Uttarakhand Stories

An impregnable journey to Dayara Bugyal

by Pragati Chauhan
May 11, 2016

My first trekking experience with team eUttaranchal.com

The trek to Dayara Bugyal was going to be my first trekking experience with team eUttaranchal.com so I had butterflies in my stomach. The main motive of this trek was to be acquainted with those who are working for the same firm but under different roofs. While packing my bag, I had mixed feelings of excitement and disarray of how this trip will turn out to be. In my mind, I was having a chaotic feeling of how can I be friends with people whom I haven’t encountered in life? As I am a shy introvert, I have always preferred to live under a shell feeling pleasurable in my own solitary life.

Team eUttaranchal

The night before trekking

At night, while resting my head on the pillow, I started wondering from tomorrow I’ll have to stay away from the comforting city life. I closed my eyes and imagined how Dayara Bugyal would be like? Will it be somewhat similar to my grand dad’s village or it will be cloistered. Since I was a kid I had always admired the beauty of nature, it has something that attracts me a kind of rawness along with simplicity and flawless beauty. That night my heart was at ease knowing, soon I’ll be having a rendezvous with the unrivaled beauty of the Himalayas. With a thoughtful mind, I snuggled into my blanket, closed my eyes and bade farewell to that dark night.

Things to Carry

Backpack, Sturdy shoes with good grip and comfort
2 Track pants/Cotton pants/Cargos.
1 full sleeves Jacket.
An identity card (Driving License, Voters ID Card, etc.)
2-3 t-shirt, 2-3 pair of socks.
1 Water Bottle (1ltr)
Torch, Cap, Raincoat, Sunglasses, Slippers
1 Full sleeves sweater/sweatshirt.
Light towel, few plastic bags
No trips are planned all of a sudden especially when you have the responsibility of thirteen people on your shoulders. It was a planned trip and we were asked to bring the aforesaid things.

About Dayara Bugyal

Dayara Bugyal is one of the easiest trekking destination to reach in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state. One can easily reach Uttarkashi as it is one of the major towns of Uttarakhand thus buses and shared cabs are easily available. Dayara Bugyal is perched at an elevation of 3340 metres above sea level and is spread over a vast expanse of 28 square km connecting several adjoining mountains. You can easily reach this lush green high altitude meadow by trekking on an easy trail of mere 9 km.

Note: After 45 km drive from Uttarkashi you will reach Raithal, a small village which acts as a commencement point of the trek to Dayara Bugyal. Please note the road to Barsu branches off near Bhatwari.

Evening in Barsu

Clouds floating carelessly in the clear blue sky

Advice: If you leave from Dehradun at around 6 am then you can probably start trekking from Raithal at around 2 pm.

Best Season: May end to July mid, August end to mid-October, December end to February end.

Suggestion: Keep your bag as light as possible.

Map of Dayara Bugyal

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Day 01: Our Journey Begins

The next morning I woke at sharp 5’O clock, pulled my socks and packed my bags to go on an exhilarating trip to Dayara Bugyal. Our team was asked to meet at 6’O clock near Clock Tower, from where Delhi team was going to pick us up. We reached there on time and were introduced to each other. We exchanged smiles, said hello and with a happy heart we sat on our respective seats. With adequate human planning, resources, supplies and advice of our travel experts we started off our journey from Doon Valley to Dayara Bugyal.

Inside tempo traveller

En route to Dehradun – Uttarkashi – Upper Raithal, Drive – 185 kms, Trek – 1 km

Our driver took the Mussoorie Bypass route which was about 5 to 6 hours drive. On the way, we saw scenic views of the hills eloped in clouds of mist and fading sun rays falling on the terraced fields. At 10:30 we had a scrumptious breakfast at Raut Ki Beli with our team. The tempo traveler moved gently through the curved roads. I was busy admiring the velvety green trees on the pale terrains which resembled like the beautiful handmade Pakistani embroidery done on a silk cloth. The marvelous sight of the massive Tehri Dam Lake also came into view as we proceeded towards Chilianisaur. On reaching Uttarkashi we saw tiny shops and localities in a hurry to bring their children back from school. We started another one and a half hour journey to reach Raithal. On the way, we saw river Bhagirathi which was flowing fervently. The river was flowing gracefully into eternity, melting my heart like a burning candle full of desire.

River Bhagirathi

River Bhagirathi

Trek Starts

On reaching a tiny hamlet called Raithal we had a tea break in between where we had some refreshments. There we met our very humble trekking guide Sandy from Rise on Himalayas, he explained every minute detail to us.

