Day 5, 12 Jun 08
Off from Manjhi
After a treacherous and strenuous trek last day, its going to be a relatively easy walk to Dodital from Manjhi. We don’t get up before 7.00 and slowly gather courage to repack our sacks and muster enough strength to load it on our backs. Even the night’s sleep is not without effort. Every move that I made in the sleeping bag made me pant for breath! Thats how I got through the night. Viki had made Aloo paratha and we had those and left around 11.15. The trek was more of a walk on a slope, sometimes ascending and othertimes just flat. At times when we crossed two mountains, the slope divided towards the base, and we were just happy enough for the descend as we were for more climb. Along the route Viki kept informing us about the various trees, mosses and how even the mosses are loaded full in trucks and sold off. We came across 2-3 bridges on streams which were in construction phase. Viki knew some of the labourers. The streams in Himalayas are endless. In Western India people are desparate for waterfalls and streams in the mountains, over here, its just another natural feature.
A board read “Dodital”, But a lake was nowhere to be seen. All I could see was the normal greenery, hills and the valley behind. But a turn and the water body manifested, like a scene from Mahabharata or Ramayana. A lake goddess suddenly appearing in front of its worshippers!
The whole scene was serene and cold. There was no direct sunlight, just diffused light, making the whole place even colder. The ‘Dodital’ lake in Hindi means the lake of Dodi or lake of Ganesha. It was surrounded by small hills on three sides and the other side by the valley from where we had entered the area. The hills were full with Coniferous trees, a small cloud hanging low in one of the hills, another side getting a light drizzle, it was very mystical. With the lawns in bright green color, the water in a dark shade of blue and gray surrounded by dark green tall trees. This is Dodital, the place visitors can only reach by a trek, no vehicles no clumsy tourists, just pure nature lovers are found here.
We decide to roam around, Taking a lot of snaps and videos. there was a small wall around the lake, just to keep people off. We climbed the wall and there was a gaurd making sure that we didn’t get into the lake. Swimming, Angling/Fishing, bathing is not allowed inside the lake. The locals gaurd it like a deity. We circled the lake in an anti-clockwise direction, moving through puddles, small streams that added fresh water to the lake from all the sides. When we reached towards the entrance side of the lake and worshipped in the Ganesha temple we reailized, that people worship first and then make a प्रदक्षिणा around the lake in a clockwise direction.
I and Vj are not entirely feeling good, both of us are nauseatic. We decide we’ll sleep off in one of the huts (an octagonal hut) which was for tourists. I had Pudinhara and we cosily slipped into our sleeping bags. We were woken by the noise Rajo, Mallik and others were making when they had returned from a more adventurous trip around the lake. They had been climbing one of the hills around with a porter and while descending both of them had slipped. Each of them trying to hold eachother for grip and both sliding hands held together, just like from a hindi movie where the hero and the heroine slide on snow, the difference here was no heroine and the snow was actually transformed into pebbles and rocks that just kept hurting the bums.
7.00pm, It was dark and raining heavily, when Viki called us for food. We had Dal and Roti. I was still a little nauseatic but better managed 1 1/2 thick rotis. The rain was just getting worse when we were inside. And after food we had to wait to commute to the other hut where we were planning to sleep. The kitchen or the other hut where we had our food, was to be used by porters and Viki.
8.30pm, We finally managed to get back to ‘our’ hut. But the rains were hard and had taken its toll on the roofs of our huts. With our engg brains and headlights, we were trying to find a dry place. But there was none. Everytime we thought that there was some space and we moved the 3-legged bed, a helpful drop would make our efforts go away. Mallik was even trying to draw a wet line around the dripping hole that would make the water flow to the other side, thanks to something called as surface tension. But the rains were hard and were not to be tamed. We finally decide that we had to put the tents inside the hut to make our night sleep dry and cosy. We had spent more than and hour and a half on this task of finding a dry place. Viki came in and started to arrange the nets. When we were getting into our sleeping bags, we were apprehensive of any leeches in our bags. Around 9.30-10.00 we finally managed to settle and bid adieu to the day, for the next day we had a difficult climb to Darwa top.