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10 must have Experiences in Chopta, Tungnath
In recent years popularity of Chopta and Tungnath has skyrocketed, and loads of people are visiting this pristine, beautiful panchkedar In Uttarakhand.
Did you know that Tungnath is where Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of Hands (Bahu in Hindi), as opposed to Ling elsewhere.
Being to Tungnath some number of times, today I want to list 10 experiences, which in my personal opinion are a must have when visiting Chopta and Tungnath.
- Stay at Tungnath
Instead of Staying at Chopta for the night, try something new and spend the night at Tungnath in some local shop. The facilities though basic, are very comfortable, neat and clean. Add to that you can explore the beautiful area early mornings and evenings or even for a full day, or you can just sit and take in the absolute silence, serenity and divinity of the place. Also you don’t have to trek all the way from Chopta to Tungnath, and beyond for a morning sunrise shoot.
Off the topic we will be exploring another home of Lord Shiva Rudranath this September, you can access the expedition here.
- See the Himalayan Monal
Himalayan Monal is the state bird of Uttarakhand and seeing it in all its colors is a sight to behold and revere. Monals are very shy and avoid human contact by any means. Tungnath however is an exception. The Monals here are used to seeing human beings on a daily basis and have, with time become quite comfortable to our presence. With a little patience and stealthy approach, you can get pretty close without spooking them away.
Personal Tip: Go alone. If in a group, walk separately and appear uninterested.
- See the sunrise from Chandrashila
If you have been to Tungnath, you probably must have heard of Chandrashila. You would have heard of the steep climb ahead to it, and you might probably have wondered if it’s worth visiting the place. Well only one advice, please DO VISIT. I would also very strongly advise to be there for sunrise. Chandrashila provides you around 180 degree view of the Himalayas and seeing the Himalayas lit by the early morning light is an experience which can only be felt, not described by words or Images.
Personal Tip: Reach at-least 30 mins before sunrise.
- Experience Moonlit nights at Chandrashila
Well you are going to Chandrashila to experience the Sunrise, aren’t you!!!! May I also insist you to reach Chandrashila atleast 2 hours before sunrise. The moonlit nights of Himalayas look stunningly beautiful. Snow clad Himalayan peaks seem to reflect moonlight in all directions, engulfing the landscape in a ethereal glow. Yes it will be very cold, but believe me it’s absolutely worth it.
Personal Tip: Oxygen is very less during nights and breathlessness creeps in very fast, rise early and trek slowly.
- Experience Tungnath in Rains
Rains is a very bad time to visit the Himalayas isn’t it? Well to start off its always raining, then there are landslides, the roads are sometimes blocked, sometimes broken, you may get stuck at a place for hours (sometimes even a day), all the reasons for not visiting the place. However, rains also mean haze free landscapes, lush greenery all along, very few people and room rates are down, also you can camp wherever you want. Above is the image of my highly dependable and reliable Quechua Tent . Rains also offer some of the most beautiful landscapes with lots of beautiful clouds.
Personal Tip: Avoid July to August mid though. (Go by all means if you are really the adventurous type?, albeit take some precautions)
- Experience Rhododendrons in Spring.
If for some reasons you cannot come in rains, you can always plan a trip in Spring time (April). The forest in and around Tungnath is mostly Rhododendron and April is the time when they are in full bloom. In-fact they bloom in such mind boggling numbers, the jungle appears washed in Red instead of the traditional