Deoriatal- Chandrashila Trek: The best trek for summit views
All summit climbs are rewarding. You trudge up a mountain for hours during the wee hours. You reach its highest point like the rays of the sun lighten the sky. Everything is below you – the clouds, the hills, the tiny specks of civilization. On a Himalayan trek, you usually see mountain ranges in the distance.
Now, this is where Deoriatal-Chandrashila is special. It is not a section of Himalayan ranges that you see. You see all the major summits of Western and Eastern Uttarakhand from the summit. By all, we mean all.
You see Nanda Devi, the highest mountain entirely in India. Then, there is Mt Trishul, Mt Nanda Ghunti, Mt Kamet, Mt Dunagiri, Mt Chaukhamba, Kedar Dome, Kedarnath, Mt Thalaysagar, the Gangotri ranges, and more! It is a 270-degree view of all the tallest mountains in India that you can think of. Nowhere on a trek that is so easily approachable do you get to see all these summits so close.
What to Watch Out For
The best forest trails
It’s a strong statement to make, but Deoriatal has the best forest trail amongst all our treks. If you take the section between the Deoriatal lake and Bhrujgali, it is sometimes stunning to imagine how much variety jungles can be in. There are sections with thick, dark woods; there are moss-covered trails through tall canopies; there are trails that weave through clearings in the jungles. Pines, oaks and maples 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!
The setting of Deoriatal campsite
Two hours after you climb out of base camp Sari, you will enter your first campsite Deoriatal. The sight of Deoriatal is sure to make your jaw drop. The campsite is a sprawling meadow, rising up to form dunes. On your right, you will see the Deoriatal lake surrounded by trees along its outer periphery. Reflecting on the lake’s surface is the staggeringly huge Chaukhambha. You look up, and it looks like the mountain just lies just beyond the cluster of trees and hillocks bordering the lake. The four pillars of the mountain look like they hold up the sky. It is an awe-inspiring sight. This campsite is the first sign of rewards to come on this trek.
Thanks to the trek being inside the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary, there are thousands of birds to sight and photograph. If there was a birders’ trail, then it has got to be Deoriatal. There is the state bird of Uttarakhand – the monal, one of the most vibrantly colourful birds you will ever see. You see snow partridges, griffins, Himalayan woodpeckers. It is often a mystery 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.
Banner image by Bharghavi N
Trekkers often ask us these questions about the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek:
These questions have been answered by Swathi Chatrapathy, the Chief Editor at Indiahikes, who has been on the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek.
❖ How can I reach Chandrashila peak?
The Chandrashila Peak is located just above Chopta at a height of 12,083 ft. Chopta is a hill station within the Kedarnath Reserve National Park. You’ll find the location of the Chandrashila peak here.
The Tungnath Temple, one of the famous Panch Kedar temples is also located on the climb from Chopta to Chandrashila. In fact, the Chandrashila Peak is just around 500 ft above the Tungnath Temple.
The best way to reach Chandrashila Peak is to drive towards Chopta, which is the closest road head to the Peak. Chopta is easily accessible from Haridwar, if you take the route from Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Chopta. From Chopta, climbing to the Chandrashila peak takes just 3-4 hours.
You could also access the Chandrashila Peak from within the forest trails from Deoriatal, Baniya Kund and then to Chopta. This makes the trek longer and more scenic, as it takes you through few of the best forests of Uttarakhand. This is a 4 day itinerary, and we would highly recommend it.
❖ How long is Chandrashila trek?
The Chandrashila trek duration depends on the route you choose to take. If you approach it from Sari, which is a more scenic route, with the Deoriatal lake, dense forest trails and beautiful campsites, the duration of the Chandrashila trek is 4 days.
If you approach the trek from Chopta as your starting point, you can do the Chandrashila trek in just a single day and return to Chopta. There is a well-paved trail from Chopta all the way to the Tungnath Temple. Above the temple, the trail gets slightly raw, but is easily navigable.
Note: There will be snow on the trails from December until the end of April
❖ How difficult is Chandrashila trek?
