A trip of five days through the Garhwal (Indian Himalaya), including a trek of two days

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by Fred Triep

The map to the left is an adjustment of the map on the webpage:


The black coloured part on the map
to the left marks the geographical
position of the Indian State Uttaranchal.

The map to the right is an
enlargement of the black 
painted part in the map to the left.

Click on the map to the right,
if you want to see a detailed map
( 136 Kb) of the Garhwal mountains
around Oktinath and our trip

This map is an adjustement of the
map Badari- Kedar (see literature)

General description of the Area

The Garhwal (west) and Kumaon (east) forms the mountainous state Uttaranchal. The state Uttaranchal contains a large part of the Indian Himalaya. The state Uttaranchal is bordered to the north by Tibet and to the east by Nepal. On the west side it is bordered by the state Himachal Pradesh and on the south side by the state Uttar Pradesh. Before 2000 it was the mountainous part of the state Uttar Pradesh. Since November 2000 this part of Uttar Pradesh has become a separate state, Uttaranchal.
In the Uttaranchal part of the Himalaya there are a lot of large mountains above 6000 m, e.g:
Gauri Parvat (6590 m), Gangotri (6614 m), Panch Chhuli( 6910 m), Nanda Devi (7816 m), Nanda Kot (6861 m), Kamet (7756 m), Badrinath (7140 m), Trishul (7120 m), Chaukhamba (7138 m) and Dunagiri (7066 m).
The mountainous area of Garhwal is the origin of the Gangga and a lot of its tributaries. One could make some high mountain treks in this region, e.g. the Gangotri trek to the source of the Bhagirathi (also called the source of the Gangga), but then you have to be here in the summer season (half May till the end of september).

General description of the trek

We made this trekking wit a taxi (with taxi driver) and a guide for five days. The trek was arranged by Silvia Baratta (Swami Rama Sadakha Grama), in cooperation with us. At first we would like to make a trip in the high Himalaya, e.g. the Gangotri trek. But in April in all the high mountains roads are closed till the beginning or medium May. So we decided to make a trip in the middle Himalaya (between 2000 and 4000 meter).

Detailed description

I have made this trip with Margriet. In this report I give some information from my Garmin GPS. The information with * is a minimum distance. Because sometimes contact failure of the GPS apparatus in the dense woods, the information is not complete. So the walking distances could be a little more.
Because of the broken down of my camera, the pictures on this webpage have been made by the camera of Margriet: sometimes the picture has been made by me, sometimes by Margriet.

Saturday 8 April

At 7.00 o’clock we were picked up by the taxi at the reception of the Swama Rama Sadhaka Grama. At  the end of the afternoon we arrived in Okthinath. On the way to Oktinath we made two little stops on viewpoints. The first viewpoint was before Deoprayag, where we had an overview of the confluence of the rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda. From that point on the river continues as Gangga. This is also a holy place with ghats (where one can take rituel dip). The second viewpoint was at the confluence of the river Mandakini  in the river Alaknanda. 

Large photo left is 143 Kb and right 128 Kb

Left: The confluence of the Bhagirathi (left) and the Alaknanda (right) to Gangga
Right: Tthe confluence of the river Mandakini (back) in the river Alaknanda (in front)

Photo's: Margriet van Kampen

From there we drove through the Mandakini valley to Oktinath.  

The large photo's are respectively 66 Kb, 143 Kb, 146 Kb and 173 Kb

Left: View to the north from the guest house in Oktinath through the valley
Right: Young girls of Oktinath, who collect grass for the animals at home

Photo's: Margriet van Kampen

We slept in the Tourist Rest House Uktinath in Uktinath (Altitude:1300 meter )

Sunday 9 April

We went by taxi to the marketplace of the village at 1400 meter. There we started our hike.

Large photo left is 91 Kb

Left: The marketplace of Oktinath

Photo: Margriet van Kampen

From the market a mountain path, first rather steep, later on more flat, leads us to Lake Deoria Tal. On the way up, we meet several people and animals. We had also nice views on the valley behind us.

