Chopta Ukhimath is a gorgeous place with thick and diverse woodlands. Chopta is a portion of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (975 km ²) is Situated in Rudraprayag and Chamoli locale.
Chopta region is extended from 2000 meters to 4000 meters height. It is situated on the Ukhimath-Chamoli road that links to Kedarnath with Badrinath via a clearly of more scenic, reasonably shorter route. It is a fantastic offbeat weekend destination.
There is so much to explore here. It is the link point of the Panch Kedar (Kedarnath, Rudranath, Madmaheshwar, Kalpeshwar, and Tungnath). It is known as the ‘Mini Switzerland’ of India, situated at a height of 2680 meters (8790 feet).
The valley offers a lot of things for the visitors and that’s why it is a very well-known tourist spot.
You can trek to the close by tops, sit for quite a long time facing the huge mountains and get soaked in the greatness, camp in the outdoors and naturally lit the sky around evening time, appreciate watching the bird flying and natural life as you taste steaming tea, or sing and dance around the bonfire.
Anything that you do here makes certain to mesmerize you and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
Chopta is popular among travellers for bird watching and it’s stunning trekking routes– Tungnath Chandrashila Trek and deoria tal lake trek.
Popular tourist places at Chopta are – Deoria tal lake, Tungnath Temple, Chandrashila top, Rohini Bugyal, Makku Math, Ukhimath, Musk Deer Sanctuary.
Where is Chopta Located
Chopta is a small settlement on the road with a couple of restaurants. It isn’t even a town but a collection of eateries and small hotels.
Chopta is situated in the state of Uttarakhand on the Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Chamoli – Gopeshwar road; at a distance of around 28 kilometers from Ukhimath and 70 kilometers from Rudraprayag.
At the point when one says that he has trekked to Chopta, it essentially implies he has trekked upwards from that point to the Tungnath Temple and further up to the Chandrashila.
Tungnath is one of the Panch Kedar (5 significant temples dedicated to different forms of Shiva) of Garhwal thus it is an important pilgrimage destination.
Chandrashila (summit in Uttarakhand) is the peak of that specific mountain beyond the temple.
Why visit Chopta
Chopta valley gives you a sentiment of holiness and it is evident at the heavenly Tungnath temple. Chopta is not like a usual hill station with so many hotels and the crowd. Chopta is an extremely tranquil destination.
Tungnath Temple is shut from December to March. Chopta is a spot that gives you an ideal chance of an offbeat tour without needing to go entirely offbeat. You will never get too remote from human civilization which can be a satisfying fact for people visiting with families.
You will discover all the basic services here that as a tourist you will require. Chopta is also an ideal destination for budget travelers. An outing here won’t cost you too much and since the spot is easily reachable.
Weather in Chopta
Chopta valley is a great spot to visit during anytime of the year.
The mid-year here is warm, wonderful and bright, the monsoon comes with an extraordinary view and makes this spot extremely pleasant and greenery, and the winters are chilly and perfect to sit alongside the bonfire.
The climate of Chopta stays pleasant during summers. The Himalayas are clearly visible and the cool wind can felt early in the morning and late at night.
Chopta turns greener through the monsoon season. Although trekking becomes difficult and there are odds of getting roads blocked couple of hours due to landslides, the panoramic view of Chopta during monsoon worth taking the risk for. Carrying light woolen clothes or windcheater is advised.
The region gets covered in snow throughout the winter season and the accommodation alternatives are also limited to few. However, Chopta looks the best during winters and for sure the trek turns out to be challenging. Carrying heavy woolens, jackets is advised.
Best time to visit Chopta
It is technically reachable throughout the year, although a lot depends on climate and landslides. The winter trek is more challenging as the route is totally covered in snow.
Be the best season is spring and early summer when the Rhododendrons are in full blossom. Between mid-March to early May ought to be your preferred time.
How to reach Chopta
The closest airport to Chopta is Jolly Grant in Dehradun. It is located 226 km away from Chopta. Flights from Delhi are at regular interims to Dehradun. One can book cabs that are easily accessible for Chopta.