The Deoriatal Chandrashila trek is an easy-moderate one. It does not have too many steep climbs (except the summit push to Chandrashila). It does not have many long days.
Compared to all our Himalayan treks, this is perhaps the easiest one. It’s a good trek for beginners, families and children.
Having said that, it is still a trek in the Himalayas with difficulties in terrain, temperatures and weather. You must train for at least a month before going on the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek.
❖ Is there snow in Chandrashila?
There is snow on the Chandrashila trek from December to the end of April. The first winter snow falls by mid-December, and the trail usually remains accessible till the end of December.
Between January and February, which are peak winter months, the trails become difficult to access because of very high snow. We wouldn’t suggest the Chandrashila trek in these months.
In the beginning of March, when the snow starts melting slightly, it is one of the best times to do the trek. The best time to do the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek would be the months of March and April when there is still a lot of snow, lush greenery and flowering rhododendron forests.
❖ Is Chopta safe?
Chopta is safe for trekkers and tourists. It is quite trekker-friendly, with guests houses and home stays. Since it is in a remote location, expect basic facilities here.
Having said that, trekkers wonder about the safety of Chopta because of the presence of wild animals. Chopta is situated within the Kedarnath Reserve National Park. There have been sightings of foxes and jackals in the past. But they do not usually come in when there is a lot of tourist activity.
At Indiahikes, we have been trekking from Chopta to Chandrashila since 2015 and have not seen any danger to trekkers. Since the road ends at Chopta, it’s quite populated and does not have too many wild animals.
A short itinerary of Deoriatal Chandrashila trek
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); 2 hours, 3 km
Day 3: Deoriatal (7,841 ft) to Syalmi(7,710 ft) via Rohini Bugyal; 10 km, 6-7 hours
Day 4: Syalmi (7,710 ft) to Baniya Kund (8,562 ft); 6 km, 4 hours
Day 5: Baniya Kund (8,562 ft) to Tungnath and Chandrashila (12,083 ft) and back to Baniya Kund; 5-6 hours, 8 km
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.
Route Map for Deoriatal Chandrashila
Click here to download the KML file
Long Itinerary for the Deoriatal Chandrashila peak trek is as follows:
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. A 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, 3.5 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. The day starts from the village with climbging a few stairs, followed by a gradual climb on a well-defined rocky trail. It becomes steeper after the first 20 minutes. A short walk on even terrain after an hour of climbing takes you to the campsite.
- Water sources: None. Carry around 1 litre of water from Sari.
The adventure starts at 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 7,710 ft (2,350 m)
- Time taken: 6-7 hours, 10 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Initial 15 minutes of gradual ascent followed by 45 minutes of steep descent, easing off after an hour of ascent to reach Rohini Bugyal. After 10 minutes of graduate ascent, comes the steep descent for 90 minutes to Siyalmi campsite.
- 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. 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 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 centre trail that ascends gradually. This is the trail to Rohini Bugyal. After 20 minutes of gradual ascent, you’ll walk on level land for around 10 minutes. From here, the trail opens to 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 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 km
- Time taken: 4 hours, 6 km
- Altitude: 7,710 ft (2,350 m) to 8,562 ft (2,610 m)
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate, an hour of descending till Akashkamini river, followed by a steep ascent through dense forest. And after an hour of climbing, you will see the first chaniya and from there, it’s a series of ascent and descend till Baniya Kund.
- Water sources: Lots of water sources on the way.
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 the 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 kilometer 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: 8,562 ft (2,610 m) to 12,083 ft (3,683 m)
- Time taken: 5-6 hours, 8 km
- Trek gradient: Gradual ascent to Tungnath (3 km) followed by a steep climb to Chandrashila for about 60 minutes. The 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 3 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 (12,083 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. Cab costs will be approximately Rs 6,000 per vehicle on the way back as the drive from Chopta increases distance by 20 kms. You can also opt to alight at Rishikesh as it lies on the way back to Haridwar.
