Trekking in the Himalayas is synonymous with pristine landscapes mostly comprising of meadows, alpine forests, glacial lakes and distant peaks. The vast expanses of gentle slopes with lush green grass, trimmed perfectly by nature are the most exquisite sights. One such Himalayan marvel located in the mountain ranges of Garhwal, Uttarakhand is Dayara Bugyal.
Bugyal means meadow in the Garhwali dialect.
For a place located that high, Dayara Bugyal is spread out across a vast expanse of land. The bugyal offers some breathtaking visuals of the ‘Bandar Punch’ range. In the middle of the meadow a babbling brook flows, enhancing the beauty of it all.
We started the trek from Barsu. Barsu is a quaint little village. Small colorful houses scattered in a beautiful asymmetrical way and a small man made lake are the highlight of the village. After having spent a night at Barsu we started our trek the next morning. The walk on the first day is for the most part on a well defined path. After a 4-6 hours long walk we reached the first campsite; Barnala.
A special mention for the 13 year old lad, who despite being under the weather saw the first day through. Barnala is a small opening in the otherwise dense alpine forest. A camping site cozy and at the same time eerie. Sitting around the campfire would put you at a leisurely ease but once you enter the tents, the fact that you’re in the middle of a forest might confront you.
We camped at Barnala for a night. The next campsite was Dayara Bugyal. Barnala to Dayara Bugyal was another 3-5 hours walk, the major part being through the woods. The closer we reached the destination the bleaker the woods became. The sparse population of the trees suggested clearly that we were heading towards a meadow.
According to the plan we were supposed to camp at Dayara Bugyal for 2 nights and head to Sayari Bugyal. Sayari Bugyal is another majestic meadow deeper in the range. Although the weather was completely against our plans. The first day we camped at Dayara Bugyal was just perfect. The meadow was covered in patches of snow and it was a bright sunny days. The Bandar Punch range appeared exquisitely grand from there. We went for a short hike beyond the campsite.
Although all these pleasantries were restricted to the first day. The next day it started with a light drizzle and eventually aggravated to a blizzard. A blizzard that would not elude us for about 32 hours. It went off for very short intervals but to no avail. Within a few hours, the entire meadow was smeared in the white of snow. There were phases when hardly anything was visible due to the fog. We had to constantly dig around our tents to avoid them being buried in the snow.
While cleaning up the snow from the tents, one of the fly of a tent got torn. Eventually two of us had to crash in the mess tent. That night the blizzard was raging, thunder was so loud, it felt that lightning bolts were falling right next to us. Sleep was a distant dream. To add on to the eventful experience; the mess tent blew right over our heads while we were lying snug in our sleeping bags chasing sleep. Eventful indeed!
The Mystical End
Somehow the weather made peace with us and on the last morning we were good to go without any hindrance. Although it was not the end to the already eventful trip. The last day saw something extraordinary. The snow which was until then pure white was covered in dust/sand. At first we just assumed it’s gotten like that because of the storm and the dust that accumulated over it. Eventually we found out that it was because of a very special phenomenon called the ‘western disturbance.’ Climatic disturbances in the west lead to the blowing of desert sand which eventually lands up in the Himalayas.
We’ll leave you with visuals for you to deduce on your own.