Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Have you ever wondered how it feels to be on top of the world and witness all the major peaks in all their glory? Even if you are a beginner who is just trying out his hand at high-altitude expeditions, you can embark on a particular adventure set in the Himalayas that will bring you face-to-face with such a feeling.
Uttarakhand is indeed a treasure trove when it comes to high-altitude adventures. There are countless adventures, each unique in its own way. The Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek, which can be considered one of a kind, offers an unforeseen vista full of mountainous wonders. To the seasoned explorer, this incredible summit climb with its flurry of picturesque views is a reason to return to the Chopta Chandrashila Deoria Tal Trek time and again. To the uninitiated, this adventure holds a tremendous allure and all the unexplored wonders of the world, which will beckon them to embark on this journey of a lifetime.
Without much ado, let us start learning about the highly-rewarding Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek.
The spectacular panorama of Himalayan peaks:
After summiting the Chandrashila (3690 meters), every trekker is greeted with a rich vista that contains some of the mightiest peaks of the Himalayan ranges. The captivating views of the peaks across eastern and western Uttarakhand are meant to blow every adventurer’s mind away!
From the Chandrashila summit, the spectacular sight of all the seven-thousanders is distinctly visible. Starting from Mount Chaukhamba I, II, III, IV, Mount Kedarnath and Kedar Dome, Mount Nanda Devi, Mount Jogin, Mount Thalaysagar, Mount Trishul, Mount Nanda Ghunti, Mandani Parbat, Bhagirathi I, to Mount Jaunli, Sumeru Parbat, Dronagiri, Hathi-Ghodi - every mighty Himalayan peak steeped in the ancient Indian mythology appears before your eyes.
This sight is naturally a bit too much for people attempting the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek for the first time in their lives. Witnessing all these peaks at once from a great vantage point is indeed an experience to cherish for a lifetime. The view all-around is tailor-made for dedicated shutterbugs, yet they can never have enough of this visual splendor.
The trail speckled with fantastic flora and fauna:
Your eyes will never be tired when treated to a feast of floral extravaganza on the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek. Akin to the Goechala Trek, the Deoria Tal Trek has a trail bathed in red, scarlet, and pink hues. Rhododendrons bloom in vivid colors and cover the trail with their vibrance throughout spring. The sheer density of rhododendrons renders parts near Chopta totally red, and these striking features are missing in other treks of Uttarakhand.
Springtime and the chirping of birds are a couple of things that characterize the trail of the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek. Considered one of the best Himalayan treks for bird watching, the trail features at least 30 to 40 avian species.
The thick forests of oak, pine, and maple in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary make it one of the most ideal locations for birds to thrive in abundance. Hence, you will spot diverse avian species like the Himalayan Monal, the Himalayan Woodpecker, Snow Partridge, Ashy-throated Warbler, Bar-throated Siva, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, Alpine Accentor, Black-headed Jay, Black-crested Tit, Black Bulbul, and several others.
A fusion pot of natural splendors:
The Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek is a fusion pot of every natural splendor that you can expect to encounter in the Himalayas. From moss-covered forestry trails through the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary to finding the clearings in the middle of these thickets to camp for the night, the course offers a myriad of experiences.
Devaria Tal or Deoria Tal is a pristine lake situated at the height of 2438 meters which blesses the tourists with fantastic reflections of the Chaukhamba Massif, which towers from the shores of the emerald-watered lake. You can also discover local settlements and colorful pastures while on your way to the Chandrashila summit. All in all, the trek boasts of a bustling ecosystem amid a rich landscape.
Cultural significance of the trek:
The Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek is full of popular activities like trekking, bird watching, camping, etc. However, village tourism has evolved tremendously as a popular activity on this trek. Sari village is the last village inhabited by local settlers before the trek starts. Curious tourists walk around the village and interact with the locals to learn about their customs, culture, and way of life. Since the people are warm and hospitable, you can quell your thirst to learn about the ancient Himalayan culture that has shaped the lives of local tribes such as these.
The Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek is entirely located within the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand. Almost 975 sq km of forest cover of the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary covers the entire trail. The starting point of the trek is Sari village, located 12 km from Ukhimath town in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.
Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek cost:
The Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek cost varies between USD 100- 127 (INR 7500-9500) per head. However, the trek cost is likely to change slightly depending on the trekking agency or tour operator with whom you are signing up for the adventure. Ideally, the cost includes the cost of the accommodations during the trek, meals, cost of required permits and entry fees, cost of the porter and mules for carrying your luggage, charges of the professional trek leader/guide, etc.
However, if you are traveling with a small group all by yourselves, renting the camping and trekking equipment will be the wisest decision to make, provided you do not own them already. You can even hire a porter at USD 8 (INR 600) per day to carry your personal belongings, not weighing more than 10 kgs.
Cell phone network and ATM options:
The Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek entirely takes place within the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. Hence, it is impossible to get cell phone connectivity at any point on the trail. However, weak signals of BSNL and Airtel are available at Sari village, the last village that marks the starting point of the trek to Deoria Tal and Chandrashila peak. So it is advised that you should finish your important phone calls at this village before you set foot on the actual trail.
The last working ATM is available at Ukhimath - a town in the Rudraprayag district, approximately 12 km from the Sari village. So you should withdraw sufficient cash from this point as most of the transactions during your trek will happen via cash only.
The Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek is graded easy to moderate by experienced trekkers and high-altitude adventurers. Hence, a beginner can undertake the trek if they have sufficient guidance and are appreciably fit.
Although primarily easy, certain portions within the trek amp up the challenges and give it the tag of a moderately difficult trek. The trek starts at 2438 meters and ends atop the Chandrashila summit at 3690 meters. The high altitude increases the difficulty level and makes it essential to follow a fitness regime before you embark on the trek.
Apart from the high altitude, the trek distance on particular days could seem long and exhausting if you are not appreciably fit. Although the total trek distance is just 30 km, you have to cover 8-10 km on certain days, and it elevates the risk.
Apart from this, the summit day is challenging during the winter months of December to February. During this time, you will find a lot of snow on the trail from Tungnath to Chandrashila, and you should be extremely careful while climbing to the Chandrashila Top.
The Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek remains open to trekkers and adventure enthusiasts for more than six months each year. The entire trail is adorned in various hues depending on the seasons, and those with a passion for photography should choose according to their preference of aesthetics.
Spring (mid-March to mid-April)
Spring or pre-monsoon is one of the most popular times to embark on the Deoriatal Trek. This season spans from mid-March to mid-April and is characterized by receding snow and blooming rhododendrons that color the entire trail pink, red and scarlet.
Autumn (late September to early December)
Post-monsoon or Autumn is one of the best seasons to set foot on this enchanting trail. Since the skies are clear and there is no sign of monsoon haze or rain-bearing clouds, you can get superb natural views. This period from late September to the end of November features clear blue skies and pleasant weather conditions. Hence, it is the best time for shutterbugs to capture the natural splendor, a panorama of Himalayan peaks, and vibrant wildlife on this trail.
Winter (early December)
Although the Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek is accessible during winter and counted as one of India’s best winter solo treks, it is not advisable to set foot on the trail during peak winter. The peak winter month of January is characterized by heavy snowfall, which often breaks off the connection of this region with the rest of Uttarakhand. Since the roads are highly susceptible to verglas, driving becomes challenging during this season, reducing transportation options.
However, you can definitely aim to complete this adventure successfully if you are traveling just before the onset of December or during the start of December. The snow is just enough to give you the festive, Christmas-y feeling but not enough to block the trail.
Although you should pack exhaustively for the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek to prepare for every eventuality, the trick to packing is similar to that of every other high-altitude Himalayan trek. You should pack lightly, or it could significantly mar the delight of your trek if you are unable to procure any offloading options or porters and mules.
Your apparel should be adequate to protect you against unprecedented and extreme weather conditions while you are en route. However, you should also emphasize being comfy on the trek. Your apparel should be ideal for balancing the above scenarios.
Carry two full-sleeve, non-cotton t-shirts, one fleece t-shirt, a woolen sweater or a fleece jacket, a down feather jacket, wind and waterproof jacket, thermal inners for both the halves, two synthetic trek pants, a waterproof pant cover, copious amounts of underwear, and a poncho for protection against unexpected downpours. Keep a pair of waterproof gloves and another pair of fleece/woolen gloves handy.
