Lahesh Cave Trek is an ideal trekking route for adventurers who wish to explore beyond an easy one day trek to Triund. The trail to Lahesh caves is one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas. It offers an enthralling experience with breathtaking panoramic views of the Dhauladhars.
Lahesh Cave Trek is set in Himachal’s Dhalaudhar Ranges. The caves are set above one of the most famous trekking places in India, Triund at a height of 3475 metres. Lahesh cave trek ticks all the right boxes for a beginner. It gives you the unique experience of crossing a glacier in winters.
Lahesh Cave Trek is moderate when it comes to complexity. Therefore, it can be pursued by beginners who are willing to bend their backs in preparation. All that training would come through when making strides would be a requirement along with the tough phases of the trek. In the current blog, I will share with you my journey to the magnificent caves. I will also share with you the snags I had to face in the pursuit of this adventure.
Lahesh Cave Trek: What you need to Know?
Lahesh cave trek is a moderate level trek situated near Mcleodganj in Dharamshala. Therefore, if you are completely new to the mountains, I recommend you go in for the relatively easier Triund Hill trek.
Lahesh cave trek is a three-day adventure that I recommend for adventure lovers who are travelling to Dharamshala McLeodganj and are open to the idea of a multi-day trek.
Before going into the details of my journey, here is a quick overview:
|Location of Lahesh Caves
Part of the Dhauladhar Range, Himachal Pradesh, North India
|Lahesh Cave Height (above sea level)
3475 m (11400 ft)
|Total trekking distance from Mcleodagnj
|Total Time Required to complete Lahesh Cave trek
|Starting point of the trek
Dharamkot. It is located at a distance of about 2 km (walking) from Mcleodganj bus stop.
|How to reach the starting point of Lahesh Cave trek?
Take a bus to Dharamshala, hire a cab till Dharamkot
|Accessibility of Lahesh Caves
March – December
|Best Time To Visit
|Lahesh Cave Trek Difficulty
You should be able to run 5 kilometres in 40 minutes
Jogging, Squats and Stair Climbing
How Did I Come Up with the Idea of Taking the Lahesh Cave Trek?
While savouring mouthwatering momos on the stalls just outside the university gates, a polite enquiry was made by a close friend. He was interested to know whether I was willing to tag along with him to Indrahar Pass.
I had other plans with a few of my batch mates on heading towards Kedarkantha initially. But my gut feeling warned me that the trip might get cancelled. Eventually, it did get cancelled.
I agreed to pursue the Lahesh Cave trek. The month of our departure was April.
We made our own arrangements for tents, food, burner, medical care and rucksacks like professionals. Well, you can always hire or rent a tent, but if you are as passionate about trekking, as I am, it’s always a good idea to invest in good trekking essentials like a decent tent. I am using a Coleman waterproof 2 person tent for the last few years, and I would definitely recommend it.
All our packing was done except the sleeping bags, a major missing piece in the puzzle of trekking. A piece that was to be discovered in Mcleodganj.
Lahesh Cave Trek Itinerary for first-timers
Before pursuing the Lahesh Cave Trek or any trek for that matter, preparing an itinerary is important. Given below is the itinerary we followed on our trek to Lahesh Caves
Reach Dharamshala and check-in your hotel.
Tip: Make sure you Pre-book your stay in Dharamshala, especially on a weekend as it can get a little crowded.
Drive to Dharamkot, 20 mins
Trek from Dharamkot (6900ft) to Snowline (10321ft)
Note: If you are staying in Mcleodganj or Dharamkot, you will save time on day 2 and you can commence your trek from here. We stayed at the Tibet World guest house in Mcleodanj, which is centrally located.
Snowline (10321ft) to Lahesh Cave (11400ft) and back
Dharamkot to Bhagsu Nag
16 Crucial Things to pack for Lahesh Cave Trek
Here is a list of all the important things that you would require to complete the Lahesh Cave Trek.
What gear to carry for trekking to Lahesh Cave?
