The trail less taken-Dain Kund, Himachal


Venue:pohlani mata temple,dainkund,dalhousie,Himachal Pradesh.

approximately 10 kms from Dalhousie.

dhaulandar ranges

getting a 360 degree view of the Dhaulandar and PirPanjal mountain ranges.

Well, i feel extremely grateful and privileged, to have experienced something, i never did before, something that i will never be able to forget, something which i felt was my own, somewhere, where i felt i belonged. The day i witnessed all my senses becoming gateways of enlightenment.

I don’t know how many of you have ever experienced something like this. But, i hope many of you do. Those who have will totally get what i am trying to express.

After a very pleasant stay of 6 days at McleodGanj,we(me and my husband)hired a taxi and took a trip to Dalhousie,stayed at the Grand view hotel after reaching on 6th of august(8pm precisely),the journey was exceptional,which is beyond the scope of this blog(cannot help ,sorry for the technical language ),in short we experienced the richness,unpredictablity along with stability of the mighty himalayas ,from the kangra valley to chamba valley,there is a slight change in culture.we also chanced to experience a land slide amidst fog ,which delayed our schedule by around three hours.finally we reached our hotel,decided to take the night off and dozed.Woke up to clear skies(which we hadnt seen for the previous 3 days),Had our breakfast and took off for the day that changed something in both of us!!.

After visiting the picturesque Khajjiar valley(i wouldn’t demean i by calling it mini Switzerland because it has its own beauty and charisma) and trying a few adventure sports in kalatop, we decided very, fortunately, to go to Dainkund, like any other traveler I got interested in the etymological origins of the word.

The mountains are always full of unpredictable turns and paths,they are full of mysticism and ofcourse folklore and plenty of eerie stories.The people surviving there are’ far above the rest of world so high’ have their own set of beliefs and values and like many of them Dainkund has a special story.A rather interesting one,and there is something about the place that makes you believe it. p.s.We did not know it before be took the trail.

Dainkund=pothole/lake/water reservoir of witches.

The local folklore suggest(source:an old shopkeeper ,who was coming down the trail while we were going up) that this hill and the adjacent ones were inhabited by many witches once upon a time,who troubled the villagers and made it difficult for them to take their cattle for grazing and hampered their work .

so,they prayed to their ‘Mata,’ or deity “pohlani mata”(the wrestler Goddess).

She eventually got impressed and defeated the witches in a bout of wrestle,freeing the pond and adjacent hills from them.Therefore,it is called ‘Dainkund’.

sadly we couldnt go to the kund ,as it is located inside the airforce establishment and entry is prohibited.

Due to the windy and cloudy weather that day and previous 3-4 days, we did not find anyone except for two couples near the trail.

empty chairs and lonely trails, the trail less taken.

We started around 5 in the evening and unaware of the magic that was awaiting us and tired of the days traveling, were not very motivated to take the trail, even our driver did not seem very enthusiastic about it.

But, we are very thankful to the two couples we met in between, one which encouraged us to go up(and see a glimpse of Manimahesh Kailash mountain)and the other one who said that they were retreating because they felt it was unsafe. nothing could stop my risk-taking husband now. am glad nothing can.and we took the plunge.

the mighty Mani Mahesh mountain can be seen from here, where lord Shiva resides apart from our minds

We carried on the scenic 1.5 ridge walk, amidst the loud sounds of crickets and the very chilly yet moist wind blowing on our faces,with the smell of moist wood and soil,and a sight so picturesque and refreshing that i will be using it all my life for relaxation and guided imagery,my happy space.
The trail goes through a small patch which was dark ,slippery and adjacent to deep ridge as well,which looked less dangerous ,than it actually was due the the tall pine trees and other temperate flora and fauna.

we reached when there was nobody, not even the priest of the temple, only the three of us and it was so peaceful, we could hear our own thoughts, though covered with clouds we could not see the Mighty Manimahesh Kailash mountain. But, we suddenly saw a figure on the adjacent hill, and were taken aback, at the same moment, a man came from almost nowhere and said that there is no need to be scared, “that is an idol of pohlani Mata, you will be able to see it when the clouds go,but you should leave soon now, as it is getting darker and bears and other wild animals might harm you on the trail back” . Without waiting much now we started our walk back downwards, but the best part of the experience was yet to come.

