Why Deoriatal – Chandrashila is a great spring trek
Deoriatal is in itself a gorgeous trek. The forest trails and the summit climb are unmatched! If you add to this the soft snow, colourful rhododendrons and the numerous species of birds found here, you will never want to leave this piece of heaven! There are three things that are really stunning about the Deoriatal-Chandrashila peak trek.
Forests blooming with Himalayan rhododendrons in March and April
To begin with, Deoriatal has the best forest trail amongst all our treks. If you take the section between Deoriatal lake and Bhrujgali, it is sometimes stunning to imagine how much variety jungles can be in. There are sections with thick wooded trees, there are moss-covered trails through enveloping tunnels and there are trails that weave through clearings in the jungles. Pines, oaks and maple are few of the trees you see in abundance.
And then the rhododendrons! These trees set this entire trek apart from most of the treks in our country. These trees bloom once a year in spring and they’re a treat to the eyes! It’s almost hard to believe that they’re real.
Grand summit views
As you climb up to Chandrashila, one by one, all the major summits of Western and Eastern Uttarakhand pop into view. When we say all, we mean all. And as everyone knows, the summits seen from Uttarakhand are the tallest ones in India. Nowhere on a trek that is so easily approachable do you get to see all these summits so close. Standing on top of Chandrashila summit is a blessing.
There are thousands of birds to sight and photograph. If there was a birders’ trail, then it has got to be Deoriatal. It is often a wonder why people travel to Sikkim, to Goechala, to photograph birds. Deoriatal has more birds to show in one day than the entire Goechala trek. Click here to see the many birds you can spot on the trail.
Summit view from the Chandrashila peak
Day 1: Reach Sari; 7-8 hours drive from Haridwar. Transport will be organized from Haridwar Railway station at 6:30 am. Cab costs approximately Rs.5,500 per vehicle (shared among 5-6 trekkers)
Day 2: Sari (6,601 ft) to Deoriatal (7,841 ft); 1 hour, 3 km
Day 3: Deoriatal (7,841 ft) to Syalmi(8,790 ft) via Rohini Bugyal; 7 km, 5 hours
Day 4: Syalmi to Baniya Kund; 3 km, 2 hours
Day 5: Baniya Kund(8,790 ft) to Tungnath and Chandrashila (12,083 ft) and back to Baniya Kund; 4 hours
Day 6: Drive from Baniya Kund to Haridwar. You will reach Haridwar between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm. Cab costs will be approximately Rs 6,000 per vehicle on the way back as the drive from Chopta increases the distance by another 20 kms.
Please note that you will be staying at a guest house in Sari and Baniya Kund
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
Day 1: Reach Sari
Sari, the base camp of the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek, is an 8 hour drive from Haridwar. The journey is picturesque, as you pass through Devaprayag, the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi to form river Ganga. The entire journey traverses the mountain side, with the river flowing below you. Quick tip: Pick the window seat on the right to enjoy the views! Sari is a small village with around 100 houses. If you reach Sari when the sun is still out, go down to the village and walk around. The paddy fields are so prettily laid out that they almost beckon to you. There is a small school amidst the fields. This school was built in 1947 and is the only school at Sari. The views around the village are gorgeous.
- Altitude: 6,601 ft (2012 m)
- Time taken: 7-8 hours drive from Haridwar. Transport from Haridwar Railway station at 6.30 AM.
Day 2: Sari to Deoriatal
- Altitude: 6,601 ft (2012 m) to 7,841 ft (2,390 m)
- Time taken: 2 hours, 3 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Start from the village climbing a few stairs and Gradual climb on a well-defined rocky trail, which becomes steeper after the first 20 minutes. Short flat walk to the camp site after an hour of climbing.
- Water sources: None. Carry around 1 litre of water from Sari.
The adventure starts from Sari. There is a sign-board indicating the trek route to Deoriatal in the heart of the small market in Sari, next to Hira and Murali Singh Negi Tourist House. The sign board says Devariya Tal, which is an alternative name for the lake. It’s called so because it’s believed that devis (Goddesses) once came to the lake to take a dip. Alternatively, one can also start the trek from Ukhimath by taking another trekking route over the mountain for an 8 km steep incline trek to Sari. However, if you are short of time, this can be avoided. You can instead proceed to Sari via road.
