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Trekking in the Himalayas: Chopta and Chandrashila

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The trek to Chopta and Chandrashila offers amazing views of the imposing Himalayan range including Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba, and is one of the most popular treks among trekking enthusiasts. Chopta is popularly known as the 'Mini Switzerland' in Uttarakhand and Northern India and is situated amidst thick forests of pine, deodar and rhododendrons. The trek route takes one to Tungnath (literal meaning: ‘Lord of the Peaks’) – the highest Hindu temple in the world dedicated to Lord Shiva. Beyond Tungnath is the summit to the Chandrashila peak (it literally means ‘Moon Rock’) – an impressive vantage point that offers 360 degrees panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas. This is a beautiful trek, with difficulty level rated as easy to moderate. DAY 1: Rishikesh – Sari We meet at Rishikesh early in the morning and drive to Sari Village on the Ukhimath-Chopta road in Uttarakhand. We set up camp by evening for an overnight stay and prepare for the next day’s trek. DAY 2: Sari – Deoria Tal (7,900 ft) – Sari After breakfast, we start our trek to Deoria Tal – a heavily wooded emerald lake with lush green surroundings and snow covered mountains in the backdrop. The mighty peaks of Chaukhamba and Neelkanth are reflected in the pristine waters of this lake – it’s a photographer’s delight. The 3km trek is largely uphill through dense forests. The legend is that the Devas bathed in this lake, hence the name. The lake is sometimes believed to be the “Indra Sarovar” referred to in the Puranas. It is also believed that it was the place where Yaksha asked the Pandavas to answer his questions before drinking the water of the lake. After spending some time here, we’ll trek down to Sari for an overnight stay in tents. DAY 3: Sari – Chopta (9,500 ft) In the morning we make our way to Chopta – a small but picturesque hamlet with untouched natural beauty and peace. It is the starting point of the trek to Tungnath. A 12km trek from Sari will get us to Chopta. Once there, we’ll set up camp and explore the surrounding areas in the evening. The campsite at Chopta affords spectacular views of the high snow-clad mountains. DAY 4: Chopta – Tungnath (12,070 ft) – Chandrashila (13,415 ft) – Chopta After an early morning breakfast, and with packed lunches, we start our trek to Tungnath. The 3km long trail takes one through lush green meadows and finally joins a pilgrim trail which goes all the way up to the Tungnath temple – one of the five and the highest Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district. After a little relaxation and a lunch break here, we’ll push for the Chandrashila summit. It is a short (1km) but rigorous hike to the top. The view from the top is most promising and truly breathtaking – something one will surely remember for a lifetime. Later, we’ll retrace our steps to the campsite in Chopta for an overnight stay in tents. DAY 5: Chopta – Rishikesh In the morning, after breakfast, we wind up camp and drive back to Rishikesh via Rudraprayag and Devprayag.

The trek to Chopta and Chandrashila offers amazing views of the imposing Himalayan range including Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba, and is one of the most popular treks among trekking enthusiasts. Chopta is popularly known as the 'Mini Switzerland' in Uttarakhand and Northern India and is situated amidst thick forests of pine, deodar and rhododendrons. The trek route takes one to Tungnath (literal meaning: ‘Lord of the Peaks’) – the highest Hindu temple in the world dedicated to Lord Shiva. Beyond Tungnath is the summit to the Chandrashila peak (it literally means ‘Moon Rock’) – an impressive vantage point that offers 360 degrees panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas. This is a beautiful trek, with difficulty level rated as easy to moderate. DAY 1: Rishikesh – Sari We meet at Rishikesh early in the morning and drive to Sari Village on the Ukhimath-Chopta road in Uttarakhand. We set up camp by evening for an overnight stay and prepare for the next day’s trek. DAY 2: Sari – Deoria Tal (7,900 ft) – Sari After breakfast, we start our trek to Deoria Tal – a heavily wooded emerald lake with lush green surroundings and snow covered mountains in the backdrop. The mighty peaks of Chaukhamba and Neelkanth are reflected in the pristine waters of this lake – it’s a photographer’s delight. The 3km trek is largely uphill through dense forests. The legend is that the Devas bathed in this lake, hence the name. The lake is sometimes believed to be the “Indra Sarovar” referred to in the Puranas. It is also believed that it was the place where Yaksha asked the Pandavas to answer his questions before drinking the water of the lake. After spending some time here, we’ll trek down to Sari for an overnight stay in tents. DAY 3: Sari – Chopta (9,500 ft) In the morning we make our way to Chopta – a small but picturesque hamlet with untouched natural beauty and peace. It is the starting point of the trek to Tungnath. A 12km trek from Sari will get us to Chopta. Once there, we’ll set up camp and explore the surrounding areas in the evening. The campsite at Chopta affords spectacular views of the high snow-clad mountains. DAY 4: Chopta – Tungnath (12,070 ft) – Chandrashila (13,415 ft) – Chopta After an early morning breakfast, and with packed lunches, we start our trek to Tungnath. The 3km long trail takes one through lush green meadows and finally joins a pilgrim trail which goes all the way up to the Tungnath temple – one of the five and the highest Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district. After a little relaxation and a lunch break here, we’ll push for the Chandrashila summit. It is a short (1km) but rigorous hike to the top. The view from the top is most promising and truly breathtaking – something one will surely remember for a lifetime. Later, we’ll retrace our steps to the campsite in Chopta for an overnight stay in tents. DAY 5: Chopta – Rishikesh In the morning, after breakfast, we wind up camp and drive back to Rishikesh via Rudraprayag and Devprayag.