This place in Uttarakhand is called the ‘Mini Switzerland’ of India

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Solar lamps, no network, peace, and pure air to breathe in and meditate. That is what you feel when you’re on the top and having finished the tiring trek from Chopta to Tungnath Mandir (Temple) and thereon Chandrashila. Chopta also referred to as ‘Mini Switzerland’  for its meadows and lush green pastures is located on an altitude of 2700 meters. Chopta is surrounded by dense greens and a view of the majestic Himalayan ranges. The Uttarakhand state is virtually unexplored by tourists and Chopta sits way off in the Rudraprayag district, extremely tough to reach yet worth the effort.

Chopta is rich in flora and fauna with dense forests around and a variety of Rhododendron and Deodar trees. It is beautiful and secluded hill station is cut off from the rest of the world with no electricity, wooden stoves and mostly no network. So you can relax for a week here, without your smartphones and enjoy the beauty of the unexplored. Chopta is the starting point of the trek to Tungnath Temple and Chandrashila sunrise point further on.

 

Chopta and the Tungnath trek is raw and virgin where tourists have not flocked due to the difficulty in reaching the place and the tiring uphill trek. The terrain is tough and complex but the days spend in Chopta seem to cut you off from the fast rushing urban monotonous lives and you literally sit in the lap of nature. Uttarakhand is not sought after for trekking and tourists due to its tough terrain and accessibility. The place has managed to maintain its virgin beauty.

The Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila trek can be undertaken all year round except for extreme winters in the month of December and January.  Chandrashila is the summit of Chandranath Parbat (mountain) on which Tungnath temple, the highest Shiva temple in India is located. The trek from Chopta to Tungnath temple is laid out with markers and the distance of 3.5 km uphill can be completed within 3 to 4 hours. The trail is a bit tricky with changes in terrain and uphill steep climb, so a pair of good shoes would help. There are a few ‘dhabas’ along the way to rest in between the trek. Pilgrims and adventure lovers trek to the Tungnath temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva. You may find locals trekking up in the bare minimum to visit the holy temple. There are options to stay and rests in tents as well as basic lodging is provided near the temple area with basic amenities for Rs 300 to 400.

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The Chandrashila peak from Tungnath is about 1.5 km of the trek. It carries on from the temple to steep trek uphill. The Chandrashila summit provides for a picturesque 360-degree panoramic view of the astounding Himalayan range. The place is isolated and unspoiled by the hoards of people proves to be a point for the most breathtaking view and silence. The view is a treat for the soul and refreshes you inspite of the tiring trek. The sunrise atop the summit is the most spectacular vision. As the sun rises from behind the Nandadevi peak, the sky changes colours and turns into a wide canvas with an assembly of various colours. The golden glow of the sun turning into hues of maroon, you just wouldn’t blink. The breeze while trekking up and on top of Chandrashila revitalizes your mind and body.

How to reach:

Located on Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Gopeshwar route.

Reach Rishikesh via bus or train and take shared cabs and buses to Ukhimath (40 kms from Chopta). There is no direct transportation and it will take you a day to reach Chopta from Rishikesh.

Best time to Visit Chopta:

April – November is the best time to visit Chopta. As for the trek to Tungnath-Chandrashila, you can plan a trek from April to June and then in September to November to enjoy the pleasant and crisp spectacular views with flawless skies.

Things to keep in mind:

A good pair of shoes with ample of sweaters and jackets as it gets extremely chilly on top. Pack energy bars and water along with some basic packaged food for the hunger pangs. You won’t find a running supply of electricity or network so carry a power bank along to just keep your phone charged for emergencies and clicking breathtaking photos. The locals are kind and go out to their way to help you so don’t be shy to interact with them.

 

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