I decided to take this during the last few days of March, when the spring was at its peak and the rhododendrons were blooming everywhere in Uttrakhand.
So I took a bus from Rishikesh from ISBT kashmiri gate at around 10 in the night and reached there at around 3 am. I enquired at the bus depot about the first bus to Rudraprayag and I was told 5:30. I was clueless what am I going to do for the next two and a half hours, right then I heard the shout of private bus/ car operators. I got a mini bus that was set to leave at 3:30 for Rudraprayag. The bus actually left the depot at 4 since it was not full by 3:30 (That’s the problem you will face with all private operators).
So after another 5-6 hours of journey I reached Rudraprayag, the town is the point of confluence of two rivers i.e. Alaknanda and Mandakani . As soon I got off at Rudraprayag I got another bus heading to Ukhimath. I wasted no time and got on the bus, from here it was another 2.5-3 hours for Ukhimath. Since the bus driver kept taking long stops to fill the bus with passengers.
After reaching Ukhimath one can easily find jeeps running jeeps till Sari village and taking about 20 minutes to reach there on one of the most beautiful road you will ever see. Once you have reached the sari village it’s a 3 kms trek uphill to Deorital. Another one hour or more, depending on how do you trek you reach one of the most beautiful glacial lakes you can witness in the country. You can see the reflection of the treeline behind the lake in the clear water of the lake, sometime you can even see the reflection of the Himalayan range if seen from the certain angle.
You can rent a tent from the shops close to the lake or you can stay in your tent. You will have to pay a small amount, rs.150, as fee to the forest department which goes for the maintenance of Nanda Devi bio reserve. A night under the stars in front of the lake will refresh you for the next day’s trek.
You will need a guide to trek from Deorital to Chopta, it’s a 18-20 kms trek and I would suggest that you talk to other people camping at the lake and hire a guide together. It will be cheaper and you will get company for the long trek. The trek would be full of rhododendrons during the time of spring and you will be captivated by the beauty of the valley.
You will pass through Rohini bughyal, you can rest right there at the meadows and have some food. It can be used as the camp site if you want to camp and finish the trek in two days (I would avice against it and so will the guide). You can finish the trek till chopta in about 6-7 hours, so you must start early from Deorital. You can reach Chopta late in the day and watch the sun going down from the beautiful meadows.
Eat up a good dinner and rest your body for the next day’s trek. I would suggest you start early at around
4:00 am in the morning to watch the sun rise from the summit. So it’s almost a 5 kms trek uphill from Chopta, you will pass through beautiful meadows, you will see a few stone and mud built homes and view of beautiful view of Garhwal ranges. In another two hours you will reach the Tungnath temple, which is the highest Shiva temple in the world. You will find a few shops before reaching the temple.
Another 1.5 kms from Tungnath is Chandrashila. You will go through the rocks on a small trail to reach the final ascent of the trek; it will take you 2.5-3.5 hours to reach the top from Chopta. Watching the sun rise from the summit is a magnificent experience. At that moment you wouldn’t want anything else, just see the might of Himalayas sitting there peacefully.
I trekked back down till Chopta taking all the time in the world. Stopping every 10 minutes to embrace of the beauty of the things around me as as I knew I would be leaving very soon.
I got a ride till sari village in a jeep from Chopta which was going there to deliver some goods. From Sari I started heading back to Delhi using the same way.
Day 0: Board the bus for Rishikesh at 10:00 PM from ISBT, Kashmere Gate. (Cost Rs.240)
Day 1: Reach Rishikesh by 3:30 AM. Board the Bus for Rudraprayag at 4:00 AM (Departs every 15-20 mins, Cost Rs.200). Reach Rudraprayag by 10:00 AM. Board bus/jeep for Ukhimath at 10:30 Departs (every 30 mins, Cost: Rs.60 for bus/Rs.80 for jeep). Reach Ukhimath by 1:30 PM. Board jeep for Sari village 1:45 PM (Rs.30).
Reach sari village by 2:15 PM. Get yourself stuffed at Sari village and start trekking towards Deorital. Reach Deorital by 5:00 PM. Watch sunset at Deorital and discover places around the lake, witness the mighty peaks at horizon.
Day2: Start as early as 8:00AM for the trek to Chopta. Reach Chopta by 3:30 PM. Enjoy the surroundings and rest for next day’s trek.
Day3: Start early at 4:00 AM towards Tungnath, to witness the Sunrise Chandrashila peak. Get back down to Chopta by 11:00 AM. Start heading back by taking a jeep to Sari village.
This post was originally published on 'travelbeings'