Lost somewhere in between the dense pine jungle of Old Manali, I and my buddies saw the Lion king rock from afar but the way to reach there was blocked due to a minor landslide which is a frequent sight in the mountains.

That’s when we heard a sound from the bushes. We got scared because earlier a local informed us about a bear that was spotted in the trek a few days ago but it was not what we were expecting.

The mountains did their magic and sent their cutest guide for our rescue. We saw an adorable mama dog wagging her tail and running towards us. She greeted us with all the love and kisses she had and took us to her pups who were hiding inside a small cave just below the Lion king rock. Those fluffy balls of love started jumping all around us inviting us to play with them. They filled us with happiness and unloaded all the fatigue from our bodies.

The view from Lion king rock was also mesmerising with beautiful glaciers on the horizon and the town of Manali beneath us. There was dead silence and in that silence, I could hear the mountains talking to me, urging me to stay in their lap. This was just a gist of the captivating sights and serenity the mountains had kept hidden for us.

We bid farewell to the pooches and started to move ahead. The climb was steep and melting snow made the path muddy and slippery which meant more hard work to reach the top.

There was a dramatic change in the surroundings, the dense thicket transformed into a lush green plain filled with alpine flowers. My mind wasn’t willing to believe what my eyes saw. Something so beautiful yet so tranquil. The serenity of Lamadugh enslaved my soul and the picturesque setting of the plains looked like a beautiful masterpiece created by mother nature.

I closed my eyes, raised my hands high up in the sky and took a deep breath of the fresh air in Manali. The breath-taking views of the different faces of Indrasan, Deo Tibba, and Bara Shangri glacier were the incentives we got for our efforts. I was asking myself “Is this all real or is this just a fantasy?”. My rendezvous with Lamadugh changed me as a person, it helped me realise the fact that happiness is not where you think it is and peace is nothing but freedom from your inner fears and boundaries. There’s more to human existence than material luxury and social status. It taught me how to deal with my mistakes, find my way in life and never stop moving forward no matter how difficult the journey gets.
This is the power of the mountains, they change your perspective towards life.

If you’re voluntary to rewrite yourself and dwell in the ataraxy of Lamadugh then here’s how you can reach this otherworldly tableland:

The starting point of the trek is easily visible. It exists near a water tank which is just a few minutes of a walk ahead of Hadimba Devi shrine. The trail is clear, well built which after a while gets narrower and turns deep inside the dense forest of Deodar and Pine trees which runs on the borders of the Manali wildlife sanctuary. The charm of this trek shortly wiped out the terror of the carnivores roaming in the wilderness from our minds. Cross the Lion king rock and keep moving upward till you reach a small but ravishing plateau. You can sit and recover your breath here amidst the equilibrium of the mountains. Lamadugh is just half an hour of an uphill hike away from this point.
Lamadugh is a deserted alpine plateau, untouched except for a small government made a hut for the shepherds and a thick growth of alpine flowers.

I feel blessed that our hunt for an offbeat place took us to one of the most enchanting treks we’ve ever been to.

Gurupreet Arora

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