Hiking - Destination

Dayara Bugyal Trek: Visit the Scenic Meadows of Uttarakhand

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The Dayara Bugyal Trek is considered as the most beautiful autumn trek in India. Catering to one of the best and the most beautiful meadows in the country this trek is a walk of joy! This is a very uncommon trek in the Himalayan ranges but once you start this trek you won’t want it to end. Snow dunes, lush green meadows, exotic wildlife and mesmerizing views are what you will see right from the beginning of this trek. These are the very few reasons why you should do the Dayara Bugyal Trek and make the most of your trekking experience.

Table of Content:

  • Dayara Bugyal Trek - An Overview
  • Dayara Bugyal Trek - Breathtaking Trekking Trail
  • How to Reach
  • Best Time to Visit
  • Dayara Bugyal Trek Map
  • Detailed Itinerary
  • Highlights of the Trek
  • Nearby Places to Visit
  • The Packing List
  • Tips to Keep in Mind
  • Summing Up

The Dayara Bugyal meadow offers a great vantage point to view the Gangotri range and Bandarpoonch. The flora of this region is extremely rare and elaborate.

Dayara Bugyal Trek - An Overview

dayara bugyal trek overview
Winter Wonderland
  • Where it is Located: Uttarakhand
  • Number of Trekking Days: 4 days
  • Trekking Grade: Moderate
  • Max Altitude: 3650 m (12,000 ft)
  • Trekking Distance: 20 km
  • Trail Type: Round Trail
  • Base Camp: Barsu
  • Best Season: May - June, and September – October
  • Livingit Rank: Enthusiast - Advanced

Dayara Bugyal Trek - Breathtaking Trekking Trail

In the list of trekkers who talk about the most beautiful meadows while trekking, Dayara Bugyal trek tops the list for most of them. The only contender to this trek is the Bedni Bugyal trek which comes right after this and is also a trek you should do and praise the Mother Nature. This high-altitude meadow is covered in lush green grassland all over and rare mountain animals.

dayara bugyal trek sheep
What’s Up, Flocks! (Source)

Shepherds from nearby regions come with their flock to Dayara and share numerous stories about how much they and their cattle love this place! Surrounded by the magnificent Himalayan peaks once when you reach all you want to do is sit back and relax or keep moving forward to explore the beauty further.

This is a classic trek and the 4 days which you spend here are an experience that you will cherish for a lifetime.

Did You Know?
The term Bugyal means ‘high altitude meadow’ in the native language and this region is listed as one of the largest and well-known meadows in the Garhwal Himalayas.

How to Reach

dayara bugyal by road
Let’s Take a Roadtrip!

Barsu is the base camp for your Dayara Bugyal trek. This is a small village in Uttarakhand that is around 230 km from Haridwar. You can drive your own car or rent one in Haridwar to get to Barsu. To get to Haridwar, you can choose one of these ways:

By Road

Haridwar is very well connected from all the major destinations in India. NH72 connects Haridwar to Nahan which is 125 km. There is a regular bus service from Delhi to Haridwar as well.

By Air

You will have to reach the Dehradun airport which is around 50 km from Haridwar. The Jolly Grant Airport is well connected from Delhi.

By Train

Here’s the list of trains that can be taken from all the main cities in India:

  • From Chennai- Dehardun express (12687)
  • From Delhi -DDN NZM AC EXPRESS (2205)
  • From Mumbai- Dehradun Express (19019)
  • From Kolkata- Doon Express (13009)

Best Time to Visit Dayara Bugyal

The best part about this trek is that any time of the year is can be considered to be the “best time to visit”. In the summers, the Dayara Bugyal trek is a beautiful meadow which is used by the locals for cattle grazing. In the winters, this meadow transforms into beautiful ski slopes, so it serves as the perfect getaway for skiers.

Average Temperatures:

  • Summer: 25 to 30 degree Celsius (day); 20 to 25 degree Celsius (night)
  • Winter: 18 to 25 degree Celsius (day); 8 to 13 degree Celsius (night)

Dayara Bugyal Trek Map

map dayara bugyal trek
The Human Touch (Source)

Detailed Itinerary

Once you reach Barsu, you can take a day to relax and acclimatize yourself to the weather. After that is when your adventure starts.

The Journey from Barsu to Dayara Bugyal

From the lawns of GMVN at Barsu, you can see the ridges between Barnala and Dayara. You will find stiff edges in between but overall this is an easy climb. Barnala is a small meadow which is on the top of the ridge. You need to take the path which is on the right-hand side of the GMVN that passes through the village fields. The trees found on this path are rare and beautiful. You will see a lot of variety in the flora here, with the Oak and Rhododendron being the most common. The forest isn’t very dense but it is extremely beautiful. You can see some very prominent ranges in front of you right from the beginning of this trek. As you move further, the ranges get bigger and clearer.

