Silence. Absolute pin drop silence. A silence so absolute that I forgot that I was alive. Surrounded by the beautiful and rocky Dhauladhar mountains on my back and the entire Kangra valley, steeped in beautiful clouds, open in front of me like a magical ocean. I stopped breathing because it was a noisy job and required too much concentration. My mind was trying hard to absorb all the beauty and enchantment around me into its overflowing memory so that I can relive the moment again when I am back among civilization. There was not a soul around, no man, no beast, just a few eagles gliding noiselessly in the sky. For the first time in my life I had encountered something which was overpowering my senses. I felt tears building up in my eyes, tears of joy, of happiness and contentment and – tears of realization. A realization of how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. It was for the first time in my life that I had a glimpse of the bigger picture of the world. The world looked so huge from up there, extending beyond my imagination – and I was looking at a measly decimal percentage of the world – the sheer vastness of the world and then the presence of so many planets, stars and galaxies, it all humbled me. How Nature would see us as small insignificant little people trying to leave a mark on this world when she could reset it all with one gentle stroke of hers. How small and feeble we are.
I looked at the rocky mountains and thought of the millennia that they have seen, steadfast in their standing like a guard keeping watch over the beautiful Kangra valley which has seen so many civilizations come and go and leave their own marks in the forms of grand rock-cut temples and other structures. Yet these structures do not seem all that grand when you compare them with the might and beauty of what Nature has created. Though I have had a religious upbringing, I am not a person who prays religiously, but standing there surrounded by such force and beauty in absolute underwater like silence, I kneeled on a giant rock and for the first time in years acknowledged and paid my respects to whatever higher power there is in this world.
No photograph nor painting, no prose nor poetry can truly describe what was up there. There was a millennia old silence that went deep into my bones and there was a vast nothingness in spite of everything being present. I could not absorb it all, and all I wished for was an eternity to spend over there.
The climb to Triund is steep but not lonely. On your way up you will find a multitude of people trying to put the next step forward with their backpacks and their walking sticks. From people belonging to various parts of India to people from different parts of the world. There were Punjabis, Haryanvi’s, Tallus and Mallus as well as the Japanese, the Koreans, the Italians and the English, not to forget the Israelis. And after the warm up climb to the quaint old Shiva Café atop the Bhagsunath waterfall the previous day, it was a doable trek if not a highly difficult one. Triund was the highest point of our trip to McLeod Ganj – literally and figuratively as well. With an elevation of 1000 m above the McLeod Ganj town, it is one hour uphill walk away from the famous Snowline Café which is a major camping point for the people travelling on the Indrahar Pass. One day’s walk past the Snowline café will bring you to the Chamba Valley which is home to the Queen of Hills – Shimla.