Deoriatal Chandrashila

The Best Trek For Summit Views

Dates full? Check out the alternative - Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass trek gives you spectacular mountain views right from Day 1! You even see the entire face of Mt Nanda Devi - India's highest mountain.Read about the trek here.

The Best Trek For Summit Views

Seeing great mountain views on a winter trek is not easy. You have to get to a high vantage point to catch such a view. In winter, most such vantage points are rare and even if accessible, they are usually buried under deep snow. 

This is why at Indiahikes we treasure the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek so much. 

The Chandrashila summit is a vantage point that stands unparalleled among our treks. From the top of the summit, you see perhaps the greatest mountain views of our Indian Himalayas. It is like a grand feast — there is so much to take in that you cannot take all of it in. It is an experience many trekkers cannot forget.

What do you see? From your left is the Gangotri range of peaks, Mt Thalaysagar, the Kedarnath and the Kedar dome. Mandani Parbat and Janhukut. The imposing Chaukhamba is right in front. Most of them are over 7,000 meters tall. 

On your right are the Gauri Parbat, Hathi Parbat and Dunagiri. And then right ahead standing against the skyline in India’s tallest mountain, Mt Nanda Devi. Trekkers find it hard to believe that they are seeing Mt Nanda Devi. 

If that’s not enough, to Mt Nanda Devi’s right, etched against the skyline are Mt Nanda Ghunti and Mt Trishul. Two of the most beautiful mountain summits in our country. 

It is not just the grand views. In winter, the trek in itself is special. The trail snaking through soft snow under the canopy of oak and rhododendron trees is almost dream-like. The Deoriatal lake is surrounded by snow, but looming over the lake is Mt Chaukhamba. 

For us, just to catch the sight of Mt Chaukhamba from the shores of the Deoriatal is worth doing the entire trek.  

Besides Deoriatal, camping on snow at the campsite of Baniya Kund is a delight. The dense forests leading to the campsite are something that we don’t get on other treks. And everything changes with the canopy of white everywhere. 

Having said all that, the biggest thrill of the trek has to be the climb from Chopta to the Chandrashila summit. In winter, with snow all around, climbing to the summit is an adventure that people do not forget in a lifetime. We have noticed trekkers breaking down in tears at the summit, such as the feeling of elation and a sense of accomplishment. 

There are only a handful of winter treks in our country. Deoriatal Chandrashila would be one of the better ones on our list. Do not miss out on this opportunity. 

Seeing great mountain views on a winter trek is not easy. You have to get to a high vantage point to catch such a view. In winter, most such vantage points are rare and even if accessible, they are usually buried under deep snow. 

This is why at Indiahikes we treasure the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek so much. 

Deoriatal Chandrashila Videos

Watch these videos to prepare well for your trek.

Campsites at a Glance

At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love.

The beautiful campsite of Baniya Kund in a forest setting. Picture by Jothiranjan

Syalmi Campsite is in a field overlooking the hills. You are the only team camping at this location. You get the freedom to explore around and be with yourself. Picture by Jothiranjan

Banniya Kund campsite comes after a good day's climb. Don't miss walking barefoot or sitting on this lush green grass near the campsite. Picture by Vinayak Oak

Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder

Trekking transforms lives. It has changed my life completely. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, all of them have been impacted greatly. The transformations have been profound and irreversible. 

I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships, and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences. 

I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.

In the mountains new professions, new economies and new businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.  

Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine. 

Expert Speak

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, went on this exploratory trek almost a decade ago. He is a veteran of the trekking community in India. He’s an expert when it comes to the trek. Here’s Arjun talking about one of the Best Treks for Summit Views in the country.

What I Like and Don’t Like About the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek

What I Like About the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, went on this exploratory trek almost a decade ago. He is a veteran of the trekking community in India. He’s an expert when it comes to the trek. Here’s Arjun talking about one of the Best Treks for Summit Views in the country.

1. My First Unexpected Experience of Chandrashila

Much before we started Indiahikes, I had read a couple of trek journals about the trek. I knew it was a pilgrim trail from Chopta until the Tungnath temple, only a 4 km walk. 

I had read people would stay overnight at the Tungnath temple premises. In the early morning, they would go to Chandrashila to catch the sunrise.

In my mind, Chandrashila was a two-kilometre further trek from Tungnath. There were some good views to offer but that was it. And yes, I had heard a lot about the beautiful meadows around Chopta. I didn’t know how this qualified for a trek.

I think my innocent pre-Indiahikes mind didn’t fathom what was written in these journals. Because none of them painted the correct picture of the trek. And none of them talked about the combination of two treks, the Deoriatal and the Chandrashila, and how put together, it creates one of the best treks in our country.

I curse myself and these journals roundly now. I wish I had done this trek earlier, much earlier.

Note: Tungnath temple opens only in summer and closes by Diwali.

Tungnath Temple is one of the highest Shiva Temple in the world. Picture by the Indiahikes Team

2. A trail blazing with rhododendrons

I timed the trek for spring the first time I did the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek. The moment I stepped on the trek, I knew I was onto something special. The Deoriatal Chandrashila here was the Goechala trek of the west. Pink, red and scarlet Rhododendrons bloomed in vivid colours all along the trek.

