Rudraprayag 🚌 Ukhimath 🚌 Makku Bend 🚌 Chopta-Tungnath 🚌 Ukhimath
On day-3, again we woke up early in the morning, as we have to catch the first bus that leaves at 6AM. We freshen up and quickly packed our backpacks, checked out from the hotel and straight away went to bus stand. It was very cold outside, the cold wind was blowing and at bus stand we had a cup of tea, til the time we were waiting for bus to arrive. Some people nearby are getting warm up by burning some wood around the corner. As it was ten minutes past 6o'clock we asked people when bus to Chopta will come, they told us something bus is running late or got cancelled. There was also a bolero parked, we asked the driver if he will go towards Chopta he replied, he will go but after all seats get filled, so now we need 6 more person and luckily in 5-10 minutes other travelers also came as bus was running late. But again, new surprise from driver he was waiting for the newspaper distribute, so he can distribute newspaper in nearby villages. We started at 6:40am, choose to sit in the front seats to enjoy the outside view, SRK songs were playing in the car stereo, sky was completely blue & clear, cold wind was blowing it was a beautiful day. As we are heading towards our destination he dropped newspaper in the villages, if you have noticed in the hilly areas distribution system works like that only, bus or car along with people carry stuffs like milk, fruits, newspaper etc. The driver dropped us to a location near to Ukhimath village & arranged a different vehicle for us, as he has to go on different route from there. We changed the vehicle, which dropped to Ukhimath and told for chopta you need to board different vehicle. There aren't much crowd available around us, we asked a shopkeeper how to go to chopta, he told you have to book personal cab to reach chopta, you won't get a sharing cabs for chopta. He asked us ₹1000 for single trip from Ukhimath to Chopta. We aren't carrying much cash & didn't expected there won't be any sharing cabs for chopta, we checked, we both had only ₹800 in total and if we gave all of our money to him were left with nothing while returning, in between also we may require the money. So we asked locals for nearby ATM, they told us ATM's are closed today we asked, why ? They told us today is Sunday & on Sunday's all ATM's remains closed. We requested nearby shopkeeper that we will transfer the money to you account if they can give us some cash. Luckily one shopkeeper see's us and asked come with him, he opened the ATM shutter for us than we collected cash from ATM & thanked him. It was around 9:00AM and, we were hungry, we didn't had anything since morning so bought some fruits, later we asked the car driver to take us to Chopta. As we began our journey to Chopta, we were having conversation with driver about the place, why ATM's remains closed on Sunday's here, will we be seeing the snow in Chopta or not ? He answered, "Sahab ye chote sehar hai, yaha jarurat nhi hai itni, han sahab kal raat ko hi barf giri hai yahan". I was excited to see the snow for the first time. Soon, we stooped at a place known as Makku Bend he told us this vehicle will not go beyond this point. You need to book separate taxi from Makku Bend till Chopta. We asked the cab driver " bhayia aapne bola tha chopta tak jayegi gaadi, abhi aap bol rhe aage nhi jayegi, dusri cab book krni padegi, ye to galat hai" but we didn't had any other choice now so before going any further in our journey we decided to have something in breakfast first we ate Aloo Paratha. Later, we discussed some taxi drivers to take us to chopta and luckily we got one taxi with 2 seats available. After some time, when everyone from our taxi had there breakfast finally, we are going to Chopta but after travelling for approx. 2km towards our destination another trouble knocked our doors "tyre skidding" on icy road, as there was too much snow settled onto roads and this wasn't the fresh snow, most of the road is covered with icy snow, we can icy snow understand like this when snowflakes falls onto ground and with time they freeze to the crystals, forming a lumpy mass. And, soon our vehicle tyres are jammed at one place driver asked to get off the vehicle & ask for our support to push the vehicle but it was really difficult to push the vehicle on those slippery road, we ourselves are slipping while pushing it. We tried pushing with putting some fresh snow around the tyres as fresh snow is crumbly as compared to icy snow. Around 30 minutes has been passed in pushing the vehicle but are with no luck to get it moving. We were running out of time as we have to reach the Chopta before 12:00PM to complete the trek before evening. It was 10:00AM and we decided to cover the rest of journey till Chopta via foot, we paid the driver some amount for bringing us this far. We moved ahead with the spectacular views of valley covered with snow, in between we come across many tents setup by different agencies such as