When it comes to lakes not many regions can lay claim to exceptional beauty, barring the Garwhal Himalayas of Uttaranchal. At an altitude of 2,440 mts., the beautiful lake of Deoria Tal is located on the Ukhimath-Chopta Motor road about 3 kms. away from Sari.

Deoria Tal Lake

In the early morning, the snow-capped peaks, including Chaukhamba and Kedarnath, are clearly reflected on the lake waters. The lake also provides an excellent spot for angling as well as bird watching.
The snow-capped peaks of Chaukhamba & Kedarnath

The snow-capped peaks of Chaukhamba & Kedarnath

Sari village is the last bus terminus on Chopta-Ukhimath road from where a 3 kms. trek leads to Deoria Tal. This beautiful lake at an altitude of 2,438 mts. gives the spectacular reflection of snow-capped peaks in the lake water.

The journey to the lake starts at Rishikesh and goes along the Ganga up till Devprayag, from where you move along the Alaknanda, right up till Rudraprayag. But we decided to a detour from the old town of Tehri (which is now completely underwater) as we wanted to see the huge lake created by the Tehri dam which is in it’s final stage of being completed and being crowned as the largest hydro project in Asia.
The trekking route map on the board
We reached Ukhimath at around 8 pm and decided to halt their for the night so that we could start early in the morning and spend the entire day at the lake. From there we picked up some rations. These were going to last us for the next few days till Chopta, where the PWD rest house awaited us. The welcome board put up at the entrance to Sari by the villager’s shows a detailed map of Deoria Tal and the peaks that surround it. The Sari village committee is responsible for the upkeep of the area. Excited as we are at the thought of reaching Deoria Tal, it is unnerving to see the steep gradient at the beginning of the trek. Since there are not many places where we would get refreshments or even water, we ensure that our rucksacks are sufficiently packed and started the trek early in the morning through the terraced fields.

Our group

We reached the lake at around 9am am were greeted by the forest guard Mr. Rawat who is the only government official at the site and is assisted by Negi who is a local from the Sari village. He familiarized us with the do’s and don’ts. We spent the entire day exploring the lake and it’s surroundings. I was tempted by the fish in the lake and wanted to try my angling skills but Mr. Rawat warned us that it was strictly prohibited. We stayed overnight in the tents provided by the eco tourism department, which is also doing an excellent job in keeping the lake clean and free from non-biodegradable waste that is often left behind by the town dwellers.

Mr. Rawat took good care of us and briefed us about the various peaks on the northwest side, stretching from the Kedar group to Sumeru, Madmaheshwar ,Bandarpoonch and Chaukhamba.

Some of the peaks on the north-western side

Some of the peaks on the north-western side

The next morning we started at 7am and we were told by Rawat Ji that it would take us not more than 5 hours to reach Chopta which was our final destination. This place is also called mini Switzerland of India. It is a gradual trek through the thick forest and lush green meadows with some breathtaking views of the Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and the other surrounding peaks.

At around 10am we reached a small stream, which was the only source of water in the entire trek. We were feeling hungry and decided to cook and relax there for some time as we had or rather we thought that we had enough time to reach Chopta. We refilled ourselves and proceeded towards the way that we thought would take us to Chopta.

Relaxing just before we decided to cook

Cooking in the open area..

Refilling ourselves before proceeding further

After walking for about eight hours since morning we had reached nowhere and we started to have doubts that we were on the right path but so far we had met no human being ever since we started in the morning whom we could ask if we were on the right track or not. At around 4pm we were confident that we were lost and decided to go back to the lake where we had started. It was a very hard decision, as we knew it was a long way back and we would have to walk much faster.

My friend Darmiyan Singh Negi tried to use his BSNL cell phone and we were all warmed up from inside as we were getting clear signals. We called Mr. Rawat the forest guard and informed him of our location and stressed out situation. Mr. Rawat told us that we had taken the wrong way and we were now in the middle of a huge jungle. He immediately understood the situation and asked us to rush back. He knows it would be impossible for us to make it on our own and assured us that he would send someone to escort us.

Just then we heard a noise, which was sounding like someone was chopping a tree. We both looked at each other’s face and without saying a word rushed towards that sound. We were so relieved to see two old ladies who were chopping branches. As we could speak and understand the local language we asked the ladies where we were and how could we reach Chopta. They guided us towards a steep mountain and told us that we would then catch the right path to Copta and it would take probably an hour from there to reach our destination.

