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Lahesh Cave Trek: Dharamshala’s Enthralling Green & White Trail

Lahesh Cave Trek is an ideal trekking route for adventurers who wish to explore beyond an easy one day trek in 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 Range. 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 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. 

Also Useful:

A complete first timer’s guide to the Triund Hill Trek 

The complete Dharamshala Itinerary for first timers

Find out whether Dharamshala is safe for solo travellers

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. 

Location

Part of the Dhauladhar Range, Himachal Pradesh, North India

Height above sea level

3475 m (11400 ft)

Total distance from Mcleodagnj

12 km

Total Time Required

2 Nights

3 Days

How to get there?

Take a bus to Dharamshala, hire a cab till Dharamkot

Starting point

Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh, India

Accessibility

Mar-Dec

Best Time To Visit

May-June

Sept-Nov

Nearby Treks/Passes

Indrahar Pass

Kareri Lake

Trek Difficulty

Moderate

Trek Preparation

30 Days.

You should be able to run 5 km in 40 minutes

Recommended Exercises

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 inquiry 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 of 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.

Day 1

Reach Dharamshala and check in your hotel.

Day 2

Reach Mcleodganj

Drive to Dharamkot, 20 mins

Trek from Dharamkot (6900ft) to Snowline (10321ft)

Day 3

Snowline (10321ft) to Lahesh Cave (11400ft) and Back

Day 4

Dharamkot to Bhagsu Nag

Journey Back

Lahesh cave trek Lahesh Cave is a moderate trek for a beginner. Go pursue the trail this summer. Photo credits: Deepak Singh Papola

My Journey: Lahesh Cave Trek

I have divided my Lahesh Cave Trek journey into eight 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. 

Part One

Reaching Mcleodganj

Part Two

Ride to Dharamkot

Part Three

The Rocky Route To Triund

Part Four

A Cake Walk To Snowline

Part Five

The Snowline Saga

Part Six

The Wrong Way

Part Seven

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Part Eight

The Long Way Back Home

Reaching Mcleodganj

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.

Also Useful: 

An ideal 3-day itinerary for first timers in Dharamshala-Mcleodganj

Don’t miss out on these amazing eateries in Dharamshala- Mcleodganj

Lahesh cave trek Me with my fellow trekkers at Mcleodganj. Photo credits: Aarush Tandon

Ride to Dharamkot

Before starting our pursuit to reach Dharamkot, we had to make arrangements of the sleeping bags. The sleeping bags are available at the top and are a limited stock. They are 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 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).

Lahesh cave trek Walking and resting steadily on the way to Dharamkot. Photo credits: Aarush Tandon

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 putting your steps 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 last time. This showed how far I had come in the past eight months with the experience of completing four 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.

Also Useful:

A detailed guide to Triund Trek for absolute beginners

Lahesh cave trek Hike carefully on the rocky path towards Triund. Photo credits: Aarush Tandon

A Cake Walk to Snowline

There was beauty everywhere we looked. Last time I had visited this place, the mist was taking three-sixty degree 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 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 3:30 pm 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.

Time passed by 3:30, 3:40, 3:50, 4:00. Still no sight of others.

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 cake walk when you compare it to Triund. They were straight roads that we took for most of the time. it was a 3 km hike. It took us three hours to complete the hurdle. Just as the sun had fully set, we reached our destination.

The last time I was in Triund I had vowed to return back and go further one day. I had fulfilled that vow.

Lahesh cave trek Mountain Goats at the snowline. Photo credits: Priti Aggarwal

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 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. It is frightening, I must say of how frank you could become with people on a trip.

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, slide around on the snowy slopes. You even enjoy the not so good meal as you observe the subtle nature of mountains. That was what our morning was all about.

At 10 am, we started our journey towards the mighty Lahesh Cave Trek.

Lahesh cave trek Camping at Triund Hill. Photo credits: Divya Sarjolta

The Wrong Way

All six of us made our way to Laka Got. This is the last water resource point. Only three of us were determined to go take the path to Lahesh Cave Trek. This was the trio which reached the Triund hill at the same time and it was only the three of us who went for it.

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 rained 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

We were going to return back without success when 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 a long way to go back unsuccessful.

I had 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 in had turned exceeding slippery because of their steps. The task had turn exceedingly hard for me due to that fact, the foot holes were not going to work for me.

It was slips, slips and slips. 12 failures of slipping right down to the bottom. I was up against it.

I had tried everything. I had made my own foot holes for my legs as well as my hands. I slipped making them at times. I was so close to my destination at times still I 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.

13th Attempt!!

I was quitting if I was not going to able to reach the cave with this attempt. I grabbed the last two snickers with my beaten up hands. I composed myself, 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, took my steps judiciously. 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. I was there at the top.

I had to still make a little bit of walk to reach the cave. My legs had given up but I couldn’t rest. I had to get back and I was afraid if I took to rest, I might not be able to get back. I might collapse.

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.

Lahesh cave trek Made it to the destination finally. Photo credits: Aarush Tandon

Long Way Back Home

It must have taken my frost bitten 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 I couldn’t, all the water from my body had been sucked out.

I finally got some water from the pissed off Pallav who had come here to fill the water. My struggles were not yet ended I wasn’t going to get any lunch.( who was going to burn the fire of the burner again)I would get only 1 litre of water(same for all of us) till our way back to Dharamshala. I had to deal with a pretty angry team.

The team was angry but glad to have me back at the camp site. I had an extra bottle filled with water thankfully in my tent which I filled up with tang. I didn’t care for the fly that went in to the bottle. It was the least of my worries.

The next day I had inflammatory clots in my frost bitten 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 three hours to get back to Dharamkot.

Vishal had gotten down an hour earlier than me while the rest were a long way back. We got down to Bhagsu Nag on foot which might have been the only place we would have gotten hotels in this season with our budget.

We were lucky enough to find a hotel after a lot of searching.

It was rare for me that I actually want 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.

Lahesh cave trek Me and fellow trekkers on the way back. Photo credits: Aarush Tandon

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 the 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.

Apparels

Sunglasses (Are a must in winter, to prevent Snow Blindness)

Trekking Pole

Torch (to witness starry skies)

Medical Kit

Thermals

Down Jacket

Gloves

Woolen Cap

Lip Balm

Micro spikes ( for winters)

Poncho

2 layers of woolens( for summers), 5 layers of woolens( for winters)

Footwear

Trekking shoes   

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 Cab=ve Trek. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section. 

On the Lahesh Cave trek, where can the last ATM be found?

Mcleodganj

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 km (to and fro)

Where would be the last water source be?

Laka Got

Where would the last shop be?

Snowline

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 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aarush Tandon

Aarush Tandon

Aarush Tandon is an adrenaline junkie having the spirit of living by the sword and dying by it. His passion for travel blogging is only bettered by his obsession with travelling; his obsession for travelling unmatched.


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