A beginner’s trek with a forest, panoramic Himalayan views and a seven thousander up close!
This all-season trek is known for its scenic beauty. It passes through some beautiful forests and affords excellent views of the snow clad peaks. The trek gives one the opportunity to visit the 1000-year-old Tungnath temple, which is the highest shrine of Lord Shiva. It is one of the panch-kedars and is believed to have been built by Arjuna himself. Chopta Tungnath Chandrashila is famous for its breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges. It is one of the few peaks that can also be climbed in the winter months.
We also visit the picturesque Deoriatal which is famous for mirroring the Chaukhamba peak in its waters. A lake shrouded in legends, it is believed the Devas (Gods) bathed in this lake and hence the name. Some say that it was the place from where the mighty Pandavas of the epic Mahabharata were asked queries by Yaksha. The lake is also believed to be the “Indra Sarovar” referred to in the Puranas by wandering Sadhus.
We start early and drive through the towns of Devprayag and Rudraprayag to reach Sari village. The route follows the river Ganges till Devprayag, the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi. From here, we follow Alaknanda till Rudraprayag, where Alaknanda and Mandakini merge into one.
Rudraprayag has been mentioned in the book ‘The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag’ by the famous big cat hunter Jim Corbett. He managed to hunt down the leopard which had killed about 125 people in the area. The river Mandakini is followed upstream from here. We reach Sari by early evening. Overnight in tents near the village.
On this day, we embark on the trail, up the hill to Deoria Tal. The pretty walk through rhododendrons takes one to the ridge above the village. Deoria Tal is a small lake with a meadow beside it. The view of the mountain ranges from here are fabulous. The Chaukhamba massif gets reflected on the clear water at times. Since, the trek is short, one can spend the day soaking in the peaceful forest environment and can also go for short walks around the lake.
The walk on this day is fairly level and through some beautiful forest and meadows. The trail starts from the forest department cottages near Deoriatal. It enters the forest and soon reaches close to a ridge from where the village of Sari is visible far below on our right. We enter the forest again from here. The rhododendron flowers here bloom in spring and one gets the feel of walking through a park. The colors range from red to various shades of pink. If we are trekking in the winter months, some snow can be present in the shadowy areas. There are two camping options, either camp short of Chopta near a stream, or at the meadows below the shops at Chopta.
We start early today. Form the picturesque environs of Chopta, we take the path through the arch leading up to the temple. The path is a paved one having handrails at places. At times, one can catch a glimpse of the monal bird in the forest on the left side of the path. Monal is type of pheasant and the state bird of Uttarakhand. Tungnath is a short 2 km trek from Chopta. The temple is only visible in the last few hundred metres. After a visit to the age old temple, we head up to the peak. Soaking in the stunning panoramic view of the Himalayas from Chandrashila, we begin heading down to Chopta and reach by late afternoon.
On this day, we can visit Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath. It is the winter abode of the idol of Kedarnath temple. We drive back to Dehradun and reach by early evening.