Banner image by Subhashis Pal
Plan Your Travel Deoriatal Chandrashila Peak Trek
It is great to see you going on the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek. While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.
- Click here to get a quick view of your travel plan (Skip to section)
- Click here to plan onward air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Click here to plan return air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Click here to plan hotel booking (Skip to section)
- Click here to reach Sari on your own (Skip to section)
1. Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel.
Day 1: Book your air ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If Dehradun, proceed to Rishikesh. If Delhi, book night train/bus to Haridwar. Click here for more explanation.
Day 1: Haridwar to Sari drive. It is an 8-9 hour drive from Haridwar. Sari is the basecamp for your trek.
We organise transport to Sari from Haridwar Railway station. Our vehicles leave at 6:30 am sharp. It costs Rs 5,500 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).
Day 2: Trek Sari (6,600 ft) to Deoriatal (7,840 ft); 2 hours, 3 km
Day 3: Trek Deoriatal (7,840 ft) to Syalmi (8,790 ft) via Rohini Bugyal; 10 km, 6-7 hours
Day 4: Trek Syalmi to Baniya Kund; 6 km, 4 hours
Day 5: Trek Baniya Kund (8,790 ft) to Tungnath and Chandrashila (12,080 ft) and back to Baniya Kund; 7-8 hours, 8 km
Day 6: Drive from Baniya Kund to Rishikesh/Haridwar. Start at 9.00 am for the drive.
Day 7: Book return train ticket to Delhi from Haridwar (Nanda Devi or Mussoorie express). Or book direct air ticket from Dehradun. Do not book plane tickets to your hometown from Delhi on Day 8. Click here for more explanation.
- While getting to Sari, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Rishikesh (Day Minus One). Our vehicles can pick you up at Rishikesh as it falls on the way (on Day 1). Staying at Rishikesh gives you a well deserved rest for the night. Plus some bonus sightseeing.
- On your return from the trek you can get off at Rishikesh. If you do not want to get off at Rishikesh, the final stop of the vehicle is at the Haridwar railway station. You reach Haridwar between 6.00 and 7.00 pm.
It costs Rs 6,000 per vehicle on the way back as the drive from Baniya Kund increases the distance by another 20-25 kms.
Your travel route to the Sari basecamp passes through Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag and Ukhimat.
2. Planning your onward flight/train booking
If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your
air tickets for Day Minus One, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 25 August, book your air tickets for 24 August to either Delhi/Dehradun.
There are two options for your flight booking.
Option 1: Fly directly to Dehradun.
We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at Rishikesh. Most metros are directly connected to Dehradun. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Dehradun is too high, book to Delhi and connect to Haridwar by train/bus.
|Tip: Dehradun Airport in Jolly Grant is closer to Rishikesh than Dehradun. It is 20 km from Rishikesh and 35 km from Dehradun.
The Dehradun airport is somewhat inconvenient when it comes to city connectivity (either to Rishikesh or Dehradun). Airport buses that ply between Rishikesh to Dehradun via airport run every hour. In our experience, the hour can stretch to even 1½ hours.
Taxis are available from the airport (plenty). Prepaid taxis are available (look for the pre-paid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at the arrivals). You can also flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Airport taxis are exorbitant. They usually charge between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 to Rishikesh.
Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Rishikesh or Dehradun.
Pro Tip: If you want to save real money try to catch an auto just outside the airport terminal complex. They usually come there to drop passengers off. Autos are not allowed to enter the airport complex. They charge approximately Rs 300 to Rishikesh.
If autos are not available, walk for further 1.5 km to get to the Rishikesh Dehradun highway. From the highway you can flag down regular town buses or shared autos (shared autos are called Vikrams). Bus fare is about Rs 30 to Rishikesh. Shared autos charge about Rs 20.
Option 2:Flying to Delhi
Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Dehradun. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 8.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Zero and not on Day 1.
|Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Dehradun less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Dehradun. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.
