea and snacks. Then came a deviation to view the waterfalls from a close range. We did not take the deviation as the plan was to view the waterfall on the way back. In 10 minutes, we reached Jungle Cafe - Our first official place for reenergizing. It was a small cafe in the middle of the jungle as the name suggested. Our guide Vishal used this opportunity to take another headcount of the trek members. Since it was a big team, the speed of the members varied - some were very fast and had breezed through the journey and some were still behind as this was their first time trekking. We were somewhere in the middle comparatively, and so far we were quite comfortable. After 15 minutes, there were a couple of people yet to reach and hence Vishal suggested that the group can resume while he waited.

Initial Selfie
BhagsuNag Waterfalls view
Splendid views

The next stretch was a tough one. The inclination had become steeper as we were navigating the forests. We had to take a pause every 2 minutes of walking to catch our breath. Our body was put to a heavy load test and we started sweating at that cold temperature, which made us remove a layer of extra jacket. On the way, we had conversations with other group members, who had arrived from different places in India. This is one of the experiences which I like on any trek - meeting new people with different backgrounds, different cities, different cultures yet similar interests. We got along well with a group from Andhra and shared a few experiences, learned that they interestingly - had plans of celebrating New Year in the village of Bir, the place where we had done paragliding just a couple of days before.

The views were opening up slowly and we were surprised to see how far we had made when we could spot the town of McleodGanj from the top. There were mountains visible all round and we could sense that the air we breathed was freshly brewed. After clicking some more photos, we resumed the journey. A tougher pathway awaited us as we climbed on, with slopes getting harder by each stretch and it required good stamina to navigate through. Some team members were slowing down and it was not uncommon to see people resting and panting heavily. We did take several short breathers and at around 1 PM, made it to the next point of gathering - the campsite that we were going to stay for the night - but only after trekking to the Triund peak and return. We guessed that we might have finished at least 70% of the journey and we could easily achieve what we came for. Again we were proven wrong big time, which we were going to realize shortly !!

We could see the tents were already put up and some team members were trying to occupy the best ones available. We scouted and picked 2 tents for us and kept our bags to mark the territory. It was lunchtime and people had their lunch at the hotel nearby and relaxed for a bit.

McLeodGanj City view
McLeodGanj city view
Campsite view 1
Campsite view 2
Campsite views 3
Our campsite for the day
Tent views
Tent group photo
Myself, Sagar, Srineel and Pawan

It was time to carry on the journey and we were feeling lighter by carrying only what we needed in our bag, with extra luggage unloaded at our tents. The feeling didn't last long as the punishing path took a toll on our bodies, especially the legs. We were very surprised that this trek was categorized as Easy. Even though it was not an extreme trek to be categorized as Difficult, my opinion was that - it had to be categorized as Moderate, considering the steep and also the distance of walk during the entire trek. There was still a long way to reach the peak, as per some people who were descending. Some suggested that we haven't even reached halfway yet, which was somewhat demoralizing to us and we had to quickly change our mindset to expect a long journey ahead.

The next 2 hours of the journey were exciting. Even though there was a lot of trekking involved, we were getting closer to the snowcapped mountains of the Dhauladhar ranges and the views were getting incredible. This was what inspired us to book the trek in the first place, and the majestic views compensated for the heavy toll our body was undergoing. We rested at Maggi point, we did not have anything to eat and decided to enjoy the stunning views. It was an awesome feeling to relax in the mountains and realize that we are just a tiny part of the Universe.

