Restrictions on camping and other regulations at Triund hill near Dharamshala, which became notorious for uncontrolled tourism in recent years, has led to the revival of the place in terms of cleanliness and safety.
On Sunday, the district administration closed the route for trekkers following a spell of heavy snowfall over the last two days. Visitors can go up till the starting point of the trek at Gallu, a picturesque spot which is also blanketed in snow.
“There is four to six feet of snow on the top and trekking is suspended for a few days to prevent any mishap. We’re not taking any chances following the state government’s directives,” said a police official at the check-point in Gallu where trekkers are registered. Two days ago, around 170 tourists were stranded in Kufri following snowfall, but were later rescued.
Around six months ago, the state government had banned overnight camping at Triund following the High Court’s orders. Several eateries and camps which had come up on the route and the pasture land on the top were also shut down. Only a day hike is allowed now, and visitors are required to start the seven-kilometre trek to the hilltop before 11 am so that they can return by evening. They are also required to carry their own eatables. However, visitors can stay at the forest rest house if they have a booking.
“Before the ban, people camped at the site in hundreds and the whole route had become littered with garbage. Alcohol and drug use became rampant and there were complaints of molestation. In 2013, two French nationals went missing and were never found. A few years ago, a Delhi resident also went missing but was fortunately found alive after eight days,” said another official. He added that several cleanliness drives were launched and trekkers are now required to list all plastic and packaged items at the checkpoint. They are penalised if they fail to produce the wrappers upon their return. Waste Warriors, an NGO, also organised cleanliness drives in the area.
Chirag Sharma, a Dharamshala resident, said that he hiked up to Triund recently and was surprised to find the route cleaner. “I had stopped going there after it became a garbage dump of sorts. Regulating the trek is a good step by the district administration.
Trekkers and tourists can enjoy themselves now without spoiling the natural beauty of the place,” he said.
A relatively easy hike, Triund in the Dhauladhar mountain range remains one of the most popular trekking options in the region for locals and tourists alike. Even during the off-season, an average of 150-300 people trek up to the hill-top pasture daily. From there, the route further leads to Chamba through the Indrahar Pass and is used by migratory shepherds, mountaineers and area residents.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Upper Dharamshala including Mcleodganj, Naddi and Dharamkot witnessed a heavy footfall of tourists following the season’s first snowfall.
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