First Snow Trip

Trip to McLeod Ganj

“Unplanned trips are the best because planned trips never happened.” Don’t know who said this but it said very true. Similar to our previous trips, this trip was also absolutely unexpected. Saturday evening, 9th of Feb, 2019. I visited my cousins’ home as they called me there for just hanging around together. It was between 6 and 7 in the evening and we all were chattering like mad but funny when somewhen changed the whole conversation to the reminiscences of the trips that we had in the past together and that’s how the whole idea bumped our mind to go on another trip. It was not any other but Aman, who started this first. Aman is my cousin’s sister. She is younger than me, but she has that liveliness that can control anyone she wants. Aman is so vivacious and enthusiastic to travel and enjoy every moment of life. So basically, she is our group leader too. We started to look for places to go very excitedly! We thought of Manali, Auli, Shimla, Vaishno Devi, and so on, and finally stopped at Mcleod Ganj. But it was Saturday evening and some of us have an office on Monday including me, so I urged to postpone the plan to next week. So technically, it was just false effort and excitement that we just put into planning this trip.

A single spark is enough to make a blast. right? And that happened to us at that moment. While all were trying to convince me to take a leave for 2 days and give this plan a little hope, my aunt and all others allowed us to go as they were assuming that I will drop out of this plan because of my office. But that worked here as a spark to me and I decided to take a leave on Monday and Tuesday and brought a smile to everyone’s faces. Now we are not going to listen to anyone however our parents now started to stop us, but we were already sitting on the rocket, launching to the moon.

It was around 7:30 or 8 pm when we all finally agreed to the plan and started running to pack our bags. I came back to my home and told my parents that we just made this plan and going to McLeod Ganj, Himachal tonight. And yes, you are thinking right, all those questions were started to rain on me. What? When? Whom did you ask? Can’t you plan well in advance? What about your office? And so on. But yes, I managed to convince them, and later my mother helped me to pack my bag. Mother is always a Mother after all😊.

We had no idea about bus timings, and, had no idea where we can take the bus for Dharmshala. All we knew was that we are finally going to enjoy ourselves like Freebirds. It was almost 11 o’clock when left home in search of Cab to ISBT but later someone suggested to go Majnu Ka Tila to take a bus to Dharmshala as buses are easily available there. And here our suffering began. 

We left the home and hired an auto-rickshaw for the bus terminal. Our one friend Swarn was meeting us directly at the bus terminal. Swarn is one of our friends and he is very close to our family, so more likely he is like a family member to us. He is taller than all of us and he also likes to travel and enjoy freedom. He came by metro, so he reached there on time as we decided, but on another side, we were now stuck in a traffic jam. It was the season of weddings and some banquet hall was there on our way so the roads were blocked. Somehow our auto-rickshaw driver took another route which was obviously long but the fastest available at that time. It took more than half an hour for us to reach the bus terminal, in the meantime, Swarn was looking for the bus availability to Dharmshala. Finally, we all reached the bus terminal and found that all direct buses to Dharamshala were already left and we had the only option to take a bus to Jalandhar then change there for Dharamshala. As soon as we reached Jalandhar, we again found that there is no direct bus available to Dharamshala. One of the bus drivers suggested going to Hoshiarpur and said that we can get the bus to Dharamshala from there every 10 minutes. We did the same went to Hoshiarpur then took the bus to Dharamshala then took another bus to Mcleod Ganj and that’s how we reached our destiny the next day around 5:30 or 6 in the evening. We suffered a lot in changing buses one after one but that all seems a lot of fun and memorable as we were on the trip to McLeod Ganj.