A well-defined rocky trail is laid here. This trail begins with a gradual climb up the mountain. After approximately 15 minutes, you will come across village houses and an old local temple. Take in the pretty view of vast farmlands from here. Ten minutes into the hike, the trail starts to become steeper. The forest has been cleared here, so you will get a good view all around. At the valley facing end, you can see the summit of Chandrashila and below it, the holy Tungnath temple. You may need binoculars to spot the temple. The trail is well-defined all the way to Deoriatal. Ensure that you take the trail towards the left. From here, you will need to follow the trail that winds up the mountain ridge. After a steady uphill trek for about 20-30 minutes, you will reach the first view-point. The Forest Department has constructed a hawa ghar for the travellers here. This spot is ideally located to relax and feast your eyes with a grand view of the mountains and the valley.
From here, take the trail that goes by a beautiful rhododendron and maple forest. After a steady hike of ten minutes, you will reach the second view point. Now, at 7,434 feet, Sari is no longer visible. With only a kilometre left, you will find yourself at the backside of the mountain and you will get a view of the Ukhimath side of the valley, though only for a while. You are now nearing your destination. Another 20 minutes later, you reach a dhaba. Deoriatal is just two minutes away from here. After a very short downhill trek, your surroundings open up to a grand view of Deoriatal, with Mt. Chaukhambha massifs looming in the background.
You have almost the entire day to yourself. You can go around the campsite and explore the trails around. The forests around here are lovely. You’ll be able to see and hear several rare Himalayan birds. There’s a watch tower close to the lake that gives you grand views of the surrounding mountains. Camp beside Deoriatal for the night. The beauty of the view generally intensifies in the morning, when the clouds have cleared to offer unreal views of the hills.
Day 3: Deoriatal to Syalmi via Rohini Bugyal
- Altitude: 7,841 ft (2,390 m) to 8,790 ft (2,679 m)
- Time taken: 5-6 hours, 7 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Initial 15 minutes of gradual ascent followed by 45 minutes of rapid descent, easing off after an hour of ascent to reach Rohini Bugyal. Series of ascents and descents to Rohini Bugyal – 20-30 minutes each and after 10 minutes of graduate ascent, comes the steep descent for 90 minutes to Siyalmi Campsite Chopta – 20-30 minutes each.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from Deoriatal. No water sources along the way
Walk along the left side of the lake towards the Forest Guest Lodge. Pass by a watch tower and proceed from behind the Forest Lodge from your right. A lovely forest trail awaits you. Full of rhododendron and maple trees, the trail is a picturesque one. Every now and then, the Kedar Dome and Chaukhamba peaks peek at you through the trees on your left.
After 15 minutes of forest walk from the guest house, look for a small clearing as you exit the forest. In front of you, the Chandrashila peak is visible. Below, towards your right, you can see Sari village again. Observe the open expanse and a view of the forested ridge running all the way to Chopta. This is the logical route of the forest ridge trek to the base of Chandrashila Peak. Take the ascending trail ahead of you as you get much better views from both sides of the valley. Towards your left, you can see the mountain ridge, from where a trail to Madhmaheshwar and Nandikund trek passes. After 15 minutes of climbing the ridge, look out for the highest point of the ridge nearest to you. This hill-top has a flag post. This is Jhandi Dhar (N 30°31.580, E 079 °08.515). In the month of March and April, the trail is blazing with red and pink flowers of rhododendron. After 15 minutes of following the laid trail, you reach the top of Jhandi Dhar. The ridge has a small flat ground with unobstructed views from all sides. The forest continues to thicken throughout the trek. If you thought the forests until now were dense, you haven’t seen the start of it. From here, proceed and take the trail that descends rapidly and connects with the forest ridge below. The descent is sharp, but pleasant. After 10-15 minutes, the trail takes an eventful turn as you enter the forest ridge from the left. The flora of the region is stupendous. Every now and then, you might come across small shrines with bright yellow flags tied to them. These are all made by tourists and locals. You can use them as landmarks to ensure you’re on the right trail. Also, keep an eye out for wild animals such as foxes and leopards. Keep walking on a leisurely downhill trail inside a generous cover of the Chopta forest, which will give you respite from the late morning sun. This is a quiet section of the forest with an abundance of birds. The Himalayan woodpecker and Verditer Flycatcher can easily be spotted here. Walk for another 20 minutes, until you see three trails branching out.
