For the mountain lovers, the Deoriatal - Chandrashila Trek is a heaven on earth. It’s an exquisite destination that offers a perfect platform for those who love to trek. What stands apart are the beautiful trails along the forest and the summit climbs that are simply supreme. The dynamic autumn shades add to the already heavenly appearance.
Table of Content:
- Overview of the Deoriatal - Chandrashila Trek
- The Deoriatal – Chandrashila Trek: A Quick Glance
- Deoriatal - Chandrashila: An Autumn Adventure
- Chandrashila in Mythology
- Best Time to Visit the Chandrashila Trek
- How to Reach
- Chandrashila Trek Route
- Whom This is Trek Meant For
- Detailed Trek Itinerary
- Chandrashila Trek: Places Nearby
- Trekking Essentials for the Chandrashila Trek
- How to Get Fit for the Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek
Away from the clamour of city life, this destination is ideal for those seeking tranquillity while they can have some adventure with trekking.
Overview of the Deoriatal - Chandrashila Trek
- Where it is Located: Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand
- Number of Trekking Days: 5 - 6 Days
- Trekking Grade: Easy - Moderate
- Max Altitude: 12,083 ft
- Average Temperature: Day time: 8°C-15°C; Night time: -5°C-3°C
- Livingit Rank: Beginner - Advanced
The Deoriatal – Chandrashila Trek: A Quick Glance
Located at a height of around 4000 meters above the sea level, Chandrashila (translates to “moon rock”) is one of the most loved trekking destinations in India and is better visited during summers. It’s a peak located 1.5 km from Tungnath and is also known to house the famous Tungnath temple.
For sightseeing, you can start your trek from Chopta. This location is known for bird-watching and offers some splendid varieties of birds. The trek from Chopta, which passes through clear trails, up to Tungnath temple is 5 km long. The trail converts into a 1.5 km steep rise to reach the Chandrashila peak. After the 1.5 km stretch, you reach the summit and are offered with a spectacular view of the Himalayas that includes peaks like Nanda Devi, Kedar, Bandarpunch, Trishul, and Chaukhamba. Chandrashila offers a splendid 360 degrees panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks.
Deoriatal - Chandrashila: An Autumn Adventure
If you are heading to Deoriatal this autumn, you must know about these three gorgeous things that are not to be missed.
Glorious Peak Views
In Deoriatal, the summit that you need to visit is Chandrashila. Once you climb this peak you would notice all the major peaks of the Eastern and Western Uttarakhand. All of these are the tallest peaks in India that are visible from Uttarakhand. No other trekking destination offers you this close view of all the peaks together. It’s a plain visual bliss when you stand at the pinnacle of Chandrashila.
Best of Forests
The forest trails at Deoriatal are one of the finest among all the treks in the country. While trekking you can take the route that takes you from Deoriatal Lake to Bhrujgali, and you will experience a striking view of the forests on the way. From moss-filled trails via tunnels to the thick wooden trees or the routes through the forest clearings, this trek gives you all.
If you love birds, Deoriatal is the right place as there are hundreds and thousands of birds to watch and photograph. This location has far more bird varieties for the bird watchers to see in one day than any other location known for birds.
Chandrashila in Mythology
It is a common belief that Lord Rama meditated at the Chandrashila summit. Lord Rama was the hero from the holy saga Ramayana of how won the good over evil. Rama came to meditate at Chandrashila and pray to Lord Shiva to rinse his sins of killing Ravana.
According to the local tales, Moon God (Chandradev) had carried out retribution at the Chandrashila for many years. The name Chandrashila translates to “ Moon Stone” or “Moon Rock” (Chandra = Moon; Shila = Stone/Rock) that signifies the hill where Chandradev performed repentance.
Best Time to Visit the Chandrashila Trek
Chandrashila makes for the best trekking destination all around the year. While trekking is closed from Chopta during the winters due to the heavy snowfall, trekking fanatics prefer to take the other trail via Deoriatal. Although it gets muddy during the rains, trekkers have equal fun with their raincoats on.
