A collage of MEMORIES

A collage of MEMORIES
A collage of MEMORIES

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Deoria Tal

                          DEORIA TAL THROUGH THE MYSTIC SARI VILLAGE



Gorging onto chocolate croissants with quick slurps of steaming tea gave me ample moments to marvel at the lush green canvas of the picturesque village, sometimes stair cased, sometimes sloppy below the road. We had started at about 6 in the morning from Makkumath with Yashpal Singh Negi as  our guide, covering a good distance by road shaded with pine, oak and birches almost blocking the view of the sublime blue sky and passed the snow-clad mountains as the sun emerged sprinkling rays over the peaks. We had halted here at Sari Village to grab hasty bites of breakfast and to dump our warm garments inside the car before kicking off our trek to the mesmeric Deoria Tal residing in the lap of Garhwal Himalayas as per scheduled on the last day of our Uttarkhand trip.

SUNBEAM SWATHED SNOW
THE LOWER REGIONS ARE STILL IN DARK
JOURNEY STARTS AS OUR CAR SPEEDS THROUGH THICKETS
The 3km gravel trail laden through the Sari village welcomed with the alpine trees as well as the thorny shrubs. Sari village is a small and remote village based in Rudraprayag district near Ukhimath at a height of 6554ft. Meanwhile it is the outlandishly romantic base camp for the majestic Deoria Tal at a height of 7800ft. The first 1km or so is not strenuous enough even for the first-timers, however one can still hire pony or mule on the way. We could get breaks from continuous trek at regular intervals as Negi would spot Himalayan birds fluttering on the branches of the trees and the shrubs.

THE BIRDSEYE VIEW WHILE ASCENDING
WE SAT DOWN TO DRINK THE BEAUTY
MADHYAMAHESWAR  OR MADMAHESHWAR TEMPLE
WE LEFT BEHIND THE TEMPLE AND GO ON TREKKING UP
Beautiful Rosefinch (Carpodacus pulcherrimus), Spot winged Rosefinch (Carpodacus rodopeplus), Himalayan Woodpecker (Dendrocopos himalayensis), Asian Barred Owlet (Glaucidium cuculoides), Rufous breasted Accentor (Prunella strophiata) etc enchanted us throughout the trek along with Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) hovering high over our heads. A stone temple namely Kedar Temple stands erect on the way, with the hymns enchanted on the loudspeakers. The birds seem to be adamant with the sound system and its relieving to see those hovering in flocks freely.  The temple stands as a landmark from where about two and a half kilometers of steep trail has to be conquered before experiencing the aesthetic delight of standing beside Deoria Tal. Sudden jerks of exertion engulf us as the uneven path turned steeper and grueling. Quick bites on chocolate bars as well as moderate sips of water helps in acclimatization for a few minutes and one can inhale more oxygen thereon passing amid the dense Rhododendron and Oak forests. The Rhododendrons were budding as the full bloom time was ahead in March-June.


LAMMERGEIER OR BEARDED VULTURE
BEAUTIFUL ROSEFINCH (FEMALE) TAKING OFF
BLACK THROATED TIT
VARIEGATED LAUGHINGTHRUSH
STREAKED LAUGHINGTHRUSH
The summer sun in Deoria Tal trek remains warm and pleasing, regarded as the best time to visit the lake as the strong chill is reduced and one can experience the euphoric delight of the full bloom Rhododendron forests on the way. After that the increase in landslides and hence road-blockage causes hindrance to the trek, so it is recommended to avoid during that time. Spring months from mid-September to late October is also considered a great time to visit alongside the summer months because the winter starts to set in at that time and the chill is not beyond tolerance level with the charming weather and the warm sun favouring the trekkers. Finally it is recommended to bypass the winter months i.e. from November to February as the extremity of cold and snowfall blocks the trail. Meanwhile it was the December end while we were striding across the stony trail. The last 1km almost churned my body; the glaring sun sucked all the energy leaving me dehydrated, exhausted and exasperated with the sweat that rose beneath my cotton clothes. With the increase of height, the oxygen level reduced to some extent which made us panting. But snow had also increased to a great level with the increase of height and I left a sigh of gleaming relief. The glistening snow, the village huts scattered here and there underneath the slope and the layers of mountains covered with layers of clouds left me simply speechless. The breeze mixed with the wild scent had casted a spell on me. We crossed the plump reddish-cheeked village lashes and wrinkled skinned old women who were returning from the uphill carrying loads of timber, dry leaves and twigs weighing more than them. After covering 500m more, we met Negi sitting beside a food stall who told us to follow the snow laden path downwards. A few slipping and stumbling through the snowy slope and finally I was standing in front of the ultimate destination –Deoria Tal.

