Chopta is a small scenic town and a hill station in a valley of bugyals (meadows) and evergreen forests in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand state, India. The town is sometimes called as “Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand” because of its incredible natural beauty and landscapes.
It serves as the base town for Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila trek. Tungnath is the third temple in Panch Kedar group of temples. It is world’s highest Shiva temple. The entire valley of Chopta and Tungnath is a part of Kedarnath wildlife sanctuary.
The place is still unexplored by many travelers. Chopta is a perfect place if you are looking for peace and solitude away from the city crowd. The valley welcomes many travelers, trekkers, solitude seekers and devotees of the lord Shiva every single year.
The place offers a magnificent views of Himalayan peaks such as Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba. Natural fresh water high altitude lake Deoria Tal is also near Chopta, which is a must to explore.
Chopta serves as the base town for Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila trek. The trek starts with an ascend and takes you through the dense wood of rhododendron flowers. The total distance of the trek is 5 km from Chopta to the highest point Chandrashila peak. So the total trekking distance becomes 10 km including the return to Chopta.
It usually takes less than a day to complete the trek depending on how much time you spend in Tungnath temple and on Chandrashila peak.
If you are doing the trek in the months of March and April then you will notice the whole valley and trek to Tungnath have become reddish because of rhododendron flowers with lush greenery.
The entire valley is surrounded by meadows, rhododendron, pine, deodar and other trees, which makes the entire valley of Chopta rich in flora and fauna. Rhododendron flower is locally known as Buraans in Uttarakhand.
As you move forward, you will see many high altitude lush green meadows, where people camp. These beautiful campsites in such high altitude place look so amazing and mesmerizing. There are many meadows with beautiful little wildflowers along the way.
You will see many local, migratory Himalayan birds and also Monal, the state bird of Uttarakhand, which is only found in high altitude Himalayan areas. Many birdwatchers come here to capture the photographs of these birds.
While trekking, just below the Tungnath temple you will see a campsite on a huge lush green Bugyal (meadow) with a magnificent views of nearby snow-covered Himalayan peaks. Here, you can spend some time enjoying the view, talk to people and have some tea and snacks. There are a few tea stalls, shops and small hotels just beside the temple.
Once you reach Tungnath temple, you can worship the lord Shiva and move on to the Chandrashila peak, which is the highest point of the trek. From Tungnath mandir, you will have to cover a steep climb of 1.5 km to reach Chandrashila. It almost takes an hour to cover this distance.
Chopta is well-known for its high altitude meadows and the magnificent trek of Tungnath and Chandrashila. It is an easy trek for beginners as well as for intermediate and advance trekkers. The trek takes you through rhododendron, pine, conifers, and oak forest to the meditative spiritual place of Tungnath and Chandrashila. During December, January, and February, the trek is covered with snow. It adds a whole new experience to the trekking if you are into snow trekking.
Chopta, Tungnath and Chandrashila peak have a certain spiritual vibe. Even the entire valley has a strong yogic energy of lord Shiva himself. If you are a spiritual being then practicing yoga and meditation in the abode of lord Shiva himself will fill you up with a strong positive energy.
Standing on Chandrashila peak feels like you are on the top of the world and doing meditation on the top is an experience that will leave an everlasting impact on your soul and individuality.
During the months of December and January, the trek is filled with snow. If you want to have an experience of snow trekking then December, January and February are the best months for you.
Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila trek is a hub for birdwatchers. The place gets many local Himalayan and migratory birds. The valley is famous for an abode of beautiful Monal bird, which will insist you to take out your camera and capture a picture of this rare bird. If you get lucky, you might see a musk deer, which are very rare.
Rock craft: You can also show your talent in rock crafting.
You can participate in adventure activities such as rock climbing and rappelling here. Climbing up a rock formation is rock climbing and coming down is rappelling. The charges of rock climbing and rappelling in Chopta are 300 to 400 per person for a group of 15 people. The natural rock formations near Duggalbitta provide a perfect opportunity for adventure enthusiasts whether you are a professional of just an amateur. You can also learn rock climbing and rappelling in Chopta.
There are many beautiful places in and around Chopta that will make your visit more worthwhile. To name some:
Ukhimath is a beautiful town with a great religious importance. It is winter abode of lord Shiva. During winters, the idol of lord Shiva is shifted to Ukhimath from Kedarnath. The town is at an elevation of 1317 m and many snow-covered Himalayan peaks are clearly visible from here. While visiting Chopta you will also come across Ukhimath. Chopta is 40 further from Ukhimath.
