It was already 3 pm by the time we reached Sari Village. It had taken more than eleven hours to cover less than 200 kms. Although it was only expected in Uttrakhand, we were tired and exhausted. The next day was already earmarked for Chopta. So, we fixed accommodation for the night and started moving towards Deoriya Tal, hoping to reach there before dark and come back on time for dinner.
Sari is a fertile village. The slopes as well as the plains have been used well for cultivation of various crops and the view of the village from a distance reminded me somewhat of the Karsog Valley.
The Climb from Sari to Deoria:
It was supposed to be a quick 2 Km trek, more of a warm up for a bigger trek at Chopta. But after a sleepless night and almost 15 hours of journey, even that began to look tiresome right from the beginning. We crossed a small temple that was playing religious music imitating popular Bollywood numbers. It somewhat diluted the aura of the place but the sound soon disappeared and even Sari was nowhere to be seen after half an hour.
Parts of the vegetation were not yet in full bloom. It was the start of May but in those parts, winter was only getting over. I noticed rhododendrons about to blossom. They are of course the hallmark of Chopta, our next destination. But they are visible in this trek too although in lesser numbers.
After a desperate yet spirited surge, we finally saw the horizon over the hills and thought the trek to be over. But just at that moment we saw another trekker coming down. He said there that it is a still a Kilometer away although we found it hard to believe. We’d been trekking for an hour already. Had our pathetic urban lifestyle left us incapable of having a sense of distance too?
Anyways, we pushed on and finally came across a couple of small eateries marking the entry point. The lake is still a few yards from there and a signboard mentions the amount of money to be paid for entry as well as for camera. But the good news was that there was no one to collect those fees. I am not sure if it was by design or we were lucky to reach there after office hours. For once, there was no need to complain over bureaucratic confusion.
The Deoria Tal in itself is a very small lake. It is more of a pond. But the spacious lawns surrounded by dense vegetation around it make it an excellent spot for camping, sighting distant mountains and star gazing. Local legends associate it with certain events of Mahabharata. We did not spend much time out there but there was a certain serenity that comes with a combination of desolation and mythology. We felt it and were invigorated after a tiresome day.
How to Reach Deoria Tal:
You need to reach Sari Village which is Which is 12-14 kms away from Ukimath, which in turn is around 40 kms from Rudraprayag. Rishikesh to Rudraprayag is around 140 kms.
Where to Stay at Sari:
There are several budget accommodation options at Sari. Several local people have started services for tourists that include accommodation, homemade food as well as trekking arrangements in case you need. We stayed at Heera Singh Negi’s place. We did not book beforehands, just arrived there and checked in. He charged INR 400 for a room for two.
Camping at Deoria Tal:
This can also be arranged by the same people at Sari. You can get tents set up near the lake and spend the night.
Transportation to and From Sari:
Transportation is a bit problematic here. Up to Rudraprayag it is easy to get buses or shared vehicles. After that you will mostly have to rely on shared vehicles to Ukimath as buses are infrequent and the roads are also not in good shape. You will have to hire another local car to reach Sari.
This is something we did not do due to lack of time. But it is possible to trek further up from Deoria Tal, reach a meadow called Rohini Bugyal and descend from another side to Chopta, instead of coming back to Sari and going to Chopta by road. If you have time, explore this option.