Dayara Bugyal is a better known trekking destination in the state of Uttarkhand. ‘Bugyal’ which is a word of the local Garhwali language means a meadow. Dayara Bugyal is a vast expanse of gentle slopes offering some amazingly scenic views of the Bandar punch mountain range. A lot of travelers visit this place. The perfect blend of the terrain of this place makes it a hot spot for skiing. Although the place has not witnessed much skiing but the near future suggests a lot of skiing/snowboarding action. The state tourism bodies aspire to make it India’s best skiing destination.
How to reach:
The most prominent nearby town is Uttarkashi which is 411 kilometres away from New Delhi. From Uttarkashi one needs to reach village Barsu, which is another 40 kilometres from Uttarakashi. Uttarkashi is well connected by road.
The snowy surprise
I started the trek in the first week of April. This time of the year one can expect mild levels of snow above certain altitudes but just ‘mild levels.’ What I experienced turned out to be far from mild. The trek to Dayara Bugyal from Barsu is roughly 10 kilometres long and could take a person 4-6 hours depending on their pace. It is advisable to camp at Barnala which is midway from barsu to Dayara Bugyal. The campsite at Barnala was pleasantly situated at the bottom of a gently sloping meadow with woods on either side. The temperatures up at Barnala were only as low as 2 degrees Celsius.
I was supposed to camp for 5 nights on the trip. The second, third and fourth night at Dayara Bugyal and the fifth at Sayari Bugyal(which is further 10 kms away from Dayara Bugyal). The first day at Dayara was pretty smooth and tranquil. The meadow was covered just in patchy snow and the weather was as expected and as predicted by the local villagers and mule men. Nature had varied plans though, exhibiting its unpredictability and might. Rain and sleet preceded a snowfall which would last a surprising 27 hours. Enough to envelope the grassy meadow with the knee deep snow.
Inclement weather and the narrow escape:
The first sight of snow on the trek brought out sheer joy and excitement but it was not to last long. With each passing hour of snowfall the rampant euphoria started subsiding into mere cheeriness. The views that came along with the dank vagaries of the cold were one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen. But the beauty was overpowered by a sense of urgency that came into existence because of the exceeding snowfall. The tents at the campsite were turning into a smother of snow. The snow had to be constantly put away from the tents. A circular path had to be shoveled around the tents, just to be sure.
To add on to the misery the tent I was ‘trying to sleep’ in got torn somehow. Eventually I had to take shelter in the mess tent late at night. That turned out to be all the more exciting as the tent blew right over my head at 3 in the morning. I was with one more guide. We had to gather all the stuff that was inside the tent and pack it all in a jiffy. All that amidst a beautiful monster of a blizzard.
All this was on the last night. We were scared that we would get trapped there. As all our stuff was up there and the mules who were portaging it for us might not be able to make it up there in all that snow. So at the break of dawn we left to call the mule men who were sleeping in animal shelters far off. Thankfully they were considerate enough and successfully tried their best to get us out.