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The hills are alive

Meghna Rao, June 10, 2015, DHNS: 19:59 IST

The mountains are calling, and I must go”, said my husband, lazily, one evening, paying no attention to what those words could, and eventually would, trigger in me. It was decided that we fly from Delhi to Kathmandu and indulge in a mini Everest base camp trip of seven days, complete with numerous treks and campsites. Sadly, the fateful earthquake of April 2015 changed all of that, and much more, for the unfortunate (God bless their souls).

So, without losing too much heart, we rerouted from the capital towards the cinematographic state of Himachal Pradesh–a 10–hour drive laden with lush meadows and beautiful hillocks. On reaching Dharamshala’s virtuous McLeod Ganj, we were indeed amazed by its miniature size yet brimming with a large number of people, both locals and foreigners.

Our Herculean journey began from Dharamkot, along the abundant pine forests generously sprinkled with a variety of rhododendron blossoming in the luminescence of the evening. We trekked on winding trails, heaving our backpacks, for a good hour and a half before we stopped to set up shop in the area, near Best View caf. What a treat for sore eyes and tired feet it was! Also, nothing tastes better than vegetable Maggi and chai in the mountains!

As the day’s first light drifted over our campsite, we awoke to the sight of sunrise over the snowcapped Mun Peak, with a gentle breeze stroking our faces. After a quick breakfast of delicious eggs and bread at a teahouse, we proceeded on a rather steep route towards Triund. Our adventure was no less than exotic – stopping to take pictures of the breathtaking panoramas, getting glimpses of the Himalayan ranges every now and then, listening to tales of the village and drinking more cardamom chai along the way.

After a challenging three-hour trek, we finally reached our destination, the main campsite in the Triund Hill overlooking a glorious view of the snowy Indrahara Pass of the Dhauladhar range. It isn't called the White Range without reason! We sat in the slight drizzle, plates full of 'rajma-chawal', watching the peaks glowing in the fast approaching dusk. Before retiring for the night in our tents, it occurred to us how lucky we were to witness such majesty.

The next morning, we trudged back to the base of the hill - our backpacks felt lighter, our hearts heavier, with memories from this endeavour we’re glad we took. Ultimately, a sense of conquest prevailed.

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