Take the center trail that ascends gradually. This is the trail to Rohini Bugyal and Chopta. After 20 minutes of gradual ascent, you’ll walk on level land for around 10 minutes. From here, the trail opens to a small pasture land. You exit the forest even as the view of Chandrashila peak greets you up front. Just before you, you see the second forest ridge that needs to be traversed. Take the trail from the right side of the connecting ridge. It passes by a small grassland. The trail ascends sharply as you re-enter the forest once. This part of the forest has some of the oldest oak, maple and rhododendron trees of the Kedarnath Sanctuary. Another 20 minutes of trekking will have you reach the next landmark of the day, which is next to a small temple. This is known as Bhagdwal by the locals. By now, you have trekked approximately 5 km. There are three trails branching out from here. The one towards the right descends sharply and reconnects with Sari Village. The one that descends from the left goes to a local village near Ukhimath. Take the center trail and walk for 15-20 minutes till you reach a small meadow. From here, you can see Kala Parvat, which is a peak located on the right of Chandrashila peak. Below Kala Parvat is a small glacial lake, called Bisuri Tal. As the legend has it, the Pandavas hid their weapons here. The trail from here is a leisurely walk ahead for about 30 minutes as you pass a small rivulet. The stream is the only source of water and it is advisable to fill your bottles here. Rohini Bugyal is now only a 40 meter climb up from your right side. Rohini Bughyal (N 30°31.026, E 079 °11.702) is a small meadow surrounded by a beautiful rhododendron forest and view of the Kedar dome and the Kala Parvat peaks. The sunset view from here is incomparable! The Syalmi campsite is across the small valley that’s just in front of the Rohini Bugyal campsite. It takes another 20-30 minutes to reach the campsite.
Day 4: Syalmi to Baniya Kund, 6 kms
- Time taken: 4 hours, 6 km
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate, an hour of descending till Akashkamini river, you cross that river and followed by a steep ascent through dense forest. And after an hour climbing, you will see the first chaniya and from there, its a series of ascent and descend till Baniya Kund.
- Water sources: Akash Kamini waterfall en route Baniya Kund
Next, you traverse the ridge of Rohini Bughyal to enter the meadows of Bhrujgali. From Rohini Bughyal, proceed towards the connecting forest ridge from your right. Observe a tall rhododendron tree, which is just a five minute walk from the camp site. Enter the forest of upper Rohini Bugyal and reconnect with the old trail to Chopta. Follow the trail that ascends gradually all the way to the top of the forested ridge. It takes 30 minutes to reach the ridge top, which is covered in dense forest cover. The locals call this spot as Tikidi Khal. From here, there are two trails. One goes straight ahead towards Kala Parvat. This trail goes all the way to Bisuri Tal and Nandikund. The other trail takes a sharp right turn and descends rapidly all the way to Akash Kamini, a rivulet coming from Chandrashila. Take the second trail and descend 500 ft to reach the stream crossing. It takes 20-30 minutes to reach the stream. It’s a good idea to refill your water bottles here. There is a small bridge that needs to be crossed.
From here, take the trail that now ascends gradually with a series of three scissor bends. As you climb up, the view of the valley gets better and better. Around 20 minutes of steady climb will take you to a small meadow. There is a series of shepherd huts here made of stones. In summer, you will find locals occupying the huts with their livestock. As you enter the meadow, look for a path that diverts towards your right and around 20 minutes of descent through a jungle trail, you would come upon a road head. Walk for about a kilometre to reach the Baniya Kund campsite.
Day 5: Baniya Kund to Chopta by car. Trek to Chandrashila Peak via Tungnath and back to Baniya Kund
- Altitude: 8,790 ft (2,679 m) to 12,083 ft (3,683 m)
- Time taken: 4 hours, 8 km
- Trek gradient: Graduak ascent to Tungnath (2 km) followed by steep climb to Chandrashila for about 60 minutes. Descent on the same path takes around 90 minutes.
- Water sources: None. Ensure you are well hydrated and carry 2 litres of water while starting from Chopta
Start the trek early, preferably before sunrise, so that you can treat yourself to a sunrise view from Tungnath and the Chandrashila peak. The trek from Chopta to Tungnath is accessible via a cemented pilgrim trail. From your campsite, take this trail. It ascends sharply via a series of 11 scissor bends. The walk is pleasant, but is a very steep climb. The trek up to Tungnath temple is approximately 2 km. After you reach the 10th scissor bend, look for a flag and a small open temple towards your right side.