The closest and most convenient railway station is Rishikesh from Chopta. Located at around 209 km, Rishikesh railway station is connected to various cities in the country. One can easily get a bus or taxi services for Chopta from Rishikesh.
If you are planning to visit the neighboring towns in Uttarakhand, then the road trip would be most convenient and delightful. There are different routes. I will clarify this separating the topic down in a few sections.
For the sake of the route, I will count on Delhi as your starting point. However if you are coming from different places, Only the trip to Rishikesh may be a bit different, but the rest of the route will still apply.
Reach Chopta from Delhi
The first and most commonly used route is referred to below
If you are traveling in your own vehicle, be it a car or a motorcycle, getting to Chopta is really easy.
Delhi – Meerut – Muzaffarnagar(135 km) – Roorkee(187 km) – Haridwar – Rishikesh(238 Km) – Devprayag(316 Km) – Srinagar – Rudraprayag(383 km) – Agastamuni – Ukhimath(425 km) – Duggalbitta – Chopta(460 km)
From Delhi to Chopta distance around 460 km approx. Starting from Delhi, you will travel for around 250 km to Rishikesh, depending on where you started in Delhi.
For this trip, you can remain on the same road or take the upper road of the Ganges Canal from Muradnagar.
After arriving in Rishikesh, you will start to climb the hills towards Rudraprayag through Devprayag and Srinagar. Around 35 kilometers after Rudraprayag, a street forks towards Ukhimath from Kund, which will light up.
You will keep going on this road for another 35 kilometers to reach Chopta through Ukhimath, Makku Bend and Duggalbitta.
This route is less preferred as it runs through the city of Lansdowne. The trip will be as mentioned below.
Delhi – Meerut – Khatauli – Bijnor(161 km) – Najibabad – Kotdwar(220 km) – Lansdowne(258 km) – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Agastamuni(403 km) – Ukhimath – Duggalbitta(446 km) – Chopta
Following the alternate route, your trip to Khatauli from Delhi will remain the same. But after Khatauli, you will turn towards Bijnaur instead of continuing towards Muzaffarnagar.
You will keep driving on plains to Kotdwar and then you will climb Lansdowne after that. After Lansdowne, you will drive another 125 kilometers to exit at Srinagar and then follow the same route to Chopta that I explained before.
Note: There is heavy road construction work is being done in this area. (3 dham yojna) that makes your trip very difficult, therefore, cover your face to avoid dust and smoke if you are travelling by bike.
Reach Chopta by bus
There is no direct bus to Chopta from any of the cities. Therefore, the trip must be divided into several parts and you will have to shuffle between buses and taxis.
Your first stop will be the cities of Haridwar or Rishikesh. The distance from Delhi to Haridwar is 220 km and it has regular buses from ISBT Kashmere Gate and Anand Vihar ISBT. The time needed to cover the distance is usually 5 to 6 hours.
There are three types of buses from Delhi to Haridwar; Normal buses, Janrath (AC) and Volvo (AC). It is recommended to take a 10 p.m. bus or 10:30 p.m.
Arrive at the Haridwar bus stop around 4 in the morning.
Reach Chopta from Haridwar (Approximately 190 km | 7 hours of Journey)
In Haridwar, you will have to go to the GMOU(Garhwal Mandal Operators Association) bus stop, and is located on the opposite side of the railway station. Or about a kilometer away from the main Haridwar bus stop on the left side once you exit the gates.
Here, you will look for a bus that goes in the direction of Rudraprayag and can drop you there.
Reach Chopta from Rishikesh (Approximately 165 km | 6 hours of Journey)
Even if you started from Rishikesh and not from Haridwar, the trip will remain the same. Find a bus that goes to Rudraprayag and get on.
Reach Chopta from Rudraprayag (Approximately 69 km | 3 hours of Journey)
Most buses on this route are available in the morning, so ensure you arrive well on time. From Rudraprayag, there are no buses available to Chopta, so you will have to look for a shared cab that is mainly a Sumo or a Bolero.