The large photo's are respectively 117 Kb, 165 Kb, 153 Kb and 112 Kb

Left top: Climbing the path, we had a good view on the village of Oktinath

Left bottom: On the path up, we meet donkey's and donkey drivers

Right top: Should this be the family of Fred Triep? No, this a school class on the school beside the path

Right bottom: Denzil and Fred climb the steep path up, on the background one can see the village Guptakashi on the other side of the valley

Photo's: Margriet van Kampen

Around 12.45 o'clock we arrived at the lake. On the shore of the lake was a Tea Stall and a few tents, which can be rented.

The large photo's are respectively 70 Kb, 135 Kb and 94 Kb

Left: View on Lake Deiria Tal from the tea stall (Photo: Fred Triep)
Right: The lake and the tea stall from the path to Oktinath (Photo: Margriet van Kampen)
Totally right: The lake and the tea stall from the path to Sauri (Photo: Fred Triep)

Information about the trip (from my watch and my Garmin GPS), traject 1 on the map

Start trek

8.55 o’clock.

1400 meter

Arrival at Lake

12.45 o’clock.

2400 meter

Moving time

1.52 hours


Stopped time (resting and looking around)

2.09 hours


Total time

3.50 hours



5,75 km *


The tea stall was already two weeks in function, in general the tea stall is in function from the beginning of April till the end of October (precise times depends on the weather of snow conditions). Denzil told us, that there was a lot of snow around the lake two weeks ago. Now the surroundings were totally green.

We slept in one of the tents and we used dinner and tea at the the tea stall.

Monday 10 April  

In the morning we went along a very good path from the lake to Sauri. We went on a very easily accessible and curved path, paved with large stones.

The large photo's are respectively 151 Kb, 127 Kb, 139 Kb and 138 Kb

Left top: We went on a curved path with large stones down to the village Sauri

Left bottom: On the curved path down to Sauri we meet donkey's and donkey drivers.

Right top and right bottom: On the curved path down to Sauri we also meet women carrying faggot or hay

Photo's: Margriet van Kampen

Information about the trip (from my watch and my Garmin GPS), traject 2 on the map

Start trek

7.45 o’clock.

2400 meter

Arrival at Sauri

8.50 o’clock.

2000 meter

Moving time

0.48 hours


Stopped time (resting and looking around)

0.33 hours


Total time

1.05 hours



2,1 km *


The taxi was waiting at the road. We were brought tot Chopta (2900 m), where we first took a breakfast in our hotel there. 

It is possible to hike directly from Lake Deoria Tal to Chopta instead of using a taxi. We did not use this option, by lack of a porter. It taxes about five hours to hike from the lake to Chopta. This possibility is indicated on the map wit purple points.

Large photo left is 132 Kb and right 145 Kb

Left: View from our room at Hotel Raj Mahal on the restaurant of the hotel and the main street of Chopta
Right: Tables on the main street op Chopta makes the outside terrace

Photo's: Fred Triep

First we hiked to the Tungnath temple through the Rhododendron wood on a well accessible path of stones  (from 2900 till 3000 m). Then we hiked up through the open field. 

Large photo left is 151 Kb and right 181 Kb

Left: Entrance gate in the main street of Chopta to the path to the temple Tungnath
Right: Hiking through the Rhododendron wood between 2900 and 3000 m

Photo's: Fred Triep

At 3000 meter there are some good flat places to put a tent, but we preferred a stay in the guesthouse. 

The large photo's are respectively 110 Kb, 119 Kb and 154 Kb

Left: Denzil and Fred going to the temple of Tungnath, with on the background some good places for camping 
(Photo: Margriet van Kampen)
Right: View on the top of the mountain  
Totally right: View on the curves of the path down 
(Photo's: Fred Triep)

After arriving at the temple, we had tea in one of the houses below. The temple was closed, but opens at half May. It is the highest Shiva temple in India.

The large photo's are respectively 72 Kb, 82 Kb and 100 Kb

Totally left, left and right: The temple of Tungnath, still closed in April
Photo's: Fred Triep

After the tea we took a path up till 3500 meter, where the hiking was troubled by snowfields.

The large photo's are respectively 121 Kb, 102 Kb and 106 Kb

Left and right: Impressions of the little village around the temple of Tungnath
Totally right:
View on the little village around the temple of Tungnath

Photo's: Margriet van Kampen

After that we went down and reached the hotel just before the thunder was starting.