After around 30 minutes of your walk you will welcome an herbal garden which is maintained by the government. This garden is full of beautiful flora and fauna. Walk further from this garden for about 20 minutes and you will reach a place called ‘Mathi Hoda’ which means the ‘last clearing’. The forest here is so dense that you will hardly be able to see the sky. Keep walking straight on the well-defined stone track for about an hour from here.

After a while you can see the Gujjar huts and a huge clearing surrounded by a circle of pine trees. You will see a small mound from the top of which you can see the peaks and the beautiful skyline! Walk further for about 5 minutes and welcome the meadows of Barnala.

This meadow is tree line shaped and converts into a ski slope in winters. You will see the Barnala Lake to your left. The beauty of the lake is that the water is so clear that you can see the reflection of the Oak trees in it! From here, you can see Dayara Bugyal that is on the top of the ridge. You need to walk across the meadow and enter the tree trail again.

Now you will see a steep climb but the trail is very well-defined. Almost 2 hours of walk will end the tree trails and you will reach the meadows. As you walk across, you will get a peek of the Black peak and Bandarpoonch!

You will see many peaks on either side and pass some Gujjar huts. As this region is a source of many water bodies, you will also find a lot of streams on your way on both sides. Some trekkers like to make this area their campsite and collect logs from the nearby area for a bonfire night.

Trek from Dayara to Bakaria and Back

To make the most of Dayara Bugyal, you will need 1 complete day to explore the meadows which go all the way up the Bakaria top. It is recommended that you leave the campsite early and head right to where you find meadows in a lot of sections. There will be a short and a stiff climb which will lead you to Moosa Dhangi. The burrows scattered all over here is how this place gets its name. Moosa Dhangi region is known to have a lot of rats.

This region has a lot of rare wildlife that you will love as and when you see it. The most prominent catch is the rare and famous mountain cat that looks like a small fox. The mountain deer that lives in this region is also an uncommon find. 

Once you get down from Moosa Dhangi you will cross the next ridge. The Bakaria top is huge and can be seen from three hilltops away. Once you cross these three ridges you will reach the highest top – the Bakaria top, which is the other side of Dayara Bugyal. From this point, you can see layers of hills on one side and the entire Dayara meadow on the other side. To the south, you can see Uttarkashi nestled deep below.

dayara bugyal trek view
From the Top of the World! (Source)

You can also reach the Agoda village which lies on the route to Dodital trek. The Sangam Chetti – Agoda – Dodital – Dayara Bugyal Trek route reaches Dayara Bugyal here.

There are many streams which you will find on your way down. Many rare and beautiful shrubs mark this narrow but well-defined trail. Keep in mind to follow this trail so that you don’t miss out your way to the campsite.

Journey from Dayara Bugyal to Siyaari

If you are doing this trek in summer then it is advisable to start as early as possible. You need to take the trail which is across the stream at your campsite and moves inside the forests of Oak trees. This is a short walk and once it is over you will see the magnificent Bandarpoonch and other peaks.

To reach Gidara Bugyal, you need to climb the ridge and take the trail to the left. This is a steep and slightly difficult climb but the view of Dayara Bugyal from here is worth every effort that you put to get here. You will see a lot of rare and colourful flowers – purple, yellow and pink everywhere when you reach the meadows!

When you walk further here you will reach a small water body between the meadows. This place is called Devikund, a small junction and marks the end of Dayara meadows. Start the descend from Devikund to Dodital here.

Sadanand Kamath, in his blog about his Dayara Bugyal trek, says, “Standing on the mountain top meadow, one could distinctly notice that Devkund is a big junction point for treks. From where we stood, we could see a trek path coming from Manjhi-Satgadi joining Devkund from the right while trek route from Dodital-Lambhidhar-Surya Top merges with the trek path which we had taken from Suru Thatch just before Devkund.”

dayara bugyal trek bandarpoonch view
A View of Bandarpoonch (Source)

Once you reach Dodital, take the right and start walking upwards. You can see the enchanting Bandarpoonch as the trail curves to the west. You can also see the base camp – Barsu and thousand feet below. Now the trail is broad and easily spottable with rhododendrons shrubs on both sides. Once you come towards the end of the ridge you will reach the Surya top.