From the month of May to mid-June, the Chandrashila trek has a pleasing weather, with the sun in its full force. Chopta is the best starting point for trekking this time.
It’s between the mid-June and mid-September when rain makes the trails slippery. However, you will see still find trekking enthusiasts gathering for the Chandrashila trek. Make sure that you carry a raincoat.
From mid-September to mid-October it’s a pleasant climate with a warm feeling and a soothing weather. Chandrashila trek is most preferred during this period.
While you simply cannot travel through Chopta during winters due to the heavy snowfall, you can choose an alternative route that is, via Deoriatal for your trekking fun. Make sure that you are all prepared with the layers of woollens to enjoy the chill.
- Summer: 30 to 35 degree Celsius (day); 18 to 23 degree Celsius (night)
- Monsoon: 28 to 33 degree Celsius (day); 22 to 27 degree Celsius (night)
- Spring: 25 to 30 degree Celsius (day); 16 to 21 degree Celsius (night)
- Winter: 18 to 23 degree Celsius (day); 8 to 13 degree Celsius (night)
How to Reach
You can either choose the first trekking route to Chandrashila that is, Devprayag-Rudraprayag-Ukhimath-Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila, or you can choose to take the other route that is, Deoriatal-Duggalbitta-Tungnath-Chandrashila. So, check out the routes below to start your trekking from Chopta:
- By air: Take a transport to reach Dehradun from Haridwar and then take a flight from the Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun.
- By rail: You can take a train from Haridwar to Rishikesh and then from there you can easily reach Chopta.
- By road: You can get a road transport for Dehradun/Rishikesh and Haridwar route from any part of the country, and then from Chopta you can get any regular transport.
How to Get to the Base Camp
For the Deoriatal Trek, you have to start from Sari, a small village that’s located 224 km away from Haridwar. You can avail of the transport at 6:30 am that travels from Haridwar to Sari. You need to board the pick up at Haridwar railway station on Day 1 which will cost you Rs. 5,500 per car and has to be paid to the driver directly.
The beautiful drive along the river Ganga will take you through locations like Rishikesh, Rudraprayag, and Devaprayag to Sari at 6:00 pm.
Take an overnight train from Delhi to reach Haridwar. You can take any of the two trains listed below:
- 14041 Mussoorie Express - 21.30 - 5.45
- 12205 Nandadevi Express - 23.50 - 3.55
Alternatively, you can also take a bus which you can book online. Book the bus in a way that you reach Haridwar before the pick up as bus timings may get delayed on the way.
To return to Haridwar you can take a cab from Chopta that will take you to Haridwar in 8 hours. This should cost around Rs, 5,500 per cab which is to be shared with other trekkers and the payment has to be made to the driver directly. This drive will take you to Haridwar by 6 pm.
If you are travelling beyond Haridwar, keep some added time on hand for any delays. To go beyond Haridwar book your travel after 8 pm from Haridwar. For Delhi, you can either take the Mussoorie Express at 23.15pm or Nanda Devi Express at 00.55am.
Chandrashila Trek Route
Dehradun - Rishikesh - Narendranagar - Chamba - Tehri - Ghansali - Chibitiga - Mayali - Tilwada - Agastyamuni - Ukhimath - Chopta - Tungnath - Chandrashila Hill
Whom This is Trek Meant For
The Chandrashila trek is graded as the easiest trek compared to other treks in the Himalayas as it is a fairly comfortable trek for beginners and kids. It is equally captivating for the advanced trekkers. If you are someone who’s looking for stunning visual formations with kaleidoscopic colours then this location is perfect for the same. So, you can definitely book your ticket for the Chandrashila trek if:
- You are 9 years and above and fairly fit.
- You are an enthusiastic beginner who understands the importance of fitness and the challenges that you may face in the forests.
- You are ready for the level easy treks with the help of our exercise chart.
The Chandrashila trek is for those who purely love nature. It’s equally beautiful in summers and winters, but with a different mood.