It is important to understand that if you are planning to do the Lahesh cave trek independently (I mean without a guide), you will need to carry certain trekking gear. These are the most essential things I highly recommend you carry:
|Rucksack– A rucksack is a must for long treks. The reason is that they are comfortable and can hold all your trekking essentials. Like the last 4 trips, my 45 litres backpack accompanied me on this trek.|
|Trekking Pole – I would recommend you carry an adjustable trekking pole for a better grip. I did not have one and I did regret it later as you will read in my journey ahead.|
|Torch/Flashlight – A torch is another must-have item on your packing list for Lahesh Cave trek. It’s a must to witness starry skies.|
|Tent- Since I am an avid trekker I choose to carry my own tent. I am using a Coleman waterproof 2 person tent for the last few years, and I would definitely recommend it.
Tip: If you don’t own a tent and don’t intend to buy one, you can rent one in Mcleodganj. It comes with a sleeping bag
|Sleeping Bag – A sleeping bag is a must. Carry a sleeping bag that is light and easy to carry.|
What footwear is recommended for Lahesh Cave Trek?
This is certainly the most important requirement for a trek. You just cannot do without good footwear if you are trekking in the Himalayas, especially on long-distance treks. These three are a must have:
|Microspikes-If you are going to Lahesh cave during winters, make sure that you carry a pair of microspikes. These give a better grip on icy pathways.|
|Trekking shoes – While you can get away with normal sports shoes on short hikes, for long treks you definitely need a pair of good trekking shoes. Since I go on a number of treks, I got myself these wildcraft trekking shoes.|
|Slippers – A pair of slippers to change into after you are settled at the campsite.|
What apparel & accessories to pack for Lahesh Cave Trek?
Last but certainly not least are the apparels and accessories. High altitude regions such as Lahesh caves, can get really cold after sunset. Therefore, make sure you are carrying warm clothing even in summers. Make these a part of your packing list
|Sunglasses- Sunglasses are a must especially in winter, to prevent Snow Blindness. The sun rays reflected from the snow surface can be very harsh for the eyes.|
|Medical Kit- This is one of the most important items that need to be placed in your rucksack.|
|Thermals – These are needed for the colder months.|
|Down Jacket – It can get really cold at such altitudes, so make sure you are carrying your warm jacket on the trek.|
|Woollens – 2 layers of woollens for summers and 5 layers of woollens for winters|
|Lip Balm & Other Toiletries (including toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, moisturiser, sunscreen, toilet roll, etc. )|
My Journey to Lahesh Cave in Eight parts
I have divided my Lahesh Cave Trek journey into 8 parts. Starting from reaching Mcleodgani, which acts as a base for the trek, I will take you through the journey to and all the way back from the caves.
Ride to Dharamkot
The rocky route To Triund
A cakewalk To Snowline
The Snowline Saga
The wrong way
Never give up, never surrender
The long way back home
1. Reaching Mcleodganj, the base for trekking to Lahesh Caves
We took the non-A/C Himachal Roadways Bus at 11 pm due to certain last-minute chores. You can pre-book an AC or non-AC bus on HRTC’s official website.
The best thing about this journey was that I didn’t know a lot about the other 5 fellow travellers. Two of them had met me before for discussions regarding the trip. With one, I had a little bit of interaction in the past year. I tagged him along to Lahesh Cave trek because he seemed passionate and more so because he was a superlative trekker.
We reached Dharamshala early morning. Seeing a beautiful morning in Dharamshala, I started to picture how the snow-clad mountains would look when I ascend towards the Lahesh cave trek.
Mcleodganj is half an hour from Dharamshala. For our excursion, we took a local bus. However, feel free to hire a cab if that suits you better.
2. Riding to Dharamkot, where the actual Lahesh Trek starts
Before starting our pursuit to reach Dharamkot, we had to make arrangements for the sleeping bags. They are available at the top and are in limited stock. They’re made available with the tents only. We were already carrying our tents so there was no point in renting them up there.
