June 19, 2018
Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala
Track: Bodhi Greens Cafe to Naddi, Dharamshala (city), Himachal Pradesh (state), India
Meeting New Friends
I was just on my morning stroll towards Upper Dharamkot when I met Stanley, a Singaporean traveler. We continued walking and bumped into his friend Navraj, a Sikh who has just concluded his military service. After hanging out for tea at Bodhi Greens, we decided to hike to Naddi - a mountain suburb of Dharamshala just 4.5kms west of Dharamkot. Naddi is known for its view of the Dauladhar range and for wonderful sunsets.
The trek took us along winding rocky mountain trails with scenic views and lush greenery. We even came upon a Tibetan prayer flag temple. We talked and traded narratives as we met other people along the way. It was a trek as much as it was a social bonding. We shared our life stories and our challenges. Like most people I've met in Dharamshala, we were all in pursuit of our spiritual path.
Finally reaching Naddi, some open areas revealed views of the valley and mountain range. I felt privileged witnessing such grandeur. I could see why people make the trek to this scenic place. On the town center, we chilled out for snacks and tea and ended up in religious conversation with a group of Indian Christians - I didn't expect that. I could just imagine the difficulty of being Indian in a Hindu tradition and being a Christian. From Naddi, we all went about our separate ways. Navraj headed back the same way, Stanley took a walk towards Dal Lake, while I decided to head out to McLeod Ganj.
The only public transport out of Naddi was a cab - too expensive an option for me. I didn't want to walk along the dusty main road either. So I hitched. The first one to give me a ride was a motorcycle rider who dropped me off at Dal Lake. From Dal Lake, another motorcycle rider gave me a ride until the junction to McLeod Ganj. The final ride was from a Tibetan family in a sedan to took me to McLeod Ganj. I didn't think it would take so many rides to reach McLeod Ganj.
I asked the family in the sedan to suggest a good restaurant serving authentic Tibetan food but cheap price. They said that's exactly where they were heading - to Kalimpong Restaurant. Whoa! The place was along the main road but very discreet - you could easily miss it. It only had 3 tables. Meals were priced from 90 to 140 INR. They cooked the food from scratch so everything was fresh. I had a vegetable thukpa for INR 90. It was fabulous!
I also became friends with the Tibetan family. They had their month-old baby with them. Interestingly, they said they always take that afternoon drive because that's what puts the baby to sleep! The husband was Tibetan but the wife was from Hanoi in Vietnam. We traded life stories and shared insights. It was very rewarding for me. Unfortunately, I already forgot their names. I hope they message me as I gave them this website.
What started out as a leisurely stroll to Upper Dharamkot spontaneously took me to a trek to Naddi with newly met friends - Navraj and Stanley, took me hitch hiking, took me to Dal Lake until I met a lovely Tibetan family who took me to dinner at an authentic Tibetan restaurant. Whoa! What a gorgeous day. Always...always grateful for such blessings. Thank you Navraj, Stanley, the Tibetan family, thank you universe!
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Natasha The Moon
(June 28, 2018) You should trek to Durga Temple - the most beautiful path ever, it felt like I was in the mountains of Nepal
Next stop: Life in Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala
Dharamshala (city), India
- short power outages frequently happen during the day
How to get to Dharamshala from Rishikesh by bus
- Bus - Rishikesh to Dharamshala is 449 kms. The usual route is to go to Haridwar and take the State transport buses to Lower Dharamshala, but it's less hassle to get a bus from Rishikesh that go all the way up to McLeod Ganj - a little more money (INR 1150) but worth it specially if you a carry bulky pack. You will leave Rishikesh 4pm and arrive in Dharamshala the following day (you save one night lodging) at 7am.
How to get to New Delhi Airport from McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala by bus
- Bus From McLeod Ganj bus station, take a semi-sleeper a/c overnight bus, INR 1000, 11.5 hours (7pm to 6:30am) straight to Kashmiri Gate Train Station in New Delhi.
- walk to Kashmiri Gate (no need to ride a tuktuk)
- take the Yellow Line towards Huda City but get off at New Delhi Station (INR 16)
- From New Delhi Station, take the Airport Metro Train (INR 60) and get off at the airport
Travel Tips for India
- e-VISA - visa on arrival is no longer done. Tourists should apply online for an e-VISA. Tourist e-VISA for 60 days = US$51.25 (including surcharges, non-refundable). NOTE: e-VISA is only honored in 25 designated airports and 5 designated seaports (Cochin, Goa, Mangalore,Mumbai,Chennai). You CANNOT do a land crossing using an e-VISA.
- US$1 = Indian Rupee (INR) 67.18
- nearly every food served is spicy...there is no escaping it
- other travel destinations in India
- always good to have an Indian SIM. It's handy to get wifi in some cafes
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
- 16 Days in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala: Goodbye India June 23-July 8, 2018
- Peoplescape of Dharamshala, India June 14 - July 8, 2018
- Visiting the Tibet Museum June 27, 2018
- In Search of a Tibetan Yantra Yoga Teacher June 25, 2018
- Conducting Yoga Classes at Pema Thang Guest House, Dharamshala, India June 24 - July 8, 2018
- Life in Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 16-23, 2018
- Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 19, 2018
- Matters of the Heart Jun 17, 2018
- A First Timer in Dharamshala Jun 14, 2018
- 29 Hours in New Delhi Airport July 9-10, 2018
- Meditation with Shirly Pnina at Lodi Garden, New Delhi May 15, 2018
- A First-Timer in New Delhi, India May 12-17, 2018
- A 26-Day Mini-Life in Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
- Peoplescape of Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
- Rafting the Ganga River with Greg Goldstein June 1, 2018
- White Water Rafting on Ganga River, Rishikesh May 25, 2018
- Satsang (spiritual discourse) by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati May 21, 2018
- Ganga Aarti (devotional fire ritual) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram May 21, 2018
- Bouncing Back into Yoga in Rishikesh May 21, 2018
- Exploring Rishikesh, India May 18, 2018
- India e-VISA snag May 9, 2018
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