I took a break from the Deoriatal story as I went to Pench and saw a tiger too. I am back. When I went to sleep at Sari village I was not too thrilled. The sky was overcast and that meant no view. There was no change in the morning too. Chhavi however woke up in a sunny mood. She was going up to the lake on a horse!
We went down to the shop to have breakfast. Sari village to Deoriatal was a pleasant 3 km walk for me, some do find it tough. Pkanti at Indiamike writes:
“Sari Gaon to Deoria Tal is about 2.5 km only. But the entire trek is elevated 70 degree. So its too tough and takes time for the un-hardcore trekker like us. Do carry water and chocolates. But dont worry non-trekkers! Pony available from Sari Gaon cost between 400-600 bucks.”
It certainly is not a 70 degree, that much I can vouch for. Before setting off, I asked Chhavi how will the horse arrive and here is her answer.
Soon all of us were set to walk. Chhavi started a little ahead on the horse, Sohan Singh ji and I followed on foot. Some people in the village asked if I would also use a horse? I told them I am used to walking. Within a kilometer of walking we reached the local temple. I am not much of a temple person but I like visiting such out of the way temples as there is hardly a soul around.
The walk to the lake didn’t take much time, just about one and a half our. Chhavi reached a little ahead of us on her horse. We were staying at a basic lodge called Surya Lodge which is just outside the lake. We just dumped our luggage inside the room and ventured there again only after dark. You can see from the picture that the room is basic. It had a toilet attached. We could have stayed in a tent but with the weather unsettled we decided to stay in the room.
After dumping the luggage out first task was to ask for Maggi and Tea. I actually like Maggi even in the plains but on mountains it just tastes divine. As soon as we were able to gulp it all, we ran to the lake.
After a while, Chhavi took to walking backwards (first picture). I can never be sure what she will do next! Sohan ji and I were quite disappointed about the view. I was glad to have Chhavi who didn’t give a damn about what we were missing. For her whatever was there was enough. We had an interesting conversation by the lake. A very common talk between me and Chhavi is that she will spot a monkey on the road and say- mamma look monkey. I say yes and tell her I have seen a bigger one. When she asks where I point to her! At Deoriatal she asked if there were crocodiles in the lake. I said yes thinking that way she won’t try to go into the lake. She told me she had seen a bigger one. I was surprised and I asked her where? She coolly pointed a finger at me!
We walked around the lake on the well maintained path. We met a lady who was probably a contract employee with the forest department. She gave Chhavi wild chestnuts to eat. Both of them were breaking them open with stones. I was quite afriad that Chhavi would hurt her fingers but to her credit she didn’t. We gave the lady a pack of biscuit in return. The tea stall owner, Shailendar gave her a cup of tea. Talk to anyone in Uttarakhand and they have lost someone or know of someone who has lost someone. My heart goes out to the people of the state who were affected in the massive floods.
Three foreign women did Deoriatal as a day trip. Within half an hour of our arriving two tents were up by the lake. They also belonged to foreign tourists. With Chhavi at her chattering best I had some sympathy for people around us who came looking for peace. But the place was big enough to accommodate all of us. And then there were real birds chattering all around us as well. Sohan ji and I took turns for clicking them. By evening a big group of Indian trekkers arrived.
The weather completely refused to lift its cloud cover. Sohan ji and I debated whether we should stay one more day. Chhavi told us in no uncertain terms that she wanted to go back to her Masi’s (aunt) place rather than stay at the lake for another day. As the weather didn’t improve the next day, her wish was granted.
Chhavi had no problem with the lodge room. I too was fine. She fell asleep within no time once we settled in after dinner. Anyway in the hills as soon as the sun goes down it becomes quite cold. Soon I too fell asleep but I was woken up by a strange noise. I thought it was a rat. Then I dismissed it and fell asleep again. I woke up suddenly because I thought something walked close to my hair. Now my sleep was really disturbed. I could not fall asleep for the next three hours. I didn’t like it one bit. I passed sometime by looking at the pictures on the camera LCD. I took a look outside, it was still a cloudy night. By the time I fell asleep again it was nearly 3.00 am.
In the morning I asked Shailander if there were rats in the room, he said with a smile- many! No wonder I found it difficult to sleep. I am as sacred of rats as Doraemon. The next time I go to the lake, I am opting for the tent!
If you peer hard at the background of this picture you can see the faint outline of the snow capped peaks. On a clear day they reflect in the lake and glow red at the sunset. I have to go back some other time. I wonder if Chhavi will agree to come with me?