A Memorable Trip To Deoria Tal-Tunganath And Chandrashila Peak Trek
Lord Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism and he is considered as the “destroyer and transformer” of the Universe. He is also considered as the most powerful and most fierce deity among Trimurti (Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva). The Shaivism Sect of Hinduism considers Lord Shiva as the Supreme being who creates, protects and transforms the universe. It is believed that Lord Shiva resides on Mount Kailash in Himalaya Mountain Range.
There are a lot of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in India as it is the birthplace of Hinduism Religion. The Twelve Jyotirlingas are major temples dedicated to Lord Shiva but apart from Jyotirlingas, there are five sacred temples dedicated to Lord Shiva called Panch Kedar (Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva). Access to Panch Kedar temple is very tough as it requires a lot of trekking at a high altitude and these five temples remain closed for the half year. This year I got chance to visit one of the five sacred temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in Himalaya i.e the Tunganath Temple. Not only I visited the holy shrine of Tunganath but also did the famous trekking of Chandrashila Peak and Deoria Tal. In this article, I would share my trip experience to Tunganath Temple and my trekking to Chandrashila Peak and Deoria Tal. Apart from this I will also be sharing do and don’t which needs to be kept in mind while doing Chandrashila Trek and Deoria Tal Trek. I hope this article would serve as a guide for future pilgrims and travelers planning to visit Tunganath Temple and Chandrashila Peak.
My Trip to Tunganath Temple and Chandrashila Peak
Now days trekking allures many young folks and Mountains of India provides an ample opportunity to fulfill this desire. Our discussion also started with trekking as we were passing every weekend either by shopping, sleeping, eating or partying. I am not much fond of shopping but to plan a trip to the Himalayas requires a mammoth effort. You need a group of like-minded people who all are available on weekends. Even if everything goes fine, there is a confusion of which place to visit as there are hundreds of beautiful places in the Himalayas. Last year I visited Nainital which is also known as the Queen of Lakes, Trimbakeshwar Temple and completed the fantastic trip of Leh-Ladakh. This year I was again eagerly waiting for a trip but due to leaves (Yeah, IT job sucks sometimes) or some other issues plan was getting postponed. Finally, I decided that a day off along with weekend is more than enough for a good short trip.
Once it was decided that we are going for a trip, now the major hurdle was which place to go? I wanted to visit some unique place which is less conquered by others and is yet to be accomplished by many. After brainstorming for two days and doing hundreds of searches I came up with Tunganath-Chandrashila as it was serving two purposes. First, I was planning to visit the Holy Shrine of Kedarnath Temple but due to a shortage of leaves and long trekking, it was not feasible so Tunganath Temple was a better option as it is a part of Panch Kedar Temple. Second, the Tunganath-Chandrashila Trip was giving us another opportunity for trekking. Keeping these things in mind we finally decided that we will be visiting Chopta this weekend to complete the Tunganath-Chandrashila-Deoria Tal trek.
Read Also: Bike Trip To Badrinath Temple
Importance of Tunganath Temple and Chandrashila Peak and Mythologies Associated
Before proceeding further let me give a brief information of places we were about to visit. The Tungnath Temple holds the record of the Highest Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Tunganath Temple is situated at an elevation of 3680meter above sea level i.e. 12000ft whereas the Shrine of Kedarnath is at an elevation of 3,553 meters. It is also the part of Panch Kedar Temple (other temples being Kedarnath (3584m), Rudranath(2286m), Madmaheshwar(3289m), Kalpeshwar(2134m)). According to Hindu Mythology and the story shared by the local priest of the temple, Pandavas came to Kedarnath for the atonement of the sins committed during the Great War of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva eluded Pandavas in form of a bull and took shelter at Kedarnath. On being found by Pandavas he dived into the ground leaving behind his hump. It is this hump which is worshiped at Kedarnath Temple. Arms of bull (Lord Shiva) appeared at Tungnath. His face appeared at Rudranath. The stomach is believed to appear at Madmaheshwar and his hair appeared at Kalpeshwar. The young priest of the temple also informed about the heavy snowfall in winter season due to which temple gates are closed for pilgrims.
The Chandrashila Peak is ahead of Tunganath Temple. Chandrashila means “Moon-Rock” and it is located at an elevation of 4,000 meters (13,400 feet). Chandrashila Summit is very famous as it gives a clear view of some of the great Peaks if Himalaya Mountain Range likes Bandarpoonch and Chaukhamba Peaks. According to one of the popular legend, Chandrashila Peak is the place where Lord Rama meditated after defeating the demon-king Ravana. Deoria Tal is also believed to be present from the Mahabharata time and Deoria Tal was the lake where Pandavas were asked questions by Yaksha.
Also Read: Bike Ride to Chanshal Pass Covered in Snow
Beginning of Tunganath-Chandrashila Trip (Day 0-1)
Once the place and dates were decided, all it required was to pack our bags and start exploring the mighty Himalayas. We all decided to take a day’s leave i.e. on Monday and to start the trip by Friday 4:00 PM. We booked the cab from Gurgaon but a trip is not memorable until it is delayed in the beginning. Gurgaon, famous for its traffic was the main culprit here as the driver took more than 2hours to reach our office. Finally, the trip officially started at 8 pm and we decided to do an overnight journey. We crossed Rishikesh at 4 AM in the morning, Devprayag (confluence of river Bhagirathi and Alaknanda and Start of Ganges River) at 6 am and Rudraprayag (Confluence of Alaknanda River and Mandakini River) at 8 am morning. Rudraprayag is about 384 Km from Delhi and after driving all night we finally reached our hotel Shangri-La which is one of the most demanded hotels in Rudraprayag. We decided to rest for 4 hours and then start our first trekking expedition i.e. Deoria Tal Trekking.
