The first thing that hits you strong, the moment your bus ascends the hills, is the crisp, pine-fresh air. The magnificent vistas of the Dhauladhar mountains overwhelm your senses just as the quaint, secluded town of Mcleodganj pops into view. As you’re sitting, cross-legged, on the edge of a mountain, hair drenched thanks to a chilling waterfall, you realise that the simplest joys in life are good company and a hot tea.
We stayed in a tiny little hotel, devoid of city noises and nestled somewhere on the pass between Mcleodganj and Dharamkot. Most nights, you’d find us lounging around in plastic chairs on the balcony, feet perched atop the ledge and conversations fuelling the fire.
Our first day there was spent walking through criss-crossing pathways, eyes transfixed on the array of colours on display. Flowers, prayer flags, multi-hued houses, clothes—everything in Mcleodganj had a colour of its own. We devoured fried momos, sifted through quaint shops, spotted charming houses nestled in the weirdest of places, and spun the Tibetan prayer wheels like the giddiest of tourists at the Dalai Lama Monastery.
Thanks to Bhagsu’s German Bakery, our second day began with a belly full of sinful breakfast and a cinnamon roll to-go. Throwing caution to the wind, we made a resolve to trek up to the picturesque Triund—a resolve that did take us halfway and back. Our trek, or what we did manage to do, was one that no pictures or words can do justice to. We walked a pathway slightly damp from the morning drizzle and devoid of any minute movement. Conversations became whispers as we carried on and before you know it, the clouds roared and it came down to pour. The feeling of trekking through the rain— with the crisp air hitting you hard on your face and nothing but snow-capped mountains in view—is like no other. Come hailstorm and we hitched a cab ride back to our hotel.
We stopped by Trek and Dine twice during our journey. Wood fired pizzas, mango juice and a banana chocolate cake make for the perfect way to cosy up and refuel. Most mornings, we’d walk past the post office in town and land up at the Tibet Bakery. We sampled everything from chocolate danish rolls and muffins to olive bread, cinnamon rolls—accompanied with conversations about yak cheese.
On our last day here, amongst other adventures, we did manage to walk down to the famous Bhagsu Waterfall. Instead of following the tourist path, we stepped down from the walkway and made our way past a tiny tea stall to the foot of the waterfall. I really wish I had pictures of us sitting around a rock with our feet dipped in ice-cold water. Sadly, I did not bring along a camera and my phone gave up on me last week taking with it all the visual memories of that place. We’ll just have to revisit our private waterfall.
Here, we held hands, took meandering walks through the clouds and gazed endlessly at snow-capped mountains. I’m pretty sure soon, we’ll be back.