Daring the Himalayas – Chopta

Where: Chopta (in Rudraprayag distt of Uttarakhand)
When: 30-31 Dec 2006

As the new year is approaching, it reminds me of the last year’s NEW YEAR SPECIAL trip to Chopta in Uttarakhand. Though it would be too late to blog about that trip, but the fresh memories strongly urge me to do so.

The idea of tripping out to Chopta was evolved in few hours when 3 of us friends were thinking to freak out. And we finally ended up with Chopta as our New Year Destination.

It was dark by the time we reached Chopta struggling through the snowy road enroute. We inspected the place to find the accommodation options available and could only find one small single room accommodation available as this place normally remains closed during winters because of heavy snowfall and no tourist inflow; freakers like us are an exception to this however. This room was managed by the only dhaba owner we found open there in Chopta.

Playing in the SnowChandrashila SummitTemple at ChandraShila

Tungnath TempleClimbing HillStarring the Himalayas

The dinner amidst chilling cold winter winds and burning wood was even better than dining in a hi-class hotel. The paranthas and aalo-matar sabji were delicious and sufficient enough to feed our hunger.

Early next morning we had to trek 3 km uphill to Tungnath and Chandrashila. We easily located snow flakes in Chopta but we wanted more thrill and adventure. The trek wasn’t an easy one and I just loved that – the small trek through the dense forest. While we took a sharp turn, we were excited and thrilled to see the snow field ahead…the trek ahead was covered with snow with some marks that could guide us through the trek. I had never seen this much of snow before! It was challenging to walk through the snowy treks and take shortcuts to make our trek shorter. The Himalayan view on the other side was equally breathtaking and I wished to stay starring the Himalayas.

The HimalayasTrek to TungnathHimalayan Peaks

The trek to Tungnath is full of Buransh (Rhododendron) forest. A visit to Tungnath during March-April will witness the red and pink beauty of the Buransh (Rhododendron) flowers which happens to be the State Flower of Uttarakhand.

Our winter visit to Tungath gave us even wonderful experience. The trek was completely flooded with snow and I could easily hide myself knee down into it. Though the temple doors were closed for winter but we could easily feel the presence of almighty at such a higher altitude of around 3500 mtrs.

The temple at Tungath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is the second kedar amongst the Panch-Kedar where Lord Shiva’s arm (“Tung” meaning arm) is worshipped. It is believed that Lord Shiva’s arm appeared here while he tried to hide himself from the Pandavas in the form of a bull. The other temples dedicated to Parvati and Ganesha can also be spotted here.

Chandrashila is another 2 kms from Tungnath which is an uphill climb. The complete trek from Tungnath to Chandrashila was flooded with snow and we couldn’t spot the way to reach there. So we decided to take our own way and discover alternate route to reach there – the only option was to climb uphill in the snow with your feet buried deep into snow up till knees. It was really difficult to move into snow and make the way. My shoes were not prepared to be buried into snow but I had to move on. The other gave up and turned back and insisted me to come back too. But I has committed myself not to give up so I had to move alone. The toes getting frozen and chilling wind couldn’t change my mind. After almost 2 hours of struggle, I finally made my way to Chandrashila and the very view of snow clad Himalayas from Chandrashila top was another pleasant surprise to me. I was all alone at an altitude of 4000 mtrs taking to the blowing wind and the splendid Hiamalayan beauty. Chandrashila offers a 360 degree view of the Himalayan range including Nanda Devi, Trishul and Chaukhamba peak.

Getting There
Chopta is somewhere around 450 kms from Delhi via Ghaziabad, Meerut, Roorkee, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar and Rudraprayag. You have to take the Kedarnath highway from Rudraprayag to reach Chopta.

Recommended websites for more info about Chopta:

a. eUttaranchal – Chopta Travel Guide

b. Chopta.in

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