Trek photos 1
Trek photos 2
Steep path along the way
Maggi point new 1
Snowcapped Mountains 1
Snowcapped Mountains 2
Snowcapped Mountains 3
Magnificient Dhauladhar ranges
Snowcapped Mountains 4
Group Photo

It was already 4:30 PM and this was supposed to be the place where we watched Sunset after trekking to the peak and during return. We realized that we were already late and resumed. For the next hour, we did not talk much and our focus was on climbing as fast as we could. Our trek group was scattered at Maggi point - many deciding to not climb further due to fatigue and a few others already ahead of us. We were so involved with Nature and became part of it as we walked quietly, the feeling was blissful. At 5:30 PM, we reached a place which was called Mini Triund Top. There were a lot of camps set up at the place by different agencies. We wished that our tents were also set up here as it was closer to the peak. As we had reached a good elevation, there were few spots within our vicinity, which still had fresh snow intact from the recent snowfall. These were spots that were not exposed to Sunlight. It was already time for Sunset and we learned that there are at least 45 minutes of walk left to reach the Triund Summit. Our guide Vishal suggested that it would be risky to carry on to the top as we did not have enough time because we still had to descend back to our tents. He suggested enjoying the Sunset at Mini Triund Top.

There was a Temple which we noticed on the way top and could be covered in 10 minutes. So we decided to visit the Temple first and then return. Temple was beautiful and serene, we did find a lot of snow at the backside of the Temple, again because of the shadows of the Temple covering the region.

We enjoyed the Beautiful Sunset with so many different shades of colors and the view of the Sunrays kissing the snowcapped mountains at the time was spectacular in pink.

Sunset Views 1
Sunset Views 2
Temple views
Pink Mountains

The most adventurous experience of the trip awaited us as we started the journey back. It turned dark very quickly and our guide Vishal had already left with other trek members. The torch came in handy for the visibility but we had one torch each for two of us. At that point, we felt like we should have got one torch for each person as it was a little difficult to be in sync, but we learned the pattern and were able to manage. The temperatures had dropped considerably and it was freezing which we guessed to be subzero levels. We realized that it would have been better to have headlamps instead of hand torches as it was getting tougher for the torch holder.

Without our guide Vishal around, we had to take constant guesses of the route and we also had the responsibility of leading some other people who were lost as well. As we descended further we could spot the lights from the campsite afar, which acted as guides - along with the lights from McLeodGanj city on the opposite side of the mountains, which helped us remember that this was the exact route we took during the ascent. We did well to successfully reach the campsite and patted ourselves for a good job.

Dinner was arranged by the trek organizers and there was a small light near the Kitchen which was not enough. Also, there was another group who were also camping with us, so there was a lot of traffic while navigating in and around. It was very cold in the night at -5 degrees and the sleeping bags provided were not enough to conceal us. Myself and Sagar could not sleep and spent time outside till 4 AM. We found good company though, as some people from our group were also unable to sleep and were talking nearby. We joined the group, shared our experiences throughout the night, and being a football fan, I watched a late-night live match of Manchester United with another like-minded person from Rajasthan. It was a memorable experience and our team did win the match !!

Day 2 : Journey back home and Bhagsu Nag Waterfalls


We got up at 7 AM and our day started on a pleasant note as some Devotional Songs were being played on loudspeaker by the organizers. We had a hot breakfast of tasty Pooris, which was cooked for us. After packing our bags and filling the water bottles, we started our journey back.

The descent was easier comparatively and it was smooth. We enjoyed some good laughs on the way and stopped at a small shop for Maggi and cold drinks, even though we were not hungry. We resumed the journey and at this point, the four of us were on our own as we did not need a guide and could manage by ourselves. Our next stop was well after an hour when we reached Jungle Cafe at 10 AM. This was the same place we had stopped during our ascent the previous day.

Jungle Cafe Photos 1
Jungle Cafe Main

Further, we visited BhagsuNag Waterfalls. It is a popular tourist destination and people(especially families) who don't necessarily join Triund Trek, still, come here to see the Waterfalls. We spent some good time near the falls before resuming.

BhagsuNag Waterfalls Main
BhagsuNag Waterfalls

After 20 minutes further to our journey, we had reached the town, where the BhagsuNag Temple is situated. We reached near the office of our agency - where we started our trek and hired a taxi to travel back to our room at McLeodGanj. We reached at 1 PM, feeling tired but had made some wonderful memories along.

This trek was a perfect way to end the year on a high - with a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

PS : Nature is our Home and it is our responsibility to protect it. Please do not litter during the trips, carry them back to do proper disposal.


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