The quaint, old-world charm of Kotgarh took me by surprise. There were houses but scattered here and there on the way. Kids were playing cricket on the road and women were working in the farms, probably cropping or cutting the grass for animals. Patches of snow were visible like cotton fallen from the sky on the ground. It looked like small trees were losing their greens as it was the sign of the season. I stopped at a place and took a chunk of snow in my hand to feel it. Covered in the grass and dust, the ball of snow reminded me of my snow experience in Kufri. I was taking a walk aimlessly or I should say I was trekking from Kotgarh to Thanadhar. I wasn’t carrying too many thoughts in my mind. Just a feeling of being a nomad and a bag of excitement as it was my 2020’s first trip in January. I passed through unknown paths; saw unknown faces and people I would barely see again (only if I go back there).
This unplanned trip to Kotgarh from Delhi with an overnight journey took me close to nature which I often crave for while staying in Delhi. No offense, Delhi is beautiful, yet once a month, I tend to visit offbeat locations of Himachal Pradesh just to balance things. When I reached Kotgarh, just like every time, I had no idea what I was going to do. Since it was a small village, with no sites to see, just the nature sprawled across the vast landmass, trekking was the only thing that I thought to do. So I picked up my small shoulder bag and left the hotel to hit the road.
Things to keep in mind before trekking from Kotgarh to Thanadhar
Trekking is my favorite on-road activity. My first trekking was to Triund from Dharamkot. I usually don’t care if there is a proper path to trek or not. For me, it also doesn’t matter if the path is a famous trek or not. I just embrace the open road surrounded by pine trees. Little unconventional, yeah! Well, that’s what is it. Trekking from Kotgarh to Thanadhar was also such an experience. Though both the villages are located at a distance of hardly 6 KM and if one walks continuously, can easily cover the distance in around an hour and a half.
I took around 3 hours to reach Thanadhar from Kotgarh trekking all the way with lots of stops for shooting. At times, I stopped just to stare at the views and embrace the elegance of nature. So while you are trekking from Kotgarh to Thanadhar and if you plan to come back to Thanadhar; do take care of the time. If you plan to stay in Thanadhar, then you can freely roam else you don’t want to trek in the night. I remember once I had to take a walk from Mcleod Ganj to Dharamkot in the middle of the night since I couldn’t get any hotel in Mcleod Ganj and it was already more than 11 PM. I was scared on the way since it was damn dark and there were signboards with ‘Beware of wild animals’ written on them. I even felt like being chased thus I picked up a stick.
I found no shops on the way and I forgot to carry my water-bottle. I left it in the hotel room. Though it was January and it was cold with snow on the road but as I continued my trek to Thanadhar from Kotgarh, my body started to get warm and I had to take off my jacket. After some time, the sun was on over the head and I started to sweat badly. The trek wasn’t easy enough; it was steep and made me exhausted. That made my lips go dry and I had no water to drink. There were very less houses on the way. After covering a couple of kilometers, the path got a little smoother and it was a little bit easier to trek. Fortunately, I did find a source of water to drink on the way which was relaxing and rejuvenating. This reminded me of my hike to Madhogarh Fort since there too the sun was on the top and I ran out of water.
At the time I did trekking from Kotgarh to Thanadhar, there were no shops on the way. Keeping this situation in the mind, it is nice to consider packing some light snacks for the way. However I had enough in lunch, so I didn’t get to face any problem related to appetite. Lucky if you find shops for light snacking. The only shops I found were in Thanadhar village where I reached in the evening around 6 PM where I had noodles as, by that time, my belly had started to kick me since I hadn’t had anything on the way while trekking from Kotgarh to Thanadhar. Maggi can be easily available.
By that time, the sun was already hidden in the horizon and the night started to spread its glory with stars twinkling. I roamed around to check for a cab or any vehicle that could drop me back to the hotel. Since it was dark, I had already given up the thought of trekking back to Kotgarh from Thanadhar. Since it was already dark and the probability of getting a vehicle at that moment turned out to be zero.
I moved into a departmental store and bought some light snacks. I had a word with the shopkeeper and asked him if I could get a cab and he said he could arrange one. He called someone and that someone called someone else and that someone else was the driver who drove me back to the hotel. So, keep in mind that you don’t want to get trapped in such situations if you don’t have any vehicle.
I reached the hotel in around 30 minutes or so. I can’t recollect how much I paid the driver for the cab; I guess 300 INR or 500 INR, maybe, not sure. But I had reached the hotel that was important. I went to the room, took some rest for a while, and then the hotel guy asked me to come down for a bonfire. I have often heard nights in the hills are beautiful and trust me its true.
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