A mysteriously beautiful trek of North India with haunting landscapes, the Dodital trek is interspersed with elevated grasslands, effervescent streams, high altitude lake, Ganesh temple, Alpine forests and a myriad variety of Himalayan flora. This heavenly expedition is a paradise for nature lovers, trekking enthusiasts, adventure junkies and also for trekkers who are seeking a spiritual solace from the vagaries of dreary city life.
The Dodital lake trek is a beautiful trek to high altitude lake surrounded by Pine and Oak forests in the lap of Garhwal Himalayas and takes you all the way to the Dwara pass. Besides its beauty, the lake is also famous for the Golden Masher fish, the most famous trout fish in the Himalayas.
The trek also treats you to the lush grasslands of two Himalayan valleys, the Asi Ganga and Bhagirathi valley.Quick facts
- Region- Uttarakhand Himalayas
- Trek altitude- 13,610 feet
- Trek difficulty level- Easy to moderate
- Duration- 5 days
- Distance- 54 km
- Start point- Dehradun
- End point- Dehradun
- Base Camp- Sangam Chatti
- Temperature- Minus 2 to plus 20 degree Celsius
- Nearest railway station- Dehradun
- Nearest airport- Jolly Grant Airport Dehradun
- Last ATM- Uttarkashi
One of the most tranquil freshwater lakes of Uttarakhand, Dodi Tal is nestled at an altitude of 9,921 feet. The lake originates from natural springs and is the source of the river “Asi Ganga”. This wonder of nature is soaked in the beauty and carries a spiritual significance to its origin. It is believed to be Lord Ganesha's abode. Locals also called it “Dhundi Tal” or “The Lake of Ganesha”. Dhundi is another name for Lord Ganesha.
An ancient Ganesh temple devoted to the revered God on the banks of the magnificent lake perfectly complements the serene ambience of the place.
Surrounded by a dense forest of majestic Deodar, oak and pine trees, Dodi Tal is an emerald lake overlooking the mighty Himalayan ranges. Its serenity and tranquil environment make it one of the most beautiful lakes in North India.
Dodital also gets its name from the rare Himalayan Trouts called Dodi in the local dialect. Dodital is one of the rare freshwater lakes where golden Himalayan Trouts are found in abundance.
The legends from Purana have termed this lake as one of the most sacred and holy lakes of Uttarakhand. 80 rivulets merge out of this lake to form Asi Ganga and Asi Ganga further meets Bhagirathi, the origin of the holy Ganges.
Dodi Tal or Ganesh ka Tal is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ganesha, one of the most revered Hindu deities.
It is said to be the same place where Lord Shiva beheaded Lord Ganesha and then mounted an elephant head to revive him.
How to reach Dodital Lake
The best way to reach Dodi Tal is via Uttarkashi. The holy town of Uttarkashi has located on the banks of river Ganga. The ideal way to reach Uttarkashi is from Dehradun.
- By train-
- By road-
- By flight-
The nearest railway stations are Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Dehradun. From Rishikesh and Dehradun, a lot of taxi and bus services are available to reach Uttarkashi. Uttarkashi is at a distance of 180 kilometres from Rishikesh.
Uttarkashi is well connected by motorable roads to Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Dehradun through State transport buses. The distance between Dehradun and Uttarkashi is approximately 150 kilometres and can be covered in 5 to 6 hours.
Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the nearest airport to Uttarkashi. It is around 200 kilometres from Uttarkashi and one can take taxis and buses from the airport till Uttarkashi.
Once you reach Uttarkashi, a drive of 19 km takes you to Sangam Chatti and a 23 km trek from Sangam Chatti brings you to Dodital Lake.
You can also directly drive down from Dehradun to Sangam Chatti, located in the border of Uttarkashi. The 175 km distance between Dehradun and Sangam Chatti takes around 7 hours by drive.
About Dodital Trek
The trek originates from Bhagirathi Valley perched beautifully at an altitude of 4,500 feet. It traverses through mysterious forest trails, bubbling rivulets, deep gorges, wide valleys, scenic mountain lakes, and beautiful campsites to reach Darwa top located at an elevation of 13,620 feet. Dotted with some steep climbs, gentle ascends and descends, the trek treats you to distinct views of Bandarpooch Massif and numerous other Himalayan peaks from Darwa Pass top.
The Dodital Trek can be undertaken throughout the year but one needs to exercise caution during monsoon season because of the unpredictable weather. It is also one of the famous winter treks of the Indian Himalayan region- walking on the forest trails carpeted with a thick sheet of snow and lined with snow drifted trees provides the most enriching experience of winter-trekking.
