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Can you give me an itinerary for visiting Dodital Trek?

Benazir Khan Mar 07 2014
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

DAY ONE

SANGAM CHATTI-AGODA

Distance - 6 km
Time - 3 hours
Level - Moderate

From Kalyani, either drive or walk a little further to Sangam Chatti (1,350m), the
base of the trek. Cross the bridge over the small stream and begin your 6-km trek to Agoda, heading due north. The track climbs steeply, moving through forest.
The last bit of climb can feel a little strenuous and the village huts visible at the
top seem tantalisingly out of reach. At Agoda you can hear the faint gushing of
the Asi Ganga down below. There is a 2-room n Forest Rest House (Tariff: Rs
750) at Agoda, which must be booked at the DFO’s office in Uttarkashi, among other places to stay in. (Tel: 01374-222444).


A photo of Uttarakhand (by dirk.hartung)

There are no other dhabas or hotels at Agoda (2,250m) but the
hospitable locals provide (at very nominal cost) food and campsites to
pitch tents. Food is usually Pahari staple — brown rice, pahari rajma, delicious
thick chapatis and saag aloo. You can go down to the river in the late afternoon.
It’s a good 30-min zigzag hike along the edges of step fields down to the river.
Make sure you do the uphill climb back to Agoda while there is daylight so you
can watch the sunset as you pitch tents for the night.

DAY TWO

AGODA-DODITAL

Distance - 16 km
Time - 6-8 hours
Level - Moderate

From Agoda, it’s a long winding walk of 16 km due north-north-east to Dodital.
The trail is broad, well defined and runs through forests on either side. Since the
gradient is not very steep, it’s a moderate walk, except towards the end. On the way you encounter villagers returning with cattle and some Gujjar encampments.
There are no villages in between but you can find a few tea stalls for the odd break.

Sometimes, you can find Pahari women carrying baskets of ripe pears, which you can trade for peanuts. We got into high country, and walked along grassy hillsides and cliffs with 500-foot drops, into forests of deciduous oak,
which blended into spruce forests along the ridges. At what was roughly the halfway mark, we came to a picturesque bridge to the right, a good place to stop
for lunch. From the bridge, you turn right, cross Manghi and walk through
rich forests of oak, deodar and rhododendrons until you go past the final
incline to reach Dodital in Uttarakhand. There are a couple of shacks to the
left, and after crossing a small bridge, you come to the 2-room n Forest Rest
House (DFO Uttarkashi Tel: 01374-222444; Tariff: Rs 750) set in a clearing.


A photo of Uttarakhand (by solarshakti)

And then you see the lake. Set against a stunning backdrop of hills, from where a
mountain stream feeds it, Dodital is crystal clear. You can actually see the
famed trout swimming about in huge numbers. It is after these trout (dodi in
Garhwali), that the lake is called Dodital. It’s believed that Lord Ganesh was born
here. You can find a temple dedicated to him on the left bank. The cement and tin
shelters on the edge of the lake — the government’s gift to tourists — have all
the charm of postal department inkblots on a beautiful picture-postcard among other similar places to visit here.

You can either camp out or opt for accommodation in the Forest Rest
House. You can easily spend a few days at Dodital splashing about in the lake,
fishing (carry your own rods, tackle and flies) or exploring the lovely surroundings.
The only help you can get from the local dhaba-walas is atta as bait and help
in cooking your fish, perhaps at the cost of a small piece of fish. When you’ve had
your fill, you have the choice of returning to Kalyani the same way, or of continuing
onwards to Yamunotri.

DAY THREE

DODITAL-DARWA PASS-SIMA

Distance - 16 km
Time - 6-7 hours
Level - Tough

After breakfast, commence on the 2-day trek to Hanuman Chatti. From Dodital,
the climb to the north-west is steep, and it’s a long hike for the day, so it’s
advisable not to leave if the weather looks like it may take a turn for the worse. The path starts from the lake’s feeder stream and passes through dense forests before emerging on a trail close to the upper realms of the tree line.

Ascend the alpine Darwa Dhar Ridge (4,115m), the watershed of the
Ganga and Yamuna river valleys. This stretch really tests your skill in crossing
mountain streams and you have no less than seven opportunities to perfect the
art! After the last of these crossings, you finally leave the stream and take a sharp
left, or north-west, heading to the top of the range. Cross the tree line and pass the foot of the Darwa Glacier, finally reaching Darwa Top (4,130m), where
you come to a good campsite.

Some people may take 2 days to get here and you can camp virtually anywhere on the route near any of the many water sources. When we crossed Darwa Pass (4,150m), we were greeted with magnificent views of Bandarpoonch (6,316m) and the Swargarohini Range. Continue walking further west and gradually descend through the Hanuman Ganga Valley into Sima (3,450m), where you can camp for the night. You should choose from among several Uttarakhand holiday packages that offer you this special experience in a platter.