Rising of the day

Good Morning to the beautiful mountains covered with snow on the top. February 11, 2019, my 27th birthday. The previous day was pretty good, we arrived at Mcleod Ganj in the evening and after some rest, we get down to the street to explore here and there. Had some food, tea, coffee, and talked to strangers fellow curious to find more things to explore in Mcleod Ganj. Midnight we celebrated my birthday on a hotel rooftop with some strange fellows enjoying a bonfire with music and drinks and I cut a small cupcake. We all took a bite of that cupcake and enjoyed the dance on Punjabi song for a while. Even we celebrate that moment for just 20 minutes but that 20 minutes are memorable for always. As by habitual, I woke up early in the morning around 6 am, and my cousins were still asleep. It was a really cold morning. I got down from the bed and walked out to another room of the hotel just opposite our room which was untenanted and opened. We saw this room yesterday while checking in to the hotel, the view from the window was straight to the mountains which were covered with snow on the top. But this room was small with only 2 single beds, so we didn’t pick this. Another room we stayed in was a little big and had a view of the market area and the Buddhist Temple which looks more beautiful at the night.

Buddhist Temple

I entered the room and sat near the window enjoying the view of a snowy mountain and fresh cold air. The light was still low, but snow on the mountain edges was started to glow. I spend almost an hour admiring non-artificial beauty, the beauty that was real and natural. No mankind can create a single inch of that artistic magical scenery that nature has built itself around us. The sound of wind and birds in that silence was one of the best music ones can imagine. I almost lost myself at that moment when my cousin’s brother Gurpreet came to the room to find me. Gurpreet is younger than Aman and me. He loves to sleep a lot, and he is a little penny pincher. As he saw the view outside the window, his eyes popped out with the shine admiring the beauty he was seeing, and we sat together for a while and capture some beautiful pictures of the rising of the day.

First Snow

This morning we were waiting for Jaspreet and Harpreet (Lavy) to arrive, Jaspreet is another cousin who was not ready to come along with us when we left home. But later, he decided to come and got accompanied by Lavy. They both arrived early in the morning before breakfast. They both took some rest for the moment and got ready while we ordered some breakfast and tea. Ooh.. from tea I just got remembered to introduce one more cousin sister Harpreet. She is a tea lover or better I can say “tea addicted”. She is the youngest one in our group and chatty too. After having a pleasant breakfast, we moved out on the road to Gallu Temple. Essentially, we planned to go to the Triund top, but the byway to Triund was cut off by heavy snowfall so, as far as we could reach was till Gallu Temple. We started to trek to Gallu Temple via Dharamkot straight from the Mcleod Ganj market.

The weather was nice, and the sky was clear and blue. The trek is around 2.5 Km long from Mcleod Ganj to Gallu Temple, which took us nearly 2 hours to reach the top. As we were heading up close to the destination the stunning valley view was coming to appear. The down valley was covered with greenery and behind the valley, the snow-capped mountains were peeking up.

Our excitement around Dharamkot started increasing as we started to see snow laid on the side of the trek now. Almost all of us were witnessing this for the first time. As we moved forward the snow started to cover the road. It started melting in that season, so most of it was mixed with dirt but somewhere around the corners, clean snow was laid in excess and it was dry too. We started to play with snowballs flinging on each other. We were heading up having full of fun and excitement that we were not feeling weary. As we were reaching close to the top the snow was filling our ways. Our shoes started getting sunk. The wind started getting chilled. our excitement was reaching to peak but still, we were not at the destination yet.

Gallu Temple

Finally, we reached the top we could possibly reach. Further from here, the trek was closed due to heavy snowfall which was around 4-5 feet at that time. Anyway, where we were stood it was also more than 1feet. It was the first time we are witnessing such mesmerizing view. White snow covered the ground like a giant white carpet.

We played around with snow like; snow fights, jumping in the snow, sledding, and making a snowman. Our hands were frozen from playing like we could not feel any more.

Such a refreshing and fun trip it was. The trip ends but memories always stay in our hearts. Whenever we will see the time in the past it will make us laugh for sure.

I hope you enjoyed the journey with us. If yes, please tell me in the comment.

Tamanjeet Singh