Without wasting any time we called Mr. Rawat and told him that we have now decided not to come back and thanked him for his efforts. Mr. Rawat was still skeptical and insisted that we came back as there was no proper way that we could follow and could get lost again. Yet we decided to proceed ahead. At around 6pm we reached on top of a mountain and again found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. We had no choice but to call up Mr. Rawat and make him aware of our situation. Mr. Rawat told us that he had contacted his counterpart at Chopta by wireless and they have been made aware that two tourists from Delhi are missing in the forest. He insisted that we should head strait back and that he was sending a team of rescuers.

At around 7.30pm it became absolutely dark and it was impossible for us to walk a step further as we were not carrying any flashlights. We stopped at a place and the first this that we did was to set up a fire so that we could be spotted if anybody was coming to rescue. We had no choice but to sit around the fire and wait. Unfortunately the spot, which we chose, was deep in the valley and covered by trees and our cell phone was not getting signals.

At around 11 in the night we were sure that there was no rescue team and we would have to spend the night in the jungle. We had rations to keep us alive and could have spent one night in the forest but we had nothing to protect us from the freezing cold. Just then we heard some human voices shouting. We shouted back at them and realized that we have been spotted. At team of five rescuers had reached us. Those five brave men looked like guardian angels to us. They told us that they had come about 6km from the lake and were just about to go back thinking that we have been lost deep in the jungle and that they would not spot us.

It all seemed miraculous. We all headed back to the lake and reached there at 1 at night. Mr. Rawat was still awake and waiting for us with his walky talky in his hand. He seemed as relieved as were. It would have not been possible without his help. We could never thank him enough. I have been backpacking for over 10 years now and have had some most amazing experiences in the past and this one surely would remain in my memory for a long time.


  • ????????? ……..??????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ????????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ? ?? ?? ???? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??? ??? ………….???? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ,????? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ???? ………..?? ????? ??????

    • Harish Bhatt says:

      Thank you manu bhai and Giriraj bhai. This is a quit old story and i wanted to get started with this one as this was also published in my office magazine. I am working on a few more recent trips that i have done and you will see them soon on Ghummakar.

      I agree the pictures are in small frame in this post but i am sure you will like the ones that are to follow in my next post.

      Thanks again for your lovely and encouraging comments

  • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

    I , on behalf of the ghumakkar community welcome you aboard ……. I liked the post very much because of its sheer novelty . The excursion had lot of adventure surrounded by the wilderness of the Siwaliks ……….

    Nice pictures although small in frame ….. You have been backpacking from 10 years so we will be hearing more from you in the coming posts. Walking in the wilderness of the woods … adamantly moving your way inspite of Mr. Rawat’s suggestions to move back shows the level of sirphiri ghumakkari u have ….. For this i can relate myself …….
    Thank god you were sighted by the Forest Rangers in the wee hours of midnight ….
    Btw .. were u making maggi noodles ?????????? ….. as seen in that picture

    Wonderful story …. Keep writing

    • Harish Bhatt says:

      Yes Giriraj bhai it was indeed maggi for lunch…we had packed some aloo parathas as well but we decided to save those for dinner and I am glad we did that otherwise we would have to cook at night He he he…

  • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

    @@@ Manu Tyagi …. i thought i am the first one to comment ……… you took this opportunity from me ….

    aapne ye kya kiya !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he he he he

  • ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ???? ???????, ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ????? ???? ?? ??????? ??? ??? ??, ???? ????? ???? ?????? ???, ????? ?????? ?? ??? ????, ???? ???????????? ???? ????? ????? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ??, ??? ??? ???? ?? ???, ??????? ???? ???? ??? ????? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ??? ?? ????, ????? ?? ?? ???????? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ???

    • Harish Bhatt says:

      Ram ram Panwar Ji… Purani Tehri ka naam leke aapne purani yaadein taza kar di. Mai bhi us lohe ke pul se kai baar purani Tehri gaya hoon. Puran bus adda bahut hi ganda hua karta tha aur garmiyao me to wahan halat kharab ho jati thi… Mere agle post me bhi aap New Terhi ka zikr payenge or dam ki photos bhi… I am sure you will enjoy..

