A perfect weekend gateway, McLeod Ganj is a small, but beautiful place, next to Dharamshala, is also known as Upper Dharamshala. McLeod Ganj was the second destination in my unplanned journey to Triund. This place has a magnetic charm that attracted me and I just without planning to come here, without knowing what to do and where to go. Totally nomadic style, I just came here. I enjoy traveling a lot. While I was in the cab, on my way to McLeod Ganj from Dharamshala, I tried to check places to stay and places to visit, but then the nomad in me shouted, “MJ, no bruh! This is cheating!” Thus, I placed my phone back in my bag and looked outside. This was my day of an unplanned trip to McLeod Ganj.
What did I do on my unplanned trip to McLeod Ganj?
From my previous blog post, you must have got to know how I started. When I reached McLeod Ganj, the very first that I wanted to do was to find a place to stay, and considering my empty bank accounts, I chose to visit homestays instead of hotels. But, my bad, there was nothing. McLeod Ganj was a place for rich people, and it has rejected the poor like me. Then somehow, the rich MJ in me kicked me and shouted, “We have got money!” And I held my head high. I started walking in the market in search of a hotel. But again, there was no room available in the hotel anywhere. I spoke with some and searched online, but found nothing. Finally, I decided that either I should visit a monastery to stay there or should keep roaming like a nomad again here and should spend my night like this only. This unplanned trip to McLeod Ganj somehow became a challenge for me but I was all up for any challenge. After all, I have come here after a round the clock journey from New Delhi, how could I drop my arms like this?
So, I visited a restaurant, it was a hotel actually. I went inside and sat in the restaurant. I was feeling hungry, thus ordered some food. I ordered a grilled veg cheese sandwich, one bowl of noodles, and one Pepsi. After finishing everything, I paid the bill, which was quite less than my expectations. Not every time you feel happy when you get something less than expectations. And this was the time. I asked the waiter if there was a room available or not. He called the reception; there was no room, all the rooms were already booked for the next three days. I came on the road again. I love traveling but I don’t get to travel that much.
The Unplanned Trip to McLeod Ganj – Challenges I had to face
Considering that it was an unplanned trip to McLeod Ganj, I at some points had to face little troubles. The biggest one was finding a room. Searching for room in McLeod Ganj became a hard rock to crack that day. There were no rooms in the hotels, so many people had come. I mean they were already there and came before me, that’s why they got rooms. But I didn’t lose hope and kept on with the same energy. While I was walking on the road, I met some locals sitting by the street corner at night.
“Excuse me; can I get room to stay there?”
“How many are you?”
“I am alone.”
“There are no rooms today.”
Guy two replied.
“This is Friday, my friend. I tell you, you should go to Dharamkot. You will find a room and that is cheaper than this place. My friend this is Friday, you should know, all the rooms are booked.”
“Thank you, I appreciate that.”
“Take an auto from down there. There are shared autos.”
“How far is it?”
“It is not too far. You can easily walk if you want!”
“Ah, is it? I better walk then…”
And I started walking on the road. It was all dark. After some time, I left McLeod Ganj behind and there was no sense of human to be seen anywhere. I got a little concerned as I was alone on the road. I turned my phone’s flashlight on and continued. I was all sweaty, drenched totally, and panting heavily. My mind started to weave thoughts, situations like the ones in Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. I put my earphones on and kicked such thoughts out of my mind. I saw some lights. As I reached close, I saw houses, though it was dark but houselights were clearly visible and then I heard music, Teri Ankhya ka yo kajal… Are we serious? Really? This song in full volume in some café in Dharamkot, people were dancing and shouting at it. My unplanned trip to McLeod Ganj came to halt at Dharamkot. This is where I was supposed to stay for one night. This was where the unplanned journey to McLeod Ganj was to start in real. I was traveling alone and I had no information about this place. I had no one to ask for that.
From there, the road divided into two. One towards trek and one into the village and I chose the road less traveled. Hell, I am joking. I obviously went into the village. I wasn’t brave enough to go trekking at that hour of the night. I came into the village and found no one. I entered a little deep and saw some kids on the street.
“Hey, can you tell me if there is any room available in some homestay here?”
“Room? Hey, do you have rooms?” The first boy to the other.
“No, ours are all booked.” Second boy.
“You better visit this hotel…” The first boy.
That’s what I didn’t want to do. Man! Don’t you know hotels cost you too much and that too on immediate booking? But then I thought I should visit the hotel only as it was getting dark. So, I went to this hotel.
“Excuse me, can I get a room?”
“How many are you?”
“I am alone.”
“We have a room, at 2000 INR.”
“Fine, do you accept card?”
“Sorry sir, only cash. Our machine is out of order and we have no other option.”
I paid money and he took my Adhar Card. He showed me the room.
“Sir, here’s your room, watch TV, enjoy your stay. The geyser is on.”
“Please turn it off, I don’t need it.”
“You don’t need it??? OKAY!”
And then he left. I was damn tired and I was totally dripping in sweat. So I took rest for a while and then took a shower.