A photo of Uttarakhand (by Alosh Bennett)

DAY FOUR

SIMA-HANUMAN CHATTI

Distance - 18 km
Time - 4-6 hours
Level - Easy

Sima, Seema or Shima, as it is variously (mis)spelt, is a small stop that marks
almost the mid-point between Dodital and Hanuman Chatti. Though the
distance from Sima to Hanuman Chatti is 18 km, you must come down 1,050m,
making the walk fairly gradual. You can trek the distance in as little as 4 hrs. From
Sima, you descend north-west on a slightly downhill trail to the Hanuman
Ganga River and then to the pilgrimage town of Hanuman Chatti (2,400m).
Stay overnight in the Traveller’s Rest House (Tariff: Rs 170-910) at Hanuman
Chatti. If you have overstayed at Dodital or for some reason want to cut short your
journey, you needn’t go further north to Yamunotri. Regular buses ply between
Hanuman Chatti and Uttarkashi.

DAY FIVE

HANUMAN CHATTI-YAMUNOTRI

Distance - 13 km
Time - 4-6 hours
Level - Easy

Hanuman Chatti is a multitude of mules, porters, shops and labourers perpetually re-laying the road. Porters and ponies are available at Hanuman Chatti and their rates are fixed before the start of every yatra (pilgrimage season). From Hanuman Chatti, you can trek on the spiritual superhighway 3 km north to Banas (Narad Chatti), 2 km further to Phool Chatti, 3 km to Janaki Chatti (2,650m) and the final 5 km to Yamunotri, the confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

Located at an altitude of 3,293m, the most westerly of the four ‘dhams’ in the Himalaya, Yamunotri is also the least trafficked. Lest you summon up a picture of an idyllic communion with nature along the upper valley of the river, let me clarify that you will be far from alone. The source of the Yamuna is an important pilgrim destination, with its fair share of pilgrims, mules and ‘dandis’ (palanquins).The Yamunotri Temple is set in a tight, steep valley, dominated by views of Bandarpoonch Peak. Consider a holiday package which promises a similar experience of serenity, at a different wavelength.

The entrance to the shrine is guarded by tanks (or kunds) of steaming water channelled in from thermal springs. Pilgrims variously cook their rice in the tanks, rinse themselves of their sins, or, like me, consider the scene awhile before deciding that ablutions in the glacial stream are more hygienic.

A photo of Uttarakhand (by Paul Hamilton)

The offspring of Surya and the twin sister of Yama, the Lord of Death, the Yamuna wields such cleansing power it would put any modern power-packed detergent to shame. It’s believed that anyone who bathes in her dark waters is spared a tortuous death. Tired after the 13-km but exhausting trek, we stayed overnight at one of the basic ashrams at Yamunotri, before making our way back the next day, after darshan at the temple.

DAY SIX

YAMUNOTRI-SAPTARISHI KUND-YAMUNOTRI

Distance - 7 km
Time - 10 hours
Level - Difficult

The actual source of the Yamuna is perched high above the temple, a glacial
lake on the Kalinda Parvat. The ascent is more than 1,000 vertical metres, and
not easy of access. When we attempted it in early May, the shepherds’ paths
were narrow and encrusted with ice, and our ‘experienced’ guide wasted 2 hrs
bushwhacking in the scrubby slopes above the temple. By the time we emerged on to the ridge leading to the source, Saptarishi Kund, the afternoon rain came pelting down, and we retreated to our camp near the temple complex. A holiday package to Auli promises a breathtaking experience in itself, quite akin to standing on the ridge here.

Most pilgrims satisfy their piety with the immersion in the kund, and worship at the shrine. Even if you don’t make it to the source, the climb onto the ridge above Yamunotri yields aerial views of virginal alpine meadows — the unnamed and beautiful bugyals of the Upper Garhwal region.

DAY SEVEN

YAMUNOTRI-HANUMAN CHATTI

Distance - 13 km
Time - 4 hours
Level - Easy

According to a local legend, the Yamunotri Temple must be built every few years and the sudden floods and heavy snow ensure that it lives up to this legend. There are several hot water springs adjacent to the temple precinct, the most prominent of which is the Surya Kund. Pilgrims immerse rice, gram and potatoes tied in a piece of cloth into the springs, which takes only a few minutes to cook. It is then offered to the deity and later distributed as prasad. We set off on the return trip to Hanuman Chatti. On the way, we visited the Someshwar Temple at Kharsali, 1 km
across the river from Janaki Chatti.

This was one of the oldest shrines in the region and we paid homage to Yamuna’s father Surya, the Sun God. After the 13-km downhill trek to Hanuman Chatti, depending on your schedule or how tired you are, you can either stay overnight in the GMVN Travellers’ Rest House (Tariff: Rs 170-910) at Hanuman Chatti or drive back to Haridwar, from where Delhi is 200 km. You also have the option of stopping by at Mussoorie.

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