Call it a place. Call it an experience. Call it the true home for your soul. There is always this one special entity in someone’s life in which one finds true comfort. Himalayas is that special place for me. Ever since I had come back from Har Ki Dun, I have been longing to take the return trip home. To go to a place where my mind is at peace, overlooking the spectacular waterfall make its way through the divine valley before finally settling somewhere distant in the horizon.
This goes back to October. We were coming back from Bathinda, after a week long Punjabi festival – one of my best friend’s wedding. An impromptu plan, trying to zero down on either Kasol or McLeodganj, brought us to Himachal – My favorite place. We had only a day by our side before the dreaded Monday hit us.
So we left Punjab by afternoon. And the mountains welcomed us in the evening. And by the time all the elements of Nature were calling it a night, and Moon shone in its full glory with its light shimmering on the snow covered peaks of Dhauladhar Range, we had reached our destination. We stepped out on the silent streets of Dharamshala.
October is a pleasant part of the year in Himachal. With the cool breeze sweeping across our face, and a wolf howling in some distant land, we went for a walk around the city. It was 1 in the night and most places were shut by then. A few places with lights also seem deserted. We could see a dog following us, happy to find a company but still anxious enough to maintain a distance. A stream burbled and splashed in the background, shielded by the ever so nonchalant pine trees.
As the clock ticked by, we felt the need to find a place to bunk in. Somehow we found a hotel and decided to call it a day. We slept really well that day. It was a good night, which led the way to a even better morning.
It was around 9 in the morning. The city which appeared so deserted last night, was full with a cocktail of sounds and rhythm. The place was so full of energy that it swept away any traces of tiredness that might have been left. We were on our way to Mcleodganj.
We reached Mcleodganj in an hour. Mall Road was bustling with tourists. The scent of Tibetan food in the air, the
roadside shops selling everything from garments to souvenir to artifacts. But I knew what my heart longed for at that very moment – A steaming plate of Mutton Momos, with the burning red sauce to add spice to the proceedings. Ended up having two plates and then we set our way forward.
It was a weekend. And Mall Road is where most people spend their time. But this place is not designed for people like us. We knew that we needed a little more altitude. We knew that we needed to get a “little” more high. We knew that we needed to find the trail to the place where we wanted to reach – Shiva Cafe.
Shiva Cafe needs no introduction. We had heard many stories about this place. And it was high time now to have one of our own. Procured what we had to. Long Live Mr. Babbar who had to take a trip to Dharamshala to help us out. And within an hour so, we were on “our way up”.
It’s a beautiful trail from Dalai Lama’s temple. The trail runs parallel to Bhagsu Nag waterfall and presents umpteenth options to explore the surroundings. You can either go straight to Shiva Cafe or trek down to find a place next to waterfall. In our case, we decided to go off trail to find a place of our own. The view from this place was splendid, to say the least.
As the Sun set behind the mountain range, we bid goodbye to our place. Shiva Cafe had been calling upon us and we acknowledged. The place is beautifully shielded away above the Waterfalls. The place was full graffitis and smiling faces. I can assure you that you would never find someone here who is not happy. And where does happiness leads to? It leads to Nutella Banana Pancake. Life is never dull if you have Nutella Banana Pancake in front of you.
Evening led the way to the night. Ecstasy led the way to calm. Pancake led the way to even more Mutton Momos.
The night was spent observing the stars and by the time sunlight struck, we were on our way to Chandigarh to board our flight back to Mumbai.
McLeodganj – Goodbye till we meet again 🙂