Sunday, 16 October 2011

Deoria Tal - Tungnath - Chandrashila

31 September, 2011
I was since very long itching to go to the mountains. So on a weekend I made up my mind to revisit Tungnath (one of the panch kedars in the Himalayas) including Deoria Tal (about 2400 mt) this time in my program. One of my friend Manjit was my companion on this trip. Both of us took a night bus from Anand Vihar Bus Terminal to Rishikesh, changed the bus at Rishikesh, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Ukhimath (about 8 km from Sari Village) to finally stay overnight at Deoria Tal. When we reached Sari Village (from where we trekked up for about 3 km to reach Deoria Tal), it was already 6:30 pm. The locals in the Sari village told us that the tented accommodation is available at Lake. So we started walking up and by the time we reached half the way, it was completely dark. Frankly speaking we were a bit afraid as we were passing through a dense forest land, however the way was open and not misleading. We took a sigh of relief when we saw a light coming from the shop nearby the lake. There were a couple of Israeli tourists who had arrived there that afternoon and were planning to a trek upto Tungnath the next day with the help of their guide. We took our especially prepared dinner by Hira Singh, the shop and the tent owner and slipped into our tents without even knowing where the lake was.

I was actually dying to see the Lake and could not sleep properly as I was waiting for the day to break. I set an alarm for 5 am but got up many a times to check how much time was left. Even before my mobile alarm could wake me up, I peeked out of my tent and what a stunning panoramic view!!! Our first encounter with the serene lake with a backdrop of enchanting snow capped Himalayan peaks, just like a picture postcard, so mesmerizing! I woke up Manjit to enjoy this treasure of Mother Nature. And as I had imagined the first word that came out of his mouth was 'WOW', he was so delighted to see this marvelous scenic beauty. We took our weapons out to capture this beautiful phenomenon and started clicking some pictures. We took a circumambulation of the lake and were fortunate to see some beautiful local hilly birds. Hira Singh told us that as Devas (deities) would bathe in this lake hence it took the name 'Deoria Tal'. Some believe that this is the same lake where the Pandavas (heroes of the epic Mahabharata) were offered to answer the mystical questions asked by Yaksha (in the form of a crane) to let them quench their thirst from the lake and only Yudhisthira (the eldest brother) could answer all the questions rightly and could revive his brothers.

Confluence of Holy Bhagirathi (on left) and Alaknanda (on right) at Devprayag, this is where onwards we call it Maa Ganga  

Serene lake with the backdrop of the stunning Himalayas

Manjit dying to be clicked in front of a beautiful background
Mesmerizing Chaukhamba, keeps one spell bound

A last look at the lake before leaving
After spending some time enjoying the natural marvel at the lake, we took our breakfast, paid the bill and the forest fee and set out for Tungnath via Chopta. On the way to Sari, we took the blessings at ancient Nagraja Temple below the lake. Upon reaching Sari, we checked out and there was no vehicle to get us to Tala from where we were hoping to get some vehicle till Chopta. So we decided to walk down to Tala enjoying the nature’s bounty on the way. When we reached Tala and enquired regarding the bus to Chopta. To our disappointment the morning bus had just left and the next bus was supposed to arrive later in the afternoon. I was happy though as I thought it was a good opportunity to explore the bird life in the area while walking down to Chopta. People might call it a foolish decision but we enjoyed our walk to Chopta taking short cuts at places and hiking through dense forests spotting some birds and langours on the way. 

Ancient Nagraja Temple on the way to lake, the priest (in picture) told us that the 'lingam' inside the temple is one of its kind in the world and when water falls onto the lingam, the water streams like a snake, hence the name Nagraja 
When we reached Chopta, it was almost 2 pm and we had no hope of coming back and returning to Delhi. We reached Tungnath enjoying the enchanting views en-route. After paying visit at the temple, I asked Manjit to come with me to Chandrashila summit (at 4000 mt. literally meaning moon rock) which is further 1.5 km up from Tungnath, he half heartedly agreed to go as he was very tired and at the same time did not want to miss the views from the peak. When we were very near to the peak, he refused to go due to fatigue. But after some rest, we found ourselves on the peak. Though we could not get the views of the mountain peaks but even the experience of being there was amazing. The views of the sunset at the shrine were so amazing that we decided to stay overnight at the temple to rise early morning for the famous sunrise at Chandrashila.   

Tungnath, the highest Shiva shrine in the world (at 3680 mt)

At the temple surrounded by clouds and the hidden Himalayan peaks

Breathtaking views of sunset at Tungnath

Himalayan peaks before sunrise

Captivating golden ring at the peak

Majestic Himalayas

Way back home
The last night's amazing views of the sky dotted with innumerable twinkling stars left me spell bound and I was eagerly waiting for the sunrise. Next day, I got up at 4 and asked the tent shop owner to wake up the guide. After half an hour later, we started our climb to the peak and reached there well before time and now all (all bengalis except us as this place interestingly is mostly visited by the bengalis, witness to that are the shop signboards in bengali) were waiting for the sunrise. As soon as the sun rose from behind the Nanda Devi peak, all were all set to capture the golden ring created by the sunrise. Our guide told us the names of all the Himalayan peaks that ranges from Nanda Devi till Yamunotri Peak from right to left where Chaukhamba is the most dominating peak in the middle. 

After all these unforgettable experiences, we did not want to forget getting back home as we were already a day behind our schedule. We rushed down making short cuts to reach Chopta to take the bus to Ukhimath which unfortunately had just left when we arrived Chopta. We spoke to a taxi guy, but he was charging too much to drop us to Ukhimath, hence this time again we decided to walk down in the hope of getting some vehicle on the way. Lucky were we this time, we got a taxi which was booked by a gang of local women folks who were returning from a 3 days trek to Rudranath (one of the panch kedars). Upon inquiring, we pleasantly got to know that they were from a village near to my village and dropped us at Agastyamuni.We changed the bus at Haridwar and safely reached Delhi at around 2 am. Some of the experiences of this trip really strengthened my views about the rural folks of the mountains. 

Looking forward to coming back very shortly !!!


  1. अरे ताऊ सडक पे तो ऐसा पडा हुआ जैसो कि किसी ने बाइक से पटक दिया हो व कुछ भी हो ये यात्रा मस्त रही।

  2. श्रीमान अगर हिंदी मैं लिखो तो और भी ज्यादा मजा आये