You can take a cab from the bus stop, but ask the locals if you are not sure. If you can find a cab that takes you to Chopta, it will be the best.
The chances of this happening are a bit slim and you should look for a cab to Ukhimath.
Reach Chopta from Ukhimath (Approximately 30 km | 1 hours of Journey)
From Chopta, you can easily get a shared cab to Chopta, regardless of the time you arrived. Chopta is about 30 kilometers from Ukhimath and the trip will take about 60 to 90 minutes.
During the summer season, buses from Ukhimath to Gopeshwar run along this road and it is also possible to reach Chopta by bus. (According to locals, buses run twice a day).
The shared cab from Ukhimath to Chopta are many and run from morning until 5 in the evening.
How to Reach Chopta in Winter
In winter the weather became extreme and it snowed excessively. Then you will not be able to reach Chopta by car and you will have to return from Makku Bend.
If you are prepared for trekking, you will have to leave your vehicle in Makku Bend or Dugalbitta and walk as far as you can.
So, if you are planning a winter trip, call in advance and inquire about the weather and road conditions.
What to do in Chopta
Chopta is really a tourist place in the middle of nowhere. There isn’t a lot to do here, but that is exactly what you should visit here. Spend time in peace doing nothing but enjoy the scenic beauty that surrounds it.
The most popular activities in Chopta is known for are hiking and camping. The Tungnath and Chandrashila trek is one of the most popular.
Next on the line is the short trek to Deoria Tal, which is ideal for beginners. Deoria Tal is also a known place to camp overnight.
Photography is another activity that you would love to enjoy while visiting Chopta. The nearby sanctuary of musk deer Kanchula Korak would please anyone who has an interest in wildlife or photography.
Here are some rare Himalayan species such as the monal bird, the musk deer and the Pika mouse. If you are visiting in winter, then Snow trekking, skiing will be the two most common activities to expect.
For adventure enthusiasts, rock boats, rock climbing, rappelling can be arranged on request.
Places to visit in Chopta
The Tungnath temple, located at a serene height of 12,073 feet above sea level, traces its legend to the epic Mahabharat and its Pandavas. It is the world’s highest shiva temple in the world and also the highest of Panch Kedar temples.
The trekking distance is covered about 3-4 hours and crosses a route of 5 kilometers uphill. Upon reaching Tungnath, you get to see an important piece of mythology, a simple 5000 years old Shiva temple.
Read more on: Tungnath Chandrashila detailed itinerary
Chandrashila Peak Trek
From Tungnath you can easily reach the Chandrashila summit, which is located at a height of 13,000 feet above sea level. It is a 1.5 km trek from Tungnath and 8 km from Chopta.
If you want to stay overnight in Chandrashila, then you must be well equipped since this place receives frequent snowfall at night.
Deoria Tal Lake, at an altitude of 2438 meters, offers fascinating reflections of the Chaukhamba range in its crystal clear waters.
One needs to drive about 12 km to Sari village from the Ukhimath-Chopta road and from Sari village one can reach Deoria Tal by a 3 km trekking route. Deoria Tal is also a popular campsite.
Read more on: Deoria Tal Trek Detailed Travel Guide
Omkar Ratneshwar Mahadev in Deoria Tal
The temple is dedicated to Nag Devta and can be reached by trekking 1 km uphill from the Saari village towards Devariya or Deoria Tal.
The architecture of the temple resembles the other famous temples in Uttarakhand such as Kedarnath and Tungnath.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva is part of the famous Panch Kedars. This is the fourth temple to be visited in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit, the other temples are Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, and Kalpeshwar.
The medium (Madhya) or navel of the bull, considered a divine form of Shiva is worshiped in this temple. It is believed that Bhima, the second brother Pandava, built this temple and worshiped Shiva here.
In Madhyamaheshwar temple, the entire village shows its presence at evening aarti is performed in the temple. One can feel the spiritual vibrations in the proximity of the temple.
Being one of the Panch Kedar, the Madmaheshwar temple is 16 km from the village of Ransi, with Ukhimath being the closest town with road connectivity.
