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: An Overview
Lahesh cave trek is a three-day adventure that I recommend for adventure lovers who are travelling to Dharamshala McLeodganj. Before going into the details of my journey, here is a quick overview.
Part of the Dhauladhar Range, Himachal Pradesh, North India
|Height above sea level
3475 m (11400 ft)
|Total distance from Mcleodagnj
|Total Time Required
|How to get there?
Take a bus to Dharamshala, hire a cab till Dharamkot
Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh, India
|Best Time To Visit
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. 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
Before pursuing the Lahesh Cave Trek or any trek for that matter, preparing an itinerary is important.
Reach Dharamshala and check-in your hotel.
Drive to Dharamkot, 20 mins
Trek from Dharamkot (6900ft) to Snowline (10321ft)
Snowline (10321ft) to Lahesh Cave (11400ft) and back
Dharamkot to Bhagsu Nag
My Journey: Lahesh Cave Trek
I have divided my Lahesh Cave Trek journey into 8 parts. Starting from reaching Mcleodgani, which acts as a base to 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
We took the non-A/C Himachal Roadways Bus at 11 pm due to certain last-minute chores.
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.
Ride to Dharamkot
Before starting our pursuit to reach Dharamkot, we had to make arrangements of 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 for 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. The cab was arranged for our ride to Dharamkot at cheaper rates than usual (₹300 instead of ₹400).
The Rocky Route to Triund
It was 11 am by the time we started our journey towards Triund. This was the place where my latent lust for trekking had unleashed at first.
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.
A Cake Walk to Snowline
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 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 that some hard decisions have to be made. As cruel as they may seem. We started moving again in about 20 minutes.
The path to snowline is a cakewalk when you compare it to Triund. They were straight roads that we took for 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.
The Snowline Saga
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, 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.
The Wrong Way
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.
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 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 times, 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 in 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 on 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 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.
Long Way Back Home
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 from Vishal who headed to his home in Chandigarh.
What I learnt from My 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 of 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 in 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.
Important Merchandise to Pack for Lahesh Cave Trek
Here s a list of all the important things that you would require to complete the Lahesh Cave Trek.
|Sunglasses (Are a must in winter, to prevent Snow Blindness)
Torch (to witness starry skies)
Microspikes ( for winters)
2 layers of woollens ( for summers), 5 layers of woollens ( for winters)
A pair of slippers
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 be the last water source be?
|Where would the last shop be?
As a beginner, you should be pursuing all the 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 🙂
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