Hiking - Destination

Dodital Trek- Discover the Emerald Lake in Garhwal Himalayas

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Of the several treks across the Himalayas, the Dodital Trek has always posed as the quintessential winter trek for hiker across the country.  And while the Himalayan ranges are home to some of the most astounding wonders of nature it has to offer its spectators, the Dodital lake trek is a true sight of beauty to behold and an experience that no trekking enthusiast must miss out on.

Tucked away at a height of 4150 metres above sea level, the Dodital lake is a vicinity of unfathomable serenity and tranquility and is one of the rarer high altitude water bodies found in the area. With clear white snow blanketing the entire scene around the lake, your campsite will be nothing short of the perfect winter wonderland. The Dodital winter trek is quite popular amongst nature and hiking lovers and is an easy enough trek for your entire family to venture upon for an ideal winter holiday. 

Know More About:

  • An Overview of Dodital Trek
  • The Dodital Trek: A Winter Wonderland 
  • Legend Has It
  • Best Route To The Holy Lake
  • Detailed Itinerary You'll Need for Dodital Trek
  • Trekking Essentials
  • Summing Up 

An Overview of Dodital Trek

dodital trek
 Emerald Lake of Himalaya
  • Where it is located: Garhwal, Uttrakhand
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,150 metres
  • Livingit Rank: Beginners, Enthusiast
  • Trail Type: Round Trail (begins and ends at Sangam Chatti)
  • Duration: 5 Days
  • Temperature: Max: 20C; Min: - 2C
  • Pit Stops: Uttarkashi - Sangam Chatti - Bevra - Dodital
  • Best time to visit: February to April; September to December

The Dodital Trek: A Winter Wonderland 

During the winters, this wondrous patch of grassland is quilted with soft snow and surrounded by sparkling streams that meander through the dense and peaceful alpine forests. The Dodital Trek is a vision of unexplainable beauty situated in the Garhwal Himalayan region. With a rich array of flowers, the trek begins in the Bhagirathi valley, passes through an enigmatic forest and culminates at the Darwa to. Upon reaching the Dodital lake, you can even choose to explore into other subsidiary treks along the way such as the Asi Ganga valley. Dodital is also border by the Bandarpunch and Swargarohini ranges and each side and ultimately opens up to the Yamunotri pass. 

dodital winter trek
Dodital during Winters (source)

Legend Has It

Most trekkers would notice that one side of the Dodital lake is dedicated to the Hindu deity, Lord Ganesh. In fact, the region is often called “Ganesh-ka-Tal” and is believed to be one of the most auspicious and spiritual lakes in the Garhwal region. Lord Ganesh is also called as Dhundi Raja and so the lake is also called as Dundhital which means Lake of Ganesh. Legend has it that this was the birthplace of Lord Ganesh. According to Hindu mythology, before the now famously elephant-headed deity receives his face, Lord Ganesh was once a human boy, who was accidentally beheaded by Lord Shiva. The Dodital lake is strongly believed by many Hindus that have been witness to this decapitation. Regardless, the alpine and deodar forests encompassing the lake have an air of mystery and wonder to them and the lake is known to be one of the few places the Himalayan Trouts can be spotted.

Livingit Tip-
If you enjoy angling then you can fish in the Dodital lake which is filled with Himalayan Golden Trout (Brown Trout fish).

trek in uttarakhand
Angler's Paradise (source)

Best Route To The Holy Lake

Dodital is situated to the north of Uttarkashi and begins from there. The trek can be started from either Uttarkashi or Kalyani, from where the trail continues a gradual climb through thick and steep forests. 

By Air: You can take a flight directly Jolly Grant Airport, in Dehradun, which is located 215 kilometres from Uttarkashi. You can even take a flight directly to Delhi and travel to Uttarkashi by road. Taxis are generally available from the airport to Uttarkashi. 

By Rail: It’s convenient to take a train to Rishikesh, which is well connected with most major destinations across the country. Upon reaching Rishikesh, you can easily avail a taxi or a local bus to Uttarkashi and Tehri Garhwal. 

By Road: Uttarkashi is well connected well motorable roads with several destinations across Uttarakhand. From Dehradun, Tehri, Barkot and Chamba, one can easily catch a taxi or a bus service from Uttarkashi.

Detailed Itinerary On Getting There

Upon reaching Uttarkashi, you can take a 45-minute jeep ride to Sangam Chatti.

Enchanting Ride from Sangam Chatti to Bevra

Upon arriving at Sangam Chatti, the trek begins by crossing the Asi Ganga river over a sturdy bridge. The path forward ascends into the village of Agoda where local inhabitants themselves can be seen travelling to and fro from the village and Sangam Chatti. The trail from the Agoda village continues towards another village, situated in Bevra. During the winter, the trail is coated with a slippery layer of snow, making it even more dangerous to traverse across the path, considering how closely it hugs the side of the mountain. The path is interspersed with many crisscrossing streams and the occasional waterfall, where trekkers can replenish their water supplies and refresh themselves. Bevra is a relatively established camping ground, surrounded by mountain ranges on three sides. 

short treks in uttarakhand
Swift Moving Asi Ganga (source)

Jungle Trail from Bevra to Manjhi 

The trail from Bevra village meanders in and out of the side of the mountain, and takes you from one range to another. The climb along this ridge is steep and brings you into a dense cover of Pine and Rhododendron forests. As you keeping climbing upward, trekkers often come across a rain shelter opposite the Dayara meadows and the Bakaria top (the highest point on the Dayara bugyal). A 5 kilometre trek from this point would lead you to Manjhi.

