The two things that will probably cross your mind as soon as you hear “trekking” and “McLeodganj” are Triund and Indrahar Pass. This next trek actually takes in both Triund’s scenic ridge as well as the airy heights of Indrahar but it goes way beyond. Ever since weekend mountaineers from the British army would hop over from the Dharamsala Cantonment in the early 1900s to practise rock climbing up the perpendicular ridges of the Dhauladhar Range, these mountains have been a delightful secret for those in the know. The range may only be around 4,500m high on average but it’s more difficult to navigate than many higher ranges.
This epic route goes up to the crest of the Dhauladhar and then moves west along the ridge, forming a traverse. It’s a wild land of building-sized boulders, sacred to the snake deities of the the Gaddi people and seven remote lakes that are considered their home. The largest of these, Nag Dal and Lam Dal, are truly huge, and yet, if you were to look up at the Dhauladhar from McLeodganj, you would never imagine there are nine lakes hidden up there. Although the altitude is low, for about a week you have to depend on your wits, sure feet, route-finding abilities and decent rock-scrambling abilities. While definitely not meant for trekking newbies, the traverse between Indrahar and Minkiani Passes and then the descent to Kareri is nothing less than magical.
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Gaggal Airport or Kangra Airport at Dharamshala is about 20 km away from McLeod Ganj and is well connected to Delhi, Kullu, and Chandigarh. A number of state-owned and private buses connect McLeod Ganj with other cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Dharamshala. Pathankot Railway Station, situated approximately 90 km away, is the closest broad gauge railhead serving those headed to McLeod Ganj.