The trails of Garhwal Himalayas evoke excitement and adventure. The high ground that leads to the summit creates an incredible experience and the beauty of the surroundings leaves you enchanted.
Chandrashila Trek with Chopta and Tungnath is one of the most thrilling and rewarding trails you can travel to Uttarakhand. Rising to 13,000 feet, adorned with mist, conifers, and snow, this is one heck of a trek you must take.
A brief introduction to Deoria Tal – Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila
Deoria Tal lake, at an altitude of 2438 meters, offers fascinating. One needs to drive around 12 km to Sari Village from Ukhimath and from Sari Village you can reach Deoria Tal by a 3 km trekking route.
When in Chopta, the must-do trek is the one that leads to Deoria Tal. When you go up, you get a spectacular view of the lake below the Chaukhamba peak. The pristine lake is surrounded by lush green and dense forests.
The camping experience besides this lake is incomparable. The tranquility you get through the blue waters and below a thousand stars is a once in a lifetime experience.
Chopta is also referred to as ‘Mini Switzerland‘ located at an altitude of 2600 meters in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It is well known as a starting point for the walk to the Tungnath temple and beyond the Chandrashila peak.
The quiet and unmarked Chopta Valley is a small offbeat tourist spot in Uttarakhand. The Chopta Valley is located in the Garhwal Himalayas, surrounded by high mountain ranges, beautiful meadows, and a breathtaking view.
This entire region is part of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary and Chopta is known to be rich in flora and fauna; including rare Himalayan species of monal bird, musk deer, and Pika mouse.
Tungnath is one of the five “Panch Kedar” temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, the other four are Madhyamaheshwar, Rudranath, Kalpeshwar with Kedarnath. At an altitude of 3,680 meters (12,073 feet), it is the highest of the five temples, but it is also the easiest to reach.
The temple is closed during winters and the deity shifted to Mukku village. The Tungnath temple opens its doors to pilgrims in the summer at the end of April and closes in November in winter.
It is said that the temple is over 5,000 years old and is the third in the hierarchical order of the Panch Kedars; because it is also known as ‘Tritiya Kedar‘. There are many holy stories associated with it. The greatness and mystery of this temple will leave you perplexed. With every breath, you will relax and recharge with new energy.
Chandrashila is the summit of Tungnath and is 1.5 kilometers above the temple at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters (13,120 feet). The mountain tops are usually adorned by the Devi Temples in this part of the world and I was not surprised to find the Ganga Temple high above with the gates that mark the altitude, 4000mts.
However, I was surprised that I couldn’t hear any legends that could point out its significance, it could have helped a little more from the company of the locals.
The view from Chandrashila was supposed to be 360 degrees, but what I received was only a small part of that great angle, due to the clouds. The mysterious silence, in which even a hum of a distant fly was clearly audible, along with a very cloudy sky and such magical environments created a pleasurable atmosphere.
The literal meaning of the name is “Moon Rock” and there are several legends associated with it. According to one of those legends, this is the place where Lord Rama meditated after defeating the demon king Ravana.
However, another legend says that it was Ravana himself who did penance to Lord Shiva here. In fact, there is also a peak here called “Ravanshila” where it is said that the demon king has meditated.
A third legend says that it was the moon god “Chandra” who spent time here in penance at the top because of what is known as Chandrashila.
Ravanshila You will arrive at Tungnath Temple after climbing the 11 scissor curves. The temple remains closed in the winter season and you should find snow here until well into April. The peaks of Chandrashila and Ravanshila will also be visible from this point.
About ten minutes before reaching Tungnath, there is a small detour that will take you to Ravanshila if you want to explore that too. You can get incredible panoramic views of the valley from Ravanshila. If you are not sure about the location, it is better to ask the locals near the temple.
The Mythology of Tungnath
According to legend, after the battle of “Mahabharata”, Rishi Veda Vyas advised the Pandavas to seek the forgiveness of Lord Shiva for killing their relatives in battle. The Rishi told them it was a sin that only Lord Shiva could forgive.
