Sunday, December 1, 2013

Trek to Deoria Tal – The magnificence of a reflection

Deoria Tal – The magnificence of a reflection - 18th Nov 2013

Caught in the reflection
There was once a story of a fisher woman who got married to a man in the city and couldn't sleep without the smell of her fish and her fish baskets around.

I just couldn't sleep with so much of peace around. It seemed the insects also went into hibernation in the cold. Not a sound. My eyes woke to a faint light creeping in from the fabric of the tent. What I thought as the first rays of the sun was actually the moonlight seeping in. The sun was yet to rise. I couldn't put myself to sleep anymore, so I just lay; blankly, with nothing in mind except the shivering cold to think of. I didn't have to wait for a long time as the moon handed the baton to the sun and the landscape was being covered in the glow of a happy morning. As I stepped out of the tent, it was so eerily silent. Even the chirping of the birds came much later on, as if they too seemed to be cozily cuddling in their nests.

I spent a good deal of the next 2 hrs bird watching and trying to capture the tweeting fancies in between their appearing and vanishing in the foliage. After warming myself in the kitchen fire and having a hot cup of tea, my guide and me were off to Deoria Tal on a bike. The path to Deoria Tal is to the left on the way from Ukhimath to Dugalbitta/Chopta. It is motorable till Sari village, the last village in that area. The trek starts from there.

Deoria Tal is at an altitude of about 2400 metres. The path leading to it is a cemented ‘6 footiya’ in most of the parts and it starts opposite the first shop at Sari village. At others, it’s made up of stoned steps, curving at almost every 50 metres, taking you up, up and away. Breathing becomes a little heavy for the city folk at such altitudes so you need to take care. Though the trek is easy, you end up heaving and panting most of the way because the climb is a quite steep. On the way, you see cows and horses grazing, village girls getting fodder for their cows and buffaloes in huge baskets literally bending their backs. The landscape is just as beautiful as can be and it never tires the eyes. A small old temple appears almost half the way to the top. Like most temples built in this region, it is built in the likes of Tungnath and Kedanath. This trek is through a jungle, but I didn’t see many birds except for the gliding eagles. At the top was a shop thankfully and we ordered for lunch which we were to have later. A few minutes later, the jungle opened up to a lake; a tal; Deoria Tal! And what a frontal view of the mountains! You need to see to believe! It took us 1 hr 15 mins for the to reach the top.

Deoria Tal is a small lake in the middle of the forest and has water in it throughout the year. The beauty of the lake lies in the reflection of the Chaukhamba and the adjoining mountains in it when the water is still, a different hue during the different times of the day. It’s like seeing the beauty of a veiled princess through its reflection in the water. When I went, the water was a little marshy and green and not so still. The reflections rippled. Small fishes, presumably trouts were swimming gleefully. There is ample space for pitching up a tent and is permissible with a little extra cost and approval from the authorities. Just imagine a moonlit night with the reflection of the Chaukhamba peaks in Deoria Tal. Next time if I happen to be there, this would definitely be on my agenda.

It was very peaceful when we reached there except for the chirping of the birds. The silence was shattered by a teenage group of girls and boys who played music loudly on their state of the art mobiles and in a few minutes, the chirping of the birds were replaced by the nonchalant blabbering of the girls. I also met a group of doctors and interns who were put up in Ukhimath for the next 6 months.

Spending a few hours just enjoying the tranquility of the place, the lake and the landscape views, with a heavy heart we returned. Had local daal rice and omelet at the shop before we descended. Riding back to the campsite on the bike, the chill in the air caught on us.

The same splendid view of the moon rising from behind the Chandrashila peak and the white washed mountains on the other side before I push back to my tent…to rest before I took the next trek to the highest Shiva temple in India; Tungnath!

What a scene! At the beginning of the trek to Deora Tal

A lone cloud

Basking in the glory of the rays

Orange tree


Village folk

Getting fodder for the cattle is such a task!

On the way up

Last shop before Deoriatal

The beautiful and serene Deoria Tal

White sheet of snow

The entire range right from Chaukhamba to the right, Mandani and Kedarnath peak on the left

From a different angle

A grand reflection

Mountain goat

Deoria Tal


Light me up!

Path to Deoria Tal

Path to Deoria Tal

Chandrashila peak

Sari village 
Temple en route

The mountains from the campsite

Look what I found...looks like meercats

Yellow billed blue Magpie in flight 
Yellow billed blue Magpie
Changing colors with the setting sun

Chestnut bellied rock thrush

Long tailed thrush - Is there any better camouflage?

Eurasian Jay

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