This was my first trek to the Himalayas in 2006. Mr Narayan who had come with his friends to Kumaraparvatha wanted a trek during Christmas holidays. Season being a snow fall time I had to check the possibilities of trek being conducted. First I had the idea of trekking in Frozen Lake in Leh, but on verifying the details the right time to do this trek is during jan-Feb. After a thorough search I decided to plan for the Dayara Bugyal trek. Inquiries were made with the Travel Agent in Uttarkashi to find out the feasibility of the trek and about the snow condition. Mr Narayan took initiative in mobilizing the team.
The team comprising of 7 members (Mr Narayan, Mr Sumesh, Mr Kamalesh, Mr Lakshminarayan Rao, Mr Sreekanth, Ms Nalina ) started meeting regularly for briefing about the trek. Since all the team members are first timers to Himalayas lots of doubts arised and every body was anxious to experience the snow fall.Itinerary was finalised according to the convenience of all the team members. As per the plan we were to leave Bangalore on the 23rd by flight to Delhi and by bus to Uttarkashi via Haridwar. Weather turned bad the whole of last week of Dec. Flights were delayed and cancelled due to heavy fog in Delhi. Anxiously looking at the weather report we made last minute calls to each other to know about the schedule departure of our flight. Scheduled time of our flight was 4.30 pm. Finally at 9.30pm it left Bangalore and we reached Delhi at 1.30 am with outside temp being 10 degrees. Took a taxi to ISBT Kashmiri Gate (Rs.260/- per taxi) for our next part of our journey. We were lucky to find a bus to Uttarkashi even at that odd hour. There are no luxury buses available to Uttarkashi. Visibility being almost nil, the driver has to be given an international license for driving in this route at this condition. Sitting in the front seat with our hands at our heart we were watching the driver’s experience in driving at this nil visibility condition. We reached Haridwar at 8.00am where Mr Lakshminarayan Rao , who had left Bangalore 2 days early was waiting for us at Bus stand
24th Inquiries were made for the bus journey to Uttarkashi. Taxi rates were exorbitant. We took a Govt bus which took 2 hrs more than the scheduled time because of a road block near Tehri. We reached Uttarkashi at 5.30pm. Mr Rawat, our tour operator welcomed us and made us settle at Hotel Bhandari Annexe. Mr Rawat with whom I was associated for nearly more than 20 years had earlier helped me in crossing kalindi Pass in 1994. Meeting him after 12 years exchanged pleasantries. After enquring about mutual friends started preparation for our next days programme. Mr Rawat told about the heavy snowfall at Dayara Bugyal and every one was exited. We had a late lunch/dinner settled for the day. We were tired after tedious travel for nearly 13 hrs. Mr.Rawat had taken care of arrangements of rations, tents, and porters (7 porters, 1 Guide and 1 Cook).
25th We left for Barsu by Taxi at 9.30 am which is 32 kms from Uttarkashi. It took us 2 hrs to reach Barsu. Barsu – a small village with 80 houses has a GMVN Rest House and a beautiful lake. It also is the home town of our Tour Operator Mr Rawat who had accompanied with us to Barsu. We pitched our tents in the camping ground. It happened to be the only place where we pitched our tents. Our cook and guide who had accompanied us with minimum rations prepared food. Rest of the porters came by bus at 5.30pm. There is only one bus which ply from Uttarkashi to Barsu and hence it is advisable to hire a taxi to save time.
26th Weather turned bad in the morning. Every one was ready at 7.30 itself. Mr Rawat advised me to be careful and also said to reach the campsite at the earliest. Initially it was a steep climb in the forest and then the climb became gradual. It took sometime for us to warm up and also to acclimatise to the high altitude. After 3 hrs of climb in the forest we reached the snow field. There was around 3 ft snow. It was too much for the beginners and were finding it a bit difficult initially to walk in fresh snow which was at times knee deep. The support staff had not expected so much of snow. We halted for lunch after crossing the snow field. It was a much needed rest for all of us. After Lunch break we started traversing towards Dayara Bugyal . At 2.00 pm it started snowing. We had almost reached our camp site. After 6 hrs of trekking we reached our camp site – Dayara Bugyal – which means meadow, but fully covered in snow. It was a amazing to see the camp huts covered in snow and temp being very low. From here there is no necessity of tents. There are plenty of Camping huts to camp for the night. Our cook – Dipendar immediately started camp fire and every body dried our feet and socks. It was very cold. The temp was touching minus. Our Guide Mr.Kishan was worried about the route being difficult for us. We had to change our plans. Weather was also not good. It would have been difficult for the porters to make route in knee deep snow without proper equipment. Alternate route to be taken the next day was discussed and it was decided to halt the next day at Dayara Bugyal for the weather to clear and also for the snow to get settled. It was also decided to trek towards Dodital and Kishen would go around the place in the morning to check for a safe route to Agora. After dinner we all settled in our sleeping bags. Night the temp was – 6 degrees.