One and a half hours had gone by and yet no arrangements were made. We utilized the time in freshening up and having breakfast.
|A tip from my side for first-time trekkers – “Have a heavy breakfast but do not overeat.”|
Everything fell into place after our initial efforts. The sleeping bags were arranged and the best part was that we didn’t have to carry them to the top. We were getting them at Snowline Café. We were lucky enough to get them. However, to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, the first thing I did post this trek, was to get myself this sleeping bag that can also be used as a mattress. It’s light to carry and very comfortable.
The cab was arranged for our ride to Dharamkot at cheaper rates than usual (300 INR instead of 400 INR).
3. Taking the Rocky Route to Triund, an ideal stop for beginners just before Lahesh
It was 11 am by the time we started our journey towards Triund. This was the place where my latent lust for trekking had been unleashed at first. In case you are looking for a travel guide for Triund, you can read this detailed blog.
It seemed as if the rocks were not there for fellow trekkers as they were out of my sight in about 10 minutes. They were striding at a speed that would put even the locals to shame. We were segregated into two groups depending on our speed.
Although we were carrying all the stuff including the tents, we were still making good pace when you compare it to the other group. They were nowhere to be seen or heard.
|Trekking on rocks is hard work. You have to take care of stepping properly on the rocks. Else, your legs would take a toll. You commit one mistake and you would have your leg twisted.|
With all the stuff on my shoulders, I still took lesser time than I did the last time. This showed how far I had come in the past eight months, with the experience of completing 4 treks before this one.
We were at the top at around 3 pm i.e in four hours. Some of the fellow trekkers took half the time.
4. A Cake Walk to Snowline from Triund
There was beauty everywhere we looked. The last time I visited this place, the mist was taking 360° rounds of the entire region. Due to the view, we had mountains in the front frame along with some parts of Mcleodganj as you look the other side. It was much quieter this time. There was no mist to be seen. It was all bright and sunny.
Time was passing by, and we couldn’t see the rest of our team anywhere. We had to reach the snowline before sunset. While waiting for them, we rested while enjoying the “pahadi maggi and chai”.
It was at 3:30 pm by now. A decision had to be made. We decided that the swifter trekkers would go and pitch the tents while the two of us would wait for the other duo to arrive.
4:10, 4:20 – Two people with their heavy eyes, fully drained out bodies arrived. They were in dire need of sleep.
There come situations in treks when some hard decisions have to be made. As cruel as they may seem. We started moving again in about 20 minutes.
The path to the snowline is a cakewalk when you compare it to Triund. They were straight roads that we took most of the time. it was a 3 km hike. Just as the sun had fully set, we reached our destination.
The last time I was in Triund, I had vowed to return and go further someday. I had fulfilled that vow.
5. Enjoying the Snowline Saga before reaching Lahesh Caves
Our destination was within sight, Indrahar Pass, in its magnificence – covered all in the snow. This is where we decided to abort our mission to go to Indrahar Pass. It was not possible to go without proper mountaineering gear. We were going to complete the Lahesh Cave Trek though.
A gala scene was set up. Bonfires were lit, conversations were made, and bonds were made. After dinner, we said farewell to the stars and retired to our tents for nine hours.
A lazy time in the mountains is when you run around and slide around on the snowy slopes. You even enjoy the not-so-good meal as you observe the subtle nature of the mountains. That was what our morning was like.
At 10 am, we started our journey towards the mighty Lahesh Cave Trek.
6. Taking the Wrong Way to Lahesh Cave
All six of us made our way to Laka Got. This is the last water resource point. Only 3 of us were determined to take the path to Lahesh Cave Trek, and that’s what ended up happening. The rest ended up staying back.
We didn’t know the route to Lahesh Cave Trek. We just followed the trail where the sound of the waterfall was coming from. This is where we went wrong.
The path that we took was a treacherous one. It drained off all the energy that I had. We returned when we were certain that we are getting no way ahead with this route.
Three hours of exertion without result. I was exhausted both mentally and physically by the time we returned.
7. Learning an important lesson at the last leg of Lahesh trek- Never Give Up, Never Surrender
Just when we were about to head back without success, we saw a group of people crossing a glacier with the help of a guide. We had to cross the glacier in order to complete the Lahesh Cave trek.
