Sunday, August 27, 2023

Dodital and Darwa Pass Trek

 Around end of May, we had planned to trek to Kedartal. It is a difficult trek strting from Gangotri and takes the trekkers to Kedartal at the elevation of around 4950 meters. This trek is very beautiful and even though a little challenging but worth it.

Unfortunately, the weather was not good and as the date for trek approached, we came to know that the trek route is temporarily closed due to heavy snowfall enroute. So we had to change the plan.

As we already had tickets etc booked so we decided to take another trek preferably around Uttarkashi and so decided on Dodital.

Dodital is a freshwater lake in Uttarkashi district, situated at a height of about 3600 metres. It is believed that Dodital is birthplace of Lord Ganesha. The name originated from Dhundi-Tal meaning lake of Ganesh. The captivating natural ambiance surrounding the serene lake is ideal for meditation. The Assi Ganga river originates from Dodital and joins Bhagirathi near Uttarkashi.

Its is said that mother goddess Parvati gave birth to Ganesha here.

After alighting at Haridwar, early morning, we utilized the lounge at platform 1 itself and then started exploring taxi options. One can easily get taxis infront of railway station, next to bus stand.

We were four trekkers. Taking a cab was a bit costly so we decided to take a shared one. It was cheaper and took almost same time as a booked cab would have taken.

For all moderate or difficult treks around Gangotri or Uttaraksi etc., one need to register for same with government. It also needs the name of trek agency as going for these treks are not allowed without a guide.

Through some search on internet, we came to know about Mahaveer Pawar, who organizes the treks and is based out of Uttarkashi. With his agency, we registered online for the trek. Mahaveer arranged a guide as well as helped with our stay at Agoda village.

For this trek, you can reach, Balbeer (9568949814), Ramesh (9412141505) or Mahaveer (9412439679).

From Uttarkashi, we need to go to Agoda village, from where the trek to Dodital starts. Its about 26 KM from Uttarkashi and takes about one and half hours to reach there.

Agoda is small and beautiful village in a valley. Mahaveer connected me to Ramesh and he helped me with a homestay there. Stay was very comfortable, and food was quite good.

We didnt took any package, but just asked for guide and porter. They helped us with our stay at Dodital also. We didn't took tent etc.

We had decided to trek from Agoda to Dodital in same day (~16 KMs) so that not to stay enroute anywhere. If someone has to stay in between then it can be done at Manjhi, which has a few huts and tent can be pitched there. Without tent one cant stay there plus food etc also needs to be carried/managed on our own.

So we had decided to reach Dodital (~16 KMs) by same day evening and for that we started early at around 7 AM.

Dodital is one of the most beautiful treks in Uttarakhand. It is also one of the winter treks. Though I prefer summer or autumn treks.

About 2 KMs from Agoda is a small village of Bebra, which is an extension of Agoda village only. The route was very beautiful and scenic, full of greenery. After Bebra, there was a landslide zone which we crossed carefully. There are many streams atleast till Majhi, so water enrote was not an issue.

The trail to Dodital, through dense forest and grasslands on the mountain slope proved to be even better than what I had thought. It was noon, when we reached a small village of Majhi.

Majhi is again an extension of Agoda village and established by villagers there for safekeeping of grazing cattle etc. There are a few huts. One caretaker helped us with lunch there; thanks to help from Ramesh and our guide. 

Trekkers who want to stay, can do that here. They need to pitch the tent and manage the food etc, which can be done with the help of guide.

We took some rest there.

From Manjhi, its about 6 KM, it rained a little bit as we were taking lunch of lentils and roti along with forest mushroom. I tasted forest mushroom for the first time and it was very good.

Route from Majhi to Dodital is almost flat except some up-down as we aproached the lake.

This route is also through dense forest, our porter, saw one bear also about 100 meters away though by the time we reached there, it disappeared.

It was about 5 PM we reached Dodital. About a KM before there is a small temple of Bhairav nath. Daisy and Jamshed Irani had donated for construction of this.

We took a room in "hotel" there. Our guide aranged it There are a few huts there, used to accomodate the visitors. Most of the people prefer to stay in tents, carried by themselves.

After taking rest for some time there, we visited the temple at the banks of serene lake. It was very blissful. The priest there helped us with "aarti" and gave prasadam.

We roamed there for sometime and the retired to our bed.

There are no toilets there so need to go for an open defecation.

Morning we decided to take the trek to Darwa Pass. Its about 6 KM away with quite challenging ascend!

First, we visited the temple and after getting blessed started our trek for Darwa Top (Darwa Pass)

From Darwa Pass, once can also trek towards Yamunotri. 

This ascend to Darwa pass is quite challenging, with no proper route defined, help of guide is must.

Slowly we ascended, it took almost 3 hours for us to reach the top. The ascend is quite steep and tiring. Crossing streams, boulders, grasslands and some small glaciers, we reached the top.

The view from top is just stunning, the trek reached the climax at the Darwa Top. Snow clad mountains were surrounding us with a lot of fresh snowfall on the ground. Swargarohini and Bandar Poonchh mountains can be spotted from here in full glory. 

There was also a pond, completely frozen. We spend sometime there and then took return path to Dodital.

The entire place is full with natural beauty and away from "civilized urban effect" so quite refreshing and tranquil. 