You can now see Chandrashila peak and Tungnath temple complex at the base of the peak. The views from here onwards are incredible. A connecting peak leading to Chandrashila, known as Ravanshila, is visible to your right. Tungnath temple is only half a kilometre away from here. Towards your left, overlooking the valley is a section of Birch trees (Bhojpatra). This is a haven for birds like Monal and Griffin vulture. Take the 11th and last bend to reach the famous and holy Tungnath temple. The temple is closed in winter and you will find snow here from late December until around April. Tungnath temple is the third of the Panch Kedars. These are 5 temples believed to have been built by the Pandavas to atone for the sins of killing their kin and Brahmins in the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata. Lord Shiva, whose forgiveness they sought, disguised himself as a bull. Parts of this bull appeared in 5 different places, each of these identified as a Panch Kedar. Tungnath is where his hands and chest are said to have appeared. This place has the distinction of being the only temple in the world to be located at such a high altitude (12,073 ft). Chandrashila peak is 1.5 km above the temple complex. The route to Chandrashila peak is from behind of the temple complex. Pass by the local dormitories and take the trail that winds from the right side of the base of Chandrashila peak. A trail goes by from here and takes a series of scissor bends. During winter, expect this trail to be completely buried in snow. Those planning to do a winter trek here are strongly advised to carry crampons/micro-spikes and an ice-axe. The climb from Tungnath to Chandrashila is a 600 ft ascent and is a very steep climb. After you negotiate a series of switchbacks, you will reach the upper base of Chandrashila Peak. From here, the summit of Chandrashila is visible. The climb up to the summit takes 30-45 minutes.
Once at the top of the peak, you get a 360 degree view of the mountains of Garhwal and Kumaon. Walk past a temple and see some great mountains of Uttarakhand, like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nandaghunti, Kamet, Dunagiri, Chaukhamba, Kedar dome, Thalaysagar, Gangotri ranges, Jahanukut and more. The sunrise view from this spot is the best you will get to see in all of the Himalayas. At Chandrashila, you find another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is believed to have been built by Rama to atone for the sin of killing Ravana. This temple is open from April to October. The deity is moved to Ukhimath in winter. The trek back to Chopta is via the same route taken to reach here. It takes 20-30 minutes to reach Tungnath and another 60 minutes to reach Chopta from Tungnath.
Day 6: Depart to Haridwar/Rishikesh
Chopta also has a few private guest lodges. Board your jeeps from here for a drive back to Haridwar. You will reach Haridwar between 6.00 and 7.00 pm. Rishikesh lies on the way and you could choose to get off at Banner image by Subhashis Pal
Delhi → Haridwar → Sari
The Deoriatal trek starts from Sari, 224 km from Haridwar. Sari is a small sleepy village with around 100 houses, lovely paddy fields and a small school.
Indiahikes organises transport from Haridwar to Sari. The pick up is at 6.30 am from Haridwar Railway station on Day 1. The cost is Rs.5,500 per cab. This is not included in your trek fee. It is to be shared by trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
The drive to Sari is beautiful, beside the River Ganga. You pass through Rishikesh, Devaprayag and Rudraprayag. You will reach Sari at around 6.00 pm. To reach Haridwar
The best way to reach Haridwar is to take an overnight train from Delhi. There are two trains available from Delhi to Haridwar.
- 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 3.55
If you cannot find a train, then take a bus. To stay on the safe side, book buses online in advance. Book such that you have some buffer time to make it to Haridwar on time for the pick-up; buses usually get delayed.
Dehradun is the nearest airport to Haridwar. It is connected by direct flights from Delhi and connecting flights from all other big cities. Dehradun is around 2.5 hours away from Haridwar and 1.5 hours from Rishikesh. If you decide to fly to Dehradun, make sure you reach at least one day before your pick up.
Pick up from Rishikesh
Since the route to Lata from Haridwar is via Rishikesh, it is possible to pick up trekkers on the way from Rishikesh. The pick up point will be Tapovan – Lakshman Jhula.
