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Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 19, 2018

Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala

Track: Bodhi Greens Cafe to Naddi, Dharamshala (city), Himachal Pradesh (state), India

Meeting New Friends
I was just on my morning stroll towards Upper Dharamkot when I met Stanley, a Singaporean traveler. We continued walking and bumped into his friend Navraj, a Sikh who has just concluded his military service. After hanging out for tea at Bodhi Greens, we decided to hike to Naddi - a mountain suburb of Dharamshala just 4.5kms west of Dharamkot. Naddi is known for its view of the Dauladhar range and for wonderful sunsets.

The trek took us along winding rocky mountain trails with scenic views and lush greenery. We even came upon a Tibetan prayer flag temple. We talked and traded narratives as we met other people along the way. It was a trek as much as it was a social bonding. We shared our life stories and our challenges. Like most people I've met in Dharamshala, we were all in pursuit of our spiritual path.

Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala
Hiking to Naddi on lush greenery along winding mountain trail

Reaching Naddi
Finally reaching Naddi, some open areas revealed views of the valley and mountain range. I felt privileged witnessing such grandeur. I could see why people make the trek to this scenic place. On the town center, we chilled out for snacks and tea and ended up in religious conversation with a group of Indian Christians - I didn't expect that. I could just imagine the difficulty of being Indian in a Hindu tradition and being a Christian. From Naddi, we all went about our separate ways. Navraj headed back the same way, Stanley took a walk towards Dal Lake, while I decided to head out to McLeod Ganj.

The only public transport out of Naddi was a cab - too expensive an option for me. I didn't want to walk along the dusty main road either. So I hitched. The first one to give me a ride was a motorcycle rider who dropped me off at Dal Lake. From Dal Lake, another motorcycle rider gave me a ride until the junction to McLeod Ganj. The final ride was from a Tibetan family in a sedan to took me to McLeod Ganj. I didn't think it would take so many rides to reach McLeod Ganj.

Kalimpong Restaurant
I asked the family in the sedan to suggest a good restaurant serving authentic Tibetan food but cheap price. They said that's exactly where they were heading - to Kalimpong Restaurant. Whoa! The place was along the main road but very discreet - you could easily miss it. It only had 3 tables. Meals were priced from 90 to 140 INR. They cooked the food from scratch so everything was fresh. I had a vegetable thukpa for INR 90. It was fabulous!

Tibetan Family
I also became friends with the Tibetan family. They had their month-old baby with them. Interestingly, they said they always take that afternoon drive because that's what puts the baby to sleep! The husband was Tibetan but the wife was from Hanoi in Vietnam. We traded life stories and shared insights. It was very rewarding for me. Unfortunately, I already forgot their names. I hope they message me as I gave them this website.

Ending Thoughts
What started out as a leisurely stroll to Upper Dharamkot spontaneously took me to a trek to Naddi with newly met friends - Navraj and Stanley, took me hitch hiking, took me to Dal Lake until I met a lovely Tibetan family who took me to dinner at an authentic Tibetan restaurant. Whoa! What a gorgeous day. Always...always grateful for such blessings. Thank you Navraj, Stanley, the Tibetan family, thank you universe!

--- TheLoneRider
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Reader Comments:

Natalia BhandariNatalia Russia
Mimi Chang Natasha The Moon
(June 28, 2018) You should trek to Durga Temple - the most beautiful path ever, it felt like I was in the mountains of Nepal

Next stop: Life in Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala

Dharamshala Map
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Dharamshala (city), India

