Chopta trek : mini Switzerland in India
Chopta (at a height of around 2,608 m), a piece of heaven nestled away in the Garhwal Himalayas, is referred to as the “mini Switzerland” of Uttarakhand. Chopta Trek is a popular vacation spot all year round, offering nice weather in the summer, refreshing rain in the monsoon, and a snow-covered fairyland in the winter. It is surrounded by bugyals, or velvety meadows, and immaculate snow-capped hills. The five most important Shiva temples in the state, the Panch Kedar, are centered at Chopta. Rudranath, Kalpeshwar, and Kedarnath shrines are to its right, while the Tungnath temple is directly above it. Kedarnath and Madmaheshwar shrines are to its left. A birdwatcher’s delight, Chopta is home to approximately 240 kinds of birds, including migratory and native species like the Himalayan monal, Himalayan swiftlet, Himalayan griffon, scarlet finch, hill partridge, and others. The greatest locations to observe our feathered companions are close by locations like Dugalbitta, Mandal Village, Makkumath, and the Tungnath Trek Route. National and international organizations dedicated to biodiversity and conservation have designated Chopta as a key location for birdwatching.
Places to visit :
Tunganath- the highest temple of shiva
In the Rudraprayag area of Uttarakhand, this ancient temple may be found on Chandranath Parbat. The tallest of the five Panch Kedar temples, Tunganath, is situated at a height of 3680 meters. The distance from Chopta is only 4 km, but owing to the heavy snowfall in the winter, this may be a challenging hike. The temple is linked to several myths, particularly those involving Shiva and the Mahabharata, a Hindu deity. The winter season sees the Tungnath temple shuttered for almost six months of the year. Be aware that taking photos within the temple is prohibited.
Chandrashila- the moon rock
The climb from Chopta to Chandrashila Peak, or “Moon Rock,” is one of the simpler ones in the Himalayas. It is about one kilometer away from the Tungnath Temple and offers stunning views of Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Trishul, and Nanda Devi peaks. Its shrine to the Hindu god Lakshman is located at the peak, at a height of 4,000 meters. Remember that there is nowhere to camp or remain at the summit, so it is better to set out on your hike early in order to finish in time.
Ukhimath- the winter home of shiva
The Shiva temple in this little village close to Chopta is its main draw. The Shiva and Madhyamaheshwar statues from the Kedarnath temple are transported here during the winter for six months of adoration. Consequently, it is a revered Hindu pilgrimage location. There are other additional historic temples in Ukhimath that are devoted to various Hindu deities, including Usha, Aniruddha, and Parvati.
The tranquil Deoria Tal is situated approximately 2 kilometers from the villages of Mastura and Sari on the Ukhimath-Chopta route. At a height of 2,438 meters, the lake reflects the snow-covered mountains and is bordered by thick forests. Due to its proximity to the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary, it draws a lot of tourists. There are a few nearby stores and tea vendors, but they close around dusk. Campfires are not permitted here either.
The trip would take 7-8 hours from Haridwar to Sari village. You will go with the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, and you will be at Sari by 6:00 p.m. On the first day, the Chopta trip is simple and includes both elevation and descent. The Chandrashila top is readily seen from the end, where a speck of colour represents the Tungnath temple, and a perfectly defined stony road will lead you there. The mountain’s ridgeback bends sharply upward after this point. Get ready for an exhilarating ascent that will serve as your introduction to difficulty before you arrive at a Forest Department-built rest station. You can take a 20-minute break here if your Trek Leader clocks you in on time. Here, a beautiful view of the mountain fall’s path is waiting.
The Chaukhamba massifs are revealed as a magnificent backdrop to the lake. By the time you get there, it will be dusk. Upon arrival at the lakeside camp in Deoria Tal, a hot meal will be provided.
The track you take today will let you get more familiar with the Chaukhamba massif and the peak of Mount Kedar. The red and yellow flags that have been attached to the little shrines along the route make them stand out in the surrounding greenery. We are immediately led up an uphill road towards Rohini Bugyal and Chopta after passing through a clearing in the forest that is lined with scarlet blooms. Level ground and some wiggle room in the strenuous uphill walk replace the ascending track. On the other side of the forest boundary is a magnificent vista of the Chandrashila. You will have to re-enter the forest after the level area, where you will see that old oak and maple trees are now located next to rhododendrons. Reach Chopta and have a nice meal by the bonfire while you camp out beneath the stars in Kedarnath Sanctuary, where hikers may see red fox and other animals.
Today in the early morning, we start the walk. We may enjoy a stunning dawn from Tungnath summit if we start in the early hours of the morning.
From Chopta to the temple, the trip follows a clearly marked, concrete-bound path. The hike today will be challenging, with steep ascents and quick twists. Other shrines, including one with a flagpole in particular, will be on the way. This one follows the road’s tenth curve and heralds the beginning of a magnificent view of Chandrashila in the distance.