About 480 kms from Delhi is Chopta in the Rudraprayag district, Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Travelling from Delhi by road will take around 12-14 hours on an average with ample stoppage / relaxation time. Team Escape Route brings you the top reasons to plan a getaway to this region.
Trek to Deoria Tal: With Saari village as the first night stop from Delhi (23kms before Chopta), one can spend the night at the village and trek to Deoria Tal the next day to spend the next night on top of a mountain, next to a tal. The trek is easy and the view of the snow clad mountains in and around Rudraprayag are worth that effort and more.
You are at the footsteps of some high and renowned peaks of the great Himalayas such as the Chaukhamba peak at Deoria Tal. In this perfectly chilly setting (temperature dips to 5-8 degrees in October and only gets lower in the months to come), you can gaze endlessly at the stars while you spend the night in makeshift tents. There is a trek route that takes you from Deoria Tal to Chandrashila peak.
Trek, Snow peaks, tal, scenic landscapes, other trekkers, all in one location at Deoria Tal in Rudraprayag will ensure that you leave your city life behind and spend your time here in wilderness. Points to note at Deoria Tal: No signal, no bathroom (defecate in open jungle), water atop the hill is a scarce resource so use wisely, nights are chilly, explore the area in the day and snuggle inside your tents at night as it gets really cold.
There are good camps en route Chopta namely Alpine Camp, Magpie eco-friendly camp, Pristine Peaks Eco Camp (see Escape-to Destinations) offering a comfortable stay and a great experience with scenic views.
The trek from Chopta to Tungnath is 3.4 kilometres uphill stretch paved with a proper pathway. Tungnath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) is at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft).The trek is easy and fun and the peak views around you will ensure you pull yourself up as soon as possible. Take the paved route or make your own, it is fun throughout.
Tungnath temple, in Rudraprayag, is the highest Shiva temple in the world. As the mythology goes, Lord Shiva took shape of a giant bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptakashi, avoiding Pandavas who were seeking his pardon and blessings. Each of the “Panch Kedar” stands for one of the body parts of Lord Shiva and Tungnath signifies his heart and arms. The temple stands tall and prayers are offered everyday till the 7th of November before it snows heavily and the temple gets covered with snow. After this date the idols in the temple are shifted to another place called Makkumath (near Duggalbhitta, before Chopta) which is lower in altitude.
Another kilometre upwards of Tungnath is “Chandrashila Peak” where Lord Rama meditated. It is also said that Ravana did penance to Shiva, the lord of the peaks, when he resided here. This peak is beautiful and the entire Gharwal range of Himalayas is visible from the tip. Although it gets really cold in the evenings, but braving the chill is just a petite price to watch an incredible sunset!
Points to Remember:
- One should have a minimum of 3 nights in hand to plan this trip.
- Preferred itinerary: first night at Saari village, second night at Deoria Tal, third night at Tungnath after conquering Chandrashila peak, drive back to Delhi the preceding morning.
- Alternatively, one can stay at any of the nature camps listed in Escape-to Destinations near Duggalbhitta, just before Chopta.
- Locals are friendly and helpful and not hardcore salespeople, a relief!
- Evenings get unusually cold before it snows too. Snow will start near November and stay on till March.
- Fuel yourself at Chopta dhabas before and after the trek. Once atop, you have limited food options and maggi doesn’t do the complete drill always.
- Keep the environment clean and stay eco-friendly else this place would not stay as beautiful and natural in the years to come.
- Authorities do not allow private vehicles to transit between Devprayag to Srinagar stretch from 12 midnight till 0400 hours in the morning.
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