Chopta : Mini Switzerland’ of Uttarakhand


Popularly referred to as the ‘mini Switzerland’ of Uttarakhand, Chopta (at an approximate altitude of 2,608 m) is a slice of paradise tucked away in the Garhwal Himalayas.

Surrounded by bugyals or velvety meadows and pristine snow-capped peaks, Chopta is an all-year holiday destination: pleasant in summer, rain-fresh in monsoon and a snow-clad fairyland in winter.

Chopta is at the epicentre of the Panch Kedar – the five most sacred Shiva temples in the state.

On its left are located Kedarnath and Madmaheshwar shrines and on the right, Rudranath and Kalpeshwar, and just above it, the Tungnath temple.

Chopta is a birding paradise and you can see over 240 species of birds here, including native and migratory species like Himalayan monal, Himalayan swiftlet, Himalayan griffon, scarlet finch, hill partridge, and so on.

Nearby places like Dugalbitta, Mandal village, Makkumath and the Tungnath trek route are the best sites for watching our feathered friends.

Chopta has been declared as an important bird-watching site by national and international conservation and biodiversity organisations.

Places to visit:

1. Chandrashila temple

Photo of Chandrashila, Tungnath, Uttarakhand by Rohit Prajapati (Aaric)

Perched on top of the eponymous peak, this simple stone temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. The peak, at altitude of around 4,000 m, is one of the most stunning mountains in the region and offers stunning views of several Himalayan peaks, including Nanda Devi, Bandarpunch, Chaukhamba and Kedar peak.

According to legend, Chandrashila is the place where Lord Rama meditated after defeating Ravana. Another lore says that Moon god or Chandra spent time here in penance. Chandrashila literally means “moon rock”.

The trek to the summit is one of the most popular at Tungnath. Chandrashila peak is a steep 1.5 km trek from Tungnath temple, which is around 3.5 km away from Chopta.

2. Deoriatal

Photo of Deoria Tal, Uttarakhand by Rohit Prajapati (Aaric)

Around 50 km from Chopta, this beautiful high-altitude lake (around 2,438 m) sitting amidst mountains and forests makes for a refreshing trek.

3. Ukhimath

Photo of Ukhimath, Uttarakhand, India by Rohit Prajapati (Aaric)

Located around 45 km from Chopta, Ukhimath is the winter seat of Lord Kedarnath. There are several other well-known temples here like the ones of Usha and Aniruddha.

4. Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary

Photo of Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary, near Askot, Bazar, Uttarakhand, India by Rohit Prajapati (Aaric)

 Located around 7 km from Chopta is the Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary, a dense forest spread over 6 sq km, where the rare musk deer can be spotted. It makes for a relaxing nature walk.