We took lunch and then rest, it was raining off and on and was quite cold. Once it stopped we raomed there around lake and temple.

Third day morning, we started our trek back to Agoda, covering the same route back, we reached there by 3 PM. On the way, we stopped at Manjhi for some refreshment also. It rained heavily for sometime, otherwise the weather remained quite good.

In Himalayan villages, there are small shrines of village deities. Near Agoda, we also saw it and paid our reverence.

When we reached Agoda, we were badly tired, so decided to stay there for night. Dinner served by Ramesh was excellent.

Morning, we took the taxi for Uttarkashi, reaching there by 10 AM. We were in two minds if to go towards Gangotri or Haridwar, after some discussions, we decided to take a shared taxi for Gangotri.

From Uttarkashi, it took almost three and half hours. The small town of Gangotri was buzzing with pilgrims. Hotel rates were high, with some negotiations we got a decent room.

After some rest, we visited the temple and sat at the ghats of Bhagirathi. It is amazing place to be...

Beautiful treks for Gaumukh, Kedartal and Tapovan etc originate from here.

Evening we booked the bus for next morning to Haridwar.

We took dinner there and roamed till late night in the main street before retiring for the day.

Next day morning 7 AM, we took the bus, which took whole day and it was dark when we reached Haridwar.

Our return ticket was for next day and we could not get any other option to return on same night. Train was overcrowded and bus was not available, so took a hotel near Har ki Paidi.

Morning, we went and took bath in Ganges. I can say that bathing in Ganga here is most blissful.

Then we took breakfast of famous Poori Sabzi near Har ki paidi.

Now our plan was to visit Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi temples. To reach the temple one has to either follow the three kilometer trekking route by climbing a number of steps or climb through rope-way (cable car) service. 

Tired with recent treks and also due to hot and humid weather, we decided to took the ropeway and took combined ticket for both Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi ropeway.

The ropeway offers scenic views of the Ganges River and Haridwar.

Rush was heavy, through for Chandi Devi, and we had to wait for about an hour to get the ropeway.

Chandi Devi temple is situated atop the Neel Parvat on the Eastern summit of the Sivalik Hills, the southernmost mountain chain of the Himalayas. The current temple was built in 1929 by Suchat Singh, the King of Kashmir. However, the main murti of Chandi Devi at the temple is said to have been installed in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya.

Chandi Devi Temple is a Siddh Peetha. It is one of three such Peethas located in Haridwar, the other two being Mansa Devi Temple and Maya Devi Temple.

Goddess Chandi also known as Chandika is the presiding deity of the temple. The legend is that the demon kings Shumbha and Nishumbha had captured the kingdom of Indra. After intense prayers by the gods, goddess Chamunda killed them and said to have rested here. The two peaks located in the mountain range are called Shumbha and Nishumbha.

Very near to the Chandi Devi temple, the temple of Anjana, mother of Hanumanji is located. 

We visited both the temples and got blessed.

Now it was time to visit Mansa Devi Temple.

The temple of Mother Goddess Mansa is exactly on the other side of the hilltop on the Bilwa Parvat on the opposite bank of River Ganges. 

It took us lot of time to return back from Chandi Devi to Mansa devi. Auto were asking for handsome money and even with all negotiations they were not agreeing... somehow we managed.

There was huge rush at Mansa devi and we had to wait almost 3 hours before getting our turn to board ropeway.

The temple is known for being the holy abode of Mansa Devi, a form of Shakti and is said to have emerged from the mind of the Lord Shiva. Mansa is regarded as the sister of the Nāga (serpent) Vasuki. She is also believed to be the daughter of Lord Shiva in his human incarnate. The term Mansa means wish and it is believed that the goddess fulfils all the wishes of a sincere devotee. 

To reach the shrine one has to either follow the trekking route up to this holy shrine or ride on rope-way service. 

It is said that Devi Mansa and Chandi, the two forms of goddess Parvati always reside close to each other. This belief can also be found true in other case since near to the Mata Mansa Devi Mandir in Panchkula, Haryana, there is a Chandi Mandir located nearby in Chandigarh.

There was heavy rush but mother blessed us with her divine presence.

While returning, we decided not to take ropeway as it was heavy rush there. We walked down slowly enjoying the evening breeze and view of Haridwar city and Ganga.

Nitin and Satya decided to take bath again, but I hesitated as was quite tired. 

It was dark as we reached railway station and took dinner at a dhaba Infront of railway station.

Our train was on scheduled time and morning we reached home sweet home!

This trek is very beautiful, though little tough at Darwa pass section. Walking amidst dense forest, trading narrow trail by deep river gorge, crossing streams and negotiating steep climb, all these are worth the effort. 

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1: Haridwar to Uttarkashi and then to Agoda – (~200 + 26) KM.

Day 2: Trek to Dodital –  16 Km – 8/ hours. 

Day 3: Trek to Darwa Top – 6 Km –3/4 hours.  

Day 4: Trek back to Agoda – 15 Km – 6/7 hours. Lodge/camp.

Day 6: Agoda to Gangotri via Uttarkashi (26 + ~100) KM – 5/6 hours

Day 7: Gangotri to Haridwar - 8/9 Hours

One need permit for trek, which can be obtained either through forest office or online at

You need Trekking company name for moderate or difficult treks. Please call Mahaveer, Balbeer or Ramesh at numbers given above.

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