I was in a dilemma about whether to go with them or abort the mission. I said to myself that I have come too long a way to go back unsuccessful.
I’d taken a bit of rest and hence lagged behind the group with another fellow traveller.
It was a treacherous icy slope. Certain fellow trekkers helped themselves up with the foot holes that were made by the guide for the group. It required both their hands and legs.
Every part that the former group went on, had turned exceedingly slippery because of their steps. It was slips, slips and slips. 12 failures of slipping right down to the bottom. I was up against it.
I had tried everything – made my own foot holes for my legs, as well as my hands. I slipped making them at times. Most of the time, I was really close to my destination, but still failed at the last moment.
My upper body strength was not must up to the mark. I was regretting not buying a trekking pole, a bare necessity, especially for these situations.
When I Finally Made It!
If I didn’t make it to the cave with this attempt, I was going to quit. I grabbed the last two snickers with my beaten up hands, composed myself, and cleared my mind. The plan was set. It was now or never.
I remembered the Dark Knight Rises scene where Batman climbed up the pits knowing if he slipped, it would be his last attempt.
I was really careful not to slip and took my steps judiciously. Then, I took my time making the foot holes and climbed through them. I was going to slip at times but I held strong. I was not going back with failure in my head. Finally, I was there at the top.
I still had to walk a little to make it to the end. My legs had given up, but I couldn’t rest. I had to get back and I was afraid if I took a rest, I would not be able to get back up. I might’ve collapsed.
The cave was filled with 4/5th of ice. There was a way back from the top there – an iceless path. Thoughts came into my mind that even the guide had misguided us. It was all maybe for the lesson of never giving up.
8. Long Way Back Home from Lahesh Caves
It must have taken my frostbitten feet 2 hrs (1/2 hr path) to get back to the Glacier.
I heard “Aarush, Aarush” as I reached close to Laka Got. I responded once. It was another call this time, but I couldn’t respond. All the water from my body had been sucked out.
I finally managed to get some water. However, my struggles hadn’t ended yet. We were devoid of lunch and sufficient water. I had to deal with a team that was angry, yet happy to have me back at the campsite.
Thankfully, I had an extra bottle filled with water in my tent, which I filled up with tang. I didn’t care for the fly that went into the bottle. At that point, it was the least of my worries.
The next day, I had inflammatory clots in my frostbitten feet which should have slowed me down but they couldn’t. I just wanted to get back. My mental tiredness trumped my physical tiredness. It took me just 3 hours to get back to Dharamkot. Then, we were lucky enough to find a hotel after lots of searching.
It was rare for me that I actually wanted to leave the mountains and head back. Vishal had the same idea. We waited for the rest to arrive, took the return Volvo tickets from them, got them cancelled and got back home with a bus from Kangra to Chandigarh. I eventually reached Patiala after parting with Vishal who headed to his home in Chandigarh.
What did I learn from My Lahesh Cave Trek Experience?
This trip taught me to have vigour in life. It made me capable to face every situation head-on. A lesson was taught to me, life would knock you down but those who are willing to stride would achieve what they want to achieve. A chapter on being patient in every situation was learned by me.
The Lahesh Cave trek taught me to always have a certain set of equipment and medical care on every trek. It is one thing you shouldn’t try to save money on.
Last but not least, it turned me into a storyteller. It was after this trip that I had a wish to blog and jot my experiences down.
5 Commonly Asked Questions by Beginners taking the Lahesh Cave Trek
I have tried to answer below the most commonly asked questions about the Lahesh Cave Trek. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section.
|On the Lahesh Cave trek, where can the last ATM be found?
|Do you get mobile signals on the way?
No, the last place you would get mobile signals at would be Dharamkot.
|What is the approximate length of Lahesh Cave Trek?
26 kilometres (to and fro)
|Where would the last water source be?
|Where would the last shop be?
As a beginner, you should be pursuing all three treks – Triund, Kuari Pass and Lahesh Cave Trek. You will feel more confident and be a seasoned trekker with each new trail. I took all three. You should too.
Happy wayfaring 🙂