The Pandavas followed the advice and went in search of Shiva, who on the other hand was convinced of their sin. Therefore, the Lord decided not to appear in front of the Pandavas and hid underground after taking the form of a bull (Nandi).
Later, it is said that Shiva’s body materialized again in five different places, still in the form of a bull. These five locations are what is now known as “Panch Kedar” temples, built by the Pandavas themselves to seek forgiveness and blessings of Lord Shiva.
Each of the temples is identified with a different part of Shiva’s body. Tungnath is known as the place where ‘baahu’ (arm) were seen; hump was seen in Kedarnath; the head appeared in Rudranath; his navel and stomach emerged in Madhyamaheshwar and his jata (hair or strands) in Kalpeshwar.
It is very likely that one arrives in Chopta from 2 to 3 pm. The time needed to walk to the Tungnath temple from Chopta is generally 3 hours for an average person and another hour for Tungnath to Chandrashila. It can be classified as a fairly easy trek, at the difficulty level and can be ideal for a first-time trekker.
Most people stay in Chopta, take a day hike to Tungnath and Chandrashila and return the same day. It is possible to do so whenever one leaves early, say before 7 am.
It is better to arrive at Tungnath at 10, pay your respects in the temple and enjoy the scenery. Trek to Chandrashila, return by 1 pm. Have lunch near the Tungnath temple or on the trail dhabas and start the walk back to Chopta. The descent back to Chopta can be done easily in half of this time.
So, if you started early in the morning, you will have enough time to rest and walk at a pace that suits you.
You don’t really need a guide for this trek unless you were visiting in winter. There are several intermediate points where you can sit and relax while enjoying the views around you.
Best time for the views:
With respect to the best views on the Tungnath – Chandrashila trek, it is possible that after arriving in Chopta around 3 in the afternoon, you will start trekking towards Tungnath.
In 45 minutes, the path reaches a lush green meadow flanked by a ring of snowy peaks with 3-4 stone dhabas. One can expect basic accommodation in these dhabas for around 100-150 Rs. per person.
Scenario 2 -Extremely fit trekkers can reach Tungnath, where there are simple stay options in the form of rustic guest houses.
Sunrise views from Chandrashila peak are known to be legendary. Staying in Tungnath can allow a person to reach Chandrashila peak before sunrise; Otherwise, it can be a difficult situation to start the walk from Chopta and hope to reach Chandrashila for sunrise.
Chopta to Tungnath trek
The trekking path to Chopta starts right on the road and is surrounded by many dhabas and guest houses. The trekking path is well marked and properly paved to Tungnath.
The trees welcome the visitor as soon as the trek begins, and you can see endless snowy peaks on the left side. The entire trek from Chopta to Tungnath and Chandrashila is quite easy and does not require the services of a guide.
The beautiful meadows appear around 45 minutes after the start of the hike and maybe the best place to camp on the entire trail. Here are 3-4 dhabas that offer tea, coffee, food, and packaged food.
The dhabas also function as basic shelters at night. These dhabas can also be useful in case of emergency or accident when someone needs help.
The trail zig-zags around this point and constantly rises gaining altitude. There are some places where one can sit and enjoy the views of the snowy peaks along the way. The lucky ones can also see the state bird of Uttarakhand, the colorful Monal, on the slopes near the Tungnath Temple.
The tree cover yields when it rises more than 3100 m, halfway to Tungnath. Make sure you have plenty of water for the trek. Especially for beginners, remember that it is not a race and that everyone has their own pace, so take it easy and calm, and enjoy the scenery on the trek.
Tungnath to Chandrashila trek
The trail to Chandrashila starts from the Tungnath temple. It is clearly marked and cannot be missed. The distance from Chandrashila Peak from Tungnath is approx. 1.5 km and although it is a steep climb, the distance can be easily covered in 1 hour.
There is a small temple in Chandrashila and from the top one can enjoy great 360-degree panoramic views of the Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayan ranges.
