Trekking solo to Deorital-Chopta-Chandrashila summit!

View from the Chandrashila summit!
At Rudrapryag
Trekking solo !

This was my first solo trek and it was better and much more than I had expected it to be.

Trekking solo in India unlike west, remains unknown, untried and unthought of and hence looked at with raised eyebrows, weird faces emitting amusement and skepticism; and also sometimes with an acknowledgement for some kind of an accomplishment.

To me, it is a necessity and seems absolutely normal.

THE WAY

After going through a lot of treks on the web, I had finally narrowed it down to Deorital-Chandrashila. Lake, forests, meadows, snow capped mountains, the feeling of the summit; all were on offer in this exciting trek.

An overnight bus from Delhi took me to Haridwar in about 5-6 hours. The early you reach, the better, so that you can take the bus to Rudrapayag and reach by noon. Buses from Haridwar start as early as 04.30 in the morning since none ply during the night. The route throughout runs alongside the aqua blue Ganges and you can feel fresh air around.

(Note: The journey is long and may not be most comforting in the crowded local buses, but that is the essence of it all.)

Halt on the way to Rudrapayag for a quick tea and some snacks.
Halt on the way to Rudrapayag for a quick tea and some snacks.

 

At Rudraprayag!
At Rudraprayag!

RUDRAPRAYAG

The bus dropped me at Rudrapayag at around 11.30 am and I was in need of a break after the long journey. Had my breakfast and went about for a walk in the small town.

After speaking to a few locals, I visited the Narad temple and took a dip in the cold flowing water at Sangam.

One can spend some time here and enjoy the sangam (the point of confluence) of the Alaknanda and Mandakini river and immerse in the vibes of the holiness of the city.

How to reach Sari ?

Sari is where the trek to Deorital lake starts.

Delhi to Haridwar >> Rudraprayag >> Ukhimath  >> Sari

Alternatively, one can hire a shared jeep from Rudraprayag to Agastyamuni and then to Ukhimath in the same mode. Since there are few buses from Rudraprayag, you may have to wait quite a bit.

Also read: The perfect snow trek for beginners

UKHIMATH/SARI

On the bus to Ukhimath, I found company in a group from France who were also on their way to the lake. Travel stories and plans were discussed. There is this thing about travellers; they bond in no time and have lots to talk about, though everything directly or indirectly comes down to the same thing i.e travel.

It had started to drizzle and none of us were sure if the trek should be undertaken that evening. We reached at around 4 in the evening and the weather was still gloomy. The French stayed at Ukhimath and I decided otherwise. I immediately took a cab to Sari who charged me 500 bucks for the drive which otherwise would have been a mere 20.

(The next bus to Sari would leave in another half an hour and I couldn’t afford to wait; courtesy- the uncertain weather.)

DEORITAL LAKE

  • Deorital lake
    The hidden gem near the village Sari - Deorital lake !

The trek to Deorital lake starts from the village Sari. Though it is only a 3km trek, it is an uphill and well defined trail and will take around 1-1.5 hours. Since I was here on the eve of Diwali, I hardly found anyone on the trek until I reached the lake and found a tent being fixed. I was relieved.

The lake reflected the mountains and was looking magnificent. It was about sunset and mountains changed from impeccable white to red, orange and pink.

My tent was fixed by a local and I found company in a guy group from Dehradun. A young couple from Hyderabad also joined us later that evening. It was great to see that out of all the places, this couple had chosen to be here at this lesser known serene lake in this festive season- far from the madding crowd, from thousands of miles away. (Wish more travellers like them.)

It was getting cold; we had our dinner and the night was spent at the campfire under a zillion stars visible through the naked eye.

Must visit: Trek to Valley of flowers and Enchantment

CHOPTA

On the 14km trek to Chopta.
On the 14km trek to Chopta.

After breakfast, we left the for the 14km trek to Chopta with a guide.

(Note: I would advise for a guide since the trek is complicated with a lot of confusing trails. The guide can be hired at the lake itself.) 

Some members of the guy group decided to leave late and we were to mark the way for them with tissue paper. The trail was long but kept shifting from rocky terrain to dense forests, meadows and downhill towards a stream.

It took us about 5 hours to reach Chopta which was but a very small and beautiful town covered with glorious mountains on one side.

It was evening and the rest of the trekkers had not yet reached. (Our tissue rolls were limited and had finished just before the last hour of the trek.)

Due to unavailability of any network, no contact could be made. The sky was getting darker when we decided to go back and search them with the help of a local, calling out names and signalling with torches in the dense quiet forest.

