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Chandrashila



The mountain speaks its own language and we’ve got to give in to its methods to learn about life & find our true strengths. The silence of a mountain is a blissful disguiseas they say, you can never conquer a mountain, and you can only conquer yourself. Apt!

It is a way of getting up close with Mother Nature while some of us just enjoy pushing our limit. For me this was my favorite trek. I found myself, the confidence which had faded was back, the only reason for that was the beauty and peace. I never felt something like this before.

My companion was my schoolmate, who wanted to do her first trek so we chose Chopta-Chandrashila Trek.

We started early for Delhi all excited, and took the bus to Haridwar. Haridwar is considered as one of the major religious landmarks in the Uttaranchal region. We stayed the night there and met the group at the railway station the next morning. We were a group of 20, we had a fun group in our car so we looked forward to a fun filled drive. A horrible traffic jam between Haridwar and Rishikesh was quite tiring.

 

After that the beautiful drive we finally reached Sari around 5pm and it was almost dark. It was really cold and every one was tired. We had a quick briefing and followed but hot dinner,

Sari acts as the picturesque base camp for the trek to Chandrashila, Ample options for accommodation and moderate eating joints. Sari is mostly used for overnight halts.

Soon after breakfast of delicious parathas, we started our trek towards the heavenly Deoria Tal.

On looking at the hill standing between the Sari village and the lake, we could tell that the trek would be steep. And sure enough it was. But what made matters worse was the sun. It got too hot within minutes of starting the trek. As soon as we started walking uphill, we could feel the scorching heat determined to test our limits. Throughout the 3km trek, the Sari village was visible from every corner. We walked through the dense cover of Rhododendron trees the beautiful colour was a wonderful sight. It was challenging to climb in that climate but the beauty of the terrain was just too tempting. We reached the majestic lake. Since it was a steep walk, we almost gained an altitude of 1300 feet. And at the moment, it all looked worthy.

The sight of the clear green lake surrounded by the rough forest with the Himalayan peaks in the backdrop was jaw-dropping. It felt like the scenery had come to life out of a painting. The lake is surrounded by forests with the glistening waters reflectingthe mighty Chaukhamba peak. They say camping at Deoria Tal is a lifetime experience. It was indeed so. I sat at the lake looking at the beauty around me, we could already see some trekkers setting up tents. Ourtrek leader showed us how to pitch our tents. My first one ever.

That was indeed fun. We wandered around the place and made new friends, Dogs,,, my companions for most of the trek..

We had a nice pleasant dinner and went back to our tents as it was really cold. The night shadowed upon the lake. As the moon appeared bright & promising, the Himalayas presented an unforgettable sight. The aura looked heavenly in the moon light; I wished I could just stay out & glare at what nature had in store for us. There was a serene silence in the air, when we decided to call it a day.

 

It was a bright morning the next day, we got ready as it was going to be a long trek, and breakfast was not really good so just filled up on glucose. We packed the tents and started on our way.

  

The path was feebly visible but involved a lot of ups & downs. And most of the turf was rocky. While moving downhill, my feet were having a tough time. We drank a lot of water at regular intervals. The sun was right above us & the valley opened up. It was too bright a day; sunscreens didn’t seem to work much

The trail was sprinkled with little shrines that stood out in the greenness by the red and yellow flags tied on them. After crossing a clearing in the forest lined with blossoms, we are directly ushered up an ascending path towards Rohgini Bugyal and Chopta. we decided to take a break & have lunch. We found a comfortable spot on  the grass & lay back for a while waiting for everyone to catch up. The food was delicious, given the remote location, we were in good spirits.

Soon after lunch, we moved on. It was getting uncomfortably hot. We could hear the sound of the ravishing waters from a distance & couldn’t wait to reach there.

 

Finding a random stream of water was bliss. We entered the water barefoot to relax our feet. I drank plenty & topped up my water bottle. Soon when the rest of the group joined us there, we made our way towards our destination. It was an hour and a half long walk through the woods. We were all charged up after the much needed drinks, Suddenly it turned really dark and it started raining. Out came the ponchos, we thought it would stop so we tried walking but it just came down really heavy everyone ran for cover. The only thing I dint like was that it was getting really dark and scary. Nobody wanted to be in the forest. We prayed that it would stop and we could move on. In about 30 miniutes it finaly stopped. We moved at a really fast pace.Needless  to say we didn’t even realize when we were down to the last mile. Within no time, we hit the road & could see Chopta from a distance.It was dark by now and raining again, our trek leader advised us to not wait for everyone and to start down to the campsite. We rushed hoping to get out of the rain and for something hot to eat as we were starving.

We reached the site the tents were up but due to the heavy rain the kitchen and dining tents were not up yet. I could not wait I was too exshusted, I just got inside my tent and into the bag, I was literally freezing, I finally fell asleep.

Woke up feeling very refreashed, we were to start at 6. But due to the cold rain we started at 7.

We started climbing the well-laid trail up till Tungnath Temple. We climbed silently, it was really warm. Today, the climb was steep with many challenges and sharp turns. There was a small temple on the way. We stopped to rest as it had turned really hot and there was no other place along the way to rest.

Westarted to climb again and saw Tungnath from a distance, it was a steep climb and it felt so soothing to have reached the temple. I sat outside and waited for the group to finish they prayers. It was really peaceful and I had my thoughts to keep me company. A lot of things made sense to me, I made peace with myself.

The others returned and we went ahead, thepath ahead of Tungnath temple was really difficult to climb. The broken rocky patches of the trail gave us a tough time. We made our way through the desolate trails to reach the point from where the trail disappeared and it was just the road ahead of us. This is where we really split. We all tried to follow the easiest path to climb the weather had changed and the chilling breeze made matters worse. But the astonishing beauty of the place kept us going. We could see the temple at the Chandrashila peak far from our reach.

We were on a steep incline with nothing but grass under our feet and a terrifying valley staring at us. The terrain challenged our bodies I was really tempted to give up but kept climbing. I slipped several times, while the conditions tested our mettle, we defied all odds & made it to the peak after 3 hours of climbing we reached the summit. I was really tired and the beauty around me took the remaining breath away from me. I just stood there in awe.

Everyone soon gathered and we were really happy that our entire group had made it. We clicked pictures and sat around taking in the view when suddenly the heavens opened.

The sound of the thunder was deafening. Everyone was on they feet.
The memory of that instance is still fresh in my mind. We could see the Lighting fall and everyone was scrambling for shelter we rushed down the open valley.

We were all so busy rushing down when the hail started, it was so beautiful we just stood there feeling it hit us. But we had to continue down as it had started to rain. We passed the Temple then on the way down the clouds cleared and we saw the most fascinating views all the way down.

Finally we reached and had lunch at a restaurant, before continuing to the campsite. We had an enjoyable evening and enjoyed the dinner. But the rain started again and it was really cold so we all went back to our tents.

Next morning was a relaxed start. Sitting on the rock and looking at my beloved Himalayas the only thought on my mind was is this the end or will I ever be back.

We headed back to Haridwar. We had a bus that evening to Delhi and a flight the next afternoon.

Author:-
CAROLINE DSILVA

 

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