|Pic Credits: www.tripoto.com
Trekking has now become a popular activity among youngsters and adventure freak people. Due to a vast variety of Himalayan terrains, India is often considered a paradise for trekkers.
In India, either one can trek by taking a package from any trekking company or one can also dare to trek on his/her own, which is indeed a more adventurous way to play in the lap of mother nature and this is the main reason I always vouch for doing independent trek. The advantage of taking a package is that you don’t need to worry about logistics and other things such as mules, guide, tents, etc. Everything is arranged by the organizer. You just have to pay the required amount and wait for the dates to join the trek. In case of doing it by own, you have to arrange a guide, ration, tents, etc. by yourself. Of course, it is a bit effort needed and difficult task, but as the saying goes “efforts make the destination more beautiful”, so trekking by own can give you a unique experience and a true adventure feel that you cannot experience by going on a trek with any community/organization. Also, it costs cheaper than doing it with any trekking organization unless you are not going on any exploration.
Here in this post, I will tell you about how you can trek to Indrahar Pass in a best and cheaper way.
Indrahar pass is a high mountain pass situated at an altitude of 4342 m in the region of Dhauladhar ranges of Himalayas. The trek starts from Mcleodganj, a suburb of Dharamshala. From the pass, one can get the majestic views of some remarkable peaks such as Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba, etc and Kangra valley.
The trek to Indrahar pass can be done via two routes.
Mcleodganj->Triund->Ilaqa Pass->Lahesh Caves->Indrahar Pass->Lahesh Caves->Ilaqa Pass->Triund->Mcleodganj
Mcleodganj->Triund->Ilaqa Pass->Lahesh Caves->Indrahar Pass->Chatru Parao->Kuarsi->Chamba
I will tell you about the first one, viz, from Mcleodganj to Mcleodganj.
Preparation before the trek:
The difficulty level of the trek varies from moderate to difficult. The trail till Ilaqa pass is easy except some sections. Further from Ilaqa Pass, it gets tough. It would be better that you start doing exercise at least before 2 weeks from the trek dates to increase your stamina and endurance and to strengthen your muscles. Leg and thigh exercise are must because your legs always play a major role while trekking. If legs are gone then all over.
It is recommended that you practice yoga such as “alom vilom” and “kapalbhati” so that you would not have any breathing problem at higher altitude.
No special permits or forest permit are required to do this trek. Do carry your photo identity proof to show at the check post at Galu Devi temple. Liquor are not allowed to carry, so better you don’t bring it.
Best time to visit:
The trek can be done in any month. If you are looking to see snow, then visit in the months of March to June and to get a lucid weather, September to November are preferable months. It is advised not to trek in monsoon season because the trail gets slippery and these months are prone to landslides. Also, you would not get scenic views as it remains cloudy most of the time.
Things to carry:
- LED torch
- Trek pant
- Trekking shoes (hiking shoes will also work)
- Voilini spray
- Sunscreen Lotion
- Warm jacket (during winters)
- Mattress (if you are bringing tents)
- Rucksack cover
- Trek Map
- Energy supplements (chocolates, juices)
- Water bottle
How To Reach Mcleodganj:
By Air: The nearest airport is Gaggal airport and the major airport is Pathankot airport. From these airports, taxis and buses are easily available for Mcleodganj.
By Train: The nearest major railhead is Pathankot railway station. It is connected to all the major railway stations of India. From the railway station, either one can hire a taxi or board a bus to reach Mcleodganj.
By Road: There are several buses that run daily from Delhi and Chandigarh and takes around 11 and 7 hours respectively to reach Mcleodganj. One can also hire a taxi, but it is a costlier option. If you do not find a conveyance directly to Mcleodganj, then first reach Dharamshala and then Mcleodganj. Shared jeeps and buses are frequently available from Dharamshala at a nominal cost.
Day 1: Reach Mcleodganj
If you are a Delhiite then it is good otherwise, you have to reach Delhi as there are several options available to reach Mcleodganj. You could take an overnight bus to reach Mcleodganj but I would recommend you to travel in a day so that you can relax and take a good sleep in Mcleodganj.