27th I got up at 6.30 in the morning to check the weather. It was very clear. Slowly one by one came out to see our camping place. What was not visible the previous day was clearly seen. It was a treat to see the beautiful peaks surrounding our camp site. Our camp site was fully covered in snow. No one had anticipated so much of snow. All started playing in the snow. After breakfast we went to view point to see the wonderful view of the peaks (Bunderpunch, Kalanag, Draupadi Ka Danda to name a few). It was an amazing sight. We were not interested to go to our camp site. Photos were being clicked from all possible angles. We went to our camp site by 11.00 am. Again I discussed about the route with Mr Kishen. Since the weather was clear we decided to move down to Gwahi, 4 kms from Dayara Bugyal. By this time all the team members were fully acclimatised and was immediately ready for trekking down hill. The plan was to trek upto Raital and then take a cab to Sangam Chatti which is the starting point for the Dodital Trek. Since we started very late we decided to camp mid point at Gwahi and proceed to Raital the next day. We left Dayara Bugyal at 2.00 pm. We were initially traversing in the snow covered trail for nearly 1 hrand later we entered into a forest and the path became easier. We reached Gwahi at 4.00 pm and settled in the camp huts available. It was agin very cold. Lake had frozen and hence had to melt ice / snow for water.
28th Our plan was to reach Raital(4 Kms), take a taxi upto Sangam Chatti and from there trek up to Bewara, which is 8kms from Sangam chatti.We started at 8.30 am. I was suffering from severe stomach pain / headache. Mr.Sunil and me went ahead to arrange for the taxi, but when we reached Raital at 10.00 am there was no taxi available. On enquiry with the forest dept staff came to know that taxi can be arranged over phone call to Bhatwari – 3 kms from Raital. There was a little bit of confusion when Mr.Sunil and Mr.Depinder had both booked for Taxi. Finally things were settled and we left Raital in 2 Taxi (Rs.1500/-) reaching Sangam Chatti at 1.30pm. We had our packed lunch at a hotel. My acidity problem was giving a horrible time. I could’nt eat anything. Seeing my discomfort, our Guide Mr.Kishan offered to carry my rucksack and for the first time I was trekking without a rucksack. I decided to trek ahead with Mr.Sunil so that there will not be any delay in reaching the camp. Route from Dodital is a very wide trail almost like a jeep track and that made it easier for me to trek almost blindfolded. Initially it was a steep climb and then the climb became gradual. After reaching Agora at 3.30pm, I was informed by Mr.Sunil that our guide had sent back all the tents with 2 porters since the route has camping huts all along. That means we have to trek for another 2 kms for another 1 1/2 hr of steep climb to reach the camping hut at Bewara. I wasn’t aware of this and was not happy trekking another 2 kms since the other team members were very far. Our Guide and all other team members reached Agora at 5.00pm. I made sure that we stay at the guest house available at Agora and not continue upto Bewara. Whole night I was suffering because of my stomach pain.
29th Mr.Kishan was more worried about my health. We had to trek for 10 kms to reach Manjhi. It is an very steep climb till Bewara and afterwards it is clear level path up to Manjhi except for snow in some places. It was very tiring for me. My legs were not moving at all. There was no intake at all. I was getting dehydrated even after taking electral. Water is scarce in this route. The forest is full of Rhododendrons. We reached a tea stall 2 kms before Manjhi. I slept for nearly 1 hr till the time others had there tea. I was slightly feeling better. Finally we reached Manjhi at 3.00 pm.
30th Our final destination point – Dodital was 5 kms from Manjhi. It is an easy trek without any ascent and descent except for some patches of snow. We trekked up to Dodital without rucksack and reached in 1hr and 45 min. Weather was very good. We walked around the lake, took some snaps. There were 2 guest house and numerous camping hut, but all of them were closed. We decided to trek up to Agora instead of camping at Bewara. After a total distance of 21 kms we reached Agora at 5.00 pm. It was very tiring, but of course everyone was happy at the completion of the trek.
31st Last day of the trek. It is only 6 kms and so everyone was relaxed. We celebrated Sumesh birthday. After breakfast we started trekking at a leisure pace and reached Sangam chatti at 11.00am. We cramped ourselves in the only available jeep (14 of us) for 15 kms and reached Uttarkashi by evening. Mr.Rawat greeted us with a warm hug. All of us were really happy with the way the trek went on. We celebrated new year at the hotel itself and wished for many more adventurous treks for the coming year.
Day 1 Uttarkashi to Barsu 32 kms by vehicle
Day 2 Barsu to Dayara Bugyal 6 kms
Day 3 Dayara Bugyal to Gwahi 4 kms
Day 4 Gwahi to Raital 4 kms
Raital to Sangam Chatti 30 kms by vehicle
Sangam Chatti to Agora 6 kms
Day 5 Agora to Manjhi 10 kms
Day 6 Manjhi to Dodital to Agora 21 kms
Day 7 Agora to Sangamchatti 6 kms
Sangam chatti to U.Kashi 16 kms by vehicle
Total distance trekked 56 Kms