The Deoria Tal Trekking
Deoria Tal or Deoria Lake is situated at an elevation and 2438 meters and trekking to Deoria Tal is considered as moderate level. The lake is situated approximately 54 Km from Rudraprayag and a motorable road is available till Sari Village. It took us about 2hours from our hotel to reach Sari village. Roads are quite in bad condition because of landslides and one is bound to get into traffic while passing horrifying turns. Make sure the driver hired is experienced as our was not and he was feeling sleepy which kept us awake all night. Actual trek to Deoria Tal begins from Sari Village and the trek length is nearly 2.5 Km. Sari is a beautiful village which serves as the starting point of Deoria Tal Trek. The path leading to Deoria Tal is well paved and food and other eatable products are available in Sari Village. It took us 2 hours to reach to Deoria Tal. Once you reach the Deoria Tal you’ll realize its beauty and feel the worth of walking through steep trek and in the rainy climate. The Maggie breaks in between boosted our energy and taste and added colors to our trekking.
Deoria Tal is surrounded by scenic mountains and breathe taking greenery. We were welcomed by rain as soon as we reached the point which was like icing on the cake. It is advised to spend a night at Deoria Tal as the morning view of the lake is mesmerizing and one can see the shadow of mighty Chaukhamba Peak in the lake. Beside the lake, there were many tents of trekking group but we avoided to rent one. Since we were already tired of continuous night journey and all my friends were in dire need of comfortable sleep we decided to go back to our hotel. Also, next day we have to start our trekking to Tunganath and Chandrashila Peak and it was another reason why we avoided to spend the night at Deoria Tal. But if you have sufficient days on hand I will recommend spending the night at camp besides Deoria Tal. After an hour photography break and viewing of beautiful Himalayan Lake, we returned to Sari Village and drove back to our Hotel in Rudraprayag.
Tunganath Temple and Chandrashila Peak Trek (Day 2)
Next day we woke up early and started preparing ourselves for the much awaited Chandrashila and Tunganath Trek. We left our hotel at 8 AM and followed the same route that we used for Deoria Tal Trek. After continued driving for three hours on Ukhimath-Chopta Road, we reached the starting point of Tunganath-Chandrashila Trek. The road to Chopta is beautiful as it takes you in between lavish green forest with fresh air. We captured video of the road as we wanted to capture the beautiful way to heaven and the assistance of Google Lady (Google Maps) was much appreciated.
Tunganth Trek is a 3km trek and many dhabas and hotels are available for staying and eating purpose. We rented polythene raincoat as it was heavily raining along with hail storm. Pony service is also available on this route as many pilgrims come here to worship Lord Shiva and they are not physically fit as youngsters. Trek route of Tunganath Temple is well paved and has many small temples dedicated to different gods of Hinduism. After trekking for nearly 2 hours we reached Devdarshini from where we saw the first glimpse of Tunganath Temple. We reached temple at 1 PM. The serene beauty of temple and nature can drive anybody crazy and truly is an epitome of sanity and natural beauty.
The Chandrashila Trek is 1km ahead of Tunganath Temple Trek and we decided to cover it with same zeal and vigor but the continuous rain made it quite difficult to trek. Anyways rain and freezing wind failed to deter us from our path and after another 1.5 hours of trekking, we finally reached to Chandrashila Peak. The trek to Chandrashila Peak is moderate but its incredible beauty makes it an experience of a lifetime. After reaching Chandrashila point we enjoyed the picturesque view of peaks and one of my friends also performed Headstand (crazy people). Jokes apart it is a place wherein one can enjoy nature to its fullest extent. I mean you are in the middle of the lush green mountains with clouds passing by which makes you feel delighted and make you realize that there is truly some power bestowed upon us in form of nature and we should respect it.
After taking some stunning photos of top and surrounding mountains we decided to return as it was already freezing and rain was getting more and more unpredictable. It took four hours to return to our hotel in Rudraprayag. We were already exhausted by the trekking but in our room, we were still discussing the beauty of the Himalayas and the trek we completed.
Return to Gurgaon from Tunganath-Chandrashila Trek (Day 3)
Next day we had to return back to the concrete buildings of Delhi-NCR (although no one was in the mood). We packed our bags and bid farewell to the Himalayas and its beautiful hamlet hoping to come back soon. After 4-5 hours of driving, we crossed Roorkee and started feeling the heat and humidity which was absent on our two-day trip. By the evening we reached Gurgaon with plenty of memories in our heart and mind.
Do’s & Don’t for Deoria Tal-Tunganath Temple-Chandrashila Peak Trek
- The best time to do Tunganath-Chandrashila Trek is from March to September and try to avoid the rainy season. Rainy season causes landslides which can seriously derail the plan.
- Make sure the Driver is well trained to drive on curves and hairpin bends of Himalayan terrain. Make sure the driver has plenty of sleep and try not to distract him.
- Try to keep one pair of raincoat while trekking Tunganath-Chandrashila trek as the weather in this area of Himalayas is notorious.
- Keep sufficient cash as very less ATM’s are present in this area and on a bad day, it can cause a serious problem.
- Cellular phone connectivity is good but Airtel Network connectivity is best (Airtel Girl is right indeed).
- Food items are overpriced but it can be understood as it is the only source of income for local people. If you want to know better about the history of the temple or the place try befriending some locals.
- If you want to add more experience to your trekking then please carry your own tents in this trek. Morning view of any place situated in Himalaya is spectacular.
- Please try to keep Himalayan Region clean. It is our property and we must protect it. Avoid throwing water bottles and plastic wrappers.
In case any of my readers has any query, kindly let me know via comments and I will be glad to help. Thanks for reading this article and hope I will come with my next traveling experience.