At an impressive altitude of 3,750M, Dayara Bugyal is a paradise full of forests, meadows, a lake and panoramic views of the Garhwal Range. Situated in the heart of Uttarkashi, this 18 km trek from the basecamp village Raithal offers a mixed bag of everything beautiful that any trekker would dream of seeing in such a short period of time. A winter wonderland, Dayara Bugyal gets covered in powdery white snow while presenting a mesmerizing view of Garhwal Himalayan ranges. Right from Gangotri I, Gangotri II, upto Jaunli massif, this adventurous trail can also be navigated with great ease while enjoying the grandeur of the mountains that surround you.
While there are so many reasons for why Dayara Bugyal makes for an excellent winter trek, here are few of the best ones that will make you want to witness the beauty of this trail by yourself!
Highlight 1: The Curvy Roads into Garhwal Himalayas
The drive from Dehradun to our basecamp village of Raithal has so much to offer along its curvy roads. From forests to popular hill stations and finally the massive Garhwal Range, we see everything as we make our way up to Raithal. As we drive through the Mussoorie-Dhanaulti road, we are surrounded by a dense forest cover all the way till Rautu ki Beli. We feel the cool mountain breeze as we pass through these roads with a comforting scent of damp forests. Through the bends and curves, we are accompanied by the Bhagirathi river in different shades of teal along with the Garhwal Ranges growing in size with each turn in the backdrop. Smaller streams and seasonal waterfalls are visible along the Tehri Dam route beyond which the road diverts to Raithal. The pleasant drive with stunning views of the Himalayas and pretty water bodies tart the trek on a high note making you wonder what it has in store for you in its remaining days.
Highlight 2: Raithal, a Nature Lover’s Paradise
The basecamp village, Raithal, is located at a small distance of 20 km from Uttarkashi by road. The village offers a perfect rural setting to let go of your city blues in its peaceful environment. Rich in flora and fauna, Raithal becomes a hotspot for birdwatchers in summers. Eurasian Jays, Himalayan Bulbul, Red-flanked Bulbul, Scarlet Minivet and Yellow-Breasted Greenfinch along with other native species of Uttarkashi decorate the village skies during spring. Country scenes as vivid as one’s imagination with terraced farms, pink and blue homes and stone cottages paint the landscape with admirable views all around.
Highlight 3: Gui Lake, Sunsets and So Much More
Gui Lake is the primary attraction around our second campsite. This alluring lake, at an altitude of 2,947M, gets completely covered under a thick sheet of ice early in December. Surrounded by small hillocks on all three sides, this tranquil spot is also a rich aqua biodiversity zone. Several species of cold water fish including Himalayan Trouts and Mirror Carp can be found here. The trail that leads to Gui Lake is a rather refreshing one that runs through a forest filled with maple, oaks and rhododendrons, their leaves crusted with snow during winters. Interestingly, we do not see pines on this trek like we do on most other trails. As we make our way to Gui, prominent peaks such as Mt. Shrikanth, Gangotri I, II and III become visible in all their might. Our campsite for the day is equally beautiful, offering enthralling views of the sun setting over the Garhwal Himalayas. And not just the sunsets, on a full moon night, one can witness a magical moonrise from this spot and small shielings that surround the area.
Highlight 4: The Insta-Worthy Spots of Gui Thatch and Chilapada Woodlands
As we climb up towards Chilapada from Gui Lake, we come across a small patch of meadow between the forests known as Gui Thatch. Gui Thatch offers picture perfect views of the entire Gangotri Range, the top of Bandarpoonch and Jaonli peak in front of us. With such views, Gui Thatch makes for one of the most breathtaking spots on the trail. The trail to Chilapada takes us through forest covers that make it a mesmerising nature’s retreat with high altitude vegetation, medicinal plants, most of them covered in snow during the winters! . Rustling leaves, the company of furry Himalayan sheepdogs and the warmth from the sunlight through the trees above are a highlight not to miss before aiming for Dayara Top the next day. This can be called the 'warmest winter camp' on Dayara Bugyal Trek even at an altitude of 3,094M!
Highlight 5: Dayara Top- The Narnia-esque World of Snowscapes
Dayara Top with its snowy white landscape surrounded by a 180 degree view of the biggest mountains of the Garhwal Range is the best highlight of the Dayara Bugyal trek. The Garhwal Range that includes Mt. Bandarpoonch, Kalanag and Bakariya Top with Gangotri I, II and III adding to the magnanimity of views here. Dayara Top is also an ecologically rich zone with a large variety of flowers and herbs in its lap. These meadows turn into colourful fields during spring with pink and yellow flowers contrasting against the lush green below. In late winters, Dayara Bugyal has also become a good spot for skiing among local adventure enthusiasts.
Dayara Bugyal has much to offer with each day’s trail giving us something exciting to watch out for. The trek is a perfect mix of adventure and fun, making it just the trail for beginners who want to experience their first Himalayan snow trek!