Sandy Sir

Our very humble trekking guide Sandy from Rise on Himalayas

He said – Raithal to Ghuin is a short and easy hike of 4 km with gradual ascent in altitude. The well-marked trail begins from the village and climbs up to the forest entry point. There is a water tank after 1 km from Raithal which makes a good campsite, the forest trail begins here. We can either camp here for the day if the trekkers are tired or else we’ll continue trekking to Ghuin which is a beautiful campsite. The advantage of trekking up to Ghuin on Day 1 itself is that you will be able to explore Dayara Bugyal leisurely as it will shorten the trekking distance of Day 2 by 3 km. After listening to the details we were started trekking at 2 pm.

Gear up peeps

Our trekking guide divided us into two teams and planned few exciting activities with us. Everything was new for me, I soon realized it’s going to be an amazing journey probably a roller coaster ride. Each of the teammates was handed plastic bags and we had to collect the garbage that we saw while trekking. The more garbage we picked up the more we could earn points and get rewards. The team which will reach early and will collect maximum garbage will be declared as the winner. All of us were geared up and we took up the challenge courageously.

''Eco Friendly Guy''

Manoj Bhandari was awarded as the ”Eco-Friendly Guy”

eTrekkers marching on the way to Upper Raithal

We picked our backpacks and started trekking towards Upper Raithal. We were proudly marching forward as e trekkers ”The Eco-friendly Trekkers”. Our team leaders were guiding us towards the destination and our trekking guide was telling us how to keep up the pace. At times, we ran out of breath but the zeal to win motivated us to keep on hiking. Our backpacks were heavy so we had to take few short breaks while trekking. Our team leaders advised us not to sit while taking breaks rather you should stand up and then relax for a while as this will not contract your muscles. We were full of enthusiasm and walked steadily towards the campsite. It took one and a half hour to reach the water tank where we decided to camp for the first night. Our team reached first and the feeling was not less than winning a fierce battle.

Upper Raithal

I celebrated the joy of reaching Upper Raithal by relaxing

Finally reached our destination

We reached Upper Raithal at sharp 4’O clock in the evening where our tents were already set up for us to relax. We went inside and had a small chat with our tent mates. It was good to talk to them not as bad as I thought at first instance. At 7 pm we were asked to join the rest of the team for a sumptuous buffet. The food was delicious and the aroma of the delicious food was blending perfectly with the refreshing ambiance of the natural vistas.

Meadows of Dayara, Uttarkashi

Activity Time ;)

After having dinner our sir organized few activities with us. We were asked to sit in a circle and share few things about us. It was a team bonding activity which helped us to know each other better. The night was becoming darker, the stars started playing hide and seek with the clouds and the invigorating winds were surpassing the misty peaks. The aura of the deep dark woods made everything looked surreal. When slumber started crawling on our eyelids we went back to our tents and dozed off. Meanwhile, we could still hear the mumbling and wicked laughter of the boys who were sleeping in the other tent and who says women are more talkative than men? huh!

Campsite in Raithal village

Beautiful sunrise at Raithal

Day 02: Upper Raithal – Ghuin – Dayara Bugyal, Trek – 7 km

Early morning we were given the wake-up calls. As soon as we woke up a cup of hot tea was provided to us. It was a beautiful dawn which was accompanied by clouds and chirping of the playful birds, who were too shy to settle on the overreaching branches of the trees. The sun was overlooking the hills like a mother cradling her baby after feeding. It was such an alluring morning. After getting fresh we were asked to assemble at the dining area for breakfast. We were served a nutritious and healthy breakfast by the dedicated team of Rise on Himalayas. Our team took few photographs of the moment and started heading towards Dayara Bugyal. We were provided lunch and few refreshments to munch whenever we felt hungry in between the trek. Before leaving we refilled our water bottles because we had to trek 7 km towards Dayara Bugyal in broad daylight.

Mama sheep with her lamb.

Mama sheep with her lamb

Day 02: Trek to Dayara from Upper Raithal

Before starting with the trek our expert travel guide Sandy gave a brief description of the trekking route. He said – we will take the route from Upper Raithal towards Ghuin and hike up to widespread meadows of Dayara. He further added – 4 km gradually ascending route from Ghuin will lead to shepherd huts at Dayara Bugyal. The day trek goes through open land and dense forest at different places and finally ends up at the vast expanse of the lush green meadow – Dayara Bugyal. In less than 3 hours time we’ll be able to reach Dayara Bugyal.

huts in Ghuin

Thatched huts of shepherds at Ghuin

Here we go

With a happy heart, we left our base camp at 9 am and walked hand in hand towards Dayara. It was a sunny morning and I could hear the rustle of the leaves while marching forward. All of us were feeling enthusiastic as we wanted to reach Dayara as soon as possible. I had seen its pictures on the internet and wondered how it will appear in real. Our battalions walked steadily towards Dayara and we managed to cross 1 km. After that, we decided to take a short break. I had a piece of chocolate with me when I gulped it, the juices burst in my mouth and filled my taste palates. As I was dead tired, I felt like I was having a fruit from heaven. I never knew that a piece of chocolate could comfort me someday. Our shoulders were aching because of the weight of our bags but we didn’t stop and started trekking.