We finally found them taking rest in an abandoned hut which was a big relief and the end of an adventurous and tiring day.

It was Diwali and no better way to have celebrated it in the absolute noise and pollution free town of Chopta with a handful of people.

Diwali at Chopta!
Diwali at Chopta- One of the rare crackers going off !

 CHANDRASHILA

If you want the charming and surreal views of the mountains, the best time to reach the top is either at sunrise or sunset. I slept by 9 to start the trek early in the morning. It was dark with temperature below 0 degree Celsius. There was absolute stillness on the way and the sky looked bright filled with stars.

Although I started the trek alone, it was agreed with the others (the Dehradun group and the couple from Hyderabad) to start the trek early and reach the summit by dawn. So although i was trekking alone, I knew that there were others on the trek with me. That gave me some kind of comfort.

Tungnath (the highest Shiva temple) is 2 kms from Chopta and the trail is steep throughout.  A 1.5 km trek from Tungnath would take you to Chandrashila peak where you would get a 360 degree view of the mountains of lower Himalayas.

Grand mountains all around with clear skies at about 4,000m(13,000 ft.) is a delight for a traveller. The view is one to savour  for the rest of your life.

It will stay with you forever. 

  • The temple - Chandrashila summit !

This is a must do trek and is a relatively easy one. Live it now!

Uncover more treks near Delhi.

Any queries- Leave a comment.

26 Replies to “Trekking solo to Deorital-Chopta-Chandrashila summit!”

  1. It is one of the most beautiful places i have ever seen in my life. Reallly want to appreciate your choice of selection starting your solo trek trips with Chopta & Chandrashila considering you as coming from Eastern part. Keep the enthusiasm on. Explore the unexplored… ☺👍

    1. Thank you Rahul! Will keep exploring the less explored. You must too. 🙂

  2. Hi Raunak, awesome stuff. I am planning to undertake the same trek solo during this Christmas. Do I need to get in touch with a guide in advance to pitch my tent in Deoriatal and Chopta.Would you recommend taking a guide along for the trek upto Chandrashila considering it will be peak winters? Thanks buddy

    1. No you need not. Although a guide is a must for the trek from Deorital lake to Chopta which can be done at the lake itself. Otherwise you are just fine. Happy trekking!

  3. Sarthak Maheshwari says: Reply

    Hi Raunak,
    Me and some of my friends are planning to visit this beautiful place in the last week of November, will i find snow there?I also wanted to ask if we can reach Chopta and start the trek from there to Tungnath/ Chandrashilla or we have to reach Deorital and start it all over from there? Should i take a guide with me for the 4 kms (chopta -tungnath-chandrashilla ) trek ?

    1. Hi Sarthak!

      You have chosen a great trek! You can only find a few patches of snow at Chandrashila top in last week of November.
      Since you are going to Chandrashila, you must visit the Deorital lake too. For Chandrashila, you have to start it from Chopta. Deorital lake trek starts from village Sari.
      A guide is not recommended at all for Chandrashila trek in November. Th trail is well defined and you guys can do it yourself. Have a great trek 🙂

  4. I’m planning to take this trek in mid-April as the solo traveller.

    Could you give me more details about how did you manage your stay and food being solo? I want to see how to get tents on deorital and chopta?

    Did you stay at chandrashila peak as well?

    1. Hi Vish,

      Accomodation in the form of tents and lodges are available at Deorital lake(tents only), Chopta and Chandrashila. There are small shops which provide both food and stay. So you do not have to worry about that.

      Stay at Chandrashila peak is not possible. Maybe a few hundred feet below that, but that is only possible if you have got your own tent or accompanied by trekking groups. Stay is preferable at Tungnath. Chandrashila is just an hour away from here.

      I stayed at Chopta and completed the Chandrashila trek(to and fro) on the same day.
      All the best for your trek. This is one amazing one!

  5. Hi,

    I also want to follow the same route as your’s.
    Haridware>rudraprayag>sari>Deorital lake>chopta>tungnath > chandrashila

    My queries:
    1. For which part a guide is needed.
    2. Which place is good for overnight stay.
    3. how is the weather in march.
    4. what you recommend solo or with a travel agency.
    5. is it a good trek for beginners.

    1. Hi Mayank,
      Yes. That is the perfect trail to follow.

      1. Guide is only required for the Deorital to Chopta trek. You can hire any local at the lakeside.
      2. Day 1- Deorital lake tent, Day 2- Reach chopta and stay at any lodge. Day 3- You can complete Chandrashila and leave that day itself. Or, stay at Tungnath or Chopta again.
      3. March should be quite cold and you would find snow. So be prepared.
      4. SOLO anyday.
      5. This is the one of the best treks for a beginner.