WALKING AMID THE SNOW
SOME MORE TREK
DEORIA TAL FINALLY!!!
WELL, YOU WOULD NOT FIND MANY DEORIA TAL SHOTS WITH SNOW AROUND IT
THE MAGNIFICENT REFLECTION
Deoria Tal, also spelled as Devaria Tal at an altitude of about 2438m in Garhwal Himalayas has a reverential legend in the Hindu mythology. It is believed that after being utmost tired and thirsty in the Vanabasa phase, the eldest brother Yudhisthira of the mighty Pandavas asked Bhima to look for water and he saw a lake at a distance perching on a tree. The youngest brother Sahadeva was ordered to go and fetch water for all. Just as he reached and tried to take a sip of water from the lake, Yakshya appeared and asked him a question. As he denied and was about to gulp water, he died. Same thing happened to all the other Pandavas until Yudhisthira came and answered all the questions. Pleased, Yakshya asked him to choose any one brother whom he would make alive again. To his bewilderment, Yudhisthira chose Nakula and seeing such dedication towards the brother from the second mother Madri, Yakshya gave life to all the brothers. The lake maintains its amazing beauty and purity till date.

CHAUKHAMBA PEAK AHEAD
PHOTOGRAPHERS PHOTOGRAPHYING LOCAL CHILDREN
THE MIGHTY Mt. CHAUKHAMBA
MISTLE THRUSH
RUSSET SPARROW (MALE)
It being the ending of year, the whole meadow or Bugiyal was swathed in knee-deep snow. Mules and Horses were roaming here and there. The chilling month of December did not encourage crowd and hence all over a silence and serenity prevailed in the heavily wooded, lush green surroundings. The spectacular Mt Chaukhamba, Neelkantha, Bandarpunch, Yellow Tooth, Kedar Range, Kalang stood erect with pride as the guards in command. The afternoon chilly wind had not started gushing so far and offered an ethereal view of the reflection of the mountains weaving a dreamy palette in the green lake water along with the green bushes in the backdrop. Forgetting all the stress, dipped into the intoxication of the magnificent vistas, I stood in the knee-deep snow, drinking each moment as eternity.  After a few spellbound moments of ecstasy, I at once got over the reverie and struggled to make my way across the snow which sometimes got up to my waist level. Finally I found a suitable place at the lake side under a trunk of a huge tree beside. This dragging through the snow and the shelter under the hole presented me a 300°panorama of Deoria Tal with the lush greenery and the mountain range in the backdrop. A stroll in the surroundings made Mt Chaukhamba appear in walking distance. The snow was less there and the yellowish grass had made their way to welcome us. Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus), Green-backed Tits (Parus monticolus) sprang here and there.

THE REMOTE GUEST HOUSE 
FOOTSTEPS NEVER BEFORE
FOLLOWING NEGI JI FOR BIRD SHOTS
WAITING PATIENTLY

After lunch we started trekking downwards through the dense jungle to Sari Village. In that virgin area, the snow was untouched without any scratch or footmarks. It was the kingdom of silent mountains with the penetrating calls of the birds. The crooked tree branches made peculiar angles throughout the way. Thorny shrubs, nettles blocked our way sometimes. The path was uneven with no distinctive trail amongst the shrubs, snow, twigs, dry leaves and mud. The excitement in exploring such a pristine place was adrenaline-surging –the woods stood still, the blue sky serene and the mountains silent. After a few minutes of scuffling through the woods, slipping in the mud and snow and adjusting the cameras through them, we were finally in a sloppy meadow stretched downwards to the proper village through the jungle.

ROCK BUNTING
ROCK BUNTING
ROCK BUNTING
RUFOUS BREASTED ACCENTOR
YELLOW-BROWED TIT
RUSTY CHEEKED SCIMITAR BABBLER
COMMON ROSEFINCH (MALE)
Thorny bushes and alpine trees accentuated the meadow. A few huts were seen on the outskirts of Sari village and Negi brought us water from one of them.  Rock Bunting (Emberiza cia), Russet Sparrow (Passer rutilans), Rufous -breasted Accentor (Prunella strophiata), Yellow browed tit (Sylviparus modestus) , Blue Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus), Rusty cheeked Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus erythrogenys), Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus), Striated Laughingthrush (Garrulax striatus) etc gave us company to the whole trek down to the village. 



SARI VILLAGE
The village is not an upgraded one but the villagers are jovial, leading a simple life. There are orchards in the village beside Oak, Rhodendrons. There is no local market here; however the nearest one is at Ukhimath. Tourism and farming is the main source of income of the local garhwali villagers. It is a hard fact that although the village offers a mesmerizing view of the mountains and a serene life amidst the beautiful villagers, it does not find any distinctive name in the popular tourist spots of Garhwal Himalayas ; it is the authenticity of the Deoria Tal that attracts nature lovers from all over the world to this remote pristine village.

3 comments:

  1. wowww... such breathtaking pictures ... would love to visit someday

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ahaaa!!! nice place to visit. summers'ld be good weather there ?

    ReplyDelete