Dayara Bugyal: The Perfect Himalayan Trek For Beginners
Dayara Bugyal has all the elements of a perfect Himalayan trek: superb forests, beautiful campsites, ancient villages, thrilling climbs to high points, wonderful mountain views and few of the best alpine meadows of Uttarakhand. All of this in an easy-moderate trek — a gift we rarely see.
The trek starts from Raithal, a small Himalayan village that sits on the mountainside. From here, the trek immediately enters lovely mixed forests of oaks, maples, rhododendrons and pines. Your entire’s day trek is in this rare forest. Further, just as you exit the tree line, you enter the grand meadows of Dayara. The trails run through the heart of these meadows!
Behind you, you see striking views of the Gangotri range with Bandarpoonch standing out like a white curve in the sky. As you climb to the high points of these meadows, Dayara Top and Bakaria Top, this mountain reveals it’s magnificence to you.
This is not all this trek has to offer. Every season, it takes on a different hue. Early in the season, thousands of yellow, violet and white flowers sprout across the meadows. In autumn, these very meadows turn golden while the clear skies give way for sharp mountain views. In winter, the meadows and forest floor lie asleep under the powdery snow. This makes it an all-season trek. With so much going for it, it surprises us that Dayara Bugyal isn’t talked about often among the trekking circles.
What to Watch Out For:
Few of the best alpine meadows you will see
Dayara Bugyal has all the markings of great meadows: smooth, undulating carpets as far as your eyes can see with mountains that rise above 6000 metres popping off of them. Just the sheer scale of Dayara Bugyal is difficult to find in our country. In fact, we can only name a few – Ali and Bedni Bugyal, Gidara, Gorson, Panwali Kantha. Bedni is inaccessible, Gorson too, Panwali Kantha does not quite match up to the scale and Gidara is not yet on the trek maps of our country. Which leaves Dayara as one of the rare alpine meadows.
Close view of Gangotri ranges
As soon as you exit the treeline, right from the meadows of Dayara, you see striking views of Mt Srikanth, Draupadi Ka Danda, Jaonli and Bhagirathi. On your right, Mt Bandarpoonch begins to peek at you. This is a mountain that stays with you for most of the trek. As you climb higher, Bandarpoonch unveils itself completely, making for a magnificent view. The very setting of the meadow lends life to the mountain views.
The trekking trail
While a lot has been said about the settings of this trek, we must talk about the trail as well. This is one of the few trails which is extremely pretty. It is well laid out, taking you through forests, meadows, the temples, villages and high points. It is particularly pleasant to walk on during the forest section, where it is wooded.
Day 1: Reach Raithal; 9 hours drive from Dehradun. Transport will be arranged from Dehradun Railway Station at 6.30 am. Cost of cab – Rs.5,500 per vehicle.
Day 2: Raithal (7,400 ft) to Gui (9,500 ft), 4-5 hours
Day 3: Gui (9,500 ft) to Barnala (9,884 ft), 3-4 hours
Day 4: Barnala (9,884 ft) to Dayara Top (12,057 ft) and back Chilapada/ Gui (9,500 ft), 5-6 hours
Day 5: Chilapada/ Gui (9,500 ft) to Raithal, 3-4 hours
Day 6: Drive from Raithal to Dehradun. You will reach Dehradun between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
The stay in Raithal will be at a lodge. You will be camping on other days (3 per tent). You can leave behind luggage (no valuables) that you do not require for the trek at Raithal.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
Day 1: Reach Raithal
Raithal, the base camp for the Dayara Bugyal trek, is around 9 hours away from Dehradun. The drive takes you through lovely forest stretches. You’re right next to the Bhagirathi river for most parts of the journey. The largest town on the route is Uttarkashi, from where you head to Batwari. As you approach Raithal, you witness the brilliant colours of sunset over Mt Jaonli and Draupadi ka Danda peaks.