      Just do it and get amazed!

  6. Thanks for sharing this info. Really useful to plan a solo trip.

    1. Really glad that it is helping you go solo. Motivates me to write more. 🙂

  7. Is this place is save for solo female Traveller

    1. Yes Akanksha. It is totally safe for a solo female traveller. People are warm here as they mostly are in the mountains. And treks are not long. These are day treks so you should be good.
      Needless to stay, stay aware. 🙂

  8. kritika kamra says: Reply

    Hi Raunak,
    Great post.
    So I am planning to follow the same route in the coming weekend.
    1.)Are the mountains covered with snow throughout the year? ( the one visible from the lake)
    2.) Will 3 days be enough if i start my journey from Delhi?
    3.) I have my own tents, so are there good ( and safe) places to put up the tents in tungnath?
    4.) Also, how much will the local guide cost for the trek till chopta?( and please share any number if you have one)
    Thanks!

    1. Thank you Kritika!
      Coming to your queries:

      1. Yes they are.
      2. It is possible if the journey starts at night from Delhi which would be your day zero. But i would recommend a 4 day trip.
      3. Not sure about Tungnath itself. You will have to look for one. You will definitely find one on the way to Tungnath/Chandrashila. You can also camp at Chopta if you like.
      4. Depends on how much you can negotiate. Our guide cost us 200 each for 5 people. I do not have any number. You can ask at any shop set near the lake.

      Happy trekking!! 🙂

  9. kritika kamra says: Reply

    Thanks man!

    1. Anytime. That’s my job. 😀

  10. Hello Raunak,
    Im planning this chopta chandrashila next month 16 june. Will reach haridwar on my own and then Im not sure to take a guided tour or do the trek on my own.
    I will travelling with my wife, so want everything organised like transports , staying at tents etc.
    Have a couple questions to you since you have done the trip already.

    1) Is it necessary to carry your own tent or we can find tented accomodation along the route ?

    2) Are transportation readily available from sari to chopta and chopta to haridwar or do we need to hire cabs for the trips?

    3) Trek groups like Thrillophilia, trekHimalayas are charging Rs 9500/- pp for 3 night tour to Chandrashila , do you think for first timers in the area its better to opt for a organised guided tour instead of a adventurous self tour? Im ok to pay a little extra money for more organised and hassle free tour.

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    1. Hi Pujan!
      Good to know that you have chosen this trek. Regarding your queries:

      1. Yes you will find accommodation at Deorital, Chopta and Tungnath.
      2. Shared taxis/buses are available from Sari to Chopta and then to Haridwar. For the latter, you may have to change a few.
      3. This trek is doable without any trekking group. I would recommend you to do without one. It is very much possible.
      But then if you guys want an organised trip, you can go for it. Depends on your priority totally. 🙂

  11. Vishnu Vardhan says: Reply

    Hi Raunak,
    I am planning to do Chopta- Tungnath-Chandrashila trek in late July. Is it okay to trek in July? How are the hotels/ guesthouses in Chopta? What are the expenses?

    1. Raunak Airan says: Reply

      The weather would be great but then it is the onset of monsoon. Trekking in monsoon is generally avoided. If you have planned it, be sure to ready a poncho/raincoat.
      There are only a few guest houses at Chopta but they are quite reasonable(anything between 400-800/night). You have an option to camp too, which may be a little expensive.

  12. Hi Raunak,
    How much time it takes to trek all the way down from chandrashila to sari? Also, is it possible to reach back Delhi the next morning (around 5-8 am) if we start our trek down from chandrashila around 10 am?
    Preferred means of transportation: local/interstate buses

    1. Hi Deepak!
      The trek to Chandrashila starts and descends to Chopta and not Sari. Deorital lake trek starts from Sari. It is possible to start very early and reach Chopta back by 10am and then travel the whole day in local bus/shared jeeps and reach Haridwar by 7/8pm.
      Then take a bus to Delhi at night.Hectic but possible. 🙂

  13. Hi Raunak,
    Lovely piece of work. 2 questions :
    1. How much will stay at Chopta cost and how to arrange ?
    2. How early should i start from Chopta to witness sunrise at Chandrashila ?

    1. Hi Ankit!
      Thank you.
      1. Stay at Chopta can cost anywhere between Rs 300-1000 depending upon the stay and the season. Tents are also available.
      2. Again depends on the season. You would need around 2.5 hours from Chopta to reach Chandrashila on time for the sunrise.

      All the best for your trek! 🙂

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