Churdhar Peak is the highest peak at 11,965 ft  in the Outer Himalayan ranges.A Shiva Temple and a Shivling resides at the peak. It is a religious pilgrimage site for locals. The trek covers mountains barren with rocks, a wildlife sanctuary & a view to die for. The trek can be done in a single day if you start early. The trek is moderately difficult but manageable if you are used to them.
Amarnath yatra...it was my first ever step into the vast trekking wonder, which I knew nothing about back then in 2013.In 2016...after a whopping 3 years, trekked to Churdhar peak with my buddy Bhuppi (all the thank Yallu Bhai in the world for letting me to the door of adventure. Having covered many moderate to difficult treks he was the best guide. He, a Shiv bhakt had already reached Shrikhand Mahadev & Churdhar 6 & 11 times respectively. It was a huge task for us (newbees) to trek the peak. Stamina, fitness and strength were something we never cared, never even thought about. The steep hike gazing down at us reminded us about our daily routine in corporate office for the last 2 years.
After overcoming our first hurdle, it was our day to climb to the top and have a glimpse of Chureshwar Maharaj abode Churdhar Hills. Locals told us that it is a 7 km steep uphill trek which can be completed in 3-4 hrs but considering the fact that except us none of the other participants had ever been on a trek we took 8 hrs of climb.After a sumptuous breakfast and hot tea, we started our climb. We did manage to procure some food supplies for the journey from the nearby market where we also parked our car. After navigating from narrow lanes of the village and agricultural fields we reached the trail which is used by pilgrims to reach the temple. Nowadays vehicles also ply on a poorly maintained trail upto some distance which had made it easy for everyone to reach the temple. Although the road doesn’t go all the way up but it does manager to avoid some steep patches.I thought it will be another trek where I will hardly see any people but to my amazement I saw lot of devotees and mostly locals. There are also some small dhabas like establishments where you can enjoy tea, pakodas and maggi. Being a slow walker, I was walking alone while enjoying the greenery and the ambience. The trees were lush green. I was awestruck of the size and majesty of the trees. Their knotted arms rose ever upwards, as far as my head could lift and their roots grasped soil and rocks so hard that it worked as a ladder step for us. In my thoughts I continued to walk and in between interacted with natives too.The woods now became denser, the trees stretched out, the huge rocks covered with moss became more prominent and the hike became steeper. We could feel the fatigue, so continued our trek with frequent rest. The natives praised us for choosing this tough route which boosted our stamina and we moved on. We reached Chureshwar Maharaj temple at around 4 PM and made a last push to the peak where sits 20ft high Lord Shiva’s statue at its utmost grandeur.Another 45 mins and I was thanking Lord Shiva to allow me to reach the top and to touch his feet. I felt that the journey was fruitful. It felt like Himalayan magic unfolded itself and the 360-degree panoramic view of the mountains appeared to be rushing towards us from all the directions. The view of majestic mountains surrounding the Lord Shiva’s idol was just jaw dropping. We could clearly see multiple peaks ranging from Hanuman Tibba, Swargarohini, Deo Tibba & Jakhoo from the top of Churdhar Peak. We paid obeisance to the Lord Shiva and after having eagle’s eye view of lower himalayan ranges covered with dense forests we descended back to the temple.During the descent, 4 of us decided to head towards the temple however the rest moved towards the Shesh Nag rock (a huge natural rock formation resembling a cobra). By the time all of them reached to the temple it was 7 PM and it was freezing cold. People were shivering, and it became important to search for accommodation there as it would have been really risky to descend back down to Chopal because of steep descend and slippery rocks and due to dense forest, there was a huge danger of wild animals like black bear.There are pilgrims’ rest houses however it is not able to accommodate many pilgrims hence you must reach early to reserve your spot. Since we were not able to reach early it was becoming hard to find a place to retire but the one of the resident pujari came to our rescue. After learning that we are coming all the way from Delhi, he suggested that after the food service the room will be used for accommodating rest of the pilgrims, so we must make sure that we are there to reserve our place, however we also have to rise early as the morning food service will start at around 6 AM. After waiting for around 3 hrs at 10 PM we were able to retire. We were provided with good quality cotton mattresses and blanket. There were many people in the hall, but it did not matter as it was warm and cosy. We all dozed off as soon as we laid down.