Chandrashila: Detailed Trek Itinerary You'll Need
Drive from Haridwar to Sari
- Distance: 190 km
- Altitude: 6,601 ft
To reach Haridwar, you can either take a bus from Delhi travelling overnight, or you can reach a few days earlier and take the trek on the starting day. The first site you can visit is the famous pilgrim route, Haridwar-Rishikesh which spreads by the Ganges. Varied cultural activities and adventure sports will keep you engaged in the holy waters of Ganga. Alternatively, you can also get a pick up from Rishikesh.
From here you will have to travel for 7 to 8 hours up to Sari that’s filled with the picturesque landscapes of lower Himalayas (Garhwal) while you drive up the hill. The way up offers you some of the most scenic stops at Devaprayag. This is the town where you would notice the splendid union of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi. The river continues all the way up to Sari by 6 pm.
The mini houses in the village appear to be as if painted across the hills as a backdrop. The green patches of the agricultural fields line these houses making it a strikingly photographic view. Moreover, you should not miss the Sari market, where you may just find something helpful.
Trek to Deoriatal
- Distance: 3 km
- Altitude: 7, 841 ft.
- Water source: N/A
A distinct rocky trail welcomes you on the first day, although it’s pretty easy with a combination of the rises and the plunges. Walk along and you will be able to spot the Chandrashila peak clearly from the point along with the Tungnath temple. Beyond this is a really tough journey as the hill moves up making it steep with a deviation at the back of the hill. You are now about to trek on a severely strenuous climb which will be your first challenge on this trip. This trail will take you to the Forest Department that serves as a resting point where you can halt for a nice 20 minutes. This point offers a splendid view of the mountain falls.
After the break, the forest route takes a bend towards a wonderful lining of rhododendron flowers. As you keep walking and reach at 7, 434 feet, the village or any possible locality is completely out of sight. After 20 minutes of walk from this point, you will reach the Deoriatal falling off a leaning mellow slope. There you have a grand glimpse of the Chaukhamba ranges at the lake backdrop. As you reach the spot it’s already mid-noon.
Do not miss the morning view of the Chaukhamba when the cloud cover clears up and a glistening golden sunlight illuminates the ranges making it a simply gorgeous view. You can then take a trip around the forests watching birds and appreciating the nature.
Deoriatal to Chopta via Rohini Bugyal
- Distance: 14 km
- Altitude: 8, 790 ft
- Water source: Water source on the ground making way to Rohini Bugyal, and the waterfalls on the second half of the route.
In this stretch, the trails introduce you to the Chaukhamba ranges and the peak of Mount Kedar, and you close into these summits as you climb. The path is filled with maples and rhododendron offering a refreshing feeling. For the blossom lovers, you will find two major types of rhododendrons in red and pink colours. What’s interesting is that the density of these blossoms keeps thickening as you trek along the forest trail.
You will find many little shrines tied up with red and yellow flags spread across the forest paths that shine through the greenery. While you walk forward passing through the forest, you are then taken upwards towards Chopta and Rohini Bugyal. The path that moves upwards takes you to a level ground and some space in the arduous ascending climb. As you reach the other side of the forest edge you encounter a magnificent view of the Chandrashila. As the level-ground ends, you will have to walk past the forest once again that’s now defined with rhododendrons, maples, and old oaks. This is a part of the Kedarnath sanctuary, and if you are lucky you can even view a red fox and other wild animals.
Walk for 25 minutes more through the Kedarnath Sanctuary and you will reach the Bhagwad temple. This is the crossing point for three trekking routes of which one joins the village in Sari, the other to Ukhimath, and the one in the centre goes down to the pastures of Rohini Bugyal. You would find the Chandrashila and the adjacent Kala Parvat summit that appears clearly. Here you can notice the trail taking a curve that reaches the lake Bisuri Taland and Nandikand (a small pool) that’s placed at the bottom of the Kala Parvat. As you walk down you would encounter a glistening stream flowing down from Chandrashila. You can then move through a small wooden bridge over the rivulet.
Walk a bit up and you will see the pastures where you will notice a locality with some huts. As you walk past the local villages you will hit the road at the edge of the forest path where you can lay your camps.