Chopta → Haridwar → Delhi
The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek ends at Chopta. Chopta is a small town with a few houses and dhabas. From Chopta, it takes around 8 hours to drive back to Haridwar. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.5,500 per cab. This is to be shared by trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Haridwar by 6.00 pm.
If you are travelling further from Haridwar, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your further travel from Haridwar post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express (23.15) or Nanda Devi Express (00.55).
If you want to get to the basecamp by yourself
Haridwar → Dehradun/Rishikesh → Ukhimath → Sari
From Haridwar, take a bus to Dehradun. It will take an hour and a half to reach Dehradun. Alternatively, you can get off your train directly at Dehradun. From Dehradun, take a bus to Ukhimath. the bus leaves Dehradun at 8.00 am. It goes via Rishikesh, so you can choose to take the bus from Rishikesh as well, but it will be crowded by then.
You will reach Ukhimath by around 5.00 PM. There is a connecting bus from Ukhimath to Sari (23 km). Generally the Sari bus waits for this bus to come before leaving.
Alternatively, you could hire a shared jeep from Haridwar or Rishikesh to Ukhimath or Sari. If need be, you can stay overnight at Ukhimath or Sari Village.
As the last option, you could also catch a bus from Haridwar to Rudraprayag. Then catch a shared jeep to Agastyamuni and from there, another shared jeep to Ukhimath. This option makes sense only if you miss the direct bus going towards Ukhimath.
Getting back by bus from Ukhimath
Chopta → Ukhimath → Haridwar
There is an early morning bus from Chopta to Ukhimath. The bus is very irregular. In case buses are not available then you will have to hitch a ride to Ukhimath. From Ukhimath there are buses and shared jeeps available to Haridwar.
The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek is classified as an easy-moderate trek but like any other high altitude trek, it comes as with its challenges. The ascent to Chandrashila can be challenging, especially if you are trekking in snow (December, March and early April). You need to keep your body in fairly good condition before you begin the trek.
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin
- Gradually increase the distance to 7 km. Target completing this in 63 minutes
- Before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes
In terms of speed, make sure you’re able to jog 5 km in 35 minutes before the start of the trek. If you are 45 years old and above, your target should be completing at least 3 km within 29 minutes before you go on the trek.
Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 15 in each set
This is another area you should work on. Carrying your backpack and ascending will require core body strength and also strong legs. For this, add squats to your routine. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek is organised in summer and winter. Despite the time of the year, make sure you carry a poncho, as there might be unexpected showers.
If you’re trekking in winter, five layers of warm clothes are mandatory (2 sweaters, a fleece jacket, a padded jacket and thermals).
- Trekking shoes: You trekking shoes need to have a good grip so that you can manage slippery trails. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
- Day pack (20 litres): On the climb to Chandrashila on the fifth day, you will be leaving your bigger backpack behind at the Chopta campsite. So you’ll need a smaller backpack to carry water, snacks and your medical kit. Bring a foldable backpack. If you’re coming in a group, two of you can share a daypack.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Three warm layers: At the campsites, especially at the higher campsite, Chopta, the temperature after sundown will drop to around 2-5 degrees in Summer and about -5 degrees in winter. There might even be snow at Chopta. You will need at least three warm layers (two light layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek.
- Two trek pants: Two pairs of pants should suffice for this trek. You can carry tights to wear inside your pants for the summit climb, as you’ll set out at 4 am. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals: Carry thermals for use at night. Keep them fresh and don’t wear them while trekking.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. They are mandatory.
- Suncap: High altitude sun is very harsh and will zap out your energy. So you will need a suncap during the day.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Ponchos: At high altitudes, snowfall and rain are quite common and hence it’s mandatory to carry a poncho so that you don’t get wet.
Indiahikes offers rentals on this trek. You can now rent trekking shoes, trekking pole, padded jacket and poncho instead of buying them. You can collect these directly at the base camp and return them there after the trek. Get the details here.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each. We recommend the Lifestraw Go.