This is a short climb yet steep. When you look around from here you can see the picturesque Dayara Bugyal and in the front, you will see Bandarpoonch. This sight looks as if both these beauties are touching each other.

The trail hugs the eastern side of the ridge, descending mildly in a wide curve to get to the Gidara pass. From the top of this pass, the trail bifurcates in opposite directions. The one on the right heads to Pichkiya and the one on the left leads to Gidara Bugyal.

If you want head back and end the trek you can head towards Pichkiya but if you do have time in hand, you should take the route that leads to Gidara Bugyal. This is a longer route which will take about 3 days to complete. If you take this trail you will reach Siyaari which will become your campsite now. Once you reach the campsite from the tip of the valley you will see the Barsu village. From here, there is no fixed trail.

You can establish the campsite at Siyaari near the stream. On the edge of the ridge you will see a cluster of shepherd huts as the valley ends. You can take short excursions near the campsite which will be surrounded by various small hills. In the morning, climb up the hill again to catch a spectacular sunrise from behind Mt Srikhant.

Journey from Siyaari to Barsu

This is the perfect spot to see the beautiful sunrise. You can also see the sunrise if you make a 10-minute climb towards the meadows. In the morning, you will also see a lot of cattle that come to graze at the meadow which is sight that will make a home in your heart.

The walk down to Barsu is long so it is advisable to start early from the campsite. You will find a stream on the left which goes right down the valley. The trail is narrow and you will suddenly reach a tree trail. If you have taken mules on this trek, then this isn’t the correct path for you. The forest is thick but there is sunlight (slightly) that lightens the trek. You will reach a stream of clean and pure water after 60 minutes of walking towards Barsu. You can rest here for a while.

Continue the trail and while you walk further you will see a lot of Gujjar huts. The locals are very friendly and you talk to them and learn about their culture. On the right are the last of the descending flanks of the Dayara meadows – a flank the locals call Ki’uttoral.

dayara bugyal trek huts
Road Back Home (Source)

Three trails merge at the shepherds’ hut. This is considered as a junction. The trail that descends from the Gidara pass, another that climbs from Barsu and Pichkiya, and the third, the trail you just came across – that leads to Siyaari and further on the Gidara.

Next, you will reach Pichkiya. This is around 1 hour 30 minutes from the junction. You will reach dense Oak forests where you will find a lot of Langoors sleeping on the branches. Keep walking straight and don’t take any turns from here.

You will see a lot of shephered huts on your way to Barsu. You will see a lot of side trails till you reach your destination but alays remember to keep going straight. This could be confusing but if you follow the path you will not lose track! Walk further for 30 minutes and when you see snow-capped mountains, it is your arrival to Pichkiya. You will find a permanent water source on the right which is at the edge of the clearing. There’s another water source a minute into the trail that starts from the outer edge of the clearing across the water source. This is your trail to Barsu.

You can lunch at Pichkiya. If you are very tired then you can also camp in this region. Pichkiya to Barsu takes about 3 hours. You need to take the outer trail on the right from Pichkiya. You will walk on brown leaves here as this path is completely covered with Oak trees. Pack your descent evenly because it is a fairly long descent of 2,000 ft. to Barsu.

An hour of walk will lead you to a huge and beautiful waterfall. You can have fun here and rest by the banks of the waterfall. This is a very refreshing break for the trekkers. Once you leave the waterfall behind you will again enter the Oak tree forest trails. This is some minutes’ walk. You will start encountering a lot of locals here. This is a sign that the village is close by.

dayara bugyal trek barsu
Ending on a High Note! (Source)

Continue the trail and you will see wheat and poppy cultivation here. The Barsu village is close by from here and you can also see the temple from here. The trail will descend to the village square and you will also see a primary school here. This will mark the end of your amazing and long Daraya Bugyal trek.

Highlights of the Trek

  • This trek is the epitome of pretty high altitude alpine meadows
  • The maximum altitude of this trek is 12,000 ft. and the Himalayas can be seen from here
  • The word ‘Bugyal’ means meadow in regional languages
  • Barnala Tal which is a natural lake is an added attraction in the tree lined meadow
  • You can also see picturesque reflections of the Oak trees in this lake because of its clear water

Nearby places to visit

Harsil and Gangotri Temple

gangotri temple dayara bugyal trek
The Gangotri Temple

Harsil is a village and a cantonment area which is located on the banks of the Bhagirathi River when you are on your way to Gangotri. It is 73 km from Uttarkashi and is at an altitude of 7860ft. From here, the Gangotri National Park is only 30 km and is a must visit place. This is a high pilgrimage place as the idol of the Hindu river goddess Ganga is brought down from the shrine in the upper Himalayas at the ‘Gangotri’ after the festival of Diwali and is kept at ‘Mukhba’ and village close to Harsil. This is done as Gangotri cannot be accessed in the winters due to heavy snowfall.

