Dayara Bugyal Trek in Winter

After visiting Devaria Tal in winter, I decided to do treks in winter also as Himalayan beauty looks amazing in these days. This year I decided for a weekend trip to Dayara because I need to manage only 1 day leave (25th January), 24th and 26th were holidays. I shared my plan with Pramod, Thanna & Lokesh, everybody got ready as nobody had visited Dayara Bugyal in winter earlier. Dayara Bugyal, Located at a height of 3,048 metres above Uttarkashi, the magnificence of this rolling BUGYAL (meadow) will surprise even the most intrepid traveler. The slope of bugyal is ideal for skiing and Uttarakhand government has included it in it’s tourism development master plan. A ski resort has to be developed and rope way to be made but still Dayara is waiting for development.

Thanna & Lokesh were coming from Srinagar and thay had left Sriganr at 11:00 AM by thanna’s car, While I had to start from Roorkee and Pramod has to join me from Haridwar, He was at his home (kotdwar) and on bed rest on doctors consultation. He was facing problem in his one foot and it was a tough time for him as he was feeling pain in his foot while walking. I hired a car and planned to left roorkee by 02:00 PM, due to a training schedule. But I could leave roorkee at 02:30 PM. Pramod was waiting for me in Haridwar. It was the time of Kumbh fair, but luckily we got the clear road and crossed Rishikesh before 04:00 PM. We were hoping to reach Uttarkashi before 10:00 PM.
The Sun has set when we reached at Chamba. Chamba is a small hill station, and well connected by road from Rishikesh, Mussoorie, New Tehri & Gangotri. It’s approx. 60 km. from Mussoorie & Rishikesh. Nice place for weekend trip to Delhi & NCR people. Some good hotels are there. One can visit a day trip to Tehri Dam or Surkanda Devi Temple from here . It was completely dark when we left Chamba. We reached Uttarkashi at 09:30 PM, Lokesh & Thanna was already waiting for us. So we had a late night dinner. (As 10:00 PM is late night in mountain in winters). Uttarakshi is a famous town of Uttarakhand . It’s situated in the bank of Bhagirathi River on Gangotri Highway and is the main night stay point of pilgrims in yatra season. It’s approx. 170 km. from Rishikesh at an elevation of 1150 mts. above sea level. Two famous temple Viswanth & Kuteti Devi are located here. One can get hotels, dharamshalas & guest houses for night stay.

Next morning we got up early and left uttarkashi at 07:30 AM for Bhatwari. I have asked Ramesh to take one portor with him as we were carrying tent for night stays. Ramesh reached  Bhatwari when I was sharing our plan to forest range officer of Bhatwari for forest department formalities. Earlier we had planned to trek from Barsu, but range officer suggested me to start it from raithal, as the trek is easier and views are more beautiful from this side. So we changed our plan and make it from Raithal side.
Charhethi is approx. 2-3 km. from Bhatwari on Gangotri highway, and one has to follow a separate road for Raithal from here. We purchased ration in charhethi but I’ll suggest to keep ration from Uttarkashi because food quality was not good t here. Raithal is only 7-8 km. from charhethi and provides good view of valley. It’s 30-40 families village and population should be approx. 100 to 120. GMVN rest house is also available for night stay. Some old garhwali style houses looks beautiful. A Temple of God Someshwara is also there. If you reach uttarkashi by time, Raithal is a better option for night stay.

It was 12:30PM when we completed our village round. Lunch was unavailable as no hotel was there so we ate Maggie and started our trek by 01:00 PM. Dayara bugyal is approx. 09 km. from here. A 5-6 ft. wide trek has already made by forest department. Trek provided scenic view of valley until we entered in the dense forest. Jungle root is also beautiful and now we were getting the snow patches in the root so we hoped to see a good layer of snow in dayara. After 4-5 km. trek we reached Goi. Chhanies (Summer Huts) of raithal villagers were there but without life. If you are in a family trek than Goi is a best place for first day camping, which fulfills the basic requirement for a good camping site. Good camping ground, drinking water source, a little play ground and good view of the valley.

We had decided to stay in dayara, so left goi and followed the trek. We were walking slowly and I was the last member. After approx. an hour trek while ascending in an open place I turnaround to see the back root but I was astonished to see the panoramic evening view.  Suddenly I heard a voice “Aaram se aao sahib hum dayara pahunch gaye hain”. He was our portor who were coming back after taking water. I sat there for approx. 15 – 20 min and clicked some photographs. The ascend was ending just 50 mts. above from here but instead of dayara bugyal I saw some chhanies. I didn’t feel bad as it was evening time and I was enjoying the last sun rays on mountains. I left the chhanies and followed the trail but soon I turned back remembering the porters words.

It was small village but without life. I listened voices coming from a chhani and entered. Ramesh was preparing to light the stove, Lokesh was putting the wood pieces in fire place of kitchen. We were hungry as we didn’t have lunch. I opened my bag and distributed Matthi and bakery biscuits kept by Pranita (my wife). It gave a little relief to everybody while I missed my family. It was my first night in a chhani, which was beautiful, a small kitchen with a nice chulha (fire place), min 4 people can sit and sleep beside it. A 3 X 7’ bedroom in the back of fire place having good layer of leaves. We opened our mattresses and lokesh started maggi preparation for RC, while our porter collected snow to melt for hand washing and pot cleaning. Villagers have collected enough wood pieces inside the chhani and now fire had changed it in a warm cottage. Definetely it was a better option than tent and as per me it was free gifted night in a majestic cottage.

I got up early to enjoy the sun rise. It was a cold morning of Juanuary. Night snow fall has changed this place as a village of heaven. I was standing in front of chhani and it was a perfect place to enjoy the sunrise. It was a one of fabulous sunrise of my life. My friends came out only after complete sun rise. After daily routine job and having tea we moved to Dayara. Dayara was just 80-100 mts. from there. It was gentle and perfect slope for skiing. A thick layer of snow was looking amazing but it required more snow for skiing. We hoped that it’d be ready by end of February for skiing. After seeing the beautiful place I was not happy with my planned leaves as it was the perfect time for dayara – dodital trekking, but I was helpless due to tight schedule, so I took a 2-3 hrs. round trip in dayara. We had a good lunch at 12:00 noon and everybody was relaxing when we saw the drastic change in weather. We caught the back trail immediately and now we were walking very fast but the nature gave a gift of snowfall instead of rain for 30 minutes and we were in the uttarkashi before sunset.

Next morning Thanna and lokesh planned for Nachiketa Tal trip while their return to srinagar . I got a shared jeep for Rishikesh with Pramod. Definetely it was a short trip but it gave a lot of energy to work for next few days.