- Altitude: 7,096 ft (2,163 m)
- Time taken: 7-8 hours drive
Day 2: Raithal to Gui
- Altitude: 7,096 ft (2,163 m) to 9,701 ft (2,957 m)
- Time taken: 4-5 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Gradually ascending trail throughout.
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water
At Raithal, you can see Srikhand Mahadev and Gangotri 1, 2, 3 in the distance along with the mountains mentioned above. These become more prominent as you gain altitude on the trail to Gui.
The forest where the Gui campsite is located is visible from Raithal.
The trail from Raithal to Gui is a gradually ascending one. The initial trail goes out of the Raithal village quickly and takes you through the village fields. Go along the well laid out trail and in an hour you come to a flat grassy clearing which also has a hand pump. Take a small water break here and then proceed.
Post the water point, the trail becomes more wooded. You make your way into a forest which consists mainly of green and brown oaks (moru and kharsu) and rhododendron. This makes it a very rich forest. Unlike other places, you do not find pines here.
The forest opens up to a couple of small clearings before you reach Gui.
The campsite at Gui is located in a small clearing surrounded by forests. There is a small tal close by. You will find village huts around – these are used by villagers in the summer. There is also a u-shaped forest department hut at some distance.
Day 3: Gui to Barnala
- Altitude: 9,884 ft (3,012 m) to 11,100 ft (3,383 m)
- Time taken: 3-3.5 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Mostly a flat trail through the forest
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water.
The days trek sees you carrying on along the trail the climbs out of Gui towards Dayara. As you climb up from Gui, you start seeing mountains on the other side, which were earlier hidden from view. Twenty minutes into the climb, you come to a rain shelter to your left. At the rain shelter, the trail to Barnala turns right into the forest.
You are in the midst of an oak forest again.
After trekking for about one and a half hours, you reach the Barnala campsite. The site is at a clearing with a small stream passing through it. There are a few igloo-shaped forest department structures nearby.
The Barnala campsite is shielded by small hillocks on three sides but opens up to magnificent mountain view on the fourth side.
Have lunch and rest at the camp. Then begin west from the campsite on the trail headed to the Barnala meadows. You will come face to face with the meadows after 10 -15 minutes of walking. Continue walking through the meadows for another 10 minutes. The trail leads to the Nag Devta temple that is located next to a tal (pond). The walk up to the temple is a bit steep but is well worth the view: as the evening comes, you see the entire Gangotri range light up in a glorious shade of orange.
If you cannot make it to the temple or Barnala meadows for the sunset, then climb up the hill mounds near the campsite. Sunsets on each day of this trek are a sight to behold.
After lunch, stroll up to a higher point close to the campsite. In the evening, the rays of the sun falling on Bandarpoonch range to the left make for a beautiful sight. As your eyes move to the right, you see Kalanag, Srikhand Mahadev, and finally Draupadi ka Danda at the extreme right.
Day 4: Barnala to Dayara Top to Chilapada/ Gui
- Altitude: 11,100 ft (3,383 m) to 12,057 ft (3,675 m) to 9,500 ft (2,896 m)
- Time taken: 5-6 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Undulating walk across meadows followed by a final ascent.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. There is one water source on the trail.
The trail to Dayara climbs up from Barnala camp to the upper Barnala meadow which houses the Barnala Taal. At the upper meadow move to the extreme right towards the tree cover. At the entrance of the forest, spot the well laid stone trail that climbs up. Move on the ascending trail which is well paved all the way. An hour into the climb, the treeline ends bringing you into the fringes of the meadows. Spot the Chania huts in front. The trail goes right on the edge of the meadow. Look up to your right to see magnificent view of Bandar Poonch and Kala Nag. All the summits which were with you from Raithal and Barnala are now a lot bigger adorning the panorama behind.
The early morning view of Dayara Bugyal is worth every effort put in to get there. Miles of undulating meadows stretch in every direction, with the rays of the sun catching them in many moods. If early in the season (May-June), thousands of yellow, violet and white flowers sprout across the meadows – sometimes, there are so many that you have to deliberately skirt around them. In winter, you see miles and miles of powdery snow on the undulating terrain.