Deoria Tal is a beautiful high altitude fresh water lake. It is located at Ukhimath – Chopta road and is surrounded by snow covered Chaukhamba hills. It is popular for camping among the trekkers. Your journey to Chopta would feel like incomplete if you don’t visit Deoria tal.
Madmaheshwar is an ancient temple of lord Shiva. It is the fourth temple in Panch Kedar group of temples. It remains closed during winters and the idol of lord Shiva is shifted to Ukhimath. Madmaheshwar temple is 36 km away from Chopta.
Kedarnath is one the most important temples of Hinduism. This temple of lord Shiva is an essential part of Char Dham yatra. It is 42 km from Chopta. To reach Kedarnath temple, you will have to complete a trek of 16 km. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and the most important one among Panch Kedar group of temples. Kedarnath temple is located at a height of 3584 m from the sea level on the banks of Mandakini river.
Guptkashi is a small town located on the way to Kedarnath. Kedarnath is 23 km away from Guptkashi. The town is at an elevation of 1319 m. Guptkashi is also popular for ancient Vishwanath Temple, of Lord Shiva, which is similar to the one in Varanasi (Kashi). This is why both places have Kashi in common. People who are unable to visit Varanasi can visit Guptkashi, which is also of same religious importance. The town has an idol of Ardhanareshvara, which is a half man and half woman form of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati.
Summer (March - May)
As most of the hill stations, summers in Chopta are very pleasant and not too hot. Themperature goes down on the evening with some breeze. The temperature in Chopta ranges between 10 and 35 degrees Celsius in Summers. If you want to visit the valley for sightseeing then summers are the best time because mostly the sky the clear and nearby Himalayan peaks are clearly visible.
Monsoon (June - September)
In monsoons, Chopta experiences a lot of rain fall due to which roads might get damaged because of minor landslides in the hilly areas. We don’t recommend to visit Chopta during monsoons, wait till September. Monsoons arrive in this place from July and make the weather rainy. The place become full of greenery with the onset of monsoon.
Winter (October - February)
After monsoons, Chopta valley becomes lush green. Winters in this place are very chilly and freezing as the temperature tend to go below zero degrees during this time. It is best to avoid visiting the place in winters if you are not used to the cold temperatures. Otherwise many trekkers prefer winters to visit Chopta.
Distance from Dehradun to Chopta is 203 km via road. It usually takes 7-8 hours via car to cover this distance. If you are 4 or 5 people then booking a cab is a convenient and cheaper option. You can find many taxis at taxi stand Dehradun, which will take you to Chopta. Or you can contact a travel agency before reaching Dehradun.
Generally cab drivers charge 6 to 7 thousand rupees for a one way journey from Dehradun to Chopta, that means 12 to 14 thousand rupees for the whole journey. You can share this cab fare between 4 or 5 guys. This is the general rate but you might find a cheaper taxi.
Chopta has many budget hotels and lodges to stay at a reasonable price. You can also stay at Ukhimath, which has more accommodation options than Chopta. Ukhimath is 45 km before Chopta. Most of the hotels in Chopta has their own restaurants, who serve north Indian food and fast food.
There are many places to camp if you don’t want to pay for a hotel and enjoy the night under a tent. The valley has many lush green bugyals (meadows), where you can camp comfortable and have a peaceful night under the stars.
Chopta is well connected to all major cities of Uttarakhand. Chopta is about 40 km from Ukhimath. One can reach Tungnath from Rishikesh via Chamoli–Gopeshwar-Chopta route. Buses are available from Srinagar and Rudraprayag to Ukhimath. Then one can get a shared cab from Ukhimath to Chopta.
The nearest railway station to Chopta is Rishikesh, which is at a distance of 215 km. From Rishikesh, buses to Srinagar and Rudraprayag are available. From where you will find a bus to Ukhimath and then take a shared cab to Chopta. Directly hiring a cab to Chopta from Rishikesh is the best and convenient option if you are visiting in a group of 4 or 5 people.
Nearest airport to Chopta is Jolly Grant airport Dehradun at a distance of 232 km. From the airport, there are a number of buses and cabs available to Srinagar and Rudraprayag. From there you can find a bus or a taxi to Ukhimath or you can directly hire a cab to Chopta from the airport.