Wonders Of Spring: All About The Bugyals Of Uttarakhand

The rolling lush meadows in Uttarakhand, known colloquially as "bugyals" are the perfect spots for your serene getaways
The Bugyals of Uttarakhand
The Bugyals of UttarakhandShutterstock

Uttarakhand's beauty lies in its varied landscape. The bugyals of Uttarakhand are these beautiful alpine meadows which turn into vibrant green sloping hills with colourful alpine flora scattered about in the summer and spring seasons; it is the favourite grazing ground for the cattle during this time. During the winter months, they are covered in pristine snow, perfect for skiing.

The bugyals or meadows are usually perched 3,000 metres above the sea, reaching up to 4,500 metres. The snow line begins at the upper limit, and the vegetation becomes scarce. This habitat thrives in flora and fauna and stretches across west to east in the Himalayan mountain range. The bugyals of Uttarakhand are some of the most picturesque places to travel to, especially if you are someone who is a nature lover. They are aesthetic regions that make for Instagram-worthy images, making them a huge favourite of tourists every year.

Types Of Bugyals

There are three types of bugyals. First, the dry alpine meadows in cold deserts like Ladakh are widespread but contain only sparse vegetation. The second type of alpine meadows are situated in the western Greater Himalayas–the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh or Jammu and Kashmir, full of lush and diverse vegetation. The ones found in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are the third kind, where mostly shrubs are the major vegetation.

In Uttarakhand, the land of temples, these sprawling meadows are one of the top draws for tourists.

Auli Bugyal

Hundreds of tourists flock to Uttarakhand's quaint little ski resort every winter for a taste of its very European charm. Elevated approximately 2,744 m above sea level, Auli is nestled amidst the giant snowy peaks of Nanda Devi, Kamet and Dunagiri, offering a spectacular view of these mountains. A week-long stay is perfectly sufficient to explore the town. After a night's stay at Joshimath, the cable car ride to Auli is a refreshing start to the next day.

Auli turns into a snowy wonderland during winter
Auli turns into a snowy wonderland during winterShutterstock

Winter makes Auli a paradise for skiers, with the meadow covered in a thick carpet of snow. The bugyal's undulating slopes, covered in 3 m deep snow, make it an ideal skiing destination, with many tourists visiting during peak winter months. It is also connected with a 500 m ropeway system that helps the skiers get to the top of the slope. During the summer, it becomes a great place to bask in the sun and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and picnicking.

Best time to visit: If you want to experience skiing and enjoy the winter wonderland feeling the go during the winter months. In January, blizzards are frequent. If you want to ski, you should choose between December and February.

Getting there: Take a direct flight to Dehradun Jolly Grant Airport and then go by road or take an overnight bus from Delhi to Rishikesh, from where take a shared taxi to Joshimath and then the cable car to take you up the peaks of Auli.

Bedni Bugyal

A rainbow in Bedni Bugyal
A rainbow in Bedni BugyalShutterstock

Bedni Bugyal is one of the most scenic villages in Uttarakhand. Perched at an altitude of 3,354 metres above the sea, the village is in the Chamoli district of Garhwal region. It is a popular stop among trekkers as it is located on the way to the famous Roopkund trek, so travellers usually take a day's stop here. Bedini Bugyal is a perfect spot for nature walks and picnics with its lush greenery and pristine beauty, coupled with a small lake, Bedini Kund, amidst the meadows.

Bedni Kund is also the pitstop for the pilgrimage to Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra, held once every 12 years. Nanda Ghunti and Trishul mountains, located westward, further enhance the place's religious significance. The beautiful landscapes and pleasant climate make Bedni Bugyal a great slow-travel destination.

Best time to visit: Between May and November is the ideal time to visit this place. However, if you want to see the place blooming with flowers, the post-monsoon months of October and November are perfect.

Getting there: The place is located 20 km from Lohajung Pass in Chamoli District, and you can hire a car to get there.

Dayara Bugyal

A flock of sheep grazing at Dayara Bugyal
A flock of sheep grazing at Dayara BugyalShutterstock

Another stunningly lush area that should be on your must-visit list. Dayara Bugyal is nestled close to Barsu village in Uttarkashi district and covers an area of 28 sq km. Elevated at 3,340 m above sea level, the meadow is a heady mix of colours and natural charm. Multiple lakes, brooks and other small water bodies boost Dayara Bugyal's natural allure among visitors. Raithal is the base camp for trekkers who want to hike up to Dayara Bugyal. During the summer months, you can also camp outside, with the perfect weather and the crowd nonexistent.

The shepherds from Raithal and other nearby villages take their cattle up to graze on the higher slopes of Dayara Bugyal, and once they return, the Butter Festival is celebrated. Plan on visiting the bugyal in the third week of August, usually between the 15th and 20th. You might be able to partake in the pulsating festival, which is very similar to Holi.

Best time to visit: Between May and November is the best time to visit the place as the weather is pleasant and you can enjoy many outdoor activities.

Getting there: From Dehradun you can take buses to the villages of Raithal or Barsu, after which shared taxis will take you to your destination.

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