Day 2: Trek from Mcleodganj to Triund
Start your trek in the morning by 7 am. It starts from the main chowk. If you don’t find the route just ask from any shopkeeper there about the way to Triund. The initial trail comprises of a steep road and rocky uphill path. There are three milestones that arrive in between today’s trek viz Dharamkot, Galu Devi temple and Magic view café, which are 1, 2 and 6 km respectively from Mcleodganj. If you don’t want to trek from the beginning then you can hire a taxi to reach Galu Devi temple. The only option at Galu Devi temple you have is either you start your trek from there itself or you return back to Mcleodganj. I recommend that you start trekking from Mcleodganj itself. The initial trail works as a warm up for you. It takes about 4-5 hours to reach Triund. The route isn’t marked but could be identified easily. The last leg of the trek is a bit tough and steep. It is called “22 curves”. After reaching Triund, pitch your tent and have your lunch/dinner at any shop/hut.
Day 3: Trek from Mcleodganj to Ilaqa Pass
Wake up early, eat your breakfast and start your trek. If you have some confusion regarding the route then ask from any shopkeeper or hut man. They will give you the directions. The route to Ilaqa Pass is well marked with yellow arrows. In around 2 hours, you reach Snowline café which is the midpoint of today’s trek. Take some rest and resume your trek to Ilaqa pass. If you have time then you can explore a beautiful valley which is situated near Ilaqa Pass. To reach the valley, you have to descend down the hill. The terrain is difficult. It is advised not to go in that valley alone because there are some points where you need external support or hands to climb up/down. It takes around 2 hours to reach Ilaqa pass from Snowline cafe. Have your dinner there and take a good sleep because next day is the main day.
Day 4: Trek from Ilaqa Pass – Indrahar Pass via Lahesh Caves – Ilaqa Pass
Begin your trek early in the morning. Today’s trail is longer and the most difficult part of the whole trek. The first point that you reach is Lahesh Caves. Lahesh caves are naturally built caves. The trek to caves is a one-hour steep climb. After taking some rest, resume your trek and enroute to Indrahar pass. From Lahesh caves, it takes around 4-5 hours to climb up and another 2-3 hours to get down. The trail is strenuous and confusing. It is advised that if you are an amateur or you don’t have much experience then it would be good that you hire a guide from Mcleodganj. Guides are also available at Triund. You can ask for them from shopkeepers. In case if you think that you have enough experience and don’t want to take a guide then at least purchase a map of the Indrahar circuit for a better understanding of the trail. Enjoy the magnificent views of the Dhauladhar ranges and Kangra valley. Start descending as early as possible so that you reach Ilaqa pass before the sun goes down.
Day 5: Trek from Ilaqa pass to Mcleodganj
Descending down is easy and it takes around 4-5 hours to reach Mcleodganj. Don’t move too fast otherwise you might get slipped as the trail is rocky that makes it slippery. You can also visit Dharamkot waterfalls, which is 4 km from Galu Devi temple. It is a 2 hours trek from the temple. The route is narrow, which passes through dense forest and a mixture of uphill and downhill paths. The waterfall is good. After all this, either return to Mcleodganj and board a bus if you want to end your trip or take a room and plan your itinerary for the next day and explore Mcleodganj.
- Mcleodganj is small but a great place with its colorful Tibetan culture and vibrant markets. It is like a little Tibet in India. You can explore its markets and visit nearby sites such as Bhagsunath waterfalls, Namgyal monastery, Dal lake, Kangra fort, etc.
Things To Remember:
- No need to bring tent. Tents are available at Triund, Snowline cafe and Ilaqa Pass at a cost of ₹500 per night for one person. If you want a cheaper option then you can rent it from your city. It costs you around ₹200-400 per day in which 2-3 persons can stay. Dome tents are light in weight and are more stable as compared to alpine one.
- Don’t bring much food or eatables with you. There are shops/huts available at Galu Devi temple, Magic view cafe, Triund, Snowline cafe and Ilaqa pass where you can have Maggi, tea, dal rice, omelette, etc. So just carry water and some small amount of energy supplements such as chocolate, juice, etc.
- If there is rainy weather then don’t forget to make a moat around the tent. This helps in eliminating water around the tent.