Behind the temple, there is an infinite view of the valley enhanced by snowy peaks. One can savor the sights for some time and listen to the wind that blows furiously here, with the sound of the bells that makes it a divine experience.
Remember that the altitude of Chandrashila is 4000 meters and that one can feel the effects of AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness). Have water on hand and, in case of discomfort, walk slowly back to Tungnath and have a black tea.
The views of the peaks are generally clear until noon and after that, the snowy mountains can be covered by clouds. Therefore, it is recommended to reach at Chandrashila as soon as possible to have a clear view of the peaks of the Kumaon and Garhwal ranges.
The names of the peaks that can be seen from Chandrashila Top are Nanda Devi, Trishul, Chaukhamba, Nandaghunti, Thalaysagar, Dunagiri, Kamet, Kedar and many more.
There are stacked stones that are spread in Chandrashila Top and also shivlingas. It is a pleasant environment to be in a meditative state of mind.
Sunrise at Chandrashila Top
Chandrashila is considered the ideal destination from where you can get the best sunrise view in India. The atmosphere in Chandrashila is electrifying due to its chilling cold and the formation of dense thick clouds throughout the picturesque.
The horizon is painted in shades of yellow and orange as the sun rises behind the snowy peaks of Kumaon and Garhwal. For this one has to start the walk from the Tungnath temple around 4 to 5 am, in absolute darkness.
If you are trekking from Chopta, it is better to start around 3 am in the morning, since the sun rises at 6 am in the early morning. It is essential to be well equipped with flashlights and cold equipment if you plan to do the same.
Chandrashila Top at 4000 meters is destined to be cold at that hour. The trek to Chandrashila is one of the most captivating and magnificent treks that can happen in the life of a traveler due to the diamond sunrise in the Himalayas of Garhwal.
Trekking back to Tungnath and Chopta
The trip downhill will be surprisingly easy since the time needed will be approximately half the time needed to ascend. Then one can get off from Chandrashila to Tungnath in just 20 minutes. If there is no hurry, then leisure walk back through the meadows of Tungnath to Chopta will take about an hour and a half.
Best time for Tungnath Chandrashila Trek
This trek can be completed at any time between April and November, but the best time is the months of April, May, and June. If you couldn’t do it in any of these months, September and October are equally good.
April will give you the opportunity to find some snow that will add a charm to the overall experience. May and June will travel to a very pleasant climate.
September will present you with a lush green view and October would have turned the valleys orange with the arrival of autumn.
Accommodation is available in Chopta, Dugalbitta, Baniyakund, Gopeshwar and even in Tungnath. Depending on your itinerary, you can choose to stay in any of these places. No prior reservation is required. You can reach Chopta, find a place to your preference and negotiate a deal on the spot.
Where and What to Eat
There are several dhabas and restaurants in Chopta and even at the Tungnath temple too. You will continue to find tea stands in a couple of places on the trek as well.
The important thing to remember is that the dhabas and the restaurant in Chopta charge a bit much even for the simplest meals. They will not give you a menu that lists prices, but will simply tell you verbally what is available. Before ordering something, be sure to check the prices of the items.
Route for the Trip
Delhi – Meerut – Muzaffarnagar(135 km) – Roorkee(187 km) – Haridwar – Rishikesh(238 Km) – Devprayag(316 Km) – Srinagar – Rudraprayag(383 km) – Augustmuni – Ukhimath(425 km) – Duggalbitta – Chopta(460 km)
This is the most common route taken. From Delhi, take the highway to Rishikesh and reach Srinagar through Devprayag. After Srinagar, you will continue to Chopta through Rudraprayag and Ukhimath.
Chopta Tungnath Chandrashila Deoria Tal Itinerary
This four-day itinerary crosses the Rishikesh – Srinagar – Rudraprayag route and returns in the same way.
This post covers Chopta Tungnath – Chandrashila and Deoria Tal. Below is the most common itinerary for Tungnath – Chandrashilla, which covers 4 to 5 days and makes the most of each day.
