Dodital was in my bucket list for about 30 years.I had planned a trek through CEC,our trekking club,in 1989,but decided to go for Sahastratal,a more challenging trek.However,pictures of the pristine lake and the beautiful trail always beckoned the passionate traveler in me.There is a time for every journey and the call from Ganesha came just when Uttarakhand opened after the covid restrictions.
Fortunately my friend and trek partner also agreed for Dodital,being an easier trek to take up after six months of inactivity.We reached Dehradun by train in the late evening and boarded a morning bus at 10 am to Uttarkashi.The bus reached Uttarakashi at 4.30 pm.In the evening we visted the the Vishwanath temple and nearby areas .Next day around noon our guide from Agora village reached our hotel to pick up us .You can get a shared cab from the taxi stand ,if you are lucky.Otherwise the fullcab will cost around 1200.
Sangamchatti is around 16 km from uttarakashi and it was the starting point for the trek.But now there is a road 6km further upto Agora .So from Uttarkashi one can reach Agora straight in a little more than one hour.The forest dept has closed the trail from from sangamchatti to agoda.
We reached Agora at 4pm and settled down at the homstay.Agora looked like an ancient village with very old wooden houses.A few concrete houses have also come up as the old has to pave way for the new. We talked to a few village elders.Farming and cattle rearing are the livelihood of the villagers,as in any other mountain village.There are no medical facilities in the village except primary health centre.There is not even a medical store.But the trekkers can buy basic food items like atta,daal, potatoes etc.here.There are two shops selling very essential items only.
We had mandwa ki roti,rai ki sabzi,pure butter ,etc which added a local flavour to the food.It was a wonderful experience to sit in a village home, next to the chulha,and enjoy the local cuisine!
Next morning by 8.30 we started the long walk of 16 kms to dodital.After some level walk the trail zigzags up to some height and enters the jungle.Soon you reach Bebra chatti where some huts and a chai, maggi point is available.Please note that you will find nobody here during the off season.Drinking water is available at this point.Here you cross the river asi ganga,too.
Further it is mostly a level walk through lush green forest, listening to the tweets of a large variety of birds.Many times on this trail ,a monal may take a quick flight right in front of you and swiftly disappear.
The next point you reach is Majhi,which is a cluster of huts the villagers use in summer as they station at this higher pasture to graze their cattle.In the winter months this remain a ghost village with no human presence. From this vantage point we can see many himalayan peaks.
Now it's about 5 kms to the destination and the walk is level with a few ups and downs.Since we had taken far too many photo breaks and a long launch break,we were still in the deep forest at 5.30, when it was dark.The last one hour ,we had to walk with our head torches on.By 6.30 ,we reached the hut at dodital which they call 'hotel'.This place is run by a local person from Agora village , providing very basic accommodation and food.There is also a forest rest house which provides accommodation only.
Dodital and surroundings are so enchantingly beautiful,we decided to spend one more day to soak in the natural beauty .There is a circular trail around the lake,so that you can do a parikrama .The priest in the temple explained the legend associated with the place and how it became known as the birthplace of Ganeshji.He also told us how lucky we were to be there on a 'poornamasy'(full moon) and assured us that Mr.YEM will not even remember our names!
Dodital is full of trouts.Dodi,in the local language means trout.You can watch them at the far end of the lake where there is no human movement.The source of river asi ganga ,the lake is fed by many natural springs.A steep climb of 6kms from the lake takes you to Darwatop ,which is around 13700ft,a high point from where we can see many himalayan peaks . Unlike the trail to dodital,this is a steep climb,but a trekker of average fitness can do the 12 kms up and down in a day.
We met a solo trekker of 57,who came all the way from hunuman chatti,with a Porter after a three days trek.He told us he can survive without cooked food for one two days , as he was carrying some dry fruits like dates,figs,almonds and sattu.It will be an interesting but challenging walk to yamunotri valley from Dodital,passing some high altitude villages.Perhaps we will attempt this sometime.
Dodital is still well maintained without much plastic pollution.However the forest department should ensure that only small groups around ten people are allowed to visit the place.Large groups of 30,40 from YHAI and Dehradun schools often visit the lake , causing damage to the fragile ecosystem.
The return journey takes less time,and an early start at 7 am puts you at an advantage.However,we were not in a hurry and took many breaks to sit back and enjoy the view from many vantage points. At around 4pm ,we were back at agoda homestay to rest for the day.
Agoda can also be the starting point for a trek to dayara bugyal,which is normally approached by trekkers from Raithal or Barsu.
Change is the only constant in life.Now that , there is a road connection,agora will not be the same on our next visit.We only hope,the road will not extend upto dodital , leaving some trails for us to experience the magic of walking in nature!