Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila Trek, the most famous weekend trek in Uttarakhand
Be it history, myth, fiction or a fairytale, the mountains have seen and have been a part of it all. It is therefore quite justified for the mountains to keep “calling” us time and again, because the more stories one has, the more is the urge to share. The Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila trek is one such extramundane trek, where with each step you not only get closer to the peaks but also to the epic saga they have stood as a witness to.
Tungnath, literally meaning the Lord of the mountains, is one of the Panch Kedar temple points, believed to have been built by the Pandavas. It is presumed that when the Pandavas got hold of Shiva hiding as a Bull at Guptakashi, the body parts of Lord Shiva as the Bull got scattered to different parts, and it is in Tungnath that His arms fell in. Apart from this, Tungnath also boasts of having the highest Shiva temple in the world! The Chandrashila peak too, is no less in its mythological luxuriance. It is very much believed that Lord Ram meditated and prayed to Lord Shiva at this spot after having killed Ravana.
Difficulty- Easy to Moderate
Max Altitude- 4000m
Approx Trekking Kilometer- 35 km
Base Location- Chopta in Uttarakhand
Starting point of Chandrashila trek? How to reach Chopta?
The entire trek follows this route from Haridwar, the treks starts and ends at Chopta:
The nearest railway station to Chopta is that of Haridwar. However, buses on the route of Chopta will only be available at the GMOU bus stand, situated opposite to the Railway godown and 500m away from the main Haridwar busstand. However, there will be no direct buses leading you to your destination, and you will possibly have to break your journey at Rudraprayag and change buses to reach Kund. The entire journey will take around 7-8 hours and cost you no more than 500 rupees. From Kund, shared cabs for Ukimath are easily available for Rs 20. From Ukimath, you can effortlessly reach Chopta in a shared vehicle, by paying around Rs 50.
Views at Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila trek
The amazing trek from Chopta to Tungnath and Chandrashila is sure to set your soul free. Chopta specifically, with its thick Deoder, oak and pine tree forests, is one place that is immensely rich in biodiversity and thereby often considered as a sanctum for bird watchers. The avian fauna includes birds like Long legged Buzzard, Red headed vulture, Snow pigeon, Golden eagle, Spotted dove, Koklass Pheasant, Himalayan Monal and many more. Tungnath, on the other hand, besides providing its visitors with a sweeping view of the Himalayas, also is a home to the Red fox.
Besides all the above, the 360 degree panaromic view of the snow covered mountains glistening under the brightly radiating sun, is a vision to die for.
Chandrashila, the highest point of this particular trek, is the best of the lot as well. The 360 degree panaromic view of the snow capped mountains like Nanda Devi (7816m), Trishul (7120m) and Chaukhamba (7138m) is something that will not only make your thoughts go wild but will also etch a place in your heart, forever.
Itinerary for Chandrashila trek
Day 1- Haridwar-Kund-Ukimath (314m-1350m-1300m, 196km, near about 9 hours)
From Haridwar, one can either halt at Kund or Ukimath on their first day. In winters, however, halting at Ukimath has additional perks. The Omkareshwar temple in Ukimath happens to be the winter abode for the deities of the Kedarnath temple and the Madhyamaheshwar temple, and so halting at Ukimath will obviously pave a way for you to transform your adventure trek into a spiritual one as well.
Day 2- Ukimath-Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila-Chopta (1300m-2800m-3680m-4000m, 35km, approx 3-4 hours)
Shared taxis are easily available from Ukimath to Chopta, and it is best to leave as early as possible. The sunrise from Chopta is something that must not be missed. The entire hike from Chopta to Tungnath is quite easy without any significantly steep ups and downs. It shall take near about 2.5 hours to reach Tungnath from Chopta and a large portion of the trek is through lush green meadows and thick tree covers. Let your eyes rove as far as they can and capture the monumental beauty around. Tungnath has the highest shiva temple in the world, but it only remains open during the summers. In winters, i.e from November-April, the deity of the Tungnath temple is shifted to the Mukku village.
From Tungnath, Chandrashila is about 1.5 kms away, and can be quite easily reached in an hour. Needless to say, the bewitching beauty of and from Chandrashila, is sure to leave you spellbound.
The grandeur of the mighty snow-covered peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Chaukhamba, is inconceivable and way beyond words to describe. The sight shall leave your soul as free as the wandering clouds and bring in you an altogether different sense of peace, tranquility and happiness- something that you might have never experienced before.
However, at a height of 4000m, it is very likely for the travellers to suffer from Altitude Sickness and so it is advisable to be aware about any symptoms on this particular trek, especially because it is done by a lot of beginners.
The descent is easier and can be completed within 2 hours at moderate speed. There are plenty options for accomadation at Chopta, but in case of an unlucky scenerio of finding all lodges pre-booked, you can easily find alternative boarding options just 3kms ahead, on the Gopashewar route.
Best Time for Chandrashila trek:
The best time for this trek is April-early May, incase you wish to find the entire landscape painted in pink with the Rhododendron blossom. However, if you wish to have a clear view of the mountain ranges from your trekking trail, then September-early November should be your preffered time. The winter months, from December-March, make the trek quite difficult with the entire route being deeply buried under snow. Also it is advisable to avoid the monsoon seasons, i.e July-August.
Cellular Connectivity at Chandrashila trek:
BSNL works fine at Chopta, whereas Vodafone has very poor network. However, on the trek from Chopta to Chandrashila, cellular connectivity is very unreliable, and it is best if all important calls are made at Ukhimath itself.
The last ATM is at Ukhimath and so it is advisable to carry enough cash with oneself.