arnima jain
by on June 15, 2017

Travelling has always been my passion. I always wanted to explore new places and get close to nature. Being a Rajasthani, I always want to run away from this harsh weather. I love hilly areas as they are calm, peaceful, and serene and of course pollution free. So after taking permission from parents, this first cousins trip finally took place in the month of chilling December and we onset our journey to McLeodganj and Dharamsala.

We all gathered in Delhi and chose a road trip instead of airways or railways. We wanted to explore each and every new spot on our way so we hired a personal traveller from Delhi. On 24th December, at 7 in the morning we left from Delhi. We took a tea break at 70 Milestone Dhaba and Restaurant near Samalkha. We didn’t stop for lunch break as we packed poori and sabji from our home. It was 5 in the evening and we took another tea break at Zimidara Tourist Dhaba when we entered in Punjab. We crossed two important destinations on our journey i.e. Bhakra Nangal Dam and Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara. I was eagerly waiting for our destination as my legs started to pain and temperature started to fell. I was satisfied as soon as I saw the snow-covered Dhauladhar Ranges shining bright in the night. We reached McLeodganj in the night at 10 p.m. We headed towards our hotel 8 Auspicious Him View and we purposely booked balcony rooms facing snow-covered mountains to embrace the beauty of nature. We all were damn tired that we didn’t have our dinner and slept early that night.

View from our room

Next morning was a Christmas morning, 25th December. We all got ready early in the morning and took our breakfast in the hotel itself and went for local sightseeing. As it was X’mas, everyone in the city was happy and full of joy. Firstly, we went to St. John’s Church in Wilderness and took part in the special prayer that was going on. Then we went to Dharamsala and visited the HPCA stadium.

HPCA Stadium


St. John’s Church in Wilderness

It was a beautiful stadium surrounded by snow-covered mountains. After knowing about the history of stadium, we went to the local tea gardens. Tea gardens were so beautiful that the pictures we clicked seemed to be clicked in the hilly areas of Switzerland. Not to be more dramatic, we were in Dharamsala. After doing our time taking photo shoot for our facebook and instagram, we headed to Norbulingka Institute which is totally based on Tibetan culture for preserving the Tibetan artistic skills.

Norbulingka Institute

Tea Gardens

This institute provides employment, education and training to Tibetan refugees. The place was so quiet, calm and peaceful. It was worth knowing about the people working here as they suffered a lot in the past. We had our lunch in the canteen area. We were so hungry that we ordered Chapattis and daal. The chef was so frustrated because we ordered so many Chapattis and he was not habitual to make that many. After having our lunch, we went to the famous Chamunda Mata Temple and praised the idol present here. It was a beautiful temple present on the sides of Ban Ganga River with an idol of Lord Shiva in the backyards of the temple. After spending few hours here, we went back to McLeodganj and visited the local market. We purchased beautiful shawls, hand woven gloves and socks, Himachali caps and few handicrafts.

Idol of Lord Shiva inside the Chamunda Mata Temple

We had hot sizzling momos, coffee, brownies, patties, etc. in the Main Square market. Temperature that evening dropped to -3 degrees. We had ice cream in that chilly weather. After having all the food we went to our hotel. Who knew that the approaching night would be so happening? We all were tired but danced a lot and slept. At 2 a.m. we suddenly heard birds chirping and dogs barking. Our hotel owner also had a dog and he also started to bark. My 3 brothers who were sleeping in another room thought that the younger brother is shaking the bed to horrify them. They didn’t think that earthquake would take place. Yes! It was an earthquake. Our owner knocked at our doors and said to come out. After minor tremors we all sat in one room and my brothers were so scared that they took a decision to return back to Delhi. But for us sisters it was unacceptable. We told them if you guys want to leave you can. After pleasing them a lot they agreed to stay back.

After that horrifying night, next morning, we went to Bhagsu Nag temple and trekked to Bhagsu Nag Fall. The trekking was very adventurous as the path was pebbled and you have to have control on your legs otherwise you can tremble. After seeing the fall, we trekked higher up to Shiva Cafe and had snacks. Trek to Shiva Cafe is a bit difficult but I’m sure that if you want to have a view of whole McLeodganj, you should trek to this place. Due to shortage of time, we didn’t turned up to Triund Trek, but you can go here if you have ample time.

Shiva Cafe

After spending few hours in Shiva Cafe, we trekked back to our hotel, did our lunch, packed our luggage and came to Main Square to return back. But the journey did not end. While returning back, we went to Kangra Fort. It holds an important historical value. It is said that, ages ago, the earthquake ruined whole of Dharamsala and McLeodganj, but this fort stand still. Here, there is an ancient Jain Temple inside the fort itself. The weather was so amazing and chilly that we were shivering. This was the last spot which we covered on our sweet and short trip. While returning back to Delhi, we stopped at Amrik Sukdev Dhaba at 3 a.m. and had paranthas and safed makkhan. It was heaven. The taste of that makkhan is still there on my tongue.

Kangra Fort

The trip ended here with an amazing experience which we will cherish lifetime. The memories of the trip are still fresh on my mind and I want to trek back to those beautiful snow-covered mountains.