Next, book yourself in the Nanda Devi Express to Haridwar (Train No: 12401). It is a fully AC train that leaves at 23.45 hrs from Hazrat Nizamuddin and gets to Haridwar at 3.50 am in the morning.
|Note: Earlier the Nanda Devi express would depart from New Delhi railway station. From 26 Aug 2019, it leaves from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train now comes from Kota. So expect about 15 to 30 mins delay in arrival. The train number has changed too from 12206 to 12401.
For Metro train connectivity from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, take a metro to Dhaula Kuan metro station. Get off and walk down to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). Take a metro to Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station over the pink line. It takes about 45 mins to an hour to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin over metro.
At Haridwar, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 6.30 am. Contact your driver by 6.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure.
|Caution: Do not book on any other train except the Nanda Devi Express. The other option, Mussoorie express, is notorious for its delay. Your pickup vehicle may leave without you. If you do not get tickets on the Nanda Devi Express, take a bus from Delhi to Haridwar, but do not book on the Mussoorie express.
Pro Tip: Take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi express from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 15.20 pm) to arrive at Haridwar by 8.00 pm. Then take an immediate bus to get to Rishikesh by 9.30 pm (bus stand is opposite the railway station). Stay overnight at Rishikesh. Take the Indiahikes pickup the next morning directly from Rishikesh.
If in case you do not get a train ticket, there are regular Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Haridwar/Rishikesh. You also get Non-AC buses. Buses are frequent and not usually crowded. You can get a bus almost every half hour. Buses take 7-8 hours to get to Haridwar from Delhi. AC bus tickets cost about Rs 700.
3. Planning your return flight/train booking
Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi, then book flight tickets for Day 8.
Sometimes trekkers worry if they can book an early morning flight out of Delhi on Day 8. Yes, you can. But book flights that depart only after 8 am. Do not book any flight between 6.00 and 8 am. You may not reach Delhi in time.
How to get to Delhi on time for an early morning flight.
If your flight is early, say between 8.00 and 9.00 am, then there are two options.
Train: Take the Nanda Devi Express from Haridwar (12402) that leaves Haridwar slightly past midnight (00.17 hrs) to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 4.50 in the morning. From Hazrat Nizamuddin you get airport buses from outside the station as well as taxis. For Metro train walk down to the Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station, take a metro to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus, get off and connect to Dhaula Kuan Airport line metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). From Dhaula Kuan you get metro train to the airport.
| Note: Earlier Nanda Devi express would arrive at New Delhi railway station. From 26 August 2019, it has been extended up to Kota. It no longer goes to New Delhi railway station. Instead it goes to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train number has changed from 12206 to 12402.
Bus: The other option is to take a bus from Haridwar. It is about 5½ – 6 hrs journey to Delhi. From Rishikesh add another hour to the journey. So if you take a bus that leaves around 9.00 pm, then expect to reach Delhi at around 3.00 am (ISBT Kashmiri Gate). A bus that leaves at 10 pm will reach Delhi around 4.00 am. AC Volvo buses are the fastest, so opt for them. Non AC buses can take up to 7-8 hrs for the journey.
From Kashmiri Gate ISBT you get Airport buses or taxis.
|Note: Metro trains in Delhi do not start before 5.00 am.
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun then book yourself on Day 7. Most metros are now well connected by Dehradun by flight.