Spend at least a couple of hours exploring the Dayara meadows before retracing your steps to the Chania huts. The trail to Chilapada goes down behind the huts. The wooded trail is well laid out again. About 30 minutes of descent brings you to Chilapada.
Day 5: Gui/Chilapada to Raithal
- Altitude: 9,500 ft (2,896 m) to 7,400 ft (2,256 m)
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy. Short stretches of ascents and descents for 1.5 hours followed by a steeply descending trail
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water.
It takes about 4 hours to reach Raithal, so start your days trek by 9 am. From the Chilapada campsite, continue on the main trail you came down from Dayara yesterday. The trail continues to descend under a heavy canopy of forest cover. Fifteen minutes of descent brings you to the rain shelter from where you diverted to Barnala on the way up. Continue moving down on the main trail. In an hour’s march, you come over the clearing of Gui – your first campsite. Around Gui is where you get the final views of Mt Bandarpoonch on the trek.
Continue further for an hour before coming to the grassy clearing with the water source. Take a break here before completing the final hours descent to Raithal. The arch of Raithal marks the end of the trek. GMVN is half a kilometer down the paved road.
Continue till you reach GMVN . It brings to an end your enchanting Dayara Bugyal trek.
Day 6: Raithal to Dehradun.
Start from Raithal after breakfast. Enjoy the scenic drive back to Dehradun. You are expected to reach Dehradun at around 7 pm on this day.
How to get to the basecamp – Raithal
Delhi → Dehradun→ Raithal
The Dayara Bugyal trek starts from Raithal, 185 km from Dehradun. Raithal is a small village.
Indiahikes organizes transport from Dehradun to Raithal. The pick up is from Dehradun Railway station on Day 1. The cost of the cab is Rs.7000 per Bolero. This is not included in your trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
You will reach Raithal at around 6.oo pm.
To reach Dehradun
The best way to reach Dehradun is to take an overnight train from Delhi.
- 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 6.00
If you cannot find a train, then take a bus. To stay on the safe side, book buses online in advance. Book such that you have some buffer time to make it to Dehradun on time for the pick-up; buses usually get delayed.
Raithal → Dehradun → Delhi
The Dayara Bugyal trek ends at Raithal. It is again an 8-9 hour journey back to Dehradun. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.5,500 per cab. This is to be shared by trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm.
If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your further travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express (21.20 – Dehradun) or Nanda Devi Express ( 23.30 – Dehradun).
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
–>Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in 40 mins.
–>If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5km in less than 45 minutes.
If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 18 km in 60 minutes.
How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?
Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.
Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.
Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.
Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek
For < 45 years age : One screenshot of 5 km in 45 minutes and the second 5 km in 40 minutes.
For > 45 years age : Two screenshots of 5 km in 45 minutes.
If you love cycling, cover a distance of 18 km in one hour and upload the same.
Fitness proof to be uploaded with GPS on and along with your picture.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
One month trek fitness routine for easy treks
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
- Trekking shoes: The trek distance is long and you will have to walk for long distances which need you to have comfortable trekking shoes. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Three Warm Layers: You will be trekking and camping at high altitudes. So make sure you have the apt clothes for the climatic conditions. It will be cold at the higher altitudes so make sure you have at least three layers of warm clothes to protect yourself.
- Two trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair. Denims/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals: You must carry thermals and wear it at night. Do not wear thermals while trekking.
- Suncap: The sun is more harsh at high altitudes so wear a suncap to protect your face and neck.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Ponchos: At high altitudes, snowfall and rain are quite common and hence it’s mandatory to carry a poncho so that you don’t get wet.
