Himalayas are calling and I must go. Himalayas are the beginning and end of all natural scenery for me. I decided to go on small trek in mountains, but could not compromise with the beauty. Hence finalized to go Tungnath again in December end and trek the Himalayas which I did last year also.
Tungnath temple is world's highest Lord Shiva temple at an altitude of 12,073 ft from sea level. It is believed to be 5000 years old from the time of Mahabharath and comes third in pecking order of Panch Kedar. Read complete story from my earlier post.
Day 1 - Journey from Rishikesh to Chopta
The first step to reach Tungnath is to choose your transport wisely. We reached Rishikesh by bus early morning and had to wait for our cab by chasing chilling breeze. That wait itself gave us idea how cold its gonna be there in Chopta and Tungnath. Moreover, its not going to be easy to trek the Himalayas. By 6:30 AM our cab arrived and we started for Chopta. The cab driver Bablu was a well experienced guy to drive in hills. He holds driving experience of more than 20 years and has driven big commercial vehicles even trucks. Not only this but also he had great knowledge of all the towns, rivers, peaks and hidden stories behind them.
It was 8:30, we took halt at small town Devprayag. This is the place where two sacred rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet, and is known as Ganga after this point. This town is the seat of Priests from Badrinath dham. People take holy dip at confluence, but we didn't even think of as it was too cold.
Alaknanda looked very calm and was flowing silently. Whereas the Bhagirathi had its own flow with lot of rapids
After having breakfast of delicious Paratha and Chai we resumed our journey. The roads are under construction due to char dham yatra project. But you will be happily driving along with Alaknanda river which looked dark green and very silent as if its not flowing at all. Tune in to good music, drive in mountains, clouds circling around, river flowing by your side and tripping with the best buddies. What else do you want from life?
After driving for 3 more hours, we reached Rudraprayag which is the confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini. From this point we had to be together with Mandakini river going ahead. This is the longest route in India where you will be driving along with the river as told by driver. After crossing this, we took lunch break at Sheetal hotel. I laid down on grassland and then heard sound of ducks. I asked Satish to catch one, but he successfully failed ????
As we moved towards Ukhimath, we experienced many breathtaking scenes of river with Himalayas my love. We reached Dugalbitha (6 kms from Chopta) at 3 PM where I booked accommodation. We immediately ordered Tea and Maggi, which gives immense pleasure when in mountains. Then we decided to go for short hike and gaze at Himalayan peaks which looked magical at time of sunset.
Night was icy cold and we layered with sweaters, jackets and got inside blankets. This is how the first day ended. We slept early with excitement and enthusiasm to trek the Himalayas next morning.
Day 2 : Himalaya Trekking to reach Tungnath
I woke up, I smiled because I could see Tungnath and Chandrashilla peak from my window and I call it as perfect morning ????
By 8, we got ready, packed bag and stepped out to leave for Chopta from where the trek begins. It felt like driving on the hidden road to heaven crossing lush green valley loaded with fresh snow.
Chopta is well equipped market, you can buy essentials for trekking, I have covered details later.
We started our trek by ringing bell at the entrance after taking name of Lord Shiva. There is small registration counter near entrance charging Rs 150 per person which is mandatory.
Initially we faced breathing problem and our body was shivering but the soul was determined to reach on top.
Total length of the trek is only 4.5 kms, but is worth and rewarding.
After hiking for 1 km, we encountered a shop- the only open shop on this trail. We enjoyed Maggi sitting on grass land and looking at the magnificent Himalayas all around. We could see snow clad mountains at distance which would look very near in few hours.
Proper paved path is made, so you need not worry for trail. But remember this can be slippery when snow melts. After seeing continuous patches of ice, we took out our spikes and fixed with trekking shoes. This actually saved us from trouble from being slipped throughout the day.