4. Planning your hotel/stay
Hotel options at Rishikesh
➤ Zostel is a modern backpackers hostel, excellent for women travelling alone. It has basic amenities such as bunk beds, towels, good bathroom. Entire premises is quite hygienic. Bathrooms are shared. Average cost Rs 400 – 800 per bed. Rooms start at about Rs 1,200 https://www.zostel.com/ (for online booking). Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ugqLXUBcbgxnFt638
➤ SK International which is next to Zostel is another good option. It has clean rooms with good amenities. Charges are about Rs 1,000 – Rs 1,200 per night. Phone: 013-524-42943. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3nWu58ynjFyNn6on8
Shiv Shakti Hostel is another good, decent option at similar price range to Zostel. This is a hostel like Zostel. They also have rooms. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qLs5wAThyyP8cmfR8
Hotel options at Haridwar
➤ Bedhubs is a good bunk bed stay in Haridwar — which is rare amongst the Dharamshalas and Ashrams of Haridwar. It is quite close to the heart of the action at Haridwar, approximately 500 m from Har Ki Pauri, Ram Ghat. Charges are around Rs 800 -1,000. Phone: 01334 224 567. Location: https://g.page/bedhubs?share
➤ Hotel Radiant near the Haridwar railway station has decent spacious rooms. Room rates are around Rs 750 for a non AC room and Rs 1,050 for an AC room. Contact person – Nitin Sharma – 9557155557. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/1AdiMiTtnAeGfF4Y8
➤ Hotel Rahi, a government owned GMVN property is fairly decent. Spacious but old building. Almost opposite the Haridwar railway station, just past the bus stop. Prices start at around Rs 700 for a room. Phone: +91-135-2431793 Location: https://goo.gl/maps/bH25Zp8Di9SE3p757
Hotel options at Dehradun
➤ Hotel Drona, which is a government property owned by the GMVN is decent. It is an old, but a large and spacious property. It is about 1.5 kms from Dehradun railway station. Rooms start at Rs 750. Phone: +91-135-2746847. Book online http://gmvnl.in/newgmvn/online_reservation/ Location: https://goo.gl/maps/sjWSkGhe5LfAN8wDA
➤ MyRoom252 is a new backpackers facility in Dehradun. Modern, colourful and clean. Bunk beds start at Rs 300. Rooms are available too. It is not too far from the Dehradun Railway station. Shared autos (which are called Vikrams) can get you there. For online booking: http://www.myroom252.com/. Phone: 086308 81083. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/p5xkbMyUF4X5VHwx9
Nomads House is another new backpackers hostel in Dehradun. The atmosphere is good. The place neat and clean. Indiahikes trek leaders love Nomads House. It is about 10 mins from the Dehradun railway station. Bunk beds start at Rs 400, rooms start at Rs 800. Shared autos are easily available to get to Nomads House. Phone: 9760596464 Location: https://g.page/NomadsHouse?share
5.What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? Getting to Sari on your own.
If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Haridwar or Rishikesh. Here is how you can get to Sari base camp on your own.
If you are at Haridwar, take a bus to Rishikesh as quickly as you can. A bus generally leaves every 15 mins from Haridwar to Rishikesh.
From Rishikesh take the first available bus to Rudraprayag. Buses leave at 6.00 am and 8.00 am. Generally all buses headed in the Badrinath direction pass by Rudraprayag. If you do not get a bus at the government bus stand, try the private bus stand, which is right next to it.
Rudraprayag is about 5 hours by bus from Rishikesh. On the way the bus passes Devprayag and Srinagar (the Uttarakhand Srinagar, not the Kashmir one).
At Rudraprayag, from the main market buses leave for Ukhimat every two hours. The last bus is at 2.00 pm. You also get shared taxis from the main market, but after 2 pm vehicles are scarce.
It takes about 3 hours to get to Ukhimat. Ukhimat is 15 kms prior to Sari. So it is almost there. From Ukhimat you get the last bus to Sari at 6.00 pm.
Tip: While this bus hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are a fun and a good way to know the real Uttarakhand. You also get to meet very interesting local people. So while no one wants to miss a pick up, don’t be too disheartened if it happens. You may just experience one of your best travel moments!
How to get fit for this trek
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.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
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.
Things to get for the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek
Deoriatal Chandrashila is a high altitude trek. The trekking gear you need to carry for this trek is different from regular treks. So pay careful attention to this entire section.
- A list of everything you need for the trek (Skip to section)
- Useful videos to help you with your gear (Skip to section)
- A list of medicines for your trek (Skip to section)
- A list of mandatory documents (Skip to section)
First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.
1. Trekking Shoes:
Deoriatal Chandrashila requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean.
For a trek like Deoriatal Chandrashila , you need a 40-50 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required.
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them.