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Day 2: 17.06.2018  We woke up early at 5:00 AM in the morning with motionless legs and decided to make it early for the Churdhar peak. We folded our blankets and tried to find the priest to thank him for his overwhelming support but we were unable to spot him in the huge crowd, so we stacked up the blankets near his room and moved to our final destination, The Churdhar Peak.As it had rained at night the narrow rocky route became slippery. We trekked carefully diverting the slushy paths and the slippery rocks. Soon we came across the route from nohradhar side too. The two routes meet at a common point from where one can trek to Churdhar peak. Several peaks & valley came en-route and which were getting shorter in height as we trekked up. Churdhar is the highest among all peaks in this region.  There is no dearth of pleasant surprise as your trek this peak. The mountain is part of the Churdhar Sanctuary and home to some important flora and fauna including the state bird of Himachal, the beautiful Monal. The Churdhar Peak is also mentioned in the book, The Great Arc, by John Keay but is referred to as The Chur. It is from this peak that George Everest made many astronomical readings and sightings of the Himalayan mountains.We then saw  Churu Ka tibba, a huge solid rock on top of which people perform religious rituals and pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva.  During winters, Churdhar receives moderate to heavy snowfall. The best time to visit is during the summer months. Trekkers can stay in the dharamsala (pilgrims’ rest house) of the temple or carry their own tents.  It is heard that black bears are to be found in the area, so the trekkers must be careful. Always stay in groups, bears resist to attack on the ones who are in groups. The journey was very fruitful. We reached Churhdar peak at 6:56 AM, the himalayan magic unfolded itself and the 360 degree panoramic view of the mountains appeared to be rushing towards us from all the directions. The view of majestic mountains surrounding the Lord Shiva’s idol was just jaw dropping. We saw multiple peaks ranging from Hanuman Tibba, Swargarohini, Deo Tibba & Jakhoo from the top of Churdhar Peak. We paid obeisance to the Lord Shiva and after having eagle’s eye view of lower himalayan ranges covered with dense forests, we decided to start the descent towards Nohradhar at 7:30 AM. The Descent It was not at all easy to trek down as the paths were slippery and marred with mud. If it requires stamina to trek the steep slopes it equally requires technique to trek down. You need to be very careful, a small mistake can lead you down into rocks. We then decided not to go by the same route to end our trek, instead to take the longer 18 km route towards Nohradhar.We reached the junction of two routes at 7:59 AM and still we could see more and more people coming up.We moved on and entered the most exciting part of this trip the forest of Churdhar. Believe me you will love this the most. Lush green surroundings, Chir, Deoder & coniferous trees towering high, snaked routes, slushy pathways all will pump the adrenaline which one seeks in the woods. The trail passes through a thick forest which is said to be the densest forests of the entire state of Himachal.The trail is well marked and beyond the woods lies the rockscape interspersed with green moss patches in the entire route. The hike down was filled with talks & courage we all had to make this trek possible. As we moved the clouds began to multiply and thickened indicating the rain is about to happen any time. We got a pair of Ponchos from a Sarain itself  for just Rs. 120 to protect us from unwanted rain. The light drizzle started but we kept on moving through the woods as the trek was long and we wanted to reach home before midnight. The beauty of the woods that surrounded me was peerless. The sunless sky covered the woods over the treetops created a canopy over my head. The gentle breeze was creating rustling sound. The dead leaves formed a thick springy carpet for us to walk upon. The forest seemed to be pure and clean, as though it had never been disturbed by man and his vicious life killing machines.I carried my walk through the damp verdant forest floor, not concentrating on where I was stepping. There, I had my first slip and thank god I balanced myself. Soon we reached the first stop Teesri at 9:57 AM, the point where one can relax and have their stomach filled.We had our breakfast, clicked some pictures and then moved forward towards the second stay point known as Doosri.Each hamlet in this trek holds a great reservoir of excitement and fun. As we moved further the mysterious forest, majestic trees stood tall and proud, like sentinels guarding a magical territory. Was this a magical land? Am I really witnessing this? Gazing upon natures version of heaven, vibrant beauty swallowed me in its warm embrace. I was in a bliss. Pleasure rippled merrily through my pulsing vein as I gazed at wonderful sight ahead of me. I was wondering, why go home when I can be in a place which brings so much joy to me, irradiating all worldly worries. I was truly trapped in a world of magic and mystery. The rain drops dripped gracefully down onto the luscious emerald grass. It appeared as if I was in wonderland, and yes it was a wonderland to me. While Joban was in sprint mode, I moved slowly capturing the essence of the woods as I wanted to enjoy every second of this trek. Soon I reached Doosri at 12:30 PM.Trekkers had their camp put up and some were staying in the camp arranged by the locals. I rested for about 5 minutes there and filled my water bottle and moved further. I spotted various tent stalls (cafe) put up by the natives. I finally rested at a cafe which was just few kilometers away from Nohradhar. After having some food I then continued my journey. Soon I spotted the habitation, the fields. There was a big rock that had Lord Shiva’s Trishul with Damru painted on it. The view from this point was magnificent.Sun rays started emerging on mountain tops and embracing the beautiful valley. The road slithered like a snake into the valley. The spectacular views were worth capturing.The last trail has lots of rocks and boulders that makes it a bit difficult to hike down as my fatigue level has reached to its peak. Finally I made to Nohradhar. Joban had already reached there 1 hour ago (according to him). I had some bananas at the shop down there and restored my energy levels. Then came the interesting part of this journey, how to go back? There were hundreds of people waiting for there bus to solan. Then came the first bus at 3:25 PM and every one tried to fight for a seat. I told Joban not even to try for it or we will be crushed like anything.We then waited for another bus which came at about 4:15 PM. We boarded that bus but didn’t got a seat. The situation was same, it was fully crowded. After reaching Rajgarh Hills we got the seat and relaxed. The bus finally reached Solan at about 7:15 PM.  We then waited for the bus to Chandigarh but every bus that came was full and we didn’t have stamina left to go without a seat. There were few people who were also going to Chandigarh and we talked to them if they wanted to share a cab. They agreed and we 5 people got a shared cab (Etios) to Chandigarh at Rs 400 per person. Finally I reached home at 11:00 PM and rested for the night.It is surely an offbeat destination and offered a lot to the nature lovers. Those who are looking to escape the heat of the coming summer months or want to have an adventure should consider this trek. The next morning, remembering the good time spent, I left for office.