Adventure Nation, India Hikes etc. we covered around 1km in half an hour and still 5 more kms to covered we were aware we are behind the time with this pace we will not be able to complete the trek but we were happy and enjoying the journey. Soon, we starts hearing the sound of vehicles approaching toward us we gave the hitchhiking sign but all the vehicles seats are completely full with the passengers but wait here comes our taxi which we booked from Makku bend, the driver saw us and stopped the vehicle for us but unfortunately all the seats were full. He asked, if both of you can sit on the car roof top and said thank you we are OK. We settle down ourselves on the car roof top but as soon as the car starts moving it was scary and even scarier on each turn, we were holding the roof top carrier so tightly because on every turn our heartbeats rises and sitting on the roof top in the month of January in Chopta where temp is around 2-3 degree Celsius with the freezing cold wind blowing on our faces and our hands were frozen we can't feel them. In spite of this, that one hour journey sitting on the roof top is the best experience i ever had, witnessing the scenic beauty of valley covered with snow were mesmerizing, that feeling can't be expressed in words, those panoramic views can never be captured by any camera, feeling the cold breeze over your face.Even today when i close my eyes i can feel the same experience but to feel the way i feel you have to be physically be there to experience the feeling of lifetime. Did not know when our destination arrived, my leg was numb & hands were freezing but finally we reached to Chopta from where our trek to Tungnath Temple - the highest Shiva temple in world starts. Before starting the trek we ate Maggie & get 4 water bottles as after that you won't find any other shops. At that shop we met group of students who are also from Delhi, one of them has brought the guitar along him, few of member aren't going for the trek so everyone of them decided to stay and enjoy their time at Chopta. We bid Goodbye to them & as move ahead, we joined our hand thanks god for everything and start our trek from Chopta to Tungnath Temple, we weren't carrying any trekking pole so we break off a tree branch & made it our own hand made trekking stick because they support while you hike and can help you maintain balance through various types of tricky terrain. It was hard to find the trails as it has been completely covered in beautiful white snow, you have to keep trek of footprints of other people so that you didn't get lost. As you ascend, there is dug on one side so you have to be careful, you have to keep on checking the front trail with your stick, to check the snow depth & that you're following the right trail and most importantly don't rush, take small small steps & move slowly don't let the adrenaline rush through your veins, keep hydrating your body with small sips of water. In between we met 3 friends from Haryana, my native being the Haryana so we easily connected with each other and had couple of conversation about each other. As we moved further one of the three friends wasn't feeling so good so they decided to wait for some time and we continued our journey. Getting hydrated, resting for while, clicking pictures of each other, capturing scenic beauty of Chopta, landscapes covered in snow, Snow is visible far and wide, playing with snow, throwing snow balls on each other, writing our names on snow, marking our presence of being here in the laps of Mahadev - Tungnath valley. Some of people have run out of water, so they were filling snow into there bottles and waiting for snow to melts down. We are about to reach Tungnath Temple and, around ten minutes before you reach Tungnath, there is a small detour to a peak called Ravansheela. It is the place where the demon king Ravana meditated to please Lord Shiva. you can enjoy the panoramic valley views from Ravansheela. Tungnath in district Rudraprayag is mainly famous for two things- first the ancient Tungnath temple believed to be one thousand years old and considered as world‘s highest Shiva temple located at an altitude of 3,470mtr. and is one among the Panch Kedar Shrines. It is believed to be more than 1000 years old. The temple is closed during the winters and the deity is shifted to Mukku village. Tungnath temple opens its doors to pilgrims in the summer around the end of April and shuts down in November in winter. Second, Chandersheela, where Lord Rama did penance for recovering from ’Brahmhatya,’ after killing Ravana who was a Brahamin. In around 10 minutes, we reached to our first destination Tungnath - The Highest Shiva Temple in world, Temple was not open as it remains closed during winter due to high snowfall. We offered our prayers to Lord Shiva & thank him for everything we are blessed. It was around 3:ooPM and temperature is falling down, soon it is going to be dark so we drop our plan of going to Chandersheela Peak and decided to enjoy