An Unforgettable Journey to Chopta, Tungnath and Chandrashila
Every plan of a trip begins with the whole group. Every friend would boast about how much fun we are going to have. But as days go by and the date of the trip comes closer most of the friends just walk away giving lame excuses. But the fun fact is that those who are still excited about going are the true travelers and eventually they become the greatest friends. That’s because we create amazing memories together, and after all true friends are meant to create great memories.
This scenario happens with every group of friends so it did happen with us too. The destination was Chopta, Tungnath and Chandrashila peak. We were pursuing graduation from an Engineering college in Pauri Garhwal, so the destination was not very far away. But the journey is all that matters.
Initially, we were five or six guys but as the date came closer we were only three. And thank God for this because the experience I gained there could never be gained with a bigger group. Quality wins over quantity and when it comes to friends I am all about quality and you should be too. Nevermind, that was me just giving a bit of lame but effective advice.
It was the last days of March. Winters were nearly over. Do not expect snowfall in Chopta in these days. If you are craving to see snowfall then January would be the best time. The days were pleasant, a little warm in the noon but evening were forcing us to put on a jacket, not a heavy one. So we caught the bus from Pauri to Rudraprayag. Therein Rudraprayag, we sat on a bus because the conductor was shouting Chopta-Chopta.
But the fun fact is there are two places named as Chopta in Garhwal region, at least I think there are. We were talking about Ukhimath and Chopta and a guy in the bus interrupted us and told this bus is not going to Chopta which is near Ukhimath. We got out of the bus and caught a bus which was actually going to Ukhimath. I could have been a disaster for us it that guy would not tell us the whole story. Long live that guy.
Arrival at Ukhimath:
As we arrived Ukhimath, I was amazed by the scenic beauty of the town. The town of Ukhimath is almost 40 kilometers from Rudraprayag district headquarters. It is situated close to Deoria Tal. Chopta, from where the trek for Tungnath temple and Chandrashila peak begins, is only 29 kilometers from here. So we were nearly an hour away from Chopta. Ukhimath is situated at an elevation of 1,317 m above sea level in Rudraprayag district. It is the home of Lord Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar during winters.
A little piece of advice here is if you are traveling by your own car or taxi, it is probably better to stay at Ukhimath because it has better options to stay than Chopta. Chopta has good options too but it might run out of options during on-seasons. As you might have realized now that we did not have a taxi or a car, we were using public transport.
But if you really want to make the trip worthwhile, bring your tent and all items with you. Instead of choosing a hotel, camp here on the divine meadow that is surrounded by arresting views of green rolling mountains. At night, lay down and witness the starry sky and experience life with the bonfire. This is the best thing to do. We had to start climbing up to the Tunganath early in the morning, so we decided to stay in Chopta for the night.
Chopta is a very quiet and scenic place. It is nestled in the highly elevated regions of Rudraprayag district away from the crowd of a typical hill station. It is just about a few guest houses and shops amidst the wilderness. Away from city life, this is an ideal place to relax with family or friends. In the months of March and April the whole valley looks pink and lush green. Thanks to the woods of Burans (Rhododendrons) flower and godly meadows.
Here We Trek:
Chopta serves as the base point of the trek to Chandrashila peak and Tungnath Temple, the highest Shiva temple in the world. The temple is almost 1,000 years old and situated at an altitude of 3650 meters. Trek to Tungnath is almost 3.5 km from Chopta, it takes typically about 4 to 5 hours to complete the trek. But for us, it took nearly two and a half.
Surrounded by the Himalayan peaks, Chopta to Tungnath and Chandrashila trek is easy to moderate trek. The trail will provide you with a perfect mixture of adventures. It will take you from woods of Burans(Rhododendrons) flower to the glorious mountain fields.
Based on my personal experience(this is a must-do thing), you must try walking on the meadows bare feet. Feel the lush green velvety grass with your feet. I can not describe how good it feels. As we marched up to experience the peak of Chandrashila (4090 m), there were surreal views of the mighty Greater Himalayan peaks of Trishul, Nandadevi, Kedar Peak, Bandarpunch and Chaukhamba.
We were ready to witness the exquisite and unparalleled 360 Degree view of the Himalayas. As we reached the Chandrashila peak, which is almost 1 km above Tungnath temple, we were welcomed by the mother nature. A magnificent mountains view all around, clear skies, soothing breeze, and my buddies. That was all I wanted.