Indiahikes offers rentals on this trek. You can now rent trekking shoes, trekking pole, padded jacket and poncho instead of buying them. You can collect these directly at the base camp and return them there after the trek. Get the details here.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 1 Strip
- Crocin- 10 tablets
- Avomine (optional, in case of motion sickness)- 1 Strip
- Combiflam- Half Strip
- Muscle relaxant – Half Strip
- Digene- Half Strip
- Avil- 1 strip
- ORS- 6 packs
- Knee Cap (If you are prone to knee injury)
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
- Disclaimer- Download PDF
- Medical certificate – Download PDF
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Dayara Bugyal trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Dayara Bugyal trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel.
Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under.
Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. You need to be able to jog a distance of 5 km in 35 mins before start of the trek. Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.
In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.
Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs 250 per day plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 per day inclusive of tax. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.
Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.
Indiahikes will organise transport to and fro Dehradun railway station and the base camp Raithal, on the first day of the trek. This will be in 5-6 seater vehicles. The cost of each vehicle transport one way, is Rs 5500. It will be shared among all the trekkers. The same thing applies to the return journey.
Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter.
Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
Repeat Trekker Policy
At Indiahikes, we believe that the mountains hold all the aces. The weather could play spoilsport, the altitude could mess with a trekker, the unpredictability of nature itself could turn against him. Whatever the reason might be, it is never nice to turn away from a trek midway.
In the event that a trekker has to come down without completing your trek, they can always head back to the mountain and do the same trek again. If this happens, trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee. They have to just make the optional payment for the insurance amount.
On another note, it could also happen that you love a trek so much that you want to go back time and again. Trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee for repeating a trek.
Note – The Repeat Trekker Policy holds good only for Indian Treks.
It is not valid for treks we run in Nepal.
These are the different policies when it comes to waiving off trek fee charges.
1. Scholarship Discount for Kids
At Indiahikes, we firmly believe and encourage children to trek. There’s so much to learn from the outdoors. We want to see more children trekking. Keeping this in mind, Indiahikes has now introduced a 50 percent Trek Scholarship for children on Himalayan treks.
Children between the age of 8 and 12 are eligible for this scholarship. Indiahikes will sponsor half of the trek fee for each child. This scholarship is applicable for easy to moderate treks.
Note - We will have a maximum of three children eligible for the scholarship in each batch. So check with your Trek Coordinator for this.
2. Discount for a group of 10 and above
If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.
Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.
You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.
If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.
This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.
What will the pick up point be? How is travel arranged?
Indiahikes will organise transport to and fro Dehradun railway station and the base camp Raithal, on the first day of the trek. This will be in 5-6 seater vehicles.
The cost of each vehicle transport one way, is Rs 5500. It will be shared among co trekkers in the same vehicle. The same thing applies to the return journey.
What kind of accommodation is given on this trek??
At Raithal you will be staying in the guest house. There are different types of dorms available.
Based on the number of trekkers rooms will be given. Whereas on the other campsite you will be staying in tents.
You are going to share the tent with other 2 trekkers.
How do I prepare for the trek, it is my first trek, is it an easy one?
Dayara bugyal is considered an easy moderate trek. It is a very good trek for first timers. That said, you still need to make sure you are physically fit to walk 7 - 8 km on an average in the mountains.
You can begin preparation by going for brisk walks and then do brisk jogs to improve your cardio. Your target should be to cover 5 km in 40 minutes comfortably by the start the trek.
Is there an option to not carry my backpack and do the trek?
Yes this is called offloading your backpack. It means a porter or a mule will carry it for you. You will receive it at the end of the day at each campsite. It is at an extra charge of Rs 1050 and is for the entire duration of the trek. You need to book and pay for this beforehand online.
Can i bring luggage i do not require on the trek and leave them somewhere before the trek begins?
Yes we have an option of leaving behind extra luggage you do not need on the trek, at our base camp, Raithal.
Ensure you leave no valuables (laptops, cash, electronics) in this luggage.
There is no extra charge to leaving this luggage at the base camp, and you do not have to pre book it anywhere.
Can I find snow on this trek?
It depends on the season. If you want to do snow trek for this then December to April would be the best option.
If you want to enjoy the greenery on the meadows then May to June and September to November would be the best option.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Dayara Bugyal Trek