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Fravel check in: Hills & Cafés of Dharamkot

Fravel check in: Hills & Cafés of Dharamkot

Fravel check in: Hills & Cafés of Dharamkot

 

On the winding roads to McLeodganj, we wondered what awaited us in the next two days, having taken off with a blank itinerary and zero research..

The only information I had gathered from friends over 2 minute phone calls was that I should opt to stay in Dharamkot instead of Dharamshala or Mcleodganj and that I must visit *insert names of 3 cafes* whose names I’m guilty of forgetting as soon as they were uttered.  Going for the famous Triund trek was on my mind, but nothing was penned down yet. A postponed meeting in Delhi meant that I had exactly three days at hand, journey included, and I decided a quick trip to Dharamshala-Mcleodganj would fit in perfectly (But I was wrong! You’ll see why)

 

This trip turned out to be nothing like I had expected, but a lot like how imagine good travel trips to be. We spent many wonderful hours in conversation with locals, each with their remarkable story of how they decided to move to Mcleodganj-Dharamkot; ample evidence on their faces that they had found their happy place.

An interesting thing about Dharamkot is that it is swarming with travelers & foreigners, yet the vibe is not very touristy. People come here to trek, reflect, maybe share a few smokes, take some time out and just be. Noone seems to be hurrying to tick things off a tourists’ list. In that sense, you don’t really ‘visit’ Dharamkot and Mcleodganj. You blissfully live here, albeit only for a few days.

 

Eating out and engaging in good conversation is a part of everyday culture. People really like spending many hours in Cafés here and there are good reasons for it. The food is delectable, the owners & staff are friendly and full of stories.  The view of the hills from the Cafés is so amazing; you wouldn’t mind spending an hour or two in the company of your true self. If that isn’t enough, here is another reason…. EVERY cafe offers free wifi. You’ll see a good sense of humor- whether it is in the names of the Cafés , menu or wifi-password ( one was “server is down”, which is revealed to be the password only after your shocked reaction to this phrase! ).

 

Here’s what we did and didn’t do in Dharamkot & Mcleodganj –

We spent time with our new friends at Cafes and sat literally in the middle of clouds and fog. Half a day in the famous & beautiful Illiterati (Go there for a wonderful view of the hills, if you love reading and being around books and if you adore little puppies), dinner at Indique which served authentic Himachali cuisine, Italian breakfast at Morgan’s place (The salad was yum but the best part was a friendly conversation with the owners Murugan and Manish) and lunch at the tiny exclusive place Crepe & Pancake. We also managed to trek to the top of Bhagsu, up till the most famous Shiva cafe. Our feet hurt like hell, but our hearts were content upon seeing the natural water in their dip pool, a breathtaking view and a little overenthusiastic pup (I LOVE that type :D). We took a leisurely walk from Dharamkot to McLeodganj (they’re only 2kms apart) clicking pictures on the way and made a quick visit Dalai Lama’s monastery just before leaving.

 

What we couldn’t do was go for the trek to Triund, because the clouds seemed to demand that we come back again, in October, when the skies are clear and it’s possible to camp at that height….. stargazing all night, maybe catching sight of tens of meteorites. We also didn’t find the time to see the waterfalls more untouched and beautiful than the Bhagsu, which I have told myself I will read up nothing about, so I can be surprised when I visit next. The only reason I know these exist are because I took a peek at the a-m-a-z-i-n-g pictures taken by the travel blogger I made friends with.

 

 I plan to visit again, without an itinerary, find my new friends and be wherever the day takes me- maybe trekking one day, stargazing the next and spending a whole day at a cafe on another. So… two days will not be enough.

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dharamshala-dharamkot-mcleodganj

At Morgan’s Place, Dharamkot

 

 

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dharamshala-dharamkot-mcleodganj

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At Shiva’s, Bhagsu

 

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travel blogger mcleodganj

At Crepe & Pancake, McLeodganj

 

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At Illiterati Cafe –  Jogibara, Dharamshala

 

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Cafe By Mistake, somewhere on the way from Mcleodganj to Dharamkot

 

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What I Wore: Pink oversized sweater from H&M , Zara leggings, white crop top from Zara, Maroon fedora bought locally at Bhagsu market, stack ups from Accessorize. 

Picture Credits: Dikshita Deka

 

Dharamkot-McLeodganj Travel tip: Don’t pre-book an accommodation…walk around Dharamkot and check into a place you like. You can get a room for two at any budget between INR400 to INR2500 per night (yes, it is inexpensive to put up here). You should instead increase budget for good food, as prices are comparable to that of metro cities. If you just want to spend time here, anytime of the year should be beautiful, romantic. If you really want to trek to Triund, visit between October and June.

 

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Meenakshi Talukdar

Once a student of economics, now a fashion & travel enthusiast. Fravel along with me as I chase magic...
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