A trekking guide to Chopta and Tugnath

IMG_20171128_170655_844
Morning Views at Deoria Tal

The Mini Switzerland at an altitude of 2700mts is popularly known in India as Chopta and is a place where you can experience the ecstasy of the actual Switzerland without any Visa hassles and is also well within your pocket. Surrounded by dense forests offering majestic views of Snow Clad Himalayan ranges, Chopta is located in RudraPrayag district of Uttrakhand.  You can have a clear and unobstructed glance of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba peaks.

The beginning point of famous treks like Tungnath Temple and Chandrashila Summit, this serene place etches an everlasting impression on your mind. I just could not stop myself from a visit to Chopta as I wanted to run away from the hassles of the city and to gain some much needed mental peace.

My Itinerary

2 Nights and 3 days Deoria Tal (1N) and Chopta (1N) and Trek to Tungnath and Chandrashila peak.

When to Visit

Its almost an all season hill station. I visited it in early October.

But try to avoid travelling in the monsoon months of July-August. It can get really messy and dangerous.

All other months carry their own attractions in Chopta.

How I reached

We took an Ordinary bus ride to Guptakashi from Delhi Kashmere Gate ISBT. Soon after sitting in the bus it became overcrowded. But since we did not have much time, we decided to go with the same bus. It was a long ride (approx. 13-14 hours). We dropped at Ukhimath. We enquired further about Sari village and took a shared taxi till Sari village and was within budget.

A Better Route would be to take a comfortable train till Rishikesh/Hardwar from Delhi and take an easily available taxi till Chopta which is about 220 Kms from Haridwar.

Camping Details

I pre-booked a camping package from https://www.euttaranchal.com/  @ Rs 3150 per person. The itinerary was as follows:-

Tour:  (2 Night 3 Days): Deoria Tal (1N), Chopta (1N)

Day 1: Arrive at Sari Village, trek to Devariyatal. Evening snacks and dinner. Camping in Devariyatal.

Day 2: Breakfast, trek down to Sari Village. Arrive in Chopta and enjoy the lunch. Trek to Tungnath and Chandrashilla. Evening snacks and Dinner.

Day 3: Breakfast and Departure.

NOTE:- Transportation cost till Chopta from DeoriaTal was not included in the package, which was disappointing. So here is a TIP from my experience

Don’t pre-book the trekking package and rather book it after arrival to Chopta. There are plenty of homestays, guides and porters available in Sari who can offer you a good deal for both 1 day camping at Sari or 2 days(s) trekking (Chopta + Deoria Tal). You will save a lot of bucks too.

Camping Experience

Day-1 started at 9 AM with a short 2 hour trek to Deoria Tal from Sari. It is an emerald lake at an elevation of 2438 meters which on a clear and sunny day can amaze you with crystal clear reflections of Chaukhamba peaks on its sparkling waters.

It falls under the Kedarnath Must Deer Sanctuary. Hence bonfire was not allowed at night which resulted in pitch darkness at the night. Gazing at stars at such a place in the pitch-dark night can be such an ecstatic and out of the world experience.

IMG_20171130_173303_802
Views on the way while trekking

 

Day-2 took me back to Sari and we reached at around 10 AM. Luckily I met some locals who happily gave me a bike lift till Chopta. I paid them around Rs. 175. The morning was chilly and foggy as was expected in early October. Even though my body wanted rest the trekker within me took me to Tungnath Trek after lunch. So close to the highest Shiva temple in the world, how could I miss it.

_DSC0907-EFFECTS
Tugnath Temple

Tungnath is the highest of the Panch Kedar temples in the Rudraprayag region. The famous Kedarnath temple is one of the Panch Kedar temples and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. At 3460 mts and just below Chandrashila peak, Tungnath temple is 5000 years old and is the third among the Panch Kedars.

I reached around 4 PM at Tungnath temple which was pretty late for a hilly region like that. After spending half an hour I started ascending towards Chandrashila peak.

Chandrashila means “Moon Rock” and is the summit of the Chandranath Parbat on which the Tungnath Temple is situated. This is akin to the glorified Moon on Lord Shiva’s forehead. Despite extreme tiredness, the feeling of reaching Chandrashila amidst the heavenly panorama of the Great Himalayas is something which is beyond words.

IMG_20171009_220621_835
Sunset in Tugnath

But it was just an ephemeral one as I had to descend to Chopta because it was already dark. The fear of wild animals in the vicinity made the situation a little panicky but with God’s grace, met a family who had a high power torch and we safely reached Chopta. The descend was quite smooth and it took only 1.5 hours from Chandrashila to reach Chopta. We were extremely hungry and tired and hence had dinner and crashed away instantly.

_DSC0868-01 (1)
These flowers were in abudance in Chopta

TIP: – Camp overnight at Tungnath and start for ChandraShila early in the morning to experience the best Sunrise you can ever see against the backdrop of the Himalayas.

Day-3 was destined to take me further to a heavenly place that i had planned to visit from long time. It was a surprise for myself too as it was not a part of my planned journey, which i shall cover in the next article.

IMG_20171014_185718_320

Posted by

As a child I was always excited to explore new places, meet new people and thus started my passion for travelling. Though working in an IT environment for quite 5 years now, I have always seized the smallest opportunity to sneak out and explore.