We trekked the Himalayas for around 1 hour and got indulged with the immense beauty of the place. Within no time we were above all the mountains and by then sun was out. I extended my arms looking at sun and felt like first light of the day has kissed my face. Standing on sheets of snow, surrounded by giant Himalayas and covered with quilt of circling clouds is a bliss. We were gazing at the countless layers of mountains and did not talk with each other for sometime. After that, Satish thanked me and said he has never seen such kind of breath taking view.
Arriving at Tungnath temple
I got first glimpse of Tungnath temple covered with snow, and above that clouds magnified the view. This is the beautiful thing one can ever witness. We attempted many off track treks, but nothing compared with the last stretch to reach temple. We had to pull out legs from snow covered till calves and it became very difficult. But its beautiful feeling to reach on top after putting so much efforts.
We reached world's highest Shiva temple and bowed down. It was an overwhelming moment looking at the temple, great mountains and mesmerizing view. One can feel the immense peace and positive vibes around this place. Like every other temple, this also has Nandi statue outside guarding the temple. Although it was closed, but that time in my mind I had the story of Panch Kedar that how Lord Shiva appeared here in form of hand. Such kind of places are for spiritual souls above than religious values. Its the place one can feel how insignificant we are in front of nature and massive world.
Before descending, we took out packed lunch and ate Paratha sitting on huge rock. We spent around 2 hours near the temple sitting quietly. To get down was easy but need to take care of the slippery path. We again attempted few shortcuts by sliding in snow and getting down very quickly. While coming back we had enough time to witness sunset, so we took long breaks and relaxed on grassland.
While going to Tungnath, plan it accordingly so that you don't miss beautiful sunset which happens on right side when you come down. Sky was painted in orange and last rays were falling on snow clad mountains. What a Wow!
Immediately after reaching Chopta, we grabbed cup of tea which gave us enough warmth. We sat in cab to reach hotel, but vehicle started slipping off due to snow on road was melting. Our driver was experienced, so were relaxed.
Time for Celebrations!
After coming to hotel the feeling of accomplishment was within us. Everyone was happy after refreshing journey of mind and body. The hotel owner Dinesh ji arranged bonfire for us and within no time everyone gathered, played music, guitar and Dholak. Few of them did trekking for the first time. At last we all shared experience of Himalaya trekking.
We had simple and delicious dinner of Dal, Rice, Roti and Sabzi. Following that, we came out for walk on road under billions of stars who were playing hide and seek behind clouds. And around 11 PM, we slept after late night talks of the trek.
Carry enough water bottles and eatables as there will be only 1 opened shop all the way. Wear good trekking shoes along with snow spikes. It will really help a lot to get grip. Wearing shoes cover is also recommended as it will protect shoes from letting in snow. You can take stick and rubber boots on rent from Chopta. Do not litter on the way. Carry wrappers or bottles and dispose them in Chopta. Start trek as early as possible in morning to witness all shades of nature until sunset.
How to reach
Reach from Delhi to Rishikesh by Bus, Train or Cab. Rishikesh to Chopta distance is 220 kms and there is no direct transport. So, you can hire direct taxi till that place. Or, go by bus till Ukhimath and hire taxi from there itself. Ukhimath is only 40 kms from Chopta. Bus frequency from Rishikesh to Ukhimath is very low, so plan the trip wisely. I would recommend to hire direct taxi till Chopta. Stay in Dugalbhitta or Chopta and trek the Himalayas next morning to visit Tungnath and Chandrashilla.
Don't expect to find any luxurious hotel around this place. I stayed in Dugalbithha couple of times and found the hospitality of the owner and staff members to be awesome. Rooms are neat and clean with fully loaded blankets. Food is very simple and delicious. Moreover, view from this place is very beautiful. So have peaceful stay, trek the Himalayas and visit world's highest Lord Shiva temple.
Contact Dinesh at +91 94101 15787
Explore more at himalayanrovers.com
Tungnath is one of the most beautiful adventure treks of Garhwal region. I highly recommend this to everyone. I would love to hear from you on this post. Write below in comments or drop me message.
Stay fit and happy travelling!