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 1 Strip
- Crocin – 10 tablets
- Avomine (optional, in case of motion sickness)- 1 Strip
- Combiflam- Half Strip
- Muscle relaxant – Half Strip
- Digene – Half Strip
- Avil – 1 strip
- ORS – 6 packs
- Knee Cap (If you are prone to knee injury)
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
The Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek is a moderate one. Frankly, out of all our high altitude treks, Deoriatal-Chandrashila is the safest one. It gains altitude slowly so your body has enough time to acclimatize. We have seldom seen any cases of altitude sickness on this trek. Nevertheless, it is a high altitude trek that climbs up to 12,083 ft. At Indiahikes, we don’t let our guard down at high altitude, no matter what the altitude is.
While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. In order to have a safe trek, here is some information that you must know if you have registered for this trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety:
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Deoriatal trek.
If you want to register for the Deoriatal trek, you have to meet the fitness requirements – the upper limit is 28. Although the ideal BMI is in between 18.5 and 24.5, we have kept a big margin for those who are unfit, giving them room to work on their fitness. You can take a look at the criteria on the registration page.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Deoriatal trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring three aspects everyday.
-Oxygen Level (Thrice a day – Upon reaching the campsite, at night and in the morning)
-Pulse Rate (Thrice a day)
-Blood Pressure (once a day)
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
To keep an eye on these numbers, every trekker will be issued a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health. It also contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much snow.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
What you need to know if you’re going on the Deoriatal trek
If you’re off on the Deoriatal trek any time between December to mid-April, there will most likely be snow on the trail. There are chances of slipping and falling down. While most times these falls are harmless because there is soft snow, sometimes, you could get injured.
You may notice that even the smallest cut or wound takes longer to heal the higher the altitude. Reasons for this are increasing stress hormones and lower overall oxygen delivery to the tissues. Wounds tend to get infected more easily as well.
Keeping your wounds clean and covered will prevent infection. Often applying a triple antibiotic ointment regularly will keep the wound from overly drying and aid in healing.
While this is the most likely issue you might face on the Deoriatal trek, you must also be aware of altitude sickness. Even in the rarest of the rare cases exist, you must be prepared to tackle it.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS
Where on the Deoriatal trek is AMS likely to affect you:
On the Deoriatal trek, if at all AMS hits you, it will most likely be at Bhrujgali on the way to Chopta, or beyond it, on the climb to Chandrashila. We haven’t seen such cases, but high altitude is unpredictable.
What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS:
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour. If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage.
The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. If it doesn’t then he will make you descent immediately.
Exit points on the Deoriatal trek:
The safest point on a trek where a trekker can descend to and rest is considered an Exit Point. Exiting the trek at any point is very easy. You can descend to either Sari or Chopta within around 4 hours from any point in the trek.
Ukhimath, which is around 12 km from Sari and 60 km from Chopta has a dispensary. The closest hospital is in Rudraprayag, which is accessible by road from Sari and Chopta in 1.5 hours and 1 hour respectively. Gopeshwar and Srinagar, which are a few hours away will be your other options for a hospital.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take. You should be able to recognize symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
Can I keep extra luggage at the base camp of Sari?
Yes, you can keep your extra luggage at Sari.
Once the trek ends, you will be able to collect your bag at Baniya Kund.
Our team will arrange for this. We do not charge you any fee for this.
Ensure you do not keep any valuables at the base.
Laptops, mobile phones, cash or any important items cannot be kept here.
Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack (have a porter carry it for you). This will cost Rs 750 + 5% GST if you book it in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Sari, the amount will be Rs 350 per day inclusive of tax.
The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to five days prior to the trek start date. You can opt for this from your Trek dashboard directly.
Is there a mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
You’ll find Vodafone/Airtel/BSNL network at the basecamp, Sari. There will be an intermittent signal at the first campsite. There’s also network at the view point at Deoriatal. But do not depend on it.
Finish all your important calls before reaching Sari. Please inform anxious family members about limited phone connectivity. There will be no electricity charging points anywhere on the trek.
What is the type of accomodation my trek?
You will be staying at a guest house in Sari and at Baniya Kund.
The rest of the nights, you will be camping in tents.
Each tent will be accommodating 3 trekkers
Can you arrange pickup from Rishikesh?
Yes, trekkers will have the option to stay at Rishikesh and get picked up as well.
The same vehicle will come from Haridwar and pick you up at 7.30 at Rishikesh.
The pickup location would be in front of Zostel, Rishikesh
Will I get snow on this trek?
You should find snow during the winter and summer season, from December to April is when you can expect snow. After this, you will not have snow on this trek.