hotels in Dharamshala hotel

Travel Tips
  1. the Dalai Lama's scheduled public teachings in Dharamshala are as follows: September 4-7, 2018 | October 3 - 6, 2018 | February 19, 2019. To register, visit this page:
  2. in June, the average temperature high is 31° and average low is 21°. It rains usually in the afternoon/evening beginning mid-June
  3. July and August see the most rainfall, up to 22 inches
  4. Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) happens 30 October to 2 November in McLeod Ganj
  5. at the Tibetan Museum in McLeod Ganj, there is a daily 11am and 3pm movie screening of Tibet-related issues at INR 10
  6. trekking is one of the highlights in Dharamshala - to Dharamkot, Bhagsu, cutting through Dhauladhar to the upper Ravi Valley and Chamba district, or the 8km trek to Triund
  7. Wednesday is vegetarian day - other days, meat dishes are served by cafes and restaurants
  8. Bhagsu and Dharamkot are a quiet alternative to McLeod Ganj. They are also cheaper in accommodation when the Dalai Lama is in town and McLeod Ganj hostels are fully booked (with inflated prices)
  9. If you wish to stay in McLeod Ganj but want quiet, stay along Jogiwara Road where balconies will offer scenic views
  10. short power outages frequently happen during the day
  11. for quiet stays and scenic views, stay in Upper Dharamkot or Upper Bhagsu. The "upper" you go, the cheaper the accommodation prices go.
  12. in Upper Dharamkot is a cluster of cafes and lodging (Salvation Cafe area)where the community is chill

How to get to Dharamshala from Rishikesh by bus

  1. bus terminal Bus - Rishikesh to Dharamshala is 449 kms. The usual route is to go to Haridwar and take the State transport buses to Lower Dharamshala, but it's less hassle to get a bus from Rishikesh that go all the way up to McLeod Ganj - a little more money (INR 1150) but worth it specially if you a carry bulky pack. You will leave Rishikesh 4pm and arrive in Dharamshala the following day (you save one night lodging) at 7am.

How to get to New Delhi Airport from McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala by bus

  1. bus terminal Bus From McLeod Ganj bus station, take a semi-sleeper a/c overnight bus, INR 1000, 11.5 hours (7pm to 6:30am) straight to Kashmiri Gate Train Station in New Delhi.
  2. walk to Kashmiri Gate (no need to ride a tuktuk)
  3. take the Yellow Line towards Huda City but get off at New Delhi Station (INR 16)
  4. From New Delhi Station, take the Airport Metro Train (INR 60) and get off at the airport

Travel Tips for India
  • e-VISA - visa on arrival is no longer done. Tourists should apply online for an e-VISA. Tourist e-VISA for 60 days = US$51.25 (including surcharges, non-refundable). NOTE: e-VISA is only honored in 25 designated airports and 5 designated seaports (Cochin, Goa, Mangalore,Mumbai,Chennai). You CANNOT do a land crossing using an e-VISA.
  • US$1 = Indian Rupee (INR) 67.18
  • nearly every food served is spicy...there is no escaping it
  • other travel destinations in India
  • always good to have an Indian SIM. It's handy to get wifi in some cafes

General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
India Blogs


  1. 16 Days in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala: Goodbye India June 23-July 8, 2018
  2. Peoplescape of Dharamshala, India June 14 - July 8, 2018
  3. Visiting the Tibet Museum June 27, 2018
  4. In Search of a Tibetan Yantra Yoga Teacher June 25, 2018
  5. Conducting Yoga Classes at Pema Thang Guest House, Dharamshala, India June 24 - July 8, 2018
  6. Life in Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 16-23, 2018
  7. Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 19, 2018
  8. Matters of the Heart Jun 17, 2018
  9. A First Timer in Dharamshala Jun 14, 2018

  11. 29 Hours in New Delhi Airport July 9-10, 2018
  12. Meditation with Shirly Pnina at Lodi Garden, New Delhi May 15, 2018
  13. A First-Timer in New Delhi, India May 12-17, 2018

  15. A 26-Day Mini-Life in Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
  16. Peoplescape of Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
  17. Rafting the Ganga River with Greg Goldstein June 1, 2018
  18. White Water Rafting on Ganga River, Rishikesh May 25, 2018
  19. Satsang (spiritual discourse) by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati May 21, 2018
  20. Ganga Aarti (devotional fire ritual) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram May 21, 2018
  21. Bouncing Back into Yoga in Rishikesh May 21, 2018
  22. Exploring Rishikesh, India May 18, 2018

  24. India e-VISA snag May 9, 2018

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