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Why Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek is terrific in Jan-Feb

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Why Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek is terrific in Jan-Feb

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By Latika Payak

Deoriatal-Chandrashila is one of the newest treks to do in peak winters. It was opened only in the winter of 2022. Yet, in this short time frame, it has captured the imagination of trekkers.

This photo story gives you a glimpse of how winters look on the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek.

A Delightful Forest Section

The Deoriatal Chandrashila trek is in the heart of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, which is heavily forested.

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Here you see the trail, after a snowfall, going towards Tungnath. Photo by Chandrasekhar.

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This trek is also known for its rhododendron trees. Snowflakes settle lightly on the leaves of these rhododendron trees. This lends a Christmassy feel to the entire setting. Photo by Chandrasekhar.

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The trek is terrific even without snow. Walking through such a dense Himalayan forest filled with oak and rhododendron trees is an unforgettable experience. Photo by Indiahikes staff photographer Jothiranjan.

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Walking just above the forests of Brujgali on the way to the Chandrashila Summit

The Deoriatal Lake

This is another highlight of the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek. At 7,800 feet in the Garhwal Himalayas, this lake has a unique story of its own.

As the legend goes, four brothers of the Pandava clan once visited the pristine lake during their exile. The lake was then a bathing spot for gods, guarded by a crane -- Yaksha. Despite Yaksha’s warnings, the brothers decided to sip the water of the lake. As a consequence, Yaksha punished them, leading to their immediate death.

The four brothers were then resurrected back to life, only when the fifth brother, Yudishtir, arrived and apologized to the crane.

For trekkers, the view of Mt Chaukhamba towering over the lake is what stuns them.

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Trekkers love watching the reflection of mountain summits on Deoriatal. Mt Chaukhamba on the right towers over the setting. Photo from Indiahikes Archive.

The view of Chaukhamba, just as you turn towards Deoriatal lake is a shocker. "It takes literally just 2 hours of climbing from the base camp to come up close with mountains like Kedarnath, Kedar Dome, the ever-looming Chaukhamba massif, Sumeru Parbat, Mandani Parbat and more. From Deoriatal, the view is absolutely breath-taking!" says Swathi Chatrapathy, Head of Digital Content at Indiahikes.

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The jaw-dropping view of Mt. Chaukhamba from Deoriatal. Photo Milind Tambe

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Trekkers love the exhilirating climb on snow towards the Chandrashila Summit

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The fairy tale setting of trekking on snow can captivate any trekker

Climbing the Chandrashila Summit

The Chandrashila summit is a vantage point that stands unparalleled among our treks. From Chandrashila you see the greatest mountain views of our Indian Himalayas.

From the summit you get a 360-degree view of the mountains of Garhwal and Kumaon. Mt Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Kamet, Dunagiri, Chaukhamba, Kedar dome, Thalaysagar, Gangotri ranges, Jahanukut and also Mt Nanda Devi, India's highest summit.

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Mt Kedarnath and Kedar Dome from Chandrashila summit

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The other grand mountain view from the Chandrashila summit

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On the other side you see the entire range of Garhwal Himalayas, including Mt Nanda Devi, India's highest mountain.

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In winters, the entire face of the Chandrashila summit is covered in deep, white snow. Photo from Indiahikes Archives

It's not easy to reach the summit of Chandrashila in peak winters. Fresh snow makes it tricky. The experience is like being on an expedition.

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Snow adds to the thrill of the summit climb. The challenges make it feel like an expedition. Photo by Sumanth Thaduru.

Campsites on the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek

You start the trek from the Indiahikes Community Campus at Sari at 6,560 ft. We built this campus in 2020. We love the campus setting. The design of the campus makes trekkers interact with each other much before the trek starts.

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The Indiahikes Campus at Sari. Photo by Jothiranjan.

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The Baniakund campsite on snow. Trekkers love the setting.

The Trekking Emotion

It can be very overwhelming for trekkers once they reach the summit. Trekkers most often break down and cry when they reach the summit. The setting and magnitude of the occasion is immense.

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It can get overwhelming at the top of the Chandrashila summit, at 12,083 ft. This is why many trekkers break into tears after reaching the summit. Photo by Vivek Saini.

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At the summit, a shrine of Shiva. It is believed that Lord Ram built this temple to atone for his sins of killing Raavan in the war. Photo by Bhargavi N.

The Ancient Tungnath Temple

At the foot of Chandrashilsa, is Tungnath, the highest Shiva temple in the world.  It is one of the Panch Kedars, and people from across the country flock to this temple to pay homage.

This temple is famous because according to the legend, after the war of Mahabharata, Lord Shiva was upset with the Pandavas for their gruesome killing. The Pandavas found a way to please, venerate and celebrate Lord Shiva; they built the Tunganath temple.

The Pandavas were thus freed from their sins.

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In winters the deity moves from Tungnath temple to Makkumath. It returns to the temple only in April. Photo from Indiahikes Archives.

Not many talk about Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek in winter. Yet, it is gaining popularity very quickly since its opening. It is best done in the months of January and February. Trekkers must not miss out on this small window of experiencing this trek in winter.

Have you done the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek in winter> Write to me on latika@indiahikes.com to share your thoughts :)

Latika Payak

Senior Content Writer

About the author

Latika is a Senior Content Writer who started trekking after joining Indiahikes. She has trekked to Roopkund, Hampta Pass, Kedarkantha, Dayara Bugyal, Tarsar Marsar, and Har Ki Dun.
Before joining Indiahikes in 2014, she was a lifestyle journalist with print and online media.
Latika is always hunting for great stories hidden in the folds of the mountains. Horror stories from ancient routes and villages of the Himalayas are her favourite. If you have an interesting story from your trek, share it with her on latika@indiahikes.com.

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