photo credit: Shoy Joseph
For the first time after a trip, tears drenched my eyes.It was rare, surreal and an unforgettable experience.I don’t know where to start.The journey was beautiful in many ways from the landscape to the folks I met.
I reached Dehradun on a pleasant Friday afternoon along with Shahid Kapoor.His adventurous project was Tehri Dam, mine: Dayara Bugyal.I took a cab to reach Haridwar.The place is intoxicated with holiness and contaminants in equal measure.Haridwar is crowded yet has a charming feel.I had some of the most delicious north Indian food.It felt like home.Next morning, I reached the station and met my team.They were six of them.We introduced ourselves and quickly got into the car.Travel is not only about beautiful landscapes, it is more about the folks you meet on the road.This was my first ever Himalayan trek, I was already feeling nervous.
The first character was a hardcore stockbroker.Yet, when you talk to him, he seemed much more than that.He had more rudraksha than Congress has seats in Lok Sabha. An avid trekker, a devotee of Lord Shiva, passionate quizzer and a charismatic speaker.I call him Lord Shiva.Mysterious is an understatement to describe my next character.She was calm, polite, honest, sharp and had a great sense of humor.With a keen interest in reading and spirituality, she was seeking peace from this chaotic world.I call her enigmatic girl.Her sister who accompanied her was entirely opposite.She was full of energy, swift, athletic, flexible and filled with crazy ideas.I call her flash.The fourth character was a dude in his late 30s.His mannerism will easily convey this message ” I have money and I have traveled the world, so go to hell guys”.He was crazy yet helpful in ideas related to travel.The fifth character was indeed a special one.He was a professional trekker, amazing photographer and an incredibly resourceful guy.If you forget your bag, he will have one extra.I call him Shoy, which happens to be his real name.He deserves special recognition.The last character was a high school teacher from Amsterdam.She was traveling in India for over 5 months.She had interesting stories to share on drugs, education, and language.I call her Videshi Girl.
Now, you know about the characters I met.Let me take you to the actual experience.Dayara Bugyal is a part of lower Himalayas.It is 250 km from Haridwar.The route to reach our base camp Raithal was stunning.Gorgeous Bhagirathi River surrounding the hills was a magnificent sight.Meanwhile, Flash Girl magically lost her spectacles.It is still a mystery.Another comical incident dusked upon us apart from flash girl idiosyncrasies.Just when we were about to reach our camp, our driver got down.He was quickly replaced by his frantic relative.At exactly the same time, someone who looked like driver`s relative got onto the car(seemingly indicating to the driver).But the driver never noticed.Yet, when this strange one`s stop came, he signaled to the driver.The driver was shocked to see an unknown traveler.He angrily asked, “when did you get in?” Psychic Stranger got down unashamed and offered our frantic driver some money, that he cunningly accepted.The entire episode was inexplicable.We all burst into laughter.I have never seen anything like this before.Our journey had barely started.
photo credit: Shoy Joseph
We reached base camp in the chilling cold and unprecedented rains.I was shivering but felt good.It was a start of something new.We met our trek leader, Yash.He gave us basic safety instructions.Next morning, we all geared up for the adventure.I was shivering but determined.We were ready with our backpacks to unravel meadows of dayara.Trek leader was accompanied by a local guide.He was a shy young man but only he knew the route.Our line up: From the back, our official selfless photographer: Shoy, followed by Lord Shiva, Videshi girl, enigmatic girl, flash and me.Travel guy with money was leading the pack.He seemed enthusiastic about his debut trek.He behaved like a child on most occasion yet was definitely entertaining.Our team was fairly comfortable during the opening session.Sorry, I forgot about the most important member of our trek.A cute healthy dog named Basket.He followed us like a shadow.”Four legs are better than two” Our journey was further enhanced by basket.
I have never seen snowfall in my life.Scattered snow from last night looked spectacular We continued to trek at our own pace.I prayed for more snowfall.Mandatory selfies and photos were being taken along the way.As we trekked, we found more snow and I found more joy.We couldn`t resist and started playing with snow.A snow fight is always a good idea.Marvelous oak trees, beautiful small pink flowers, and an incredible skyline.It was getting better as we climbed up.Our pit stop was Gui campsite.It started to snow as we reached.The sight was simply stunning.After 4 hours of challenging trek(for few of them), we finally reached our first campsite.At 9000 feet, we felt like heaven.Trek leader arranged us a sumptuous meal.It is a privilege to get good food at high altitudes.All thanks to India Hikes team, we had tasty food during this trek.After a fantastic meal, we learned how to make a tent.It was fun and challenging.Even more challenging was to fold my sleeping bag.Sleeping in the bag was special but getting out was not.Basket was protecting us from predators at night.Just observing cute basket rolling on the snow was a blessing.Mountain dogs are the best.
photo credit: Shoy Joseph
A sky full of stars is only seen in movies and wallpapers.I was mesmerized by the spectacle.Entire milky way greeted us that night.It was magical and unreal.We woke up unwillingly for morning tea.It was chilling bones.Next destination was dayara base camp.We set out again under our fearless leader, Yash.The selfless photographer was capturing gems as we hiked up.Trekking in snow is a different ball game altogether.Especially when it is an untouched snow(virgin route). The view was admirable but the climbing was by no means simple.Trekking poles came in handy to check the depth as we climbed.Crazy man of 30s was shit scared.He was encouraged by our leader.Meanwhile, Basket was rolling in the snow.He was enjoying it more than us.We reached dayara camp in 4 hours.Snow-capped mountains were elegantly visible.Gangotri 1/2/3, Mt Bandarpoonch and Mt.Shrikanth looked stunning.We spent the evening in admiration of mighty ranges and night sky.Our trek leader made us play a game that I didn’t like.The evening ended with an engaging conversation on traffic rules in India.
Next morning, We were ready to conquer the peak.The most challenging part had arrived.We were given gaters and spikes to tackle the snow.The team was in high spirits.Crazy guy was enthusiastic, mystery girl looked calm and photographer God was ready.Trekking in the snow was a memorable experience.It was difficult to maintain balance and guess the depth. Our guide was helping us, by making footsteps to follow.He was a shy young man but he knew the path.Crazy guy was struggling and the Stockbroker was climbing at his own leisurely pace.Opposite sisters were just enjoying the landscape.I was struggling with my woodland shoes.Never buy woodland shoes for trekking.NEVER.By taking few breaks, oranges and mandatory photos, our team finally reached dayara top.Feeling you get when you see mighty snow-capped ranges is of Nirvana.I just took a deep breath and smiled.Videshi Girl was so excited that she showed us some breathtaking gymnastics at 12500 feet.She is going to Olympics.It was a moment to remember for a lifetime.I could stay there forever but then you have to come back to reality.For this seemed like a distant dream.
Our enthusiastic team finally made it to the top.We celebrated as if we have conquered Everest.This trek was unforgettable in many ways.Magical view, first snowfall, basket, brilliant trek leader, amazing conversations and crazy strangers who became friends.Every travel is a life in itself.I would like to call this a dayara bugyal experience.It was fantastic, beautiful and indeed magical.
From what I heard, Basket is still rolling in the snow and Flash girl is still searching for her spectacles.
Until my next adventure.Stay Curious and Travel but never buy woodland shoes.