3 insulation layers:
The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 15,000 ft. At these altitudes it can get freezing cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 3 insulation layers for this trek.
You will need 2 light fleece layers, 1 full-sleeve light sweater. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
1 Outer layer:
A padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter.
Two trek pants:
Twopairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry two just in case it rains. Trek pants with zippered cut offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings / rain.
| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.
| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Deoriatal Chandrashila without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a trek like Deoriatal – Chandrashila, you will find snow all over the trail during winter. Expect to walk on long stretches of snow. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic hand gloves:
On a trek like Deoriatal – Chandrashila you are going to be handling snow quite a bit during winters. You’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself in snow. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen cap or Balaclava:
Ensure these cover your ears. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.
Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. Do not get a woollen cap that only covers your head.
5. Socks (3 pairs):
Apart from two sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry. As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.
Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Deoriatal – Chandrashila trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
7. Trekking pole (a pair):
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Deoriatal – Chandrashila trek there are gradual ascents and descents and some steep sections too. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store.
On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store.
9. Rain cover for your backpack:
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro tip: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional):
Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a porter on the Deoriatal – Chandrashila trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A day pack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not day packs. Do not get them.
Other mandatory requirement
1. A toilet kit:
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Deoriatal Chandrashila
| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose your sanitary waste.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest. Watch this video on why steel cutlery is better than plastic.
3. Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack:
Deoriatal Chandrashila has a few long walking days. You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store.
4. Plastic covers:
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Useful videos to help you with your gear:
- What to take on your trek
- How to pack your backpack
- How to choose your trekking shoes
- Trekking shoes vs sports shoes. How are they different?
- How to layer up on a Himalayan trek
- Why you need a trekking pole
- How to manage sanitary waste on a trek
Personal medical kit
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend down to Barua. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on theDeoriatal Chandrashila trek.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
- Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking. Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.
Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.
| Pro tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
Mandatory Documents to carry
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.
- Disclaimer certificate. This is a legal requirement. Download the PDF, read carefully and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during registration at the base camp – Download PDF
- Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes – Download PDF
| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
How safe is the Deoriatal-Chandrashila 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 this video 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.
The Indiahikes Cancellation Policy
We understand the pain of cancelling a trek. As trekkers, we always look forward to treks, and after months of training and planning, if we have to cancel our trek, there’s no greater disappointment than that.
Given that, we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies.
Take a look at the Indiahikes cancellation policy below. This policy is effective starting January 29th, 2020.
In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher
In the rare event that we cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
We almost never cancel our treks. But in case we cancel a trek because of natural calamities (snowstorms, thunderstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes) or unexpected political unrest, curfews, local riots, government orders, unexpected global health issues Indiahikes will issue a voucher for the full amount of your trek fee (minus the trek insurance). You can redeem the Trek Voucher on any of our treks over the next one year.
Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable once it has been paid for.
If you cancel any rental gear from our store:
- Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a monetary refund with 4% cancellation charges.
- Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a voucher of the whole amount you have paid for the rental gear. This voucher is applicable on your future treks.
If you cancel the offloading of your backpack:
The offloading fee will be refunded to your account with a 4% transaction charge.
If you choose to cancel your backpack offloading AFTER reaching the base camp, you will get a voucher of the offloading fee.
Special Cases That Could Occur:
There are some special cases that could occur when you’re on a trek.
1. You may not be able to complete the trek because of bad weather, high snow conditions, or any natural calamity.
2. You may have to leave your trek abruptly (could be due to altitude sickness, abnormal BP, unpreparedness for the trek, any emergencies at home)
In the above two cases, you’re welcome to come back and repeat the same trek any time in future. You do not have to pay us for this. If you’d like to repeat your trek, get in touch with your Trek Coordinator and they’ll help you.
Important note: Your offloading and rental fee will not be refunded in the above two cases.
3. You may not be able to report at the base camp at all (could be due to blocked roads / cancelled flights/curfews), we will try to accommodate you in the next day’s team (if we have one).
