November 18, 2019
The Summit day : Chandrashila
We both got up at 3.15 am as we were damn excited about the day. We quickly started picking out our best layers for the trek. It was pitch dark outside and so cold that one could not even put his feet on the b floor. We wanted to see the sunrise at 7.40am from chandrashila. We reached the starting point for Tunganath yatra at exact 4am but there was no one around. Debasish asked me to wait for 10-15 minutes, let an another group come and we will join them. Actually we were thinking about a discussion we had a day before in which someone was telling us that there are good chances of seeing a leopard on the trail. We took that seriously but it was nothing but a hoax.
Just after few minutes, a group reached there. They looked at us, we looked at them and we started moving together as they were also looking for a company. Trail starts. Only the bright gleamy stars were visible at that time, it was pitch dark. We started walking on the trail with mobile phone's flashlights in our hands. On the way to Tunganath, You will only pass through the trees for the first one hour or something. After that there will be only open sky with big rocks and slippery ice.
We were taking a halt after every 15-20 minutes as this trek has one of the quickest altitude gain. Chopta is at around 9000 feets and then you quickly reach up to 11,000 feets or more at Tunganath.
And just after that you will reach chandrashila peak which will only take 1.5 hrs from Tunganath temple. The altitude of the peak is 12000 feets. After trekking for about 3 hrs, we reached Tunganath temple. It was already 7.30am and I didn't want to miss the sunrise from the peak. With that determination in mind, I proceeded to chandrashila peak without paying visit to the Tunganath temple. However the temple was closed as it was November but seriously at that time only summit was coming in my mind. I realised it very soon that I am the only one going up to the peak. The other group has already reached the peak. One of them was visible from where I was. I started walking swiftly but carefully. At one point there was such a deceptive snow/ice that I could not see it. I slipped on it and fell down. It didn't cause any harm to me but I somehow saved my phone from felling down in the valley.
After that I became over cautious and hyper active. I just took 40 minutes from there to summit. Thanks to my past experience of kedarkantha, it helped me a lot in walking on snow. There was a small temple on the peak called ganga temple and I was looking at the waving flags of the temple as they were calling my name.
I thanked God on reaching the summit. It was such a beautiful view that you can see a mountain everywhere you turn your neck. The sun was shining so bright at 12000 feets that even my Polaroids were facing a hard time in reflecting the rays. I opened my bag and pulled out the juice can out of it. Even the juice was tasting like Amrit there. I met the other group, we had a discussion on treks and ecology, clicked a few selfies with my Monopod and then said bye to mighty chandrashila .
After that we stayed at Tunganath temple for about half an hour. The other groups had already left for chopta by the time we reached there as it started getting colder . Tunganath was such a marvel to see, huge rocks craftily sculpted to form a temple ! It was all laid in the blanket of snow. All the dhabas were shut as they operates from March to October only. After biding adieu to Lord Shiva, we started descending to Chopta. There was a huge temple bell at the entrance of the temple and it's sound was so loud that it was even audible in chopta.
We took around 2 hrs to reach chopta and we were overwhelmed to see the dhabas due to our craving for omelette and tea. During breakfast we had a word with the dhaba owner but he said there is no transport from here to ukhimath. We were stunned to hear that. As it was off season in chopta so private cabbies were on off too. Reaching chopta is not as difficult as leaving from there is. After few minutes a driver came to us and asked if we want to go to ukhimath or kund ( Kund is a tri- junction from where road diverges for madhyamaheswar, Kedarnath and ukhimath).
As per the driver, buses leave regularly from rudraprayag to rishikesh so reaching rudraprayag from Ukhimath is what he suggested to us. The frequency of transport was better at kund so we asked him for taking us to kund. He agreed at an fare of 600 per person. He got the only taxi in the area and we didn't want to stay in chopta for one more night. As it was the only option for us, we hired him and asked him to reach Moksha cafe.
Moksha cafe was little adamant on room charges, he charged us 1000 for one night. We immediately called shardul and he got us a discount of 200 rs. Our souls were satisfied.
Chopta is perfect if one is searching for a peaceful and undisturbed place. The distance of 36 km from chopta to kund passed in no time as the driver used to work in Delhi few years ago and he was talking continuously to me. He was taking sharp turns on ukhimath roads laughing and telling about his Delhi experiences. Debasish was sleeping on the back seat. He dropped us at kund, we tried to bargain but were unsuccessful.
Kund was nothing but a highway with a giant welcome gate, a few cops at a check post and a narrow water stream coming down from the hills.
We asked the cops about the bus and they replied that the morning bus is already left so better to take any transport which passes by kund for rudraprayag. It was 30 kms from kund and fortunately we got a shared Jeep in just 15 minutes from there. As usual, we got the back seats in the Jeep and the road was in even more dilipidated state than before. We reached rudraprayag bridge in 1.5 hr. We wanted to reach rishikesh as soon as possible because we wanted to stay there for the night and the public transport hardly operates after 4pm in uttarakhand. Our Jeep driver waved another driver who was coming from the other side of the bridge and asked us to get in that jeep. He said, " Isme baith jao yeh apko Srinagar chhod dega waha se aapko rishikesh ki bus mil jaaegi". Without giving it a second thought I came out of the jeep, jumped on top of the jeep to get our bags down and ran towards the other jeep. Everything was happening like a video game as we are on mission to reach somewhere. It was little annoying but we were enjoying it.
We reached Srinagar garhwal around 3pm. We were so hunched up that we decided to stay in Srinagar for the night. Also there was a direct bus to Delhi from Srinagar bus stand next morning. We took an above average lodge at just 500rs. Just 500 rs !!!
The room had a hot water geyser so finally we drenched ourselves after one day. Food was not good in Srinagar but the place where we had the breakfast next morning was quite good. Don't go for anything fancy, just order Aloo parantha when you are on mountains. They are seasoned in making the aloo paranthas. After satisfying our appetite, we finally took the bus around 8.30am from Srinagar bus stand.
It took almost 12 hrs for us to reach Delhi but it didn't bother much as we came sleeping all the way. Trek to Chopta - Tunganath is something which has a charm of it's own. It's a must do.
And it would be more adventurous if you do it without booking with any travel agency.
Do it yourself.
Happy travelling to all 🖐️
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