Barnala Tal

barnala tal dayara bugyal trek
Barnala Tal

Barnala Tal is 4 km away from Barsu. You can reach this beautiful natural lake by passing the dense Oak and Rhododendron forests. This is the beginning of Dayara Bugyal meadows. You will find a beautiful blend of bright yellow, white, and blue flowers blooming here. If you stop near the lake and look around, you are sure to get mesmerised by the beauty of this spot! Most trekkers stop here for a short break and enjoy their lunch under the warmth of the sun, surrounded by the lush green meadow.

The Packing List

If you’re an avid trekker, you know that it is essential to carry only the things you need, rather than all that you want. Let’s go through the trekking essentials for the Dayara Bugyal trek.

Essentials

  • Backpack (40-80 litres): Daraya Bugyal trek is a 4-day trek and a sturdy backpack is of utmost importance.
  • Trekking shoes: This is a rough terrain and it is always important to wear trekking shoes that have a good grip. Regular sports shoes might not be of good use here.

Clothing

  • Thermals: This place could get cold in the night and to keep yourself extra warm you can wear or carry thermals.
  • 2 trek pants: Wearing lightweight and comfortable clothing is important when you trek. A pair of trek pants is more than enough for this trek. You can carry an extra pair just in case it rains.
  • Warm clothes: This is necessary when you are trekking in the winters! If you are trekking in non-winter months then 2 light weight jackets can be enough. As you will be camping in high altitudes during winters, you should carry 2-3 warm jackets to avoid health issues.
  • Tees/T-shirts: It’s important to carry a minimum of four light-weight tees or collared t-shirts. A full sleeve one will be an ideal choice here so that you are protected from the sunburn.

Accessories

  • Pair of Socks: If you are trekking in the winters, don’t forget to carry woollen socks other than the regular sport socks. The low temperatures make your feet cold and so, to avoid injuries, woollen socks are a must.
  • Torch: This is a mandatory item that should be a part of any trekking list. Always carry a good quality flashlight with extra batteries when you are going on an overnight trek.
  • Cap: A sun cap will help you avoid the sun and will make your trek more comfortable. This will also not let you tan as much as a bear head. You should also carry a woollen cap so that you stay warm in the night as the temperatures do drop!
  • Sun glasses: Sunglasses are always recommended to be carried to avoid snow blindness. As this place has a patch that is always covered with snow, it is advised to carry sunglasses with a good UV protection.
  • Hand Gloves: Fleece or woollen hand gloves should be carried so that your hands stay warm and don’t get numb because of the cold.

Other Essentials

  • Cutlery: Carry a plate, spoon, glass and a lunch box with you when you trek.
  • Water Bottles: Carry your own water bottle when you trek. A minimum of 2 litres of personal water is recommended to be carried when you do this trek.
  • Toiletries: Towel, sunscreen, toothpaste, toothbrush, lip balm, moisturizers, hand sanitizers and toilet paper are all the essential toiletries which you need to carry on this trek.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit

  • Band Aid
  • Avomine for prevention of motion sickness
  • Omez for prevention of acidity 
  • Combiflam
  • Avil 25mg for allergies
  • Crocin for fever
  • Diamox for prevention of AMS
  • Moov or Relispray for sprains and common aches
  • A small cotton balls
  • A small gauze rolls
  • Crepe Bandage

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Though this is an easy trek it can get exhausting because of the time it takes to complete. You should stay fit by doing some pre-trekking exercises like running, swimming or cycling a few days before you go on this trek. This will help you build your cardio vascular stamina.
  • You can also get a tour guide who is experienced who will help you keep on right track!
  • Always make sure that you trek in a large group so that you can enjoy this trek more and have a lot of fun for the 4 days that you spend doing that Dayara Bugyal trek.

Summing Up

dayara bugyal end
In Life, There are No "Happy Endings", Just "Happy Beginnings"

This is a beautiful trek which will give you lots of memories to take back home! This trek holds the prestigious top rank of being the most beautiful alpine meadows in Uttarakhand, and as you go through the journey of Dayara Bugyal, you will realize why. Trailing through dense Oak forests, clear water bodies, sprawling grasslands, small villages, and mountain flocks, this simple yet classic trek!

So pack your bags, tie up your boots, and go adventuring to this treasure of Uttarakhand.

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