When it comes to weekend getaways, a lot of us want to look at the less-explored options for all the variety and peace they offer. This trip from Delhi to Deoria Tal, Uttarakhand was a similar one and proved to be quite a delight with a view of the Himalayas, a good trekking experience and a brilliant feeling to go back with.
The idea of this trip sprung from a silly promise made to a friend to cover 14 less-explored places, with Deoria Tal being the first one on the list. Nothing was decided till 7 PM in the evening and suddenly by 7:30 we had 6 tickets booked in the Mussoorie Express a train that left later that night. Yes, that’s what happens when you have impulsive friends who give in to your whims and fancies and make such brilliant trips happen!
Getting to Sari Village, Uttarakhand
This train, Mussoorie Express (Train no 14041), leaves Old Delhi Station at around 9.30 PM (also stops at Ghaziabad at 11 PM). Since this train usually runs a little late, We reached Haridwar station at about 7 in the morning. While this train takes 9 hours to reach Haridwar, it is still a worthy option since it is an overnight train. There are other options as well (both trains and buses which run in the day) which take about 4-5 hours for the same. Once we had reached Haridwar, our idea was to take a private bus till Guptakashi or Rudraprayag and figure the way ahead. Another option was taking a taxi but the only taxi union of Haridwar was charging a price (around INR 6500 for a four seater) that was out of our budget.
We decided to try our luck at the UPSRTC Roadways bus stand, which is right outside the railway station, before heading to the private bus stand only to find that there was only one roadways bus till Rudraprayag that left around 6:30 – 7:00 in the morning. But there was a local taxi stand there where you can find shared taxis running to Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Agastmuni, Ukhimath and other places. We spoke to one of the drivers and he agreed to take us to Sari village in his Trax 10-Seater if we booked it for INR 4000. A word of caution here – The cheaper taxi which we hired wasn’t quite comfortable. If you have back problems, we suggest you to take a better car instead.
We stopped after Devprayag for some refreshments and the Aloo-pyaaz Paranthes with Chai seemed like a complete treat there. We reached Rudraprayag around 1:30 PM and were delighted to find the spot where Jim Corbett killed the man-eating tiger of Rudraprayag. Of course another delight was the sangam of two rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini.
For lunch, our driver suggested a place right outside the town of Rudraprayag which is famous for ‘Machhi bhaat’ (Fresh water fish cooked according to the local recipe served with rice). For vegetarians there was dal bhaat which was equally scrumptious. This was our last stop before Sari Village, and it took us 2.5-3 hours more to reach Sari Village.
From Sari Village, we got our first glimpse of the snowclad mountains and a peek at the chopta village. We met Rakesh ji here who agreed to organize the stay, food and camp fire for us at Deoria Tal. We found that even Chopta Village was a good alternate option and was just a half hour of drive from Sari Village.
Trek to Deoria Tal and back
After taking a short tea break at Sari Village, we began our ascent to Deoria Tal around 6 PM. The climb uphill is quite steep but completely doable. Though horses are also available here in case someone is feeling unwell and for INR 200-250 you can take a horse ride till the Tal or send your luggage up. For amateur trekkers it will take around 1.5 – 2 hours, with breaks, to reach the destination.
When we reached Deoria Tal, all we could see in the moonlight was the lake with the reflection of Himalayas that surrounded it and snow all around us.
Rakesh ji had arranged for snacks, tea and campfire at the campsite which was five minutes away from the lake and the night was spent gazing at the stars and the town lights down below. Next morning we woke up early and got a few hours alone in the lap of nature.
We explored the area, went on a couple of short treks, found a machaan (a tree house like structure) with a great view of the area. This machaan is located right in front of the forest guest house.
Around 11 we came back to the camp, had breakfast and started our trek downhill. It took us around 45 – 60 minutes and we also stopped at a temple on our way back. Another short tea break at Sari Village and we were ready for the beautiful journey back to Haridwar from where we had to catch the 11 PM train back for Delhi.
Tungnath and Chandrashila kept for another time soon, when the snow melts and the way is clear. But Deoria Tal had to be done in off season, with chill in the air and snow on the ground, with the reflection of snow clad Himalayas in the magnificent, magical, beautiful lake.
Additional treks which are possible here:
- Deoria Tal to Chopta Village: Takes about 6-7 hours to cover a distance of 12 km
- A trek from Ukkimath to Sari is also possible
Mythological belief :
(Told to us by localites and verified by various sources on the web)
The famous incidence of ‘Yakshaprashna’ of Mahabharata is believed to have happened at this particular lake only. When pandavas were on exile they came across this lake and decided to drink water. As soon as the brothers drank water from the lake they all fainted and fell on the ground. Then Yudhishthir, the eldest one, came and negotiated with yaksha (a mythological creature and the spirit guarding the lake) that every correct answer he gives one of his brother should come back to life. He gave all correct answers and all the pandavas came back to life. Since that time the water of this lake is considered unfit for drinking.
In another tale it is believed to be the lake where all the gods used to come down for leisure time. Hence the name, Deoria Tal.
How to reach
- Direct bus from ISBT Anand Vihar, Delhi to GuptaKashi leaves at around 10 PM. Get down at Kund and take a bus or shared taxi to Ukkimath and another shared taxi to Sari.
- Take a night train to Haridwar (Same as mentioned earlier in this article). From there go to the private bus stand which is 15 minutes of walk or INR 20 rickshaw ride from railway station. From Haridwar, take a bus or taxi to reach Sari. Follow the route as given below.
Haridwar (bus to Rudraprayag to be taken from here) >> Rishikesh >> Devprayag >> Srinagar >> Rudraprayag (change bus here)>> Agastmuni >> Ukkimath (change bus here)>> Sari
Here’s the route on Google Maps
Once you reach Sari, you need to trek to reach Deoria Tal
- Stay at Sari, there are a few guest houses there. Start the trek in the morning.
- Camp at Deoria Tal. Negi ji provides tents with sleeping bags and you can pick the equipment from Sari. He will charge around INR 500 per person (total INR 3000 for 6 people) for stay, dinner and breakfast. Negi ji – 09410241543.
- Stay at tents provided by Rakesh ji. He will provide pre-pitched swiss cottage tents with 1-3 beds in one tent. Also there is a facility of semi permanent toilets in his camp, solar lights, camp fire and a kitchen where rakesh ji and didi will cook dinner, breakfast, Maggi and tea for you. The total came out to INR 600 per person including evening snacks, tea, dinner, breakfast, campfire and stay. (Rakesh Tourist Lodge : 09411534715, 09456534062)
What to carry
- Torch, since there is no electricity up there at Deoria Tal
- Medicines, especially the ones for motion sickness and vertigo. Volini or other muscle relaxant and a mosquito repellent like odomos.
- Woollens – 2 sweaters, a jacket, cap, muffler, ear muffs and socks definitely required if you are planning on going anytime between December and February.
Photo Credits: Sourav Ghosh