I was a bit stunned at the density of the rhododendrons on the trek.

Near Chopta, at some spots an entire section of the mountainside was red. We ran other great treks in the Himalayas. But none of them came close to the amount of rhodos that I saw on this trek. It was a feast!

Pink Rhododendrons are in full bloom along the Chandrashila trail. Picture by Yogesh Shinde

3. Birdlife on the trek

I still have an old video that I was recording at Deoriatal. We have never published that video. Because in that video you cannot hear me at all. My voice is drowned by the chirping of birds. We tried changing locations for that video, but we gave up soon. The birds were everywhere!

Later, after we talked a lot about the birds on this trek, many of our birder trekkers went on this trek. They have only one thing to say about this trek. This is the trek to see birds. It is one of the Best Himalayan treks for Bird Watching

Other treks have birds. But none of them will come close to what you see on the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek. There are at least 30 – 40 varieties to see on this trek.

I am not a birder, but I have done this trek thrice — in all seasons. Every time, I have seen Monals very close to the trail. For me, Monals, the state bird of Uttarakhand, are prettier than the peacock and perhaps even more colourful.

Getting a chance to see Monals would be a good reason for me to do the trek again. I have rarely seen Monals on other treks.

A collage of a few of the impressive Himalayan birds spotted on the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek. Picture by the Indiahikes Team

4. I remember the moment. I had just stepped on the edges of Deoriatal.

And there it was right in front as if rising from the edges of the lake the entire massif of Mt Chaukhamba. I looked around. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the same sight. No one could take their eyes off Mt Chaukhamba.

You can ask me to do a lot of treks. But the sight of Mt Chaukhamba from the shores of Deoriatal is something I am not willing to exchange for any other views.

A picture of the Chaukhamba Massif was taken from the Deoriatal lake. Picture by Manas Chowdhury

5. The climb to Chandrashila summit from Tungnath is anything but a walk.

I am not saying it is difficult, but it is a nice thrill to top the summit. It took me a moment to grapple with the sight of the summit.

Right in front of me, at a touching distance, were not one, not two, but all the major summits of our Greater Himalayas.

I ticked them off. Jaunli, Mt Jogin, Mt Thalaysagar, Kedarnath and the Kedar Dome, Sumeru, Bhagirathi I , Mandani Parbat, of course Mt Chaukhamba I, II, III and IV. These were 7,000-meter summits!

When I turned my head to the other side, there she was India’s highest mountain — Mt Nanda Devi right in front. Then, to almost add a cherry on top was our eternal favourite Mt Trishul along with Mt Nanda Ghunti. To the left were Gauri Parbat, Hathi Parbat, Dunagiri.

For a long time, I stood transfixed on the spot.

On other treks, I had seen great mountain views. But never so many of them, so close and from such a great vantage point.

The trail is covered with snow towards Tungnath temple during the winter and spring seasons. Picture by Avijit Jamloki

What I Don't Like About the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek

1. The trek had better campsites earlier

When we could camp at Rohini Bugyal and the Deoriatal lake premises. But now, because of government regulations, camping at all our old and great campsites is not allowed.

That’s something I miss about this trek. On the other hand, the new campsite at Syalmi is not bad.

2. I have mixed feelings about the crowd on the trail

I’ll be honest, I was expecting the crowd of pilgrims moving towards Tungnath to be a bother. But strangely, it felt nice to be the trekker in this motley group. I would often be asked about the distance and how long it would take to get to Tungnath. Those small conversations made that section of the trek a whole lot of fun.

While I don’t like crowds on a trail, here, somehow I was ok with it.

A blooming Rhododendron tree on the way from Chopta to Tungnath. The contrast between the white snow and the pink rhododendron is simply stunning.

Picture by: Yogesh Shinde

Rhododendron Show in Spring

Know Your Trek

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Trek Trivia

Things Nobody Tells You About Deoriatal Chandrashila

Did you know Deoriatal Chandrashila is one of the best treks for birders?

Given that the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek is in the heart of the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary, it has a few of the most heavily forested trails. Along with the forests, come a plethora of birds!

Most of our birders choose this trail to catch sight of a few rare birds -- including the gorgeous Himalayan Monal! The section from Chopta to Chandrashila is especially well-known for monal sightings.

Watch the video here, where we interview expert bird photographer, Ajit Hota, who shares tips on when and where to spot these birds!

Lord Rama’s Meditation on the peak

An interesting myth is the story of Lord Rama meditating on top of the Chandrashila peak.

After defeating Ravana in the battle of Lanka, Lord Rama was finding a way to atone for his sins. It is believed that he decided to meditate on the Chandrashila peak.

This was Lord Rama’s way of engaging in severe penance after the Ramayana.

Origin of the Tunganath temple

Another fascinating legend is that of the Tunganath temple, the highest Shiva temple in the world.  

After the Mahabharata war, 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 blissful Tunganath temple.

The Pandavas were thus freed from their sins.

Story of the Deoriatal Lake

Anyone on the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek would notice the captivating Deoriatal Lake which 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 water. 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.

Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India

We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative

We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.

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