A Day Full of Trek- Chandrashilla, Tungnath, Deoria Taal

This is Part II of the complete ride story. To read about the ride to Chopta, which is the base for this trek, click here.
Today the plan was to start early and be back by afternoon after completing the trek. I was not sure if I will be able to continue after Tungnath. But to made sure I feel fresh atleast in the beginning I had a bath with hot water. Oh ya you have to fetch your own hot water from one of the dhabas around @Rs. 30/bucket. Light breakfast and I was on my way by 6:30am. Most important even before you read further- Carry water, and some light snacks if you prefer, but do not start without water. There is a laid out trail which is surrounded by trees initially and as I looked to my left, I didn't realize that it was already a clear view of the beautiful range of Himalayas. Have a look

There are 2 shops where you will get water and eatables if you wanna have breakfast on your way. 
After that there's nothing you will get so ensure you have what you need from this point. Here we go





The topmost point you see in the pic is Chandrashilla.
The trek is not very difficult but its not easy either. With the sun coming out soon after I started, at such an high altitude the rays are poking you sharp on your skin and eyes. Do wear good quality shades to protect your eyes. As I continued, I had to take many, many breaks to recover for my breath. And I kept looking up at the peak, I still didn't know if I will make it. To top of that, there was this thought of doing it all in time so that I can come back by lunch time and ride to Sari and do the Deoria Taal trek too by evening! Yes that was the plan as I wanted to spend the night at Deoria top to have glimpse of the Milky Way if the clouds don't spoil my plan. But, then there's always this factor which keeps you going further- I've come this far all the way, how can I go without completing the trek. Didn't want to go back with a 'next time' feeling in my mind.

You can also take help of a horse to climb to the top. Till Tungnath the trail is hard with stones laid out. I reached Tungnath top at about 08:30am and there are again some dhabas here. I couldn't continue further without having a plate of Maggi here at this dhaba. I met a baba here who was already rolling his joint and we had a small conversation. He asked if I want one but I had to refuse it politely. 


At the temple entrance, if you are going to pray inside you have to remove your shoes. The ground was so cold! Spent 10 mins here and its a great view from here. 



Well, I had time, and now I was feeling strong to go on further. But I also knew that the next 1km trek is nothing when compared to the one I just completed, as I had heard from friends. As soon as I started the whole trail was engulfed with clouds. So you literally walk with the clouds. Its a very uplifting feeling to be at such a place where you and clouds can walk together. Let me tell you one thing but, this trek is difficult but will offer much more beautiful views, not to mention the top itself which you will see below. I have no words to explain for the scenary I witnessed during this climb. 




It was slippery at times, you climb up the trail within the meadows. I saw some girls climbing up taking a shortcut which I thought was not really the best thing to do as it will make you tired even quicker. I kept a slow and steady pace with enough breaks ofcourse. 

As the moment of finally making it to the top arrived, it comes with a sense of feeling of winning, as always. Timing is very important here, as I reached at the top, I got a glance of the Kedarnath peak, Nanda devi, Trishul peaks merely for few seconds. And after that clouds took over. You can wait and try your luck if the clouds clear up so that you can take a good look of the golden peaks shining of the sunlight, but in my case it was not worth the time. Infact it got even more dense with time. It took me about 45 mins from Tungnath to the top of Chandrashilla.


You get a good 360 degree view of the Himalayan range from the top. Took sometime to tell myself that I am at this amazing place at 13000ft, clicked some pictures and sat down doing nothing but looking around.




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I saw a sage coming to the top walking barefoot and walking very fast. I wondered how these people get all their strength from. There were other people and some young kids and yes you guessed it right, spoiling the peace and beauty of the place. How? Rap songs on their bluetooth speakers, eating chips and littering around, clicking selfies in vulgar poses right next to the shivling, come on man! 

During winters this trek is a complete snow trek and is on the check list of many. Although the route to Chandrashilla top changes a little and I guess people come from Deoria taal side. I can imagine it will become even more difficult with the thick layer of snow to climb on. No thanks :p

Was happy to meet the clouds yet again, you just keep running into them.



Coming down is relatively faster and it took me just 2 hours to come down to the base. Oh don't forget to have this local drink- juice of buras flower. It tastes like roohafza but its very good! As I came back to the room I was asked to vacate the room already as many tourists had arrived, mainly from their visit to Kedarnath. I asked him time till I have my lunch at least. 

