A synopsis of my travel with “The Searching Souls” (TSS).
Looking for a holiday in the lap of nature surrounded by the succulent tenderness of meadows? Then Dayara Bugyal is exactly what you are looking for.
But what is a _Bugyal_?
Comprehensively, alpine pasture lands at an elevation of 3,000 – 4,000 m (10,000 – 13,000 ft) above mean sea level is known as a meadow. But _bugyal_ is a jargon used by the natives of Gadhwal reagon of Uttrakhand. “हरे मखमली घास के मैदान” or “Nature’s Own Gardens” is literally what a Bugyal means. Dayara being one of such bugyals (Auli Bugyal, Gorson Bugyal, Bendi Bugyal, Kushalani Bugyal and Panwali Bugyal are also among the most well known bugyals of Uttarakhand region).
From the concrete jungle to serenity-
Our travel began from Haridwar (HQ of TSS) with Shubham Agarwal (one of the co-founders of TSS) as our trek-leader. Skirting through Rishikesh, we crossed Uttarkashi, drove over the Chandrabhaga River bridge, steered through the edges of emerald green Bhagirathi witnessing it’s gushy flow through the open gates of Loharinag Pala Hydro Power Plant. After covering 230 kms we finally reached our destination, Raithal Village.
→Dayara can be sumit from two sides; namely Barso village and Raithal village. The travel time and distance is about the same from both of the places. But we choose Raithal as it’s the lesser travelled one.
There we spend the night at an ancient haveli. Waking up the next morning, away from the mayhem of thronged streets and cacophonous noises of horns & hawkers. Sipping a hot cup of tea while glaring into the endless Himalayas, is surely the best way to start a day.
The climb. All of us left the hamlet early in the morning, all set for our venture. As we instituted our climb through the sporadic houses, we were accompanied by two majestic mountains dogs (little did we know that they’ll be our comrades for the rest of the travel). Ensuing 5 kms of trekking through the dense forest of Oak, Deodar and Rhododendron trees we finally reached Gui Village (home to a population countable on fingers). By this time the sky was filled with nimbus grey clouds, galvanizing the chances of rain. Argo, pacing up we once again commenced our climb. The path ahead was literally like a red carpet welcome from the mother nature to us. These red velvet like flowers were nothing but Rhododendron.
→Rhododendron is locally known as Buransh. The flower is treasured by the people of pahad because of it’s medicinal and nutritional values. Buransh is also used in making different types of sherbat and jams.
This 8 km long trek from Raithal to Dyara is an abode to numerous dharas/waterfalls of pure Himalayan glacier water and shurbs laden with berries. As told by Shubham, after crossing the sub-alpine zone (coniferous forest) i.e., reaching the height of about 2,400 m (7,874 ft) marks an imaginary fring. Beyond which the height gradient of soil slope hinders the growth of trees, so grass is the only vegetation found past this point. And hence, we reached the meadow called Dayara Bugyal (3,408 m or 11,181 ft).
We dined while enjoying the warmth of dancing hypnotic inferno, in a small hut of a villager. Every strand of fatigue in our bodies from the long and enduring trek was washed off in seconds by the ripples of the Milky Way. Flabbergasted to my bones I couldn’t even move an inch of my body, encapsulated by the ambiguity of the heavens above. Concluding into a perfect ending to a perfect day. Having rested properly we were ready for our next adventure to the Bakaria Top. Being situation at an elevation of 3,658 m (12,000 ft) is the height point of the meadow. It acts as a telescope of bewildering Himalayan peaks namely Draupadi Ka Dhanda, Black Peak, Bandarpooch, Bhagirathi Peak, etc. encumbered with layers of fresh leathery snow.
The descent — After finishing up with the staple pahadi style maggie breakfast we began our descent, accompanied by our four legged comrades. As time progressed the weather went from grains and patches of clouds to a hailstorm which finally lead to a downpour. Some how through the marshy and slippery foot trails of the jungle we reached Raithal Village safely, under the able guidance of Shubham.
Paying our final adieu to the village and our tail wagging buddies we set our course back to Haridwar.
A special thanks to team TSS for calligraphing such a beautiful chapter into my wander journal of travels.