All through my Mcleodganj days, it hasn’t been uncommon if I halt while walking down the Jogibara road, and stare at the eternally snowcapped Dhauladhar range standing in middle of the road. And in November 2014, I decided to finally trek till the top of the range that shadows Mcleodganj, and Dharamshala.
My first stop was Triund top; an easy to moderate 9 km hike from the town took me there, and in the process bringing up the grand view of Dhauladhar range with Mun Peak dominating the scenery. After having my lunch at one of the shacks in Triund, I left for snowline cafe, which was going to be my halt for the night.
Situated midst rolling meadows in the grazing grounds of Ilaka, Snowline cafe is the last shack where you can get some food and have a cozy night stay, before continuing your trek to top of the range. A sumptuous dinner comprising of Dal, Subzi and Chawal is followed by a conversation about my destination with the shack’s elderly owner, as we sat down under a starry sky. He told me about the religious importance of those mountain peaks within shepherd community, and how one should ask for the permission of mountain gods before embarking on a trek in that region.
Next morning I woke up early, mumbling a silent prayer and request to the mountain Gods, before I saw my water bottle freezing within minutes after being exposed to the cold winds. The sky was clear, an indication from the mountain Gods that they had granted me their permission to trek further.
The final stretch of my trek to Indrahar pass was a steep affair, requiring the complete concentration while climbing up the mountain. And since there was no trail to follow, one had to keep looking for piles of stones that were kept by shepherds who frequent that route.
Indrahar pass was a 4 hour, moderate to difficult, trek from Snowline cafe, and luckily I found two other trekkers, who were carrying some extra water.
The trek requires a strong grip, as you climb over the slippery stones, and a good amount of stamina to ensure that you climb up and down before sunset. As there’s no place to camp at night around Indrahar pass.
The trek in parts is quite tricky, and one misplaced step can be fatal. But what you get after wading through all the difficulty is a welcoming view of greater Himalayas that lie beyond Dhauladhar mountain range. Pir Panjal range dominates the horizon, with Manimahesh Kailash too making an appearance. While behind you, you’ll be able to see a wide expanse of Kangra valley and plains beyond them on a clear day.
As me, and my new found friends sat down at Indrahar pass, looking at the higher Himalayas in distance, I felt a complete sense of peace. And I realized that even though nature paves our ways with numerous difficulties, it’s only to ensure that we realize our strengths and leave in search of the moments that make us come alive.
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This post has been written by Abhinav Chandel, a travel blogger who’s been calling Dharamshala his home since April 2014. You can contact him on twitter at ‘ @abhiandnow‘