Highlights of the trek
The lake is the star attraction of this trek. The tranquility and calm ambience of this emerald green lake make for an idyllic camping site to trekkers. While summers offer activities like angling, boating and bird watching, winters leave you awestruck with snow-drifted conifer forest and snow-covered ridges along the lake. Just sitting by the lake side and watching the Brown and Golden Himalayan Trouts is also one of the most heavenly experiences of this trek.
Ganesh temple on the banks of Dodital lake offers a spiritual solace to the tired trekkers. It’s a beautiful feeling to visit this temple which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ganesha.
You are treated to the splendid views of Dhauladhar ranges and Greater Himalayan ranges during the trek.
You get a chance to camp at the scenic campsites located at a high altitude encompassed by the imposing mountains and by pine, rhododendron and oak forests.
You get a chance to feast on some lip-smacking Uttarakhandi dishes and aromatic Pahadi tea while interacting with the local populace and learning about their distinct culture and heritage.
Dodital Trek is a haven for bird watchers. Himalayan Whistling Thrush, Himalayan Tree Pie, Tailor Bird, Himalayan Monal, Pink Finch, Grey Shrike, Bush Robin, Muniya there are numerous species of rarest Himalayan birds that can be sighted.
Darwa Pass and Darwa Top are the climaxes of this trek. The summit offers an intoxicating view of both the Gangotri and Yamunotri side. To watch the beautiful Himalayan peaks unfold on both sides of the valley is a scene captured from a storybook.
Dodital Trek Best Time
April to June (summer months) and, September to March (fall and winter months) are the best months to undertake this trek.
July and August should be avoided as the trails are very slippery during these monsoon months.
- Summer months of April to June- The temperature can go as low as 10 degrees Celsius in the night.
- Monsoon months of July to August- The nights can really get cold and the temperature can drop down to 15 degrees Celsius.
- Fall/autumn months of September to November- The night temperature can drop down to as low as 10 degrees Celsius.
- Winter months of December to March- The temperatures are much below the freezing point in the night time.
- Weather in the Summer months of April to June
- Weather in the Monsoon months of July to August
- Weather in the Fall/autumn months of September to November
- Weather in the Winter months of December to March
The beautiful summer months are ideal to do this trek. The weather remains pleasant with the cool Himalayan breeze making the air salubrious. The clear sparkling skies are an added bonus and you are treated to distinct views of the Himalayan peaks. Carrying light woolens is an absolute must.
Rains beautify the Dodital Darwa region, the trekking route resplendent with lush greenery sparkles in a flawless efflorescence. Even though the weather is unpredictable and trekking becomes a trifle challenging, with chances of landslides and road blockages, the fresh scenery soaked in crisp air is worth taking the risk for. Carrying a raincoat and light woolens is advised.
Autumn months boast of clear skies and colourful fall colours in the alpine forests. The foliage at Dodi Tal showcases fantastic views as leaves display colourful hues of reds, browns, orange, cognac, and greens. At times clouds hover close to the mountains and sometimes the weather is shining bright.
It is advised to get carry woolens as the weather may become cold at night.
Even though the Dodital Darwa trek becomes more challenging as you trek to the daunting snow-laden route during the winter months, it is still one of the most popular winter treks of North India that allures trekkers from all over the world to its pristine beauty. The region gets transformed into a frosty Wonderland- the expansive valleys blanketed in snow, quaint mountain villages perched quietly under a thick sheet of white, the eerie forest trails surrounded by snow-laden trees, cold winter breeze and the completely frozen Dodital lake- the beauty of the place is absolutely divine and soaked in a mystical charm of a fairy tale setting.
Carrying heavy woolens and winter accessories is an absolute must.
Difficulty Level of Dodital Trek
With an easy to moderate trek gradient, Dodital Trek is a good one for beginners and amateur trekkers.
It is highly recommended that beginners undertake this trek during spring and summer months as the weather conditions are ideal and don’t demand any weather-related maneuvers/negotiations.
Monsoon months and winter months become more challenging due to unpredictable weather conditions and demand prior to trekking experience.
Is Dodital Trek safe
As in all Himalayan treks, it is recommended to have an experienced guide to help you with the route and guide you about the weather conditions.
It is advised that you trek in a group of two or three and keep your family members informed about your trekking plans.
Dodital Trek is safe in all seasons except for monsoons because of unpredictable weather conditions. The area is prone to cloudbursts leading to heavy downpour and landslides during the monsoon season.
Fitness required for Dodital Trek
Even though the trek is of easy to moderate gradient, the trekking distance of 54 kilometres demands that one should be physically fit and mentally strong to be able to tread long distances.
Water availability at Dodital Trek
The trek goes past gurgling mountain streams and a freshwater lake. You can fill your water bottles on the way. The stretch beyond Dodi Tal that goes to Darwa Pass and Darwa Top is strenuous and a trifle challenging. You need to carry enough water through this part of the trek.
Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Sangam Chatti in Uttarkashi, Trek to Bherwa
- Distance- 175 km drive and 7 km trek
- Duration- 7-hour drive and 5-hour trek
- Altitude- 7,300 feet
- Highlights- beautiful drive along the curvy roads and spellbinding beauty of Uttarkashi
- Accommodation- overnight stay at Bherwa Campsite
The Journey starts from Dehradun. A 7-hour drive journeys along the zigzag roads lined by therapeutic Himalayan flora. As you soak in the abundant natural beauty of the region, the 175 km long distance is covered in a jiffy and you arrive at Sangam Chatti, fresh and rejuvenated from the beauty of the picturesque landscape.
From Sangam Chatti, the trekking actually starts. The gently ascending trail goes along terraced paddy fields and a dense forest to reach Agoda, a remote Himalayan village. From Agoda, a trek of 1.5 km further along the trail takes you to Bherwa, the first campsite. You stay overnight in this campsite which sits pretty in a forest clearing, by the banks of Asi Ganga river tributary.
Day 2: Bherva - Dodital Lake (7 Hours Trek)
- Distance- 16 kilometres
- Duration- 7 to 8 hours trek
- Altitude-9,921 feet
- Highlights- trekking past Manjhi, savouring the beauty of the high altitude meadows, Dodital lake
- Accommodation- overnight camping by the lakeside
We start fresh in the morning after feasting on a hearty breakfast and head towards Dodital Lake, which is a 16 km trek from Bherwa. It is a low gradient easy trek through oak and rhododendron forests. After travelling a distance of 9 kms from Bherwa, we trek past Manjhi, a summer-monsoon settlement of the locals of Agoda. The people from Agoda bring their cattle to graze in the grasslands (aka bugyals in the local dialect) of Manjhi during the summer season. A further trek of 2 hours brings us to Dodital, the famous freshwater lake cuddled in a thick green forest cover and surrounded by colossal mountain slopes.
We stay overnight in the camps by the lakeside. Enjoy a campfire dinner and stargazing across the shimmering night sky.
Day 3: Dodital Lake - Dwara Pass and Back
- Distance- 8 km total
- Duration- 4 to 5 hours trek
- Altitude- 13,610 feet
- Highlights- trekking along a mountain stream, a steep hike to Darwa Pass and Darwa top, beautiful views of Himalayan ranges
- Accommodation- overnight stay by the Lakeside
After gorging on a sumptuous breakfast we start the trek for today, our exploration day. We carry our lunch, snacks, and water to head out for a 4 to 5 hours trek. Darwa Pass is approximately 3 kilometres from Dodi Tal and Darwa Top is further 1 km away from the Darwa Pass. The trekking trail moves along a mountain stream before taking a steady hike to Darwa pass and further to Darwa top.
This challenging hike is worth the effort because the panoramic 360-degree views of the majestic Himalayan peaks leave you awestruck. The colossal Bandar Pooch (Monkey Tail), Swarg Rohini, Kedarkantha Gangotri and Kala Nag (Black Serpent) peaks stare at you from the horizon. We spend some time at the top clicking pictures and soaking in the beauty of the place before descending back 5 kilometres to Dodital Campsite.
Overnight stay at the camp by the lakeside.
Day 4: Dodital Lake - Bherva (5 Hours)
- Distance- 16 kilometres
- Duration- 5 to 6 hours trek
After breakfast, we will retrace the same route towards the Bherva Campsite. The trek will take around 5 Hours and we will reach our Bherva campsite by afternoon. We will be having our overnight stay over here.
Day 5: Bherwa-Sangam Chatti in Uttarkashi-Dehradun
- Distance- 7 km trek and 175 km drive to Uttarkashi
- Duration- 4 hours trek and a 7-hour drive
Today is the last day of our five-day mountain escapade. We rejoice in the memories of the past 5 days as we head back to Uttarkashi before finally leaving for Dehradun.
Note: Dodital Lake trek and Dyara Bugyal trek are located in the same region and these two treks can be incorporated together. If you have a few more days at your hand then you can explore the virgin trail that connects Dodi Tal and Dyara Bugyal together. If you are willing to take the Dyara Bugyal trek along with Dodi Tal trek then there is a slight detour on Day 3. On Day 3 you trek down 11 km from Dodi Tal to Satgarhi and camp there for the night. On Day 4, you complete the 12 km long stretch from Satgarhi to Devkund which takes around 6 hours to complete. This trail ends at Dyara Bughyal. You camp at the vast Meadows of Dyara Bughyal before heading back to Sangam Chatti and Dehradun the next day.