After that at about 2pm I was ready to ride to Sari village, about 22km away. The roads is absolutely good tarmac till the last point. Within an hour I was at this village and right at the entrance I spotted a shop and enquired about the tent. But, I was too tired at this point! I knew I will not be able to climb all the way to the Deoria Taal top as this trek is short but way more steeper than the previous ones I had done today. My knees had given up. I settled to seek help of another living creature which would carry me to the top. For the tent, we agreed for Rs. 600 including dinner.


While the shopkeeper himself went on his bike to look for a horse for me, I parked my bike near the shop and waited there. I saw that there was some kind of function going on in the next block. I walked upto it and saw many people and kids dancing on some local folk music perhaps. Soon another man turned up all decorated with flowers and there was a particular dance step which he did. It was all quite interesting to see a glimpse of the local culture and tradition.

Well, Sultan was here to carry me. I paid Rs. 300 for one way climb on the horse. So I left my jacket, helmet and the tankbag in the shop itself and took only the necessary stuff with me (hydra pack for sure!). We must have covered half the way and it started pouring heavily. We took shelter in a tea shop along with others. Soon the rain drops turned into hail stones and it turned very cold all of a sudden. But soon the sun was shining and I hoped to see a rainbow but didn't spot any (later I will come to know that one of the guys spotted a double rainbow at the sametime but down at the base). We had started climbing at 3:30pm and reached to the top by 4:50pm. You still have to walk some 50m to reach to the lake and I think my feet were already dead. Somehow I managed to crawl towards the lake. The first view of the lake was beautiful and makes you say 'wow!'



The rains had stopped but it was still cloudy. I just hoped that it clears up so that I can do some stargazing at the night. The shop guy had also come with me all the way to the top to take care of the tent etc. He pitched the tent for me and provided mattress inside the tent, and a good quality warm sleeping bag. Since it was a long weekend, there were many other tents around the lake, mostly groups (families and friends) via some tour operators. This was a turn off in a way because more the crowd more the noise, and that's what exactly happened. One happy group from Delhi of course started playing their loud music instruments, Later they were stopped and asked to maintain some peace so that it does not disturb others. Oh and you have to Rs. 150 for camping here (per head).



The view from the tent was amazing, majestic Chaukhamba peak right in the front and I could see there was fresh snowfall on the peaks. This was a wonderful picture my mind captured and its still very clear. It was just 6pm and it got very dark and I took rest in my tent and waited for the night. Good signs of clouds clearing up and I could see the moon shining on one end of the sky. Do not forget to carry a torch here and the most important thing guys, there is no toilet.

Well for the dinner I headed back to the top point at the dhaba and sat in front of the woodfire stove to get some warmth while they cook. It was nostalgic to see them cooking rotis right inside the fire as I last saw someone doing that was in my village years ago. Simple food, but it tasted so good. To make it better he added big spoonsful of their local ghee in the dal. How could I say no to that! They also offered me alcohol but I avoided. Point is that if you want to drink and do not have any alcohol, make good friends with these guys and you might get lucky. We had a good chat during the dinner. They told me how some guys from cities come and try to act smart, try to cheat the people here, or try to misbehave with local girls which I felt very embarassed about. He used to live in Delhi and Mathura but due to some bad incidents he faced he came back here. I went back to the tent thinking about the conversation while still relishing the taste of the amazing food I had.


I went to take a leak in the open and while coming back I spotted a tent in which some guys were cooking food, for the group they were with. I sat near the stove and took some warmth. Are you laughing that I am doing it again? Man it was cold alright! Soon I went inside their tent while they cooked food. It was dark and they kept telling me stories how people come up with unrealistic expectations while on a tour like this. He told me that he has to make atleast 120 chapatis now. I listened to all their stories. All this while his phone charges on my power bank, because obviously there is no electricity.

Later at night I got some shots of the stars. The view of moonlight falling on the Chaukhamba peak was breathtaking and magical. See it yourself!


I could also spot the milky way band in the sky. It was not very dense as we have seen in many pics online, that's always a composition of multiple shots. I tried to take many pics and also knew the limitations of the lens I had. So this was the best it could take, without a tripod.
This day ticked off quite a few things from the check list and I couldn't be more happy. In the next and final part of this ride story, a little more (sunrise) time at Deoria Taal here and the ride back to Gurgaon, soon! If you have any questions about this trek or the place, do comment below.

Expense report:
Maggi: 60, Water 70, Lunch 80, Others 30
Camping charges at lake 150
Tent+Dinner 600
Total for the day Rs. 990
Distance ridden: 22km
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