Dodital Trek
Pleasant View of Dayara 

Manjhi to Dodital (Final Destination)

After the challenging climb from Bevra to Manjhi you can enjoy a flat walk to Dodital. It’s the incredible view that will inspire you to move ahead. The trail forward is spotted with Oak trees and trekkers can easily spot the Asi Ganga river flowing below the ridge. Dodital welcomes all it’s hikers with a spacious view of the colossal open area, surrounded by mountains in three directions, and a few forest rest houses and ancient temples punctuated across the area. We suggest you camp at Dodital lake and enjoy your night by gazing at the starry nights and feel the aura of tranquility.

Trekkers generally continue their trek to Darwa top (13900 ft) which is considered challenging yet exhilarating! The entire journey from Dodital to Darwa top is 5 km. On reaching the Darwa top you can view various other majestic summits- the entire sight is spectacular and worth the pain! However, in the winter, it’s generally difficult and almost impossible to trek beyond Dodital to Darwa Top.

dodital lake trek
Reaching the Mystical Dodital Lake (source)

Descend from Dodital to Sangam Chatti

The entire descend from Dodital to Sangam Chatti is around 22-24 kms. Yet it's the view from Dodital to Sangam Chatti which is a feast to the eyes. The downhill trek isn’t challenging but the path is bumpy with rocks, pebbles which can easily cause lower leg injuries! So be careful during the descent however don’t miss the picturesque landscape and do befriend the locals who are warm and welcoming in nature.

Trekking Essentials

Documents

  • Photocopies and an originals of government IDs - driver’s license, voter’s ID, Aadhar card, PAN card
  • Medical certificate and disclaimer, filled out by both the trekker and the doctor

Physique

The trek requires a general amount of cardiovascular endurance, due to the steep inclinations along the trail. You can build up your endurance by jogging, swimming, cycling or any other form of cardio everyday. The distance covered would also require a great amount of strength and flexibility. Working on your legs in particular, by doing squats and lunges helps improve muscular strength and always remember to stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back and shoulders regularly.

Clothes and Shoes

  • Three to five warm layers of clothes and thermals. Dodital lake is situated at a very high altitude and the temperature drops to a sub zero level during the winters
  • A raincoat in the occasion of rain 
  • Carry an extra pair of trekking pants, in case the other gets wet or torn
  • Trekking shoes that are sturdy and with a good grip to help you traverse through the snow covered inclines 

Other Essentials

  • A backpack or a rucksack that has a capacity around 40-60 litres and broad and sturdy shoulder straps, for better support
  • Sunglasses to prevent snow blindness, in the winter
  • Sun caps and sunscreen to protect your skin from the harsh rays at higher altitudes
  • Woolen, windproof and waterproof gloves 
  • LED torch/lamps and headlamps are absolute necessity 
  • Carry a trekking poles might come in handy 
  • It’s always better to carry a supply of cutlery like spoons, mug, lunch box, etc.

Toiletries

  • Moisturisers, lip balms and sunscreen to keep your skin protected 
  • Toilet paper and a light towel 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Two 1 litre bottles 
  • Plastic covers for compartmentalizing wastes and wet clothes

Medical Kit

  • Crocin for fever
  • Avil for allergies 
  • Combiflam as a general painkiller
  • Digene for acidity 
  • Crepe bandage and ointment in the case of any injuries
  • A small roll of cotton and gauze 
  • Band-aids 
  • Moov or Relispray for muscular pulls, aches and sprains
  • Antiseptic screams and bug spray

Useful Tips for the Trek

  • There is zero mobile connectivity from Sangam Chatti to Dodital. So inform about your whereabouts to your family and friends before reaching Sangam Chatti. 
  • Always hire a professional or experienced guide who can take you through the known and safe routes of the trek.
  • It is best to trek in a group of 10+ trekkers.
  • Avoid trekking during the night time.
  • Even though the Himalayan region water is safe to drink, carry your our purifying pills or water filtration pumps.

Summing Up

 dodital trek
Mesmerizing ambience of the Dodital lake (source)

The mesmerizing and organic ambiance of the Dodital lake promises all its visitors with an experience of serenity and captivating beauty. With opportunities to discover other areas like the Asi Ganga and Bhagirathi Ganga valley, the Dodital lake provides the ideal situation for camping. The Dodital lake trek is also well renowned amongst most trekkers in India, as the best spot to achieve the ultimate and ideal winter camping experience.

Opening up to the Darwa top on one side and the Yamunotri on the other, this picturesque location offer all its visitors with the quintessential balance of a trekking adventure and a camping experience.

So, remember to bundle up and carry a large packet of marshmallows for you bonfire under the stars, against the snow encompassed Dodital lake. 

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