THE MYSTIC DAYARA BUGYAL
Bugyal in the local dialect means “High Altitude Meadows”. The trek to Dayara Bugyal, situated at an altitude of 10000 feet is one of the most beautiful treks in Uttarakhand. We got the opportunity to experience the lush green meadows accompanied with a great view of the Himalayan peaks upfront.
Staring our journey early morning from Dehradun, with a 9 hrs bus ride tiring our body out, we reached a small village Barsu nestled among the mountains. After checking into the guest house over there and with nothing more to do that day, we decided to explore the village and interact with the people. The village women offered us tea and biscuits and we also got a chance to play volleyball with the local boys.
With a hearty breakfast in stomach and a 20+kg bag on shoulder, I departed for the 8km trek to Dayara. Being more of a non-talker, I prefer to trek alone reminiscing with the beauty of the trek. During the initial part of the trek, we could get a whole view of the Barsu village with Mt Srikant in the background. The sun was intense though it was not hot. I was sweating due to exertion but a gust of wind would cause a shiver through the body due to sweat.
We reached Barnala in 5hrs which has a small lake (tal). The guide told us that the tal remains in a semi frozen state in the winters and with around 26km2 of meadows, it offers a great prospect of alpine skiing in the state.
We could see a few Gujjar huts in the distance. Our guide told that the gujjars live in makeshift summer homes high on the mountains so that their cattle have the huge lush green meadows to graze on. They live completely secluded from the outside world and are completely self- sustainable. The path to the Dayara was getting steeper as we progressed and it was getting difficult to move. The whole area was covered with a thick jungle of oak and rhododendron trees. Munch into some MARS bar and listening to EDM music, I kept my focus on the trail I was treading.
After travelling for around 5hrs, we could see the the vast meadows of Dayara. Our camps could be seen in the distance with a herd of buffalos and horses munching on the fresh grass.
With a welcome drink made of Buraans flowers, we rested in our camps and decide to explore the meadows later in the evening.
For the first time, we were able to witness the Bandarpoonch and Kala Nag peaks in the extreme left while peaks like Draupadi ka Danda and Joanli were standing tall in the north. We had a breathtaking 180 degree view of the Himalayan ranges. The weather gods were kind enough to give us a clear sky to marvel at this spectacular view. There was a heightened sense of gratitude over witnessing such pristine beauty and for a moment the chilly cold winds had no effect upon us as we were transported to a completely different world. This was one of the moments when it seemed that time had stood still for me. draupad
Draupadi ka danda
With the sun setting in a distance, the evening had become chilly and we were ordered by the camp instructor to go and collect wood from the nearby jungle. After fetching dry wood for around an hour, we had collected enough to last a couple of days. We spent the night playing dumb charades and antakshari and getting to know about the mountains and the life of people there. I had developed a new level of respect for these people who had to face so many hardships which we, the people living in cities and towns take for granted.They don’t get electricity, proper food and does anyone of us imagine a life without a basic phone connection. Nah!!
Next morning, we woke up early and had a quick breakfast. The plan was to traverse all the way to Siyari top and return back before the sun set. With only a small bag carrying only the essentials, our group marched forward up from the Dayara Bugyal. It was to be a 6km trek with lots of ups and downs along the way. We crossed a lot of mountains before we could see the Siyari top covered in pure snow. Walking thorough the ridges with vast meadows on both sides, it gave us a feeling of being on the top of the world. Nobody wanted to come back and leave this place which had a kind of ecstasy encircling it. On the way back to our campsite, we even made a new friend, a dog Sheru, who was supposedly there to guard the cattle against us(the infiltrators). I thought we had pretty much seen all the awesomeness this place had to offer but I was proved wrong as soon as the stars lit up the night sky. I could’nt believe my eyes as to what the night sky had to offer. Be it the stars, the milky way, satellites,the mighty Jupiter, shooting stars- we saw it all that day. With no man-made source of light blocking our view, it felt as if the silence of these mountains was reflected in the sky as well. The absolute peacefulness of the place reminded us of the fact as to how fast we move in our life without appreciating the small yet beautiful treasures, earth has in store for us.
The next morning, we had to descend down 8km to a village called Raithal which could easily be traversed in 2 hrs. Once we reached our guest house, we were surprised to that a cultural program was organised by the natives. It was like a cheery on the cake with the fun and adventure we had over the past days.