Garhwali women

A charming old Garhwali woman whom we met while trekking

An acquaintance

While trekking towards Ghuin which is a tiny hamlet on the way to Dayara, we met a charming old Garhwali lady who was also heading there. I took her picture and she smiled graciously at me. I told her she reminded me of my grandmother who used to dress up in the same manner. She was quite friendly and sweet by nature. Soon we crossed 2 km and had some rest in between. After that, we saw a waterfall where we quenched our thirst. All of us were keeping an eye on each other so that nobody was left behind. We were moving at a good pace and saw a shack on the way where we sat for a while and enjoyed the cool breeze. After leaving from there we gradually walked towards Dayara. While our trekking guide was giving us directions; the horses saddled with the tents and other important stuff were also marching forward.

I never knew what was happening behind my back until I saw this picture :P

I never knew what was happening behind my back until I saw this picture :P

Way to go at Dayara Bugyal

We were charged up by the majestic aura of the lush green hills and crossed yet another 1 km. Finally, we reached Ghuin at 12’O clock, where we saw few thatched huts which were made by the shepherds. I saw the smoke coming out of the huts and started feeling hungry as I thought someone might be preparing food. It was drizzling and the land was mushy so we took each step carefully. On the way between Ghuin and Dayara, we took some funny pictures of each other and had our lunch. Meanwhile, the dense fog started appearing in front of our eyes. The weather was becoming harsh and it was about to rain. We pulled our rain coats from our bags, wore them and started walking. Dayara Bugyal was only 2 km from Ghuin which meant we could reach there within an hour, so we hurried.

Enroute Dayara Bugyal

Para para paradise

On reaching Dayara Bugyal we were awestruck by the heavenly beauty of the place. The clouds were looking down on the alpine meadows, flowers were blooming which were bathed by the rain and the cold winds were gently touching my cheeks. I could see cattle grazing on the hill atop. What a splendid sight it was! All of us were drenched in the rain so we went inside our camps to warm up a little. We opened our sleeping bags and had a small nap. When we woke up, we were offered hot soup to drink which soothed our throat.

Flowers in Dayara

A game of Frisbee on a cold evening

It was foggy outside, but men being men were playing Frisbee and asked us to join them. We tried our hand at Frisbee but we were unable to handle it as the wind was blowing very fast. So we took another one and started playing with it after some time when we got bored, I and my friend went to explore the natural surroundings.

Men will be men

Men will be men

Let’s explore the natural surroundings

While exploring the natural surroundings we saw four beautiful cows who were posing like divas, somehow I managed to take their picture.Then came a cute fluffy Bhotia dog who was very friendly. When we called him, he started licking us. I thought he might be thinking that we will offer him something to eat but sadly we didn’t bought anything with us, so we were unable to feed him. While going back to our campsite he followed us timidly. On reaching our camps we gave him biscuits to eat, he waved his tail and ate it hungrily.

The posers

The posers

I called him Brownie because he had a shiny brown coat

I called him Brownie because he had a shiny brown coat

Yay! It’s time for dinner

Dinner was ready at 7’O clock in the evening so all of us assembled near the dining area. The sight of the delectable food increased our appetite and we readily finished off the food on our platter. After having dinner we had a musical jam. Everybody was singing their heart out and the echo of the lyrical ballad was transcending in the hills. When the last candle was on the verge of extinguishing and our feet became absolutely numb, we hurried back to our camps. We packed ourselves in our sleeping beds and were recalling the songs that we forgot to sing. That night we slept late because we could still hear the boys singing out loud from their tents.

Yum Yum

Yum Yum

Day 03: Dayara Bugyal – Bakaria Top, Trek – 8 km

The next morning brought a new surprise for us. When we came out from our tents all of us were dazzled by the beautiful sunrise which was complementing the spectacular beauty of Dayara Bugyal. Our trekking guide told us that post breakfast we will hike up to Bakaria Top while mapping the lengths and breadths of Dayara Bugyal. Bakaria Top perched at an altitude of 3810 meters is the highest vantage point in the nearby region. It is situated 2.5 km ahead of Dayara Bugyal. We wore our brand new t-shirts given by eUttaranchal and picked up few essential things that we needed while trekking.

