Dodital – The Trek

When I decided for Dodital, I had very little expectations from it. I just went there for the rains and some nature walk etc. Dodital has set my expectations very high from any trek I shall undertake in the future. I now have a list of things a place should provide: atleast 81 waterfalls, (assi ganga which originates at dodital supposedly has 80, which was sometimes a minor nuisance since you can’t be lucky so many times finding the right stones and escape wetting your shoes). Also the place should have its own private lake, private trouts, private trout fishing permit, like a private heaven thingy. I think it was all that because it was monsoon and the firangees ( not being racist, this is for general info, because they are the only regular visitors there, also writing british americans israelis germans austrlians is only going to fill space like this) the people of other parts of the world had taken off to other destinations.

Route instruction follows. Start at 12 midnite, join the highway jam(jaam) after meerut, rishikesh at 5, 7:30 alloo paratha at chamba, tehri has been bypassed for submerging purposes, dharasu, uttarkashi at 1, have lunch, locate cockroach disguised as fried onion, keep eating or keep quiet if others are still eating,turn at gangori for kalyani, reach a broken bridge at 3:30pm.

Park the car at kalyani, cross the broken bridge, take taxi for 4 kms to sangamchatti, meet strangers in the taxi , ask them the way to bebra(10kms from start of trek) and let them tell you starting 4 pm you cannot make it to bebra. Make friends, make them take you to their home at agora (7 kms trek from sangamchatti, 6:30pm). Eat maggi, see bhang plants being molested by children.Providing map now to save me space for other stuff. So its like this: SangamChatti—-7–Agora-2-Bebra-2-Kachru–5–Manji–5–Dodital–5–Darwa Pass–hanumanchatti–to Yamunotri-to- Harkidhun .monsoon

Over with technical details, back to why I wanted to write about this place. We were being over zealous and wanted to do darwa top in the three days +2 nights for the drive we had. So we persuaded a local guide to help us at 500 bux for 3 days. He agreed as it wasn’t season time for them. Turns out our fellow- Balbir Singh panwar, was a trained guide from north india mountaineering institute with skills to keep trekkers motivated over long distance treks (for example, question: how much more to go? answer a) :10 kms –result: panic and chaos,jump off a cliff, answer b) : 6kms –depression,lets-tent-here tendencies, answer c): 3 kms– motivating) and also how to catch fish with just a sharpened stick. Thru this writeup I am promoting his services and urge you to find him if you go there. view from Panwar lodgeBalloo is from Agora, he’s got a small pulga-tosh styled lodge, with a mezzanine balcony which sees straight to a mountain length waterfall on the opposite mountain. Please excuse our friend in the waterfall picture for she knows not what she’s doing (Luke 23:34). The water is a little less but what the heck.We reached Agora at 6pm, didn’t put up there as we wanted to go till darwa top. Balloo had an uncle at Manji who according to balloo could be woken up at any time in the night to give us the royal treatment ( rotee , makkhan, chaanch, fireplace, shelter from the rains, our own bottle of whisky). It’s one thing to gulp liquor with stream water to get strength for walking and for warmth, it’s altogether another to sip it at leisure with thoda coke shoke toh apun ke dost ko de na yaar, sitting, stretching your tired legs, in a cosy home, watching the rain outside and seeing dinner being prepared on firewood. For the last few kms only these thoughts kept us going. Target time to reach manji was around 10, we reached at 1130 pm or so. Walking in the night is fun, but there are factors like rain, leeches, cattle dung, slush, waterfalls, and slow moving trekkers *cough* in front of you who are also sharing the torch with you which can offset the fun a bit. You could say one could always take the lead and walk in the front, but one could say he didn’t want to be the one to surprise a bear at a turn. Ofcourse there would be no hope if a bear did come because we were walking along the steepest and thinnest paths possible. I was banking on others sharing my thought of running towards the bear and overwhelming it with momentum and number. And also on the bear understanding my suicidal tendencies.

Another motivating factor was the leeches. They wouldn’t let us stop anywhere. Every stop we had to check for them on the path first and then on our shoes and then take off the ones which had had some luck with our blood.Balloo kept us occupied with his “jokes” all along. At the jokes olympiad, they would probably not get qualified even for PJs. You be the judge: “bahar dekha toh haseena khadi thi, darwaja khola toh kutta aya tha”. Very talented .

Also treks teach you a lot. Lesson 1: there are no free lunches, and there are no shortcuts, especially stay away from pahadi shortcuts. Lesson 2: never trust a pahadi’s judgement of distances and time. First it is 3 kms, then it becomes 5kms on a milestone board, then it becomes 2.5 after constant walking. Balloo kept blaming the forrest officials for putting wrong information on the milestones. When he said less than half an hour’s walk away, we sighed and muttered under our breath, shyt 2 more hours to go.When we reached manjhi, we were not ready to believe him for a few seconds. I was all braced up for another 2 kms walk as our destination used to be perpetually 2 kms away. That was that.

Dodital (3300 m) we reached the next morning. My knee had kneed in the last night and my team mates decided to drop darwa top (4000m+). We spent 4 hours at dodital. It was quite an experience. We didnt fry any fish, we didn’t catch any, but we made a lot of plans of catching them, killed a few worms half heartedly in the process.

Comming back we were stopped at Chamba and told that the gate to Rishikesh had closed at 8pm because of some silly govt. order while there was no gate for mussorie which is foggy and dangerous. We reached Mussorie at 11, tavern had some live karaoke night going on. It was a killer scene,the bartender, cashier everyone were trying their luck at singing, we were tying hard to stop laffing and be polite but it was too funny not to. They had no clue of beats, scale, lyrics, and voices were nasal or shrill.We had to run out of the place to save our sanity.


  • Sonika says:

    Hmmm.. Leeches and 2 more KMs.. makes me kinda happy I didn’t go but another look at these photographs..and Damn, My Knee.. Why couldn’t you be better?

  • nandanjha says:

    lovely ajeet, you sort of closed it abruptly, I thought that it will go on for a while (may be that 2 Km perpetual theory got onto me).

    And that tavern :), ha ha, there is a guy who usually sings Kishore there and he is decent but as night folks, it becomes real chaos. dont tell anyone but we did have a few gulps on 26th Jan this year at Tavern, we had the luxury because one of our friends was a TV celebrity and everyone loves them.

    Great trek, I have never been to anything beyond Uttarkashi on this route and boy, Chamba-Mussorrie road is one hell of a tar to do in night. There are some very very decent new hotels on this road now esp “The Terraces”, but yes they charge a bomb.

  • Amar says:

    Wonderful Ajeet. I felt like I was with you there.

  • sandeep says:

    good blog..

    there is a place called Dhanaulti on the way from chamba to mussourie. I have been there twice and its very beautiful and calm. Its at a greater height than mussourie. But offcourse, you couldnt hv stopped there at around 12:00 in the night … Dodital sounds interesting place to visit..

  • rc says:

    Can combine all trips and publish a book like Sir Jim Corbret had done.

  • aastha luthra says:

    can you please share the guide’s or a local persons number.

  • ayush says:

    you have written a nice blog here I would like to share my experience when I reached dodital at around 5 pm in the evening. the moment we reached snowfall started you can read my blog and see the beautiful view after a snowfall.

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