In the third case, if we cannot accommodate you in the next day’s trek, we will give you a Trek Voucher of the entire trek fee (including your offloading and rental fee), which you can use on any Indiahikes trek within the next one year.
How to cancel your trek:
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps.
- Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link.
- Find your upcoming trek on your home page.
- Click on “Cancel Trek”
- Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
- Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable).
- Click on “Cancel Booking”
How long does the refund process take?
After you have cancelled your trek, if you have opted for a refund, the refund amount will land in the same account that you have made the payment from. It will take 4-5 working days.
If you have chosen a trek voucher, it will land in your inbox within an hour. You will also be able to see it on your Trek Dashboard.
What is a Trek Voucher?
Trek Vouchers are credit amounts added to your Indiahikes account. You can redeem these on any of your future treks with Indiahikes. Every Trek Voucher has a validity of one year.
Important note: Indiahikes Trek Vouchers are non-refundable, not transferable to others or extendable.
How to use an Indiahikes Trek Voucher?
If you have received an Indiahikes Trek Voucher, you will automatically see it when you are making a payment for your next trek.
Once you click on the voucher and apply it, the system will deduct the voucher amount from your payable amount.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Trek Coordinator.
The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)
At Indiahikes, we can’t help but fall in love with a few trekking trails. And we love revisiting them, perhaps in other seasons, when treks take on a totally different hue. In such cases, we do not like the thought of having to pay for it. Our trekkers shouldn’t have to pay either.
So if you have loved a trek that you did with us and want to repeat it, you’re welcome to sign up for the trek. We will not charge you for this. (Many people think this is a rumour, but it’s true.)
To repeat your trek for free, just get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. We’ll help you sign up with no charges.
Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply for our international treks.
Your trek fee includes –
- Accommodation – Stay from Day 1 to Day 5 (Sari to Baniya Kund). Sari and Baniya Kund have guest house accommodation. You will camp on the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from Dinner at Sari on Day 1 to breakfast at Baniya Kund on Day 6 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – High-quality tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, roped, microspikes, gaiters, etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers, etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
Your trek fee does not include –
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Haridwar Railway station and drop you back there from Baniya Kund. This will cost Rs.5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle on the way to Sari and Rs.6,000 per 5-6 seater vehicle on the way back from Baniya Kund. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs 750 for the full trek + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Raithal.
- Anything apart from inclusions
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel.
Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under.
Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh, unexpected global health issue etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. The trek has gradual climbs and steep descents on the summit day. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 40 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5 km in 47 minutes. This is a minimum requirement.
If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 20 km in 60 minutes.
Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.
In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.
Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,000 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 per day inclusive of tax. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.
Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.
Discount for a group of 10 and above
If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.
Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.
You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.
If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.
This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.
Repeat Trekker Policy
At Indiahikes, we believe that the mountains hold all the aces. The weather could play spoilsport, the altitude could mess with a trekker, the unpredictability of nature itself could turn against him. Whatever the reason might be, it is never nice to turn away from a trek midway.
In the event that a trekker has to come down without completing your trek, they can always head back to the mountain and do the same trek again. If this happens, trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee. They have to just make the optional payment for the insurance amount.
On another note, it could also happen that you love a trek so much that you want to go back time and again. Trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee for repeating a trek.
Note – The Repeat Trekker Policy holds good only for Indian Treks.
It is not valid for treks we run in Nepal.
Indiahikes organises transport from Haridwar to Sari on Day 1. It takes about 7-8 hours to reach Sari. The cost is Rs.6,000 per cab.
The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek ends at Chopta. From here, it takes around 8 hours to drive back to Haridwar. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.6,000 per cab.
Both the above costs are not included in your trek fee. It is to be shared by trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
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.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Deoriatal – Chandrashila Peak
Click on available dates to Register
- What the colours mean
Available:Registration is on.
Waitlist:The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
Last 'x' slots:Indicates the number of slots available in a batch.
Full:Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely. A full group has 18 members.
Dates not suiting you? Click here to see other similar treks.