Information about the trip (from my watch and my Garmin GPS), traject 3 on the map

Start trek


2900 meter

Arrival at temple


3456 meter

Total time

2.00 hours


Arrival at highest point


3500 meter

Arrival at Chopta


2900 meter

Total time (to temple, to snowfields and down to Chopta)

5.55 hours


Total distance

8 km *


This evening we slept in Hotel Raj Kamal in Chopta (2900 m)

Tuesday 11 April

In the morning, before breakfast we walked a few hundred meters outside Choptal where Denzil showed us the view on the snow- capped mountains of the Himalaya. We saw to the Northeast the Chaukamba (7138 m), to the North Satopanth (7075 m), Sumeru Parbath (6350 m) and Kedarnath Peak (6948 m), from right to left as a rim of snow (in reality they lay on different distances of the viewer).  

Large photo to the right is 149 Kb

Right: Panorama picture of the snow- capped mountains of the Himalaya from a viewpoint below Chopta.

Photo: Fred Triep

After breakfast we make a litlle walk along the road to the pass behind Chopta and after the pass we walked further till a viewpoint for looking in the next valley. After that we hiked back to Chopta, where we took lunch in the hotel.

After lunch we put our luggage in the car and while the taxi driver drove the car through all the bends in the road down, we make a shunt along a path down (traject 4 on the map). We reached an old house before the driver’s arrival. From there  we went further by car. We drove through Uktinath to Guptakashi (1319 m). The car stopped in the main street. 

Large photo to the right is 124 Kb

Right: The main street of Guptakashi, viewed from the stairs to the Vishwanath temple

Photo: Fred Triep

From there we walked up to the very nice Vishwanath temple with the water bassin before (with water from two underground tributaries of the Gangga and the Yamuna).

Large photo left is 126 Kb and right 121 Kb

Left: The Vishwanath temple in Guptakashi with the bassin in front of it
Right: The bassin in front of the Vishwanath temple in Guptakashi, to the left water of a Yamuna tributary (drunk by Benzil) and to the right water of a Gangga tributary (drunk by Margriet)

Photo's: Fred Triep

After this visit we went to our accommodation (a bungalow) at Syal Saur in de Mandakini Valley.

Wednesday 12 April

We started at 8.30 o’clock. We went back to Rishikesh and arrived at the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama at 15.00 o’clock. On the way we took a lunch at the rafting camp outside Rishikesh.

Large photo left is 85 Kb and right 92 Kb

Left: The announcement of the ashram of SRSG on the Virbhadra Road in Rishikesh
Right: The campus of the Swami Rama Sadakha Grama, where we stayed before and after the trekking

Photo: Fred Triep

Guide and taxi driver

We can recommend Denzil as a guide and Mangial as a driver for such a trip. They are friendly and helpful. Denzil discuss the different options and makes everything as pleasant as possible for his guests.

Guide: Denzil, (Garhwal Adventures in Rishikesh)
phone: 0091- 9411381891
email : dreamcatcher747@gmail.com or hot_denzil@indiatimes.com

Taxi Driver: Mangial Singh (Himganga Tour and Travels in Laxman Jhula Rishikesh) phone: 0091-9837608258 or 0091- 9412115612
email: hemant_43@rediffmail.com


K.P. Sharma
Garhwal and Kumaon
Cicerone Press, Series: Himalayan Walking and Trekking, 1998
ISBN: 1-85284-264-4

Garry Weare
Trekking in the Indian Himalaya
Lonely Planet, 4 th edition, September 2002
ISBN: 1740590856

Hugh Swift
Trekking in Pakistan and India
ISBN 0-340-51556-2
Out of print, but otherwise try


India Himalaya Map 7: Garhwal (Uttaranchal)
Folded Map, Scale 1:200 000
Leomann Maps, 2005
ISBN: 0906227917

Badari- Kedar
Trekking Map Series, Scale 1:250.000
Survey of India

Links on hiking in the Indian Himalaya

-  We are still working on this part

This page has been made new on Monday 11 June 2007.

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