Hill stations-many travelers and adventurers first love promises both the calmness and thrill that we seek. The Indian Himalayas is the undisputed destination placating the travel dreams with its mighty peaks, lush green meadows, deserted valleys, roaring waterfalls and rivers. Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is home to many such places. One such tranquil beauty is Chopta, tucked in the Himalayas.
Chopta is an unspoiled destination in the midst of beautiful meadows and offers fabulous views of Himalayan ranges like Trishul Parbat, Nanda Devi etc. It lies 29 km from Ukhimath, 162 kilometres (101 mi) from Rishikesh and approximately 450 kilometres (280 mi) from the capital Delhi. The best time to visit Chopta is from April to November. The pristine region receives snowfall during the winter months and remains open for tourists. The little hamlet of Chopta is surrounded by forests of pine, deodar and rhododendron and is home to different exotic species of birds; providing an excellent spot for bird watchers. It also boasts of many treks and trails taking one through the jungles, grasslands and rewarding one with incredible views. Chandrashilla, Tungnath and Devariyatal are the best known trekking routes in the region.
Chopta can be very well explored in a three day trip from New Delhi. The trek for Tungnath and Chandrashila is an easy to medium one for trekkers. As such weplanned a weekend trip to Chopta in the month of March. We were having quite busy days and hence couldn’t spend much time on planning, hence we approached WanderOn for arranging the entire trip. We left Delhi by late evening in the car and took pit stops enjoying tea and snacks along the way. We reached Rishikesh by 2 AM in the morning and took rest for some time. As the morning rays started playing hide and seek we resumed our journey towards Chopta with the sun kissed Ganga River as our company for a while. The twists and bends of the mountain road, the surreal landscapes, the clean and crisp air and playing antakshri all the way are experiences to be cherish.The small villages in the midst of rocky hills, the endless bright blue skies combined with the hilly breeze offers a perfect refuge for the city dwellers. We reached Chopta by afternoon as we took innumerable stops exploring the valley on the way, clicking pictures and relishing on hot plates of Maggi. A heavy shower sent down chills in us but as evening approached the campsite turned lively with the bon fire and fellow companions sharing anecdotes.
The morning sun promised us of a bright and sunny day and we all were spellbound by the beauty and sparkle of the place. We started early and were dropped at the starting point of the trek to Tungnath and Chandrashila. Tungnath is one of the highest Shiva temples in the world and is the highest of the five PanchKedar temples. The 5 km route to Tungnath can be trekked but one also ride on donkeys. The enthralling trek takes one through enchanting meadows, conifers and oak hamlets and awe inspiring views.Endless vistas of green meadows with snowy peaks in the background sets a perfect frame for a view to be etched in one’s memory.One can spend countless hours appreciating nature’s bounty and filling in the crisp air. The road is well paved with a handful of shops on the way where one can have chocolates, snacks, maggi etc. We took numerous stops on the way, trying to catch our breaths in some times or admiring the beauty in other times. As we inched higher we witnessed the remnants of snowfall in the winter. The last stretch of the trek to Tungnath challenges the naïve trekker to surpass one’s physical limitations. The first glimpse of the temple brings light and energy in the soul and body of a tired being. The temple remains open from April, nevertheless we offered our prayers to the Almighty and tried to comprehend the Heavenly feeling of the place.