Thus, one has to trek more than 16 km to the Madhyamaheshwar shrine, which makes it a wonderful trekking experience.
Kalpeshwar Temple – Where the Locks or matted hairs of Shiva are Worshipped
Kalpeshwar is the last and fifth temple on the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit list and is the only temple of the sacred Panch Kedar that remains open throughout the year.
Kalpeshwar is located in the Urgam Valley at an altitude of 2,200 meters of Himalayan Range, which is near the village of Urgam. Matted hairs or Jata or Lord Shiva are worshiped inside this temple.
Rudranath, the highly revered temple of Lord Shiva, is situated in Garhwal Himalayas at an altitude of 3600 meters. It is the fourth temple to visit in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit.
The exciting walk to the Rudranath temple can be started from the village of Sagar, Helang or Urgam.
The trekking route to the Rudranath temple offers stunning views of the diversified beauty of nature and the deep gorges that make the place even more interesting.
The Rudranath temple is the most difficult to reach compared to other Panch Kedar temples, but it is worth it, as you can see the glorious peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti.
You can enjoy the wonderful morning aarti performed at the Rudranath temple, which usually starts at 8 a.m. and the evening aarti that takes place at 6:30, every day. Sit beside by the Vaitarani River, and hear the sound of the placid river flowing by.
Kedarnath is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It is one of the Char Dham located in the Himalayas. Kedarnath is situated at an amazing height of 3584 meters above sea level near the head of the Mandakini River.
The Kedarnath temple is in the middle of the majestic snowy mountain ranges of the Garhwal Himalayas and is packed by thousands of tourists every year.
There is a motorable road till Gauri Kund, after which it is required to trek for a total of 14 km to reach Kedarnath.
The extreme climatic condition of Kedarnath prompts the temple to remain open from the end of April until the beginning of November.
Bisurital Trek is located in the middle part of the Mandakini Valley in the Alpine region. The highest point of elevation on this trek is Bisuri Dhar (4100 meters), which is surrounded by alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains.
It is the same trek that goes from Chopta to Chandrashila for 6 km that then takes you to Bisurital.
However, keep in mind that the lake is about 25 km from Chandrashila and 30 km from Chopta, Bisurital is a virgin trail and not many trekkers do this trek, as it is a difficult trek compared to other easy treks.
It is believed that the lake has medicinal values and cures many skin related problems when bathing in its waters. Its popularity offers a high probability to get acquainted with rare and endangered species of the Himalayan wildlife.
The trek passes through dense forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls, alpine meadows and rare wildlife, etc.The largest Gangotri Himalayan ranges appear a short distance from Bisurital.
The best time to visit Bisurital is from March to December (before snowfall in the Chopta region). Weather in Bisuri Tal remain crystal clear, most of the time the temperature is mild, except for the snowy season.
Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary
The Kanchula Korak deer musk sanctuary houses the famous musk deer and, most importantly, and abundant lush green vegetation, many of which the locals claim have not yet been classified scientifically.
It is located 7 km from Chopta in Chopta – Gopeshwar road. This sanctuary spreads over an area of 5 square kilometers in the middle of dense forests and aromatic flowers. It is an ideal place for tourists who love animals and looking for rare Himalayan wildlife.
You can spend a larger chunk of your day here, lazing around with a pair of binoculars to explore the place. The sanctuary is known for musk deer breeding and has dense forests and various wildlife species.
Ukhimath – Winter Seat of Kedarnath
Ukhimath is located at an altitude of 1317 meters above sea level in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand state.
Ukhimath is the seat of Lord Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar during winters. The worship is performed at the Omkareshwar Temple here during the winters when the Kedarnath temple remains closed.
Ukhimath houses various ancient temples dedicated to Usha, Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Aniruddha and Mandhata that can be visited by devout travelers.
Duggalbitta is a small village that is a stop for travelers who come to Chopta or visit Char Dham. It is situated at an amazing height of 2600 meters and recently became a perfect getaway for travelers.
