In October 2014, when ‘Lonely Planet’ magazine had covered 10 offbeat places to cover in India, prettiest place on the Ukhimath-Chamoli road, Chopta had topped the charts.
Chopta, located 2680 meters above sea level is splendidly beautiful place with Very small cluster of shops with a few makeshift stay arrangements. And this little place guides you to Tungnath and further to Chandrashila peak which are famous as one of the best treks in Uttarakhand. With the Kedar ranges and Kedar Wildlife Sanctuary in its vicinity, it is a hidden gem of the Himalayas in Garhwal. Bird watching is a thrill here with Himalayan Monal, Koklass Pheasant, Tits, Rose-finches being easy to spot and capture in the digital lenses.
This pristine and untouched place makes a base location for trekking to Tungnath (3.5 km away). From there, just a kilometre away is Chandrashila Peak at 4000 metres above sea level. The whole trek promises picturesque nature, lush green meadows and enchanting views of the Himalayas. More, the sunset and sunrise views at Chopta and Tungnath temple are stunning, breath-taking and extravagant.
- » Chopta - Tungnath – Chandrashila is an all season trek.
- » It offers cool and pleasant climate from March to May and snowfall can be enjoyed here from Dec till early April.
- » The hamlet offers remarkable natural delights with Snow white Kedar and Garhwal peaks.
- » The trek goes through beautiful old forest of oaks, deodars and rhododendrons.
- » Rhododendrons lend the redness all along the path
- » Tungnath temple is known as world’s highest Shiva temple.
- » There is a small Ganga temple at Chandrashila summit as well.
- » At Chandrashila, it offers a 360 degree of the snow clad Himalayan Mountains.
- » One may cross over into Chimoli valley for some stunning views of nature.
- » It has some great forests nearby and beautiful camping place by the lake at Devariyatal.
- » This mountain escapade has lots to breathe in and can easily be done over long weekends. If you have 3 days to spare from Delhi, just start off right now.
Mark Your Path
If you are passionate for trekking or just a beginner whose planning a mountain escapade, Chopta definitely deserves a place in your ‘must visit destination’. The best part about it is that it is not a commercialized hill station and is yet to be fully explored. Thus, nature lovers will fall for its peace and serenity while the adventurers will have enough stories to take away from their interaction with treks and trails cutting through jungles and grasslands.
Also from Haridwar, one may choose to do a 6 hours drive to Okimath and then do a Trek to Devariatal (2438 m). The lake reflects beautiful Chaukhamba peak. After a stay over, next morning go for the trek which is done from Deoriatal to Chopta (2800m in 4-5 hour)
Chopta marks the commencement of the trek where you begin to ascend the slopes to reach Tungnath temple. This temple remains open only from June to September. What may not be known to all is that it is one of the five and the highest Panch Kedar temples.
- » Very basic accommodation is available at Chopta so it’s advisable to camp or stay at a close by location like Kund.
- » Himalayan Eco Lodges can be great option to stay.
- » If you are planning a mountain adventure with a group of friends or are a solo backpacker, you may carry your own tent, sleeping bag, mat, food etc.
- » During summer time, nature is at its best but the view of the Himalayan ranges may be hazy due to clouds but in winters when the sky is crystal clear, it looks stunning.
- » To experience and indulge in snow fields, trekkers prefer it in winter season.
- » Choose your trek carefully. The treks here are easy, moderate and difficult and are best suited for beginners as well.
So, next time when you are lusting to be closer to nature or itching to go trekking, you know where to start and surrender yourself. The scenic beauties are just right there, go experience the joys of Chopta soon enough.