Trekkers usually prefer to utilize the next day as a rest day and explore the wildlife during the wee hours while taking a walk along the gorgeous nature of the Chopta forests. If you are lucky, you may spot deer across the woods, some unique varieties like the musk deer or the barking deer.
You can also explore the bird life by watching Mona, the official bird for the Uttarakhand state. It’s famous for its beautiful mix of colours in emeralds and shining blue. You can have a picnic in the forest by packing some hot food along with the consensus of the group members.
Trek Chopta - Tungnath (3680 m), Chandrashilla Top (4130 m) and back to Chopta
- Distance: 8 km
- Altitude: 3,680 m - 4,130 m.
- Water Source: N/A
You can experience the heavenly sunrise from the top of Tungnath if you start your trek early in the morning. Here you will find an explicit concrete path starting from Chopta to the shrine. Next follows a rigorous climbing challenge with sharp curves ahead. After the 10th deviation of the road, you will find many temples ahead, of which one is especially noticeable with a flagpole. You also get an exquisite view of the Chandrashila up ahead along the trail. Not just that, you will also be able to view a connecting summit of the Chandrashila, named Ravanshila.
In the winters, this trail is dusted with beautiful snow. With the 11th bend, you will enter the Tungnath towered by the impressive Chandrashila summit at around 12,000 feet. The path towards the summit takes a curve at the back of the temple complex. Given that there will be enough snow to cause you trouble, you would need to pack your crampons and gaiters along for the climb, while your trek leader must carry an ice axe to take you through the snow-covered trail. Once you are done with the steep and the hectic climb, you will reach the summit offering a 360-degree view of the Kumaon and the Garhwal mountains.
Some of the marked summits in this majestic range are Kedar, Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Nandaghunti, Dronagiri, and Trishul. You can also get a peek of the Gangotri and the Thalayasagar ranges close to the boundaries. It would be then much easier to trek down and will take around 3 hours to reach the camp site at Chopta.
If you are going for the Chandrashila trek in the months from December till April end, you need to be cautious as there’s thick snow on this peak during this period.
Chopta to Haridwar
Distance: 210 km
It is recommended that you reserve the last day when to ride back to Haridwar from Chopta. After an approximately 7 hours long journey with the soothing memory of the hills, you will reach Haridwar by evening. Followed with this you can go for an overnight journey to Delhi.
Chandrashila Trek: Places Nearby
Get a splendid view of the Nanda Devi, Trishul and Chaukhamba peaks from the Chopta village that is located 2680 meters above the sea level, and is surrounded by beautiful forest that includes rhododendron, pine, and deodar with an amazing mix of flora and fauna.
Given that the Kedarnath temple is closed during the winters due to the snowfall, the Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar worship is carried out in Ukhimath situated in the Rudraprayag district. It is situated at 1317 meters above the sea level and offers an astounding view of the pearly white Himalayan peaks. This place is also known to house many ancient shrines.
This is a village situated 1319 meters above the sea level in Dev Bhoomi (Uttarakhand) in Rudraprayag district. The village is considerably large with Vishwanath temple as its pride. This famous temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The name Guptkashi signifies the hidden residency period of the Pandavas (the Mahabharata heroes). This houses the Ardhanareshwar temple that is, half Shiva and half Parvati forming a single idol. Guptkashi is considered to be the 2nd most devout holy places for the Hindus after Varanasi.
Trekking Essentials for the Chandrashila Trek
While it’s much better during the summers and the winters in the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek, make sure that you are carrying a poncho as there can be showers most abruptly.
For winters, it’s a must to carry five layers of warm clothes that should include sweaters, thermals, fleece jacket, and a padded jacket.
- Backpack: This is a no brainer, however, make sure that your backpack has a capacity of 40 to 60 litres along with strong straps and supporting frame. Also, make sure that it’s either waterproof or you have a rain cover for the same.
- Special trekking shoes: Buy shoes made especially for trekking that can give a good grip of the rough and slippery grounds.