It is located about 7 kilometers before Chopta when you start driving from Ukhimath. Sometimes, when snow blocks the road to Chopta, tourists travel to Duggalbitta and return from there.
Baniyakund is a small village from where the meadow line begins for the Chopta.
It is located about 4 kilometers before Chopta at 2450 meters above sea level, overlooking the broad horizon of the Garhwal Himalayas. A lot of people stay in Baniyakund at night and start their trip to Chandrashila from here through Chopta.
Tip – I would suggest a stay of 3 to 4 days in and around Chopta to properly explore the region.
If you are short on time and just want to cover a few places then Deoria Tal, Tungnath Temple and Chandrashila peak are the three places that must be covered.
These places can be covered easily in 2 days. Together, Deoria Tal, Tungnath Temple Chandrashila peak are considered “must-visit places in Chopta.”
Accommodations in Chopta
Accommodation in Chopta is available in all its forms. Depending on your own preference, you can choose to stay in a campsite, resort or hotel.
As you approach Chopta, you will begin to notice hotels, guest houses and campsites around Duggalbitta and Baniyakund. The price per day will vary from Rs. 500 to Rs. 8000 per day. If you are traveling on a limited budget, I would recommend keeping an estimated cost of minimum Rs. 1000 per day.
If you wish, you can also stay in a camp in Chopta. Do not stop at Dugalbitta or Baniya Kund and continue driving to the point where the trek to Tungnath begins. There are some tents available to rent here as well that you can rent.
It is not necessary to book in advance. No matter which you arrive here, you can easily find a place to stay. I would suggest you reach at the destination, look for a hotel or a camp according to your preference and negotiate on the spot.
Booking in advance only means that you may end up paying more.
What to buy in Chopta?
The Squash or juice made of rhododendron, called Buransh by the locals, is supposed to be good for health. You can buy bottles at restaurants in Chopta.
Also Read: Tehri Garhwal Uttarakhand – Travel Guide
The road will be a blend of good, bad and ugly, depending on the time of your trip and the area. Between DevPrayag and Srinagar, the road is quite dusty and in some places it is in poor condition.
It improves slightly after Srinagar and even Rudraprayag with few bad sections. After Rudraprayag, the state of the road improves even more until Agastamuni. You can navigate as you want after Agastamuni, since the roads are in better shape to Chopta.
In the monsoon season, you can safely assume that the entire stretch will be a nightmare full of slosh.
Almost any vehicle (car / bicycle) in perfect working condition can take you to Chopta from where the trek to Tungnath and Chandrashilla begins.
There is no phone signals on the trek to Tungnath and Chandrashilla. Near Chopta, phone signals are present but with very poor connectivity. There is no phone connectivity issue on the entire route before Duggalbitta.
Nearest ATM in Chopta
There is no ATM in Chopta, but you will find a lot on the route. The last ATM is in Kund, right where it turns towards Ukhimath. It is better to carry enough cash. Even while you enter.
What is the best season for rhododendrons?
Throughout the Himalayas, rhododendrons bloom in the spring season. The exact timing may fluctuate according to weather conditions. But March and April should be safe bets. You should see the red and pink rhododendrons.
Most Common Travel Itinerary
I will suggest an itinerary of 4 to 5 days. For the sake of the itinerary, I will count on Delhi as your starting point.
Day 1 – Delhi to Chopta
Day 2 – Chopta to tungnath/Chandrashila to Chopta
Day 3 – Chopta to Sari village to Deoria tal
Day 4 – Deoria tal to Rishikesh
Day 5 – Rishikesh to Delhi
If you are short on time, you can continue directly to Delhi on day 4 and skip staying in Rishikesh at night.
There is no electricity in Chopta, Duggalbitta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal at all. However, all guest houses have solar-powered panels that can also be used to charge their camera phones or batteries. I would still suggest you take a power bank with you.
There are some grocery stores where you can buy some general things. If you were traveling by car, my advice would be to fill in everything you need from your home, or from any of the en route cities like Srinagar.