the panoramic views of the Kumaon & Garhwal ranges, it was so calm & peaceful out there, feel the cold breeze over your face, mountains are covered with snow, we clicked some pictures of ourselves of being there & of the mystic views of the mountains covered in snows which are hard to capture by any Camera. It was getting cold, we have to reach back to base before sunset. Swiftly, we carried our luggage and start our descends to base. Descending is much easier as compared to ascending, we took some shortcuts, intentionally jumped into snow, snow was around 3 feet deep by now our shoes are filled with snows, the most fun part was sliding through snow to get to base as soon as possible. The sun was about to set and its light painted the sky with orange and golden yellow color just like a painter fills the color to its canvas, It was beautiful. We reached to the base around 5:00PM, the same shop was open so we both had tea to warm ourselves. At tea shop, again we met those 3 friends from Haryana, i asked where were you ? we were looking for you at the top, they answered, they couldn't make it to the top, as one of their friend wasn't feeling well. They showed us their pictures with National flag - Tiranga. After finishing our tea we all started looking for the shared taxi to go back to Makku bend, as we haven't booked the taxi in the morning when we arrived to Chopta all the taxi's are booked and didn't have any vacant seat in any of taxi's. The more be discuss with the taxi drivers about the seats our nervousness is increasing & started to worry because we also haven't booked the hotel for they night stay. The whole idea of unplanned trip is going to be like we both kept our foot on axe. I calmed my friend and went to tea shop for some stay option. He answered, all stays in Chopta's are booked. We requested if he can allow both of us to stay in his shop for a night. He answered, Rs800 per person with one blanket for each. We said, Okay Uncle Ji we will let you know just give us 5 minutes to decide. Then, again we met those 3 friends we asked have you arranged taxi for yourself ? They also said, all the taxi's are booked. Now we all 5 discussed what to do next, we all decided to go via foot if in between we get any taxi we will board it. They have their car parked at Makku Bend, we all started walking taking each other, sharing about their lives, we were even carring our trekking stick in case any animal attack us, although we knew if anything attacked us that stick isn't gonna help us, still something is better than nothing. Being altogether & watching for each other we continued walking, It is now 6:00PM and got dark with our phones flash turned on also it is difficult to see the road clearly, many a time we slipped on icy road. After walking for an hour, we almost have covered 3 kms and still 4kms more to be covered. Around 6:30PM, we heard the vehicle approaching us, Tata Nano, is going back to Chopta we asked if he can drop us to Makku Bend, but he said he have to go back to Chopta if you all want i can drop you there. We said, No thank you ! one of us said " bhot Sahi, jahan se shuru kiya tha tu wapis whi bhej de ". A little later, we again heard sound of one more vehicle coming toward us from Chopta. The driver stopped the vehicle and asked us if you all can adjust he will drop us to Makku Bend. This time me & my friend choose to sit inside the vehicle, we both somehow adjusted ourselves and remaining 3 friends settled down themselves on the roof top. After settling up, car started, there again we met some students from Delhi - Noida, they were shocked we have covered 3-4kms from Chopta on foot that's too at this hour of day, when it is completely dark outside. Our answer was, we simply didn't had any choice and laughed . After a while we reached to Makku Bend. We all are it relived but inside me & my friend knew that still we didn't have any hotel booked for the night stay so we asked Haryana boys about their Hotel Booking, does their hotel have any room vacant for one night. They weren't sure, they gave us the phone no. of the hotel but there was no network in that area. They asked, to come with us at hotel you can check if there are any rooms available. As said, earlier we didn't had any better option so adjusted in their car meanwhile kept checking the network so we can contact the hotel manager but still no network. We waited, and waited soon we reached at hotel in Ukhimath, checked with manager for one room availability & thankfully only one was available, we thanked all 3 of them for helping us. At last we both were relived went to our room, kept our luggage & straight away went for the dinner. We both are still thankful to those guys whom i called them as "Haryana boys". If they weren't there that day, we didn't know what we are gonna do ? or what could happen to us ? Thanks to them & The Lord Shiva, and as the saying goes "All is well that ends well". With this i'm signing off for the day. See you at Day-4.