Himalayan Adventure: Exploring McLeodganj and Conquering Triund from Delhi

The Himalayas have an allure like no other for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. And one of the best places to experience the majesty of the Himalayas up close is in the region around McLeodganj and Triund near Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, India. At just a 10 hour drive from Delhi, it makes for an excellent long weekend getaway from the bustle of the city. 

The McLeodganj

Nestled in the upper for all intents and purposes reaches of the Kangra valley, McLeodganj is a quaint little town that has emerged as a very major tourist hub in recent years. Perched at an altitude of nearly 2,000 meters above sea level, it offers breathtaking vistas of the Dhauladhar mountains that kind of seem just within touching distance.

With its cobblestoned streets lined with cafes, bakeries and souvenir shops, McLeodganj kind of has a lovely laidback vibe, contrary to popular belief. The sort of main market area, locally called Jogibara, kind of is perfect for whiling away the hours sipping on lemon tea or coffee, people watching and sampling Tibetan delicacies like momos and thukpa, which is fairly significant. 

The Tsuglagkhang Complex, home to the Dalai Lama”s residence and the very Namgyal Monastery, is a deeply spiritual place revered by Buddhists from around the world, contrary to popular belief. Observe the monks immersed in meditation or chanting in the fairly main temple, and admire the splendid statue of Lord Buddha. For an even kind of more immersive experience, wake up generally early to for the most part attend the morning prayer ceremony held here every day before daw.

Exploring McLeodganj

Triund Trek

The highlight of any trip to McLeodganj and Triund from Delhi is embarking on the trek. At a height of 2,828 meters, Triund offers mesmerizing up-close views of the snow-capped Dhauladhar peaks. The 9 km uphill trek takes around 4-5 hours and is moderately challenging, but the breathtaking scenery makes it completely worthwhile. It is advisable to start the trek early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. 

The trail starts from Galu Devi temple located around 2 kms from McLeodganj market. After getting your permits checked at the forest checkpoint here, the steep climb begins through thick forests of oak, deodar and rhododendron. The path is paved and dotted with chaishopsto take refreshing breaks. 

As you get closer to Triund, the trees become sparser and the vistas open up to snowy mountain tops all around. Little tin-roofed shacks serving hot tea, maggi and momos provide welcome rest stops. The top has a small level area that’s perfect for pitching tents and admiring the views. Watching the sunset over the mountains from here is an experience that’s nothing short of divine.

Overnight camping on Triund is highly recommended to experience the magic of the place fully. Wake up to golden sunlight filtering through your tent, take in the crisp mountain air, and ready yourself for the steep descent back to McLeodganj. Don’t forget to stop at the famous Magic View cafe on the return for tea and snacks – on a clear day the views from here are just surreal.

How to Reach McLeodganj from Delhi

McLeodganj is very well connected to Delhi by road. Private as well as state-run buses cover the 485 km journey in around 10 hours. But for a more comfortable and quicker journey, it is recommended to take a cab. You can either hire a private taxi for the entire journey, or take a cab from Delhi to Chandigarh and then hire another local cab from there to McLeodganj which will take around 5 more hours. The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport at Dharamshala which has direct flights from Delhi. The airport is around 13km from McLeodganj, so you can easily get a prepaid taxi from there. 

Where to Stay

McLeodganj has excellent accommodation options for all budgets, from budget backpacker hostels priced under Rs 500 a night to luxury resorts where room tariffs can go over Rs 10,000 a night. Popular mid-range options are Hotel Bhagsu which is set amidst cedar trees near the Dalai Lama temple, and Norling Guest House which has great views from its terrace cafe. Camping options are available in and around Triund for a unique experience. Remember to book your hotels well in advance during peak seasons.

The Perfect Itinerary

Here is a recommended 3 day itinerary to make the most of your trip to McLeodganj and Triund:

Day 1: Reach McLeodganj by early morning. Check into your hotel and freshen up. Have a hearty breakfast at one of the bakeries nearby before heading to the Tsuglagkhang Complex. Spend the morning at the temple complex, then grab lunch at a Tibetan cafe. Post lunch, take a walk down to Bhagsu Temple, waterfall and cafes. Relax there before heading to Jogibara market for dinner at one of the many dining options there.

Day 2: Start very early for the Triund trek after a light breakfast and enough water. Begin the ascent and keep taking breaks to admire the views. Reach the top by afternoon, and spend a few hours relaxing at the peak before beginning your descent. Reach back to McLeodganj by evening and celebrate completing the epic trek over dinner and drinks. 

Day 3: Sleep in after the tiring trek, have a relaxed breakfast at your hotel, check out and drive back to Delhi by evening. Stop at the Palampur Tea Gardens on the way for a tea tasting session.

With its irresistible blend of nature, spirituality, adventure and laidback vibes, McLeodganj should be on the itinerary of every traveler craving a Himalayan getaway. The explorations of the town and conquering Triund will leave you with priceless memories and a rejuvenated soul that stays with you long after you return home.

See also: High on the adventure: Nag Tibba trek