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Trekking to Dodi Tal @ 10,850 feet!
We continue our reader-driven getaway series.
Heaven at eleven thousand feet is how Ankita Diwekar-Kabra describes her trekking trip to Dodi Tal in Uttaranchal.
When it comes to holidays, iss world mein do type ke log hote hain (there are two kinds of people in this world) -- those who want to rough it out and those who want to do the touristy stuff.
And then there are some, like my husband and I, who try to find a way between these two worlds, sometimes with little success.
However, the vacation that we took in May to the Himalayas, was indeed a perfect blend of roughing it out and a bit of luxury.
Since we were a little out of shape and not the fittest, we decided to take it easy. We signed up for a week's vacation with Adventure-Cultural Tours to a place called Dodi Tal, situated at an elevation of 10,850 feet, north of Uttarkashi in Uttaranchal.
Our holiday included four days of trekking and three days of rest, travel and sightseeing with an overnight stay at Camp Hammock, New Tehri.
We took the 7 am Shatabdi Express from New Delhi to Haridwar and then travelled some 99 km by jeep to reach Camp Hammock by 5 pm.
Camp Hammock is nestled amidst apple orchards and is surrounded by deodars and pine forests. It has a spectacular view and offers the sound of the whispering woods, four-course meals at 5,000 feet above sea level and a campfire dancing by your feet. Who could have asked for more?
The camp has Swiss tents with attached shower rooms for accommodation. For more details, you could visit Camphammock.com
The next day, we took off for Uttarkashi and spent the evening at Monal Tourist Home, which incidentally offers quite a few one-day trekking and angling (fishing) package tours.
The third day of our holiday was when our trek started. We were well equipped with lots of food, a guide-cum-cook and two porters.
But let me warn you, the first hour of walking is tedious and killing. I kept telling myself I need to join a gym, and my husband was wondering whether the whole trek thing was a good idea at all!
But slowly, our hearts and limbs got used to the climb and the altitude, and we started enjoying the walk.
Our first overnight stay was at Bebara (7,000 ft), 8 kms from our starting point. We were tired by the time we reached there but our efficient team was already at work pitching our Swiss tents and cooking a delicious meal for us.
Our tent was pitched in a valley with mighty oaks and rhododendrons surrounding us. The beauty of the place took our breath and fatigue away.
On day four, we had to walk for about 15 kms to reach Dodi Tal. Our trekking team treated us to a splendid breakfast and off we went.
The first four or five kilometres were tiring, but after a lunch break at Karchu, the landscape changed and we were walking along a thick wooded path.
The walk, albeit a bit long, was, at times like a walk in the clouds.
Soon, we reached Manjhi. You cannot help but fall in love with this tiny hamlet of 10-15 huts surrounded with snow-clad peaks.
We camped for the night at Manjhi and once again, our team was at work making sure we made up for the calories we burned in the day.
Early the next day, we walked for about two hours (about 5 kms) to reach Dodi Tal.
Legend has it that Dodi Tal (Dodi means Lord Ganesha's trunk; Tal means lake) is the birthplace of Lord Ganesha. For the full story, you need to meet the panditji (priest) at the temple there.
But to me, this place was heaven at eleven thousand feet (It is actually a little less than that)!
The lush green meadow with a lake surrounded by mountains on three sides and the water, a rich emerald green, because of the reflection of the trees, is the stuff that Yash Chopra movies are made of.
Only this is good old Uttaranchal, not Switzerland or some fancy place abroad.
We pitched a camp by the lakeside and lazed around the whole day.
The next day, we were ready to walk back to Uttarkashi to come a full circle to where we started our trek.
As for the cost, our vacation worked out to around Rs 3,000 per day, for the two of us.
The holiday was perfect. The long walks therapeutic.
There is something about being with nature that makes you forget all the petty quarrels, the work commitments and the craziness that we call life.
Instead, one hears what our souls are whispering and mine, amongst other things, told me that this was a place to visit again and again.
Uttarkashi is around 380 kms from New Delhi.
Dodi Tal is about 31 kms north of Uttarkashi.
~ You can visit the Uttaranchal Tourism or Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam web sites for more details and package tours.
Q - 2 / 10 A, IInd Floor
DLF Phase - II
Gurgaon -- 122 002
Web site: www.adventure-cultural-tours.com
Ankita Diwekar-Kabra, 26, is an IIM-A graduate of 2004 and runs a preschool in Surat, Gujarat.
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