McLeod Ganj and Hiking in the Himalayas

Want to go hiking in the Himalayas? Read about my experience in the Himalayan Mountains of northern India in this excerpt from my travel journal!


Day 1: Train ride in India

We took an overnight train from Jaipur to Pathankot (less than 100 miles from Pakistan), which left at 4:30 PM and arrived at 6:30 AM the next day. There was about 2.5 feet of vertical space between each bed, which were stacked three high. I couldn’t even come close to sitting upright!

Train ride in India



Day 2: Palampur

We then drove to Palampur to relax, explore a small market, and visit a Sikh Temple. The temple had an alter inside that was completely covered in a mosaic of mirrors sparkly glass, and it was incredibly beautiful. Mostly, however, we used the time to recuperate from our long train ride!

Sikh temple in Palampur



Day 3: Visiting Mcleod Ganj

Today we drove to Mcleod Ganj, which is a neat little town tucked away in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Mcleod Ganj


We explored the narrow streets lined with street vendors, and saw quite a few Buddhist monks along the way.

Mcleod Ganj


Mcleod Ganj is home to the Dalai Lama Temple (and the Dalai Lama himself, when he’s not traveling) so there are plenty of monks about. After lunch, we went to explore the famous temple. People came from all over the world to visit the temple, and there were plenty of prayer spaces for Buddhist pilgrims.

Mcleod Ganj


The Buddhist prayer wheels were beautiful, and I can certainly see how spinning them is meditative!

Mcleod Ganj


The center of the temple had a special prayer room used only for special occasions, but we could peek in through the windows.

Mcleod Ganj


We also saw quite a few monkeys at the temple, which was pretty neat. One of my friends got a little too excited while filming them, and put his camera so close to one of them that it tried to take it and then latched onto his shirt!

Monkey in Mcleod Ganj



Day 4: Hiking in the Himalayas

Today we set out from Mcleod Ganj to go hiking in the Himalayas!

Hiking in the Himalayas


We ran into a troop of monkeys almost immediately, but were careful to give them space this time!

Monkeys and hiking in the Himalayas


The trail was steep and rocky, but it made for a good workout!

Hiking in the Himalayas


Every once in a while, we came across Buddhist pray flags, left by some passerby to flutter in the wind.

Hiking in the Himalayas


After 5 hours of strenuous hiking, we finally reached the top of the ridge. And boy were the views worth it!

Hiking in the Himalayas


The sunset reflected on the Himalayan Mountains, making them so orange that they seemed to glow.

Hiking in the Himalayas


We spent the night in tents, which was a little chilly. Luckily all four girls slept together, which helped keep us warm!

Hiking in the Himalayas



Day 5: Hiking in the Himalayas

I’ve never seen as many stars as I did when I was hiking in the Himalayas, and the sunrise was spectacular.

Hiking in the Himalayas


We spent the morning relaxing on boulders along the ridge, occasionally joined by a cow or two.

Hiking in the Himalayas     Hiking in the Himalayas


Alison (our program director) enjoyed some yoga, and I enjoyed taking some yoga magazine-worthy candids of her!

Yoga and hiking in the Himalayas


My friend even brought along her hammock, which we set up over a steep cliff. It was a little nerve-wracking to hang there, but the views were unbeatable!

Hiking in the Himalayas


Then we had a delicious lunch with a spectacular backdrop before heading back down the mountain.

Hiking in the Himalayas


Longing to see these majestic mountains for yourself? Click here to read my top tips for making your dream a reality! If you want more ideas for traveling in India, here to read about my previous excursion or here for the following excursion. Or, you can click here to read about all of my travel trips and adventures in Asia!

Happy Travels! XOXO Ann

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