DeoriaTal, Chopta,Tungnath- Cheap Extended Weekend Getaway from Delhi

27th May 2016

From Kashmere Gate ISBT, hop on to bus to Rishikesh on a friday night (if monday is a holiday or on thursday night if Friday is a holiday).

The bus ride to Rishikesh costs Rs. 246/- and takes roughly 5 and half- to 6 hours. From Rishikesh, if one is lucky, one might find a State Transport bus to Rudraprayag or Ukhimath directly (early in the morning-5.30ish) else hop on to the Shared Taxi that plies to Rudraprayag- (Season time- Rs. 300/- per person). From Rudraprayag (post lunch) hop onto another shared taxi to Ukhimath costing Rs. 80/- per head. Post a small snack in Ukhimath, catch yet another shared taxi to Mastura Village (Rs. 20/- per head). From the drop off point of the shared taxi, starts a well paved path upwards towards Sari village. The hike is easy. Befriend villagers en-route, and have a taste of UK's pahadi hospitality.

Mastura to Sari- roughly 1.5-2 Km- HIKE.

From Sari Village starts the uphill climb to Deoriatal. It is about 2 Km climb and moderate- tending towards easy- if you are not carrying backpacks or Tents!

We reached Deoriatal by 5.30 PM and we had to go through various pleading efforts with shared taxi operators en-route- as the Badri-Kedar season was on- and most taxis/ buses were serving the pilgrimages.

Deoriatal is a very nice place for camping- if you are expecting something like boating, swimming, hot corn at the lake-side- SORRY!

Deoriatal is a regulated place- there is no electricity- basic stay and eating options are available- And an entry fee of Rs. 75/- per head (IF YOU ARE A STUDENT- else Rs. 150/- per head) is levied by the forest officer in charge.

Stay options available in Deoriatal- Tents available from Rs. 600/- Contact Mr. Umedh Bhatt- 8477995423. (We carried our own tent- so our stay was free in Deoriatal). Mr. Bhatt also prepares super tasty dinner (Rs. 100/- per plate- for sabzi, roti, dal, rice).

There are other stay options available too (guest houses- that are of-course costlier)- but the tents are the most preferred.

Make sure to carry woolen clothes- it gets pretty cold up in Deoriatal. (Deoriatal is open all year long- winters might be the best time to visit Deoriatal)

The next day early in the morning we hiked down to Sari village and walked along the road towards Mastura- where we encountered a small "waterfall" if I may call that one- fit enough to bathe and get refreshed- there are very few vehicles plying on this route- and you could climb up the falls, a bit, to bathe where the water is really fresh, nice and cold. (NOTE- drinking water to nearby villages originate from this point- so one needs to be respectful of that).

Walk further down- where we reach Tala Village- from where one usually gets Shared Taxi to Chopta.

(NOTE: Hotels/ Restaurants serving Tea, Maggi, and Lunch-Dinner are available in Sari Village- reasonable rates- Tea-Rs. 10/-, Maggi- Rs. 40/- etc.)

We waited for about 45 min and we were not able to get a shared taxi so we decided to walk towards Chopta- which is about 7-8 km- that includes a hike (more like a climb) from a village in between. But just as we started to walk- we were lucky enough to get a ride- for free- with tourists from Deoriatal heading towards Chopta!

Chopta is a petite place which is the base for Tungnath, probably the highest Shiva Mandir. Food and stay are available in Chopta (lot of hotels and guest houses are available)- we rented a small room for Rs. 300/-

We decided to head for Tungnath in the night. We started around 1 A.M and were able to reach Tungnath by 3.30 A.M. The route is safe (although there are forests nearby)- Dogs sense hikers traveling in night, and if you have a packet of biscuits with you- you would have awesome company till Tungnath!

But it gets really cold- especially because of the wind chilling factor- do remember to have your ears and nose covered! The temple opens for Darshan around 6.30 AM. So one could climb right upto Chandrashila (further 1 Km climb)- watch the amazing Sunrise- and the view of Chaukhamba and other great snow-capped peaks and come back down for the darshan- have a light breakfast of Maggi and chai in the shops near Tungnath temple and head back to Chopta!

It is a easy-moderate hike- well laid out- (read-cemented) path all along and extremely safe. The hike down takes nearly 1-1 hour 15 min from Tungnath to Chopta. 

From Chopta, Shared taxis are available in the morning till noon right upto Guptkashi- so one could get down at Ukhimath, in between, to get taxi to Rudraprayag or go to Guptkashi and from there catch taxi to Rudraprayag (but the latter would involve an extra travel of 10-15 Km- unwanted). Once in Rudraprayag it shouldnt be difficult to find vehicle to Rishikesh- and from Rishikesh buses ply to Haridwar almost twice an hour- and from Haridwar plenty of buses are available to Delhi almost 24*7.   

An extra rest day would help soothe the strained muscles- but your eye and mind would be totally refreshed due to the Deoriatal and Tungnath experience!