When it comes to headgear, your priority should be protecting your face and head against wind chills as well as preventing snow-blindness. UV-protected sunglasses, a sun cap, a woolen cap, a balaclava, and a neck gaiter or woolen muffler should comprise your headgear essentials.
You should always mind your step while on the trail. The mountainous topography is highly different from plain lands, and hence there could be a risk of injury if you are not careful. Additionally, you should emphasize your footwear as protecting your feet and preventing any damage, shock, or stress will ensure a satisfactory trekking experience.
Focus on buying a pair of superlative trekking shoes. Notice minute details like waterproof features, good grip, and a high ankle. Remember that you will have a pretty exhausting summit climb to the Chandrashila Top. If it is during winter, the trail will be covered with a lot of snow. Therefore, you should choose trekking shoes with microspikes that will help you tread easily over the snow.
Carrying a pair of flip-flops is optional. However, you should take at least three pairs of woolen socks and five pairs of cotton socks. You can also kit up with a gaiter to prevent the entry of pebbles and rocks inside your shoes.
Basic trekking gear:
Carry a backpack (50-60 liters) with a rain cover and comfortable shoulder straps. If you consider offloading or hiring a porter and a mule, you should carry a daypack (20-30 liter) with rain cover. You can carry a sleeping bag to prevent heat loss from your body while asleep at night in frigid cold conditions. If you are traveling all by yourself, consider carrying the camping equipment too.
Carry a sturdy, well-made walking stick, a head torch with extra batteries, a power bank, charger, a couple of one-liter water bottles or a hydration pack, etc. Carry a few old newspapers and a zip-lock pouch to protect your electronic gadgets during rainfall and carry disposable items back with you. Consider carrying dry fruits and nuts, energy bars, and ORS as snacks that will give you instant energy during the hikes and climbs.
Toiletries and hygiene essentials:
Maintaining personal hygiene becomes highly important when you are part of a high-altitude adventure like the Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek.
Carry toothpaste, toothbrush, moisturizer, sunscreen, lip balm, biodegradable soap, hand sanitizer, antibacterial powder, toilet paper, tissue roll, wet wipes, and a quick-dry towel. Women should be careful of their menstrual hygiene and carry sanitary napkins or tampons, or menstrual cups. However, a zip lock pouch to collect and store all the menstrual hygiene products to dispose of them later is required.
First-aid and personal medications:
Your first-aid kit should contain everything to offer primary treatment if any unprecedented event, injury, or accident occurs. It should be well-stocked with bandaids, ointments, pain-relieving sprays, crepe bandages, gauze swabs, cotton, betadine, antiseptic liquid, etc.
Carry insect repellents because you will be camping in open space within forests. Also, carry water purification tablets if you are desperate to drink water from any natural source.
Your medical kit should contain antihistamines, paracetamols, antacids, anti-nausea medicines, painkillers, etc.
If you are an Indian national traveling with a trekking agency or a tour operator, your forest and sanctuary permits will be covered within the trek package. Carry original and multiple photocopies of government-issued photo ID cards and address proof. Also, carry multiple copies of your passport-sized photograph. A foreign national should always keep their passports and visas within reach.
The Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek covers a distance of nearly 30 km and stretches for 5-6 days. However, you can throw in an extra day if you want to camp in the wilderness and explore nature’s glory. Follow the itinerary we have recommended below for your ease.
Although the Chopta Chandrashila Deoriatal Trek is classified as an easy-moderate trek and can be undertaken by beginners, you need to keep yourself in an appreciably good physical condition to complete this trek successfully. The climb to Chandrashila summit is highly taxing and more so during winters.
Therefore, you should spend adequate time building cardiovascular endurance. Start with jogging, running, cycling, swimming, etc., and you can build cardiovascular endurance effectively. Stretching your muscles will help enhance your flexibility, while squats will ensure core and lower body strength.
In addition to your physical fitness, try building your mental fortitude by meditating regularly and practicing holistic therapies like yoga. It will help you stay focused, sharp-witted, and clear-headed throughout the trek and prevent unforeseen circumstances.