Day 1 – Delhi to Chopta
Please make sure you leave early evening, you can leave the office early on day 1 of the trip. There may be office hours traffic, so leave before office time to avoid traffic jams.
It will be a long journey of approximately 460 kilometers that will take around 14 to 15 hours to complete.
For your trip from Delhi to Rishikesh, you can continue driving on the highway or take the upper road of the Ganges canal from Murad Nagar. After Rishikesh, you will begin to climb the hills and the road will be a mix of good and bad.
Continue to follow the road through Devprayag, Srinagar to Rudraprayag. A few kilometers after Rudraprayag is the small town of Kund, from where you need to take the turn towards Ukhimath. Continue driving through Ukhimath, Dugalbitta, and Baniyakund to reach Chopta.
If you started late from Delhi or got late somewhere along the route and couldn’t get to Chopta then stay overnight at Rishikesh or Rudraprayag, whichever suits your timings and break the journey instead.
Day 2 – Chopta to Tungnath, Chandrashila to Chopta
You should start early this day because you have a long trek ahead. It will be a total of approximately 11 kilometers of trekking, some of which will be steep in intermediate places.
There are a total of 11 scissor curves between Chopta and Tungnath and then several more curves between Tungnath and Chandrashila. You should start the trek latest at 7:30 – 8 AM. This should get you to the top of the peak at noon and give you enough time to return at an easy pace.
The walk is quite pleasant with magnificent views around it. An average person takes approximately 2 – 3 hours to trek from Chopta to Tungnath. The return trip will take you about half of this time while you go down.
The walk is quite easy and you don’t need a guide for this. There is a well laid out path to Tungnath.
Day 3 – Chopta to Deoria Tal
Reaching Deoria Tal is not a very long trip, so you will also have time to visit other local places. Enjoy sightseeing in the first half of the day and return to your hotel. Check out and head to Sari Village after lunch.
The locals in Sari are very helpful people and you can ask anyone for directions to the Deoria Tal trek. If you have already made arrangements for your stay at the lakeside camp, contact your camp owner and coordinate to trek to the lake. It will take approximately 2 hours to trek to the lake and arrive in time to enjoy a great sunset view.
Day 4 – Deoria Tal to Delhi
Be sure to set alarms and get up on time before sunrise. You simply cannot afford to miss the sunrise at Deoria Tal. Have Breakfast and get down to Sari Village from here, you will follow the same route back to Delhi.
If you have another day, you can make this a 5-day trip and overnight stay in Rishikesh on day 4.
- During the winters, the entire walk is covered with snow and it will not be a mistake to say that it is “a bit dangerous”. You should not try it on your own in January, February or March. Hire a guide who can help you navigate the way.
- Being situated in a remote location, facilities such as ATMs, petrol pumps are not available in Tungnath, not even in Chopta. One has to go to Gopeshwar or Ukhimath to find these facilities.
- Avoid traveling in monsoon, since the mountain region of Uttarakhand has a good amount of incessant rainfall. Moreover, the entire region is prone to unexpected landslides and roadblocks.
- Take enough water with you before starting the trek and stay hydrated. Dehydration on a trek can cause you to lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness).
- Another thing to consider here would be altitude mountain sickness. In Chandrashila, you will be standing at a height of over 13000 feet. If it happens, you should stop immediately and descend to a lower altitude. symptoms of altitude would be a bit similar to those of high fever. If you begin to feel dizzy, you find it difficult to breathe, fatigue, headache, chest pain or fever, then do not continue on the walk. Return to Chopta immediately and you will feel better.
- Views of the peaks are usually clear until noon and after that, the snowy mountains can be covered by clouds. Hence, it is recommended to reach Chandrashila as early as possible to have a clear view of the peaks of the Kumaon and Garhwal ranges.
- Please do not litter, especially plastic to maintain the beauty of this place. As a nation and as a human, it is our duty to take care of what we receive in the form of a blessing from nature.