The team

The team

Alas! the weight of the luggage was no more but only for a day

All of us were feeling relieved that we didn’t have to carry our backpacks because the weight of the luggage was unbearable. The weather was pleasant and the sun was shining brightly, we crossed the meadows and took pictures of the landscape. An adorable little black dog was also accompanying us while hiking. Our trekking guide showed us few medicinal plants and mushrooms that were growing in the meadows. We were admiring the scenic beauty and took pictures of the cattle’s grazing on the fields.

Our fellow traveler

Our fellow traveler

Nostalgic moments captured in the eye of camera

After trekking for an hour we took a small break and relaxed on the flower beds. The sight of Banderpoonch Peak wrapped up in a blanket of clouds appeared like a lover holding her beloved in his arms. The soul rejuvenating beauty of it melted my heart at once. I captured the glorious view of Banderpoonch Peak in my camera. From there we also had a magnificent view of Kala Naag Peak. When the crimson colored sun rays fell on the peak, it appeared like a pearl studded crown. After that, we had a photo shoot with eUttaranchal in which all the members were included. It was so much fun we were overwhelmed by the warm gesture which brought a smile on everybody’s faces.

An alluring view of Banderpoonch Peak wrapped up in a blanket of clouds.

An alluring view of Banderpoonch Peak wrapped up in a blanket of clouds

Trek for another hour

While climbing atop we saw ravens, hawks and enormously big Himalayan Griffons who were soaring high in the sky and hurling like shooting stars. After walking for half an hour we reached a spring where we refilled our water bottles. I was leading that day so I stopped at places where I wanted to and was taking candid pictures of the trek. While crossing a steep slope I saw few buffaloes who were basking in the glimmering sunlight. One of them was continuously staring at me as if I am some kind of intruder. I maintained a healthy distance from them and had a narrow escape. My sir started hooting and shooed them to pounce on me; he was trying to scare me eventually, I escaped the inevitable. I thought of relaxing for a while so the rest of my teammates can catch up. When everybody reached there we started moving ahead and were about to reach Bakaria Top.

Himalayan Griffons getting ready for soaring high in the sky.

Himalayan Griffons getting ready for soaring high in the sky

The mystery of the fat sheep

Two of our teammates had already reached Bakaria Top while we were still climbing our way to the top. They waved their hands and tried to warn us about something but we couldn’t understand their message. At first instance, I thought that are telling us to run but we ignored it. When we reached there we saw a fat sheep who had collapsed on the ground, her eyes were rolled up and she was turning pale. We could see her shivering and her heart was beating faster. We thought she might be pregnant and was suffering from labor pain. Those who reached earlier told us that a leopard had attacked her and it ran in the same direction from where we came. They were warning us not to come there as he might come back to take his prey. We were not scared by the story as we knew it was a prank. We started examining the sheep and found no wounds which proved that she hadn’t been attacked. I thought she might need some water to drink as she may have collapsed due to a sun stroke.

 At Bakariya top

A life was saved

My sir, the man with a big smile and his trademark the tilted hat like that of a veteran Indian actor Dev Anand ;)

Our sir took the water bottle from my friend and poured few drops of water in her mouth. She drank the water and started moving her head. He pushed her to make her stand on her feet, she lifted her weight and slowly stood up on her hind legs. When she was trembling with the pain we noticed that she had hurt her foot. With baby steps, she moved forward and went in search of her friends. We all thanked our sir for saving her life, he smirked and gave a sarcastic remark for which he is famous – ”Oh God! I missed the golden opportunity of having lamb in dinner”. We all laughed aloud and were happy that a life was saved.

Finally, we conquered Bakaria Top

When all of us reached Bakaria Top it felt as if an adrenaline has been shot into our veins. We were so much excited as if we have conquered the hills. We admired a panoramic view of the quaint hills from Bakaria Top which was a breathtaking sight. It was 12’0 clock and the sun was shining brightly. As we were exhausted we laid on the grass and relaxed for a while. After resting for half an hour we started descending. On the way, I saw a beetle who was sitting on a pebble like a king sitting proudly on his throne.

The game of thrones.

