After trekking a while in Himachal we thought to pay a visit to the Garhwal range of Himalayas. We chose this trek due to its vicinity with Chandigarh. Deoria Tal – Tunganath – Chandrashila peak, the three can be visited just in a span of 3 days including return journey. The trek is not difficult. I can say it is somewhat moderate but surely not an easy one for the first time trekkers.
Day 1: 29.03.2018
We started our excursion from Chandigarh on 29.03.2018 at 12.15 AM. As I prefer to travel by normal HRTC buses me and my friend boarded the bus from sector 43 ISBT for Haridwar as there was no direct HRTC bus to Ukhimath. The starting point for the Deoria Tal trek is village Sari which is about 12 km from Ukhimath. From Sari village, there’s an easy 2.5 km trek to Deoria Tal. We reached Haridwar at about 5:45 AM. We then boarded a GMOU bus parked outside Haridwar bus stand to kund as a direct bus to Ukhimath was not available.
The earliest buses on the route to kund leave from GMOU bus stand which is just a short walk away from main Haridwar bus stand. GMOU stands for Garhwal Mandal Bus Operators Association. GMOU bus stand is on the opposite side of the Railway Godown. You will see the buses lined up on the roadside. The weather was a bit chilly in Haridwar. Due to double laning of the highway for Char Dham Yojna the excavation work was going on NH58 as result the bus took a lot of time to reach Kund. Finally, we reached Kund by 3:25 PM.
At kund we got a lift from a truck driver and he made us reach Ukhimath by 3:55 PM. It started raining and we thought of going to sari village as early as possible as we were losing the daylight. We hired a cab from Ukhimath for Rs. 500 and we reached village Sari by 4:15 PM.
As it started raining heavily we rested for some time at a tea shop and had some snacks. We then decided to head towards Deoria Tal at 5:00 PM. Deoria Tal is located at an altitude of 2438 meters. The route is not a flat terrain however it is perfectly laid with boulders, stones and one can easily reach the Tal without any guide’s help. It took us around one and a half hour to reach the Tal. The trek path passes through the lovely village of Sari that has some delightful old houses. Deoriatal is a small lake surrounded by green pastures. The Tal is known for the reflections of the snowy peaks during sunset and sunrise. We stayed in a tent which we had booked at the Sari village itself. However one can book a tent at the lake itself but it will cost more. If one has to stay in Sari village it would cost even cheaper however it is advisable to camp under the stars and enjoy the wilderness.
Day 2: 30.03.2018
Deoria Tal is emerald perched lake hidden inside the valley at a much lower altitude but yet the mountains and reflections on the water are massive. It is also known as Devariya Tal. The lake is surrounded by lush green dense forests. The Tal lies in the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary. In the morning we got up early to witness the sunrise at the Tal. There is a watchtower located towards one end of the lake from where the entire view of the mountain ranges can be experienced.
As the sun begins to rise the peaks brightened up and Himalayan magic started unfolding itself. The view of majestic mountains was just jaw-dropping. A number of peaks were spotted namely Chaukhamba, Kamet, Nag tibba, Tirsuli, Trishul etc. However, Chaukhamba, standing as an impregnable fortress wedge with high ramparts and towering above the Gangotri, Bhagirath Kharak and Satopanth glaciers are the most formidable massifs of the Himalayas to watch. The four peaks consist of Chaukamba I – 7,138 m (23,419 ft), Chaukamba II – 7,070 m (23,196 ft), Chaukamba III – 6,995 m (22,949 ft), Chaukamba IV – 6,854 m (22,487 ft). It offers astonishing views which cannot be forgotten.
After spending some time at the Tal we made the descent at 7:45 AM and reached Sari village back by 8:10 AM. We also had booked a cab for Chopta to head towards to our other treks, Tunganath & Chandershila. We reached Chopta by 9:00 AM and after having breakfast at Chopta we started our excursion to Tunganath – The Lord of Peaks. We completed the 3.5 km trek in 2 hours and 15 minutes time and reached the Tunganath shrine. The route is paved with brawny stones & boulders you also won’t require any guide to reach Tunganath temple. Tunganath is the highest Shiva Temple in the world (3680m) (12,073 ft). Nature is fabulously adorned with pictorial vistas here. Renowned as one of the Panch Kedars, the rocky terrain boasts of the obeisance of Shiva, the destroyer lord.
It is believed that it was here at Tungnath that the hands of Lord Shiva came in to rest while he tried to peter out from the Pandavas. It is also believed that the present temple is built by the Pandavas to appease the Lord. The place boast of a serene and devout ambiance where one can feel the presence of the Almighty.
The trekking route offers the marvelous view of the highly embellished meandering pastures which makes ones trek an awe-inspiring one. As the trek progresses the meadows would make your way to pink Rhododendrons which offer huge pink color flowers.
Reaching Chandrashila peak
After paying obeisance at Tunganath we headed for our final trek – The Chandrashila peak. We took around 45 minutes to reach Chandrashila peak. The path was marred with mud as the snow had melted a lot. We took some toils too. It was very slippery and at times we thought of going back but then decided to reach the top whatever may come. Finally, we reached the Chandrashila Peak. Chandrashila Peak is located at a height of about 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) above sea level. The distance from the from Tungnath top to the peak is about 1.5 km and is a steep climb. There is a small temple at Chandrashila and from the top one can experience the 360-degree panoramic views of the Kumaon & Garhwal ranges. We were beheld by the opulence of the majestic peaks and the cloud formations, it was just phenomenal. The peak provides magnificent views of the Garhwal Himalayas including Nanda Devi, Trishul, Kedarnath peak, Bandarpunch & Chaukhmba peak.
According to mythological beliefs, it is the place where Lord Rama meditated after defeating the demon-king Ravana. Another legend says that moon-god Chandra spent time here in penance.
Trekking back to Tungnath
We have just started our descent towards Tunganath but to our surprise, the snowfall started. It was really a beautiful sight. After spending some time at the peak we started our descent towards Tunganath at 1:10 PM. The downhill journey was not so easy as the snow had melted and the path had become too much slippery. We reached Tunganath by 1:45 PM. The snowfall continued throughout the trek till Tunganath and finally, we reached Chopta by 3:00 PM. We were lucky enough that we immediately got a cab on a shared basis in just Rs 150 till Rudraprayag. We reached Rudraprayag by 6:13 PM and then we took a bus to Srinagar, yes there is a Srinagar in Uttrakhand too. We stayed at Srinagar for rest of the day.
Day 3: 31.03.2018
After having good sleep fatigue was reduced and we were all set for the journey home. We then boarded the bus from Srinagar bus stand to Rishikesh as direct bus not available at 7:00 AM in the morning. As it was Saturday there was a huge rush of tourists from Delhi for river rafting at Rishikesh. After facing too many traffic snarls we finally reached Rishikesh. We had our lunch there and at about 2:00 PM we then decided to go to Haridwar and after reaching Haridwar we boarded a bus to our hometown Chandigarh. We reached Chandigarh by 10:00 PM and rested for the day. It is advisable to traverse the journey during the night or early morning to save the travel time.
Deoria Tal, Tungnath and Chandrashila is one of the popular treks which can be taken throughout the year except for snowbound months of December & January. The snow trails, campsites with some of the most scenic backgrounds of Deoria Tal, Tungnath and Chandrashila summit are the places that take you closest to nature and your escape in no time takes the shape of a memorable excursion.