Haridwar - Uttarkashi -Sangamchatti - Manjhi - Dodital - Darwa Top - Dodital - Agoda - Rishikesh - Haridwar
Dodi Lake, also called Dhundi Tal (Lake of Lord Ganesha) is at an elevation of 3024 m, north of Uttarkashi. Crystal clear waters are surrounded by dense oak woods, pine, deodar and rhododendrons. The lake is full of Brown Trout fish and is also known for the Himalayan Golden Trout. The forest surrounding the lake is also full of wildlife. It provides an idyllic set up for rest and recreational activities like angling, boating and bird-watching. Dodital lake's charm filled with mystery, and natural beauty is a nature lover's dream come true. The serene, tranquil surroundings, gurgling streams, crystal clear water, and dense alpine forests make for an ideal retreat. Getting there is half the fun, as the scenery en-route is really astounding.
On arrival at Haridwar meet with our representative and transfer to Uttarkashi. Haridwar is where the River Ganga (Ganges) passes through the last mountains and begins its 2,000 km journey across the plains of India, finally terminating at the Bay of Bengal. The route of this life giving river (called Maa Ganga or Mother Ganges) is home to one of the most ancient civilizations in the world (other examples being the Indus river, and the Nile) in the Gangetic plains On arrival at Haridwar one must visit the town's 'steps' or 'Ghats' on the banks of the Ganges constructed for the convenience of the thousands who throng to the banks to offer prayers and dip in the sacred Ganges.. Haridwar is the gateway for pilgrims to the Hindu shrines at Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri further up in the mountains. So important are these destinations, which the desire and sacred duty of every Hindu is to visit these sacred shrines before his/ her demise, in order to attain salvation. It is in this place that an event unlike any other in the world takes place-The Kumbh Mela (The biggest congregation of humans in the world) A drive takes one to Uttarkashi along the narrow Ganga and Bhagirathi valleys. The road goes past the sacred confluence of The Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers at Devprayag where there is a Lord Rama temple called the Raghunath Mandir visited by the great Hindu philosopher - Adi Shankaracharya in 300CE. Late Acharya Shri Pt. Chakradhar Joshi (a scholar in Astronomy and Astrology) established Nakshatra Vedh Shala (an observatory, considered to be the second best in India in pre independence days) in the year 1946, and located on a mountain called Dashrathanchal at Devprayag. The observatory is well equipped with two telescopes and many books to support research in astronomy. It also contains about 3000 manuscripts from 1677 AD onwards collected from various parts of country. Uttarkashi is a town located in the wide Bhagirathi valley, and has been a centre for learning and religion since the days of the Vedas! This sacred town has been home to some very famous sages and saints. The name of the town reflects its similarity to and location (as north of) the city of Kashi (Varanasi). Similar to Varanasi, town of Uttarkashi lies next to a hill named Varunavrat Parvat, and set on the banks of river Bhagirathi at an altitude of 1158 metres, about 145 kms from Rishikesh on the main route to Gangotri. The famous Vishwanath temple here is dedicated to Lord Shiva. In front of the temple is unique Mahadev-ka-Vishal Trishul or Shiva's Great Trident, made of eight major metals (Astadhatu). It is believed Lord Shiva killed Vakasur with this trident. Other important temples are dedicated to Lord Parashuram, Lord Ekadash Rudra and Goddess Kali. Overnight in hotel.
Set out for Sangamchatti after breakfast (14 kilometers) on a half an hour drive. This is the starting point of the trek. From Sangamchatti the trail is well marked and climbs to the true right of the valley and continues to the village of Agoda. From this point it is a 2 kilometer trek to the settlement at Bhebra - an idellic village set near a gushing mountain stream, and full of green fields growing potatoes, beans and the famous Rajma. Clibb a steep incline as the final push towards Manjhi village set on the thickly wooded mountainside. Relax the aching muscles and straining backs, with a refreshing cup of tea, and a warm sleeping bag. Dinner and overnight stay in tents.
Ascending a zig zaging path and gaining altitude slowly, the gradual climb to Dodital is a shade milder than the previous day's backbreaking climb. The view becomes more and more attractive and scenic with every step taken towards the famed lake. The trail becomes very spectacular, as the mountain transforms into a vertical cliff face, and the Asi Ganga looks like a thin thread snaking through its course in the valley below. The vertical drop of more than a thousand feet presents an unforgettable sight. A final descent and the presence of trees heralds the approach to the Dodital lake- known for the Brown Trout, and its religious significance. Overnight in Tents/ Rest house.
Day free to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Lake and surrounding dense forest. The scenic beauty of Dodital can compel any nature lover to camp here for days together, the lake, the surrounding pine forest, the towering Darwa Bugyal on one side and the valley on the other is serene and enticing. The circumference around the lake is roughly 1.5 kms. A few streams coming from Darwa Bugyal feed the lake situated at a height of 3,024 metres (9,921 ft )The trees around the lake add to its charm, as the mixed Oak and Rhododendron forest assumes amazing colors depending on the time of the year, and the quiet surroundings of the lake presents an ideal location for meditation. The lake is surrounded on three sides by forests and steep mountain sides, with an opening towards the Asi Ganga valley, with a magnificent view of the Dayara Bugyal area, across the valley. According to one of the popular legends Lord Ganesha chose this place as his abode. There is also a temple devoted to Lord Ganesha here. Another name for this lake is 'Dhundital' meaning Ganesh ka Tal or Lake of Lord Ganesha. Legend has it that this was the lake where Goddess Parvati used to bathe, and Ganesha was beheaded by Lord Shiva in a fit of anger. Dinner and overnight stay in the camp.
Early in the morning trek up to Darwa Top with packed breakfasts. The walk to Darwa top is 5 kms (2-3 hrs). It is a pass at a height of 4150 mts. The entire walk is an uphill climb. It starts with the climb along the feeder to Dodital breaking into a thick birch forest opening into the high meadows. A perfect setting for Himalayan wild flowers, Darwa top offers an amphi-theatre view of the Bandarpunch and Swargarohini range of peaks, and is the watershed for rivers Yamuna and Asi Ganga. Absorb the breathtaking views and start the downhill walk to reach the campsite for the hot lunch. One can also spend this day sipping tea, catching up with the local tales, walking around the lake sighting birds or just observing the clear waters of the lake with the trout making an occasional appearance. After exploring the Darwa Top trek back to Dodital for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast trek down till Agoda- a swift descent of 17 kms, retracing the same path back, but this time without the sweat and pain. Overnight in camp at Agoda.
After breakfast trek back to Sangamchatti 04 Kms, and thereafter, drive down to Rishikesh 140 Km away. On arrival check in at the hotel. Visit the Ganga river bank for the spectacular and moving Aarti- spectacle of sights, sounds and chanting in the evening.. Rishikesh is well known for its scenic beauty and the spiritual experience. Flanked by the Shivalik range of the Himalayas. It is fabled that when Raibhya Rishi penance hard, God appeared by the name of "Hrishikesh" and this area thereafter came to be known as Rishikesh (Locks of the sage). Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.