The game of thrones

Hailstones on my head

Suddenly the weather became worse and the wind started blowing fervently in my ears. It started raining heavily, thankfully! we carried our raincoats so we didn’t get wet but our shoes became messy. We followed another route while going back. The land became marshy and there were pieces of rocks on the trek route. Hail stones started falling on us and it became difficult to descend but with faith in our hearts, we started heading towards our campsite.

Meadows drenched in rain

Meadows drenched in rain

A walk in the fog and rain

We kept on hiking for half and hour in rain and wind by 2’0 clock we were in our camps. On reaching our campsite we breathed a sigh of relief ! after some time hot lunch was served to us. After having lunch we went inside to take a nap as it was foggy outside. In the evening around 5’0 clock, we were offered tea and popcorns to eat. I and my friend went for a short walk outside, it was drizzling so I carried my rain coat along with me. As we moved along the meadows and the mushy land our feet became dirty. So we washed our feet from the icy cold water of a small perennial stream which was flowing close to our campsite.

Happy feet

Happy feet

Surprise Surprise

When I looked towards our camp we saw our trekking guide and his team had light a bonfire. Yay! no wonder I had been thinking all day long if this could happen our trek would become perfect as bonfire night was only missing rest we did everything.

Starry night at Dayara Bugyal

The magical bonfire night, the shooting stars and the crescent moon

That day we had our dinner encircling the bonfire. The joy of having food under the cluster of stars was unparalleled. Hot soup was served as a starter and the main course was followed by mouth watering desert. Our sir organized few activities with us firstly he prepared a questionnaire for all of us, those who answered well was gifted free vouchers. All of us enjoyed the activity, we pulled each others leg and had a lot of funny moments in between. It not only helped us to open up but we got to know each other better. We sang old songs and laughed our heart out on the jokes cracked by our teammates. We were enjoying so much that we forgot to look at our watches, to our surprise it was 1’0 clock. We saw shooting stars that night and the sight of moon unveiling itself like a newly wedded bride was inimitable. It was covered in silver dust and the clouds were armoring the moon as if the denizens would lessen its charm by having a look at her. After watching the moonlight we went to sleep with a heavy heart because it was our last night at Dayara. The last thought that came to my mind was – Dayara I’ll miss you a lot.

A mesmerizing view of Barnala Tal

A mesmerizing view of Barnala Tal

Day 04: Unwinding the journey, Barnala Tal – Barsu – Dehradun, Trek – 5kms

In the morning when I opened my eyes and came out from the tent, I was bewitched by the sight of Bandepoonch Peak which could be seen clearly. Post breakfast, a wrap up session was held in which different titles was bestowed on those who performed well in the trek. At 9’O clock, we bid adieu to Dayara Bugyal and to the lovely team of Rise on Himalayas. We started trekking towards Barnala Tal which was at a distance of 3 kms. The sun was out and we were sweating profusely. After one and a half hour we reached Barnala Tal where our team mates decided to have some rest. We spot a big fish in Barnala Tal and clicked some pictures of the pristine lake. We had to cover a total trekking distance of 5 km from Barnala Tal to Barsu so we got up and started hiking again. Our legs were hurting while descending. It took us 2-3 hours to reach Barsu Village. When we saw our tempo Traveler waiting for us we speeded up and quickly grabbed our seats as we were dead tired. The driver followed the route to Uttarkashi where we had lunch.

Around Barnala Tal

Country roads take me home to a place I belong

Unfortunately, one of the tires was punctured so it took half an hour to get it fixed. Our journey to home began and by evening we were in Chamba. It was 7’0 clock in the evening and we could see dwindling lights of the village houses which appeared like a scenery. Then we crossed Katarnal, a pristine hill station and in an hour we were in ”The Queen of Hills” Mussoorie. When we reached Shiv Mandir I was so much excited about going home but at the same time, I was feeling upset that finally our trip is going to end. When we reached Rajpur Road, with mixed emotions I called my family to pick me up at Astley Hall. They came there at sharp 10:17 pm, every ounce of my body was aching badly. I picked my bag and bade goodbye to my new friends. As all good things come to an end my trip ended here. I was taking memories that will be engraved in my heart forever. It was not merely a trek for fun and frolic rather it was a learning experience for me.

Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

5 Responses

Pragati Chauhan Says

Sincere thanks

sanchit Says

These Pictures are forcing me to go here someday soon :)
Very well written.

Vipin Negi Says

yaa soon wl i … :)

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks a lot for your humble words. I personally recommend you to visit this place and quench your wanderlust.

Vipin Negi Says

After reading this my thirst for Dayara Bugyal has bcum wild…. soon wl go thr… A very good written… Save uttarakhand Save Nature…. #Shivaye