  • Biswajit Ganguly says:

    Dear Bhatt Sahab,
    wonderful experience, although you made it very simple and smooth but I am sure things were not so favourable and conducive, I dont know why I felt as if it was Man Vs Wild series I was just going through. Isolation, unforeseen dangers, mysterious environment and top of all without any protective gear makes it perfect adventure series. Love to hear about still unexplored and undisturbed places where mankind have failed to reach and spoil the natural beauty. The entire region is treated as DEV BHUMI but many of us tend to forget that sentiment. Hope wisdom will prevail and we would be able to maintain our great heritage…… Biswajit Ganguly

    • Harish Bhatt says:

      Hello Mr. Ganguly,

      Yes it was indeed a wonderful experience. I too feel pain when i see people littering around in such beautiful places specially waste that is non biodegradable like poly bags and stuff like that. I personally; make sure that I leave no trace behind what so ever when I go to such places. It is our responsibility to protect and maintain our heritage.

      Thank you so much for your kind words,

      Harish Bhatt

  • Neeraj Jat says:

    ?? ??????? ????? ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???? ?? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ???????? ???, ?? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ????? ???
    ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ??, ?? ????? ???? ?? ?? ???????? ?? ?????, ?????? ?? ??????? ??? ????? ??????

  • Harish Bhatt says:

    Thank you Neeraj bhai. Mujhe bhi aapke post bahut achche lagte hain, aapki bhasha ekdum sadharan magar bhut hi dumdaar hoti hai Yeh to suruaat hai Neeraj bhai aage apko aur bhi bhaut interesting posts padne ko milenge.

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    ???? ?? …….._/\_
    ???? ?? ??????? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ??? |
    ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ??????? ??? | ???? ?? ????? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ?? , ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????????? ????, ???? ??? ????? ???? ????? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ???????? ???? | ???? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???, ?? ???? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ?????????? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? |
    ?????? ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ??? ????? ??? | ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?? ???? |
    ?? ????? ????? ??? ?? ????? ?????? |

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Welcome to the world of Ghumakkars.
    Great pics, so is the narration.
    Keep writting.


    Excellent Experience, Sir. Nice photos. Your experience is adventures also. God bless u.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Welcome, Bhattsaab, to ghumakkar. You have written an enjoyable post about the Deoria Taal and the pictures of the Himalayan peaks are truly awe-inspiring.

    Regarding your trek in unknown areas, I am surprised that you have lost your way in spite of being an experienced backpacker. Didn’t you have a GPS device or a compass with you? You were indeed quite fortunate to have been discovered by the search party, especially in the darkness of the night.

    • Harish Bhatt says:

      Thank you, Mr Narayan. This is old story. About Eight years old. No i was not using a GPS or a compass. GPS was not such a common gadget at that time. All thanks to Mr. Rawat for his unconditional help….

  • Manish Kumar says:

    ??? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???????????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ????? ??????? ????

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Welcome aboard Harish.

    Great way to join the community. The title didn’t justify the suspense :-), probably something we can work together for your next post. First of all, my BIG Salute to Rawat Ji and the rescue team. I have never been lost like that but I have done some walks in small jungles and it is a different ball game all together with all kind of sounds coming and what not.

    I have been to Okhimath but not beyond. Have read a lot of Sari and Deoria. I am not sure whether I would be able to trek from Chopta but a walk from Sari should happen someday. Thanks for refreshing Tehri. I was there in 2004 and at that point one could visit the old deserted city , it was pretty eerie walking those streets with broken houses etc.

    Also, please send some text about yourself to us so that we can update your Bio.

    Look fwd to read more.

  • Harish Bhatt says:

    Hello Mr. Jha,

    Thank you for your kind words. Please do let me know if you plan to go to Sari or Deoria taal as i know a young local there would could be of great help. He was one of the five brave men who came to rescue us that night.

    I have already submitted my next post for review. I hope you like it.


  • Welcome to Ghumakkar Harish ……………………

    Very good write up………..i liked specially the pictures of you cooking in the jungle………………….

    And I feel you look very promising ghumakkar of near future …………………

    So keep travelling and posting………………….

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Harish ji.

    Welcome to Ghumakkar.

    The post was very interesting with beautiful pictures. The idea of cooking during travel was good, its a different experience.


  • Harish Bhatt says:

    Thank you, Mukesh Ji. My 2nd post will get published today. That has some beautiful pictures as well. Hope you like it.


  • What an ordeal and reached back at the tal at 1AM. This was some adventure.
    After Deoria tal is the endless Himalayas with the only break in the Badrinath Valley.

  • SilentSoul says:

    Wow…. silly me… how could I miss this wonderful travelogue ????

    it was sensational, dangerous and troublesome journey.. Thanks to sincere people of hills that you were spotted in time otherwise… anything can happen in this jungle full of leopards and bears.

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