A Saga of 5500 km from South to North – The mission to Dodital/Darwa

The trek, the exploration, the mission, whatever it can be called as, had finally started on Dec 15, 2011. The group of 12, eventually came down to 2, me and my beloved husband.We embarked the Dehradun express (coach B3)
A couple of minutes before the train had left, the phone bell rang.It was a call from a friend, who had come to see us off.After handing over the sweets and Srini’s favourite plum cake to us, we waved him bye.Delighted, we both headed towards our cabin only to find that we were the only ones in that air-conditioned cabin.(Sounded like a perfect honeymoon to us
😛) .Off we sailed in her through the states rich in its varied heritage (Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh) to reach Uttarakhand. The hot and spicy pakodas, kachoris and the meal with rich panneer mutter masala had all made our day.After having spent 2 nights and 2 days, we eagerly waited to alight at Haridwar, the door of God.
After the wonderful not-so-tiring journey in the train, we headed towards the Ganges to quickly take a dip in the chilling water.The sight of the holy waters surrounded by temples painted in red and white with the bustling noises of dhabas in the wee hours of morning was a pleasant sight to watch. Hey, Did I forget to say the dip was at 5.45 AM :-*7%$ ))). We almost had our hands and feet getting ripped, cold waters pricking and piercing all over the body. We then travelled to Uttarkashi from where the trekking started.

After halting for a day in Uttarkashi, we began the trek from Sangamchatti (16kms from Uttarkashi).
The trail included various types of terrains, rocky, muddy, steep, frozen rivers/waterfalls, etc.The path , however, got tougher as we moved across various hills on the way. The nights were more tougher as the temperature went down, down and down.(upto -10 degrees), even the streams were frozen.( We had to cover ourselves up with 7 layers of warm clothing, can you imagine our bodyweight??:P)                                                                                                                                                          

Our itinerary was as follows:
Day 1: Trek from Sangamchatti to Bebra Gate(8 kms.)
Day 2: Trek from Bebra to Manjhi (9 kms)
Day 3: Trek from Manjhi to Dodital (5 kms)
Day 4: Trek from Dodital to Darwa top and back to Dodital (12 kms). Back to Manjhi again (5 kms)
Day 5: Trek back from Manjhi to Sangamchatti (17 kms)

The tiresome walks uphill and downhill, the timely chai, soup and garama garam rotis for lunch and dinner were just apt for the season. With the kind-of weather we (Chennaites), had come from, we ardently awaited the sight of snow at some point of time. The view was enthralling when we found the entire way enroute to Dodital and Darwa snowy and the snow capped Darwa top was indeed, enchanting.
On one side was the temple of Lord Ganesha which was fully covered with snow and beside it was the calm and serene, Dodital lake , its waters beginning to freeze.(Dodital:Abode of Lord Ganesha=Kailash:Abode of Lord of Siva)

Our Herculean task of travelling thousands of kilometers all the way from Chennai, indeed, was worth it. The tranquility of the place is so good that one would forget his/her existence on earth.

I would be at fault if I do not make a mention of the simplicity and modesty of our guide Mr.Mahendra Singh Panwar ji, Vinod ji, Gulab ji and Jayendra ji who accompanied us and filled our hearts and tummies with yummy dishes at the appropriate time throughout. There were a lot of questions which ran in our minds when we had started from Chennai regarding the people and the place and our safety. But, believe me, there was not a single moment when we felt that we were away from our home. Kudos and thanks to all of them for the selfless hospitality they had offered to us and making us feel at home.
Last but not the least, it was a lifetime experience worth remembering making the two of us proud that we belong to this wonderful nation and that we have lived to make it to the breathtaking Himalayas upto an altitude of 4150 metres above mean sea level(Darwa top).

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