- A big day pack: Carry a day pack of 20 litres capacity which will be helpful on the 5th day of your trekking journey as you would be leaving your bigger backpack at the camp. A compact backpack that can help you carry simple necessities like water, snacks and the medical kit should be good. Alternatively, you can also share a day pack if you are in a group or get a foldable backpack for convenience.
- Warm Clothes: You would need three layers of warm clothes as the temperature drops to 2 to 5 degrees in Bhrujgali after sunset in summers and is at -5 degrees during the winter. You can even encounter snowfall and so, you must carry at least two light layers and one padded jacket.
- Trek Pants: Two pairs of trek pants with a pair of tights beneath should be good enough for this trek.
- Full Sleeve Shirts: Carrying at least three collared and full sleeve t-shirts will ensure that your neck and arms are protected from the harsh sun rays preventing sun burn. Make sure the t-shirts are light enough, and that you change your clothing often. The deposition of sweat otherwise, can cause one to fall ill.
- Thermals: Carry thermals to wear them at night when the temperature is at the lowest and not while you trek.
- Sunglasses: Carry glares that protect your eyes against harmful UV rays or the ones that protect your eyes from snow blindness is mandatory.
- Socks: 2 pairs of socks along with a pair of woollen socks.
- Cap/Hat: Carry a sun cap to beat the harsh sun rays and save energy.
- Hand Gloves: Carry two pairs of hand gloves of which one should be woollen and the other should be water proof or wind proof.
- Scarves: Use woollen scarves to keep yourself warm.
- Flashlights/headlamps: Trekking in deep forests would require an LED flashlight or a headlamp.
- Trekking Pole: Get a trekking pole for added support.
- Apart from the 20 litres daypack, you must also carry toiletries like sunblock, toothpaste, toothbrush, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
- Cutlery like spoons, lunch box, and a coffee mug are some bare essentials that you will need on the way.
- Two 1 litre water bottles are a must for trekkers. Moreover, you can also carry plastic bags to manage added stuff or wet clothes.
Other important items
- A medical kit with all the necessary medicines for a cough and cold, fever, stomach issues, or for cuts, burns and injuries will go a long way.
- Do not forget the mandatory documents such as photo identity card (original and photocopy), medical certificate, and the disclaimer form. You need hand over these documents to the trek leader at the base camp.
How to Get Fit for the Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek
The Deoriatal - Chandrashila trek, although graded as moderate, will have a fair share of challenges for sure. The climb at Chandrashila can be a bit tough, especially if you have planned your trek during December, March, and early April months when it’s snowing. Therefore, it’s important to stay fit before you start trekking.
Walking along the arduous trail requires immense cardiovascular strength and so, you can build that strength by jogging every day. Begin your jogging exercise at a slow pace and then increase your speed with each day. You must do a mix of speed and distance targets to be ready for trekking at high altitudes.
If this is the first time you would be getting into an exercise regime you must plan your distance targets in the below-mentioned ways:
- Aim at completing 5km in 45 minutes as a beginner.
- Slowly increase the distance to 7km and aim at completing this distance in 63 minutes.
- Make sure that you are fit enough to walk at least 10km at a stretch before you go for the trek, and aim to complete this distance in 90 minutes.
- Also makes sure that you are able to jog for 35 min as you complete 5 km that is before you get off for the trek. But, if you are above the age of 45, you can aim to complete a distance of 3km in 29 minutes before you get going for the trek.
Core Body Strength
Climbing along with your backpack will require a lot of body strength and strong limbs. So, work on your thigh muscle strength by completing 3 sets of squats with 15 reps in each set. As a beginner, you can start with 3 sets of squats with 8 reps in each set and gradually increase the reps and reach your aim in 3 weeks.
If you want to trek comfortably, then work on improving your flexibility. Doing some stretching workouts, for instance, stretching your shoulders, hamstrings, lower back muscles, quadriceps, and the hip flexors. Following this regime will help you stay in perfect shape before you start your trek.
The Chandrashila trek is one that is impossible to forget, one that you’ll be longing to go to even if you’re just done, the memories of which will stay with you long after it’s over. So pack your bags, lace up your boots, and go for the Chandrashila trek!