THE Splendid sunset:

while coming down ,we halted for a while,just trying to absorb what we experienced and unknown to the fact that mother nature has yet another surprise planned for us.

The sky all of a sudden got clear and turned red, we could see the pretty orange ball, watching over us,the mountain around us seeming to celebrate the light , glowed , turned all bright and beautiful.We decided to play along and all three of us , without being under the influence of any substance experienced a feeling close to ecstasy.

a sense of an unknown ,yet pleasant presence around me.
unending floating clouds and mountains
looking at the unending floating clouds.
dainkund trail
no filter glow
high on nature
high on and by nature

i started singing, both the boys started dancing we had the most gala time ever.

And yes we finally got to see Shiva’s abode, the mighty Manimahesh all glowing like fire, fierce yet comforting


We understood that the time we had would not come back ever, and that nature is absolutely bizarre and unpredictable, you never know what you will experience next,it is possible that no one else finds this place as special and as intriguing as it felt to us,

“because it is the experience that heals not the place,and experiences are subjective”.


no filters used

we glowed along everything around us

The next day we took out time again and visited again, and while driving back could hear the mountains singing as they are called, bidding us goodbye and hoping to meet very soon.BEcause we belong to them and they are a part of us.


buddhism and I

Whether it was Kushinagar (a pilgrimage town near Gorakhpur,Uttar Pradesh) or Mc leodganj( also known as mini Lhasa, Himachal Pradesh) or reading ‘buddha charit’ in school, Buddhism has always attracted me, because of its philosophy and temples/shrines, because of the monks and nuns.

the dalai lama temple

It is not that i don’t approve of my religion (Hinduism/Sanatan Dharma), But being brought up in a very tolerant and open-minded environment (both home and school), i have been taught to be accepting of different cultures and taking the best out of them,i have been trained since early childhood the importance of acculturation and tolerance (maybe because we are migrants).


Buddhism for me is making empathy a basic practice, channeling the force of mind i.e. meditation, practicing love and compassion, patience and the concept of death, nirvana.

Well since this is meant to be a travel blog i would not go into the theories of Buddhism in detail, would jump to the Mc Leod Ganj directly.


Mc Leod ganj according to me is not just a place ,it is an experience,

it is a suburb of Dharamshala ,situated in the Kangra district and is situated on the Dhaulandar (mountain)range of himachal pradesh.

It is called mini Lhasa ,because of its high density of Tibetan population,the tibetan govt in exile has its headquarters at Mc leod.

one of the major attractions isthe Dalai lama Temple.Also known as thekchen choling temple.Dalai Lama visits this temple about 3 to 4 times in a year,therefore its name.


If you want to visit mc leod ganj ,during around his visits you can check his schedule of teachings on the following site link.

I unfortunately could not visit during his visits.

the temple is open from 8 am to 8 pm.

once one enters the temple, one enters a different world altogether

i remembered a song when i entered the premises, of a hindi girl band
‘jahan ho pyaar ka mausam,jahan sab dilon ka ho sangam,jahan miithi ho sab logon ki zubaan,
mujhe aise nagar hai jana, mai aisa nagar dhund lungi kahin na kahin.’

you can always see a number of maroon or yellow-clad monks with allot of peace and contentment on their faces, such sweet mesmerizing smiles they carry, always address you with folded hands ,i was totally impressed.

we saw them chanting one day and debating the other.

inside the main temple their stands a magnificent statue of Buddha,

pilgrims, and tourists from all around the globe flock the corridors of the temple, rotating the temple wheels and chanting ‘om mani padme hum’.

IMG_20180730_180635_Bokeh-01 (1)

during the 7 days of my stay at Mc leod i visited the temple 4 times,everytime it was a different experience,whether it was meeting the old tibetan granny or greeting the very sweet japanese baby along with his handsome father,or playing with two naughty tibetam girls ,everyday at the temple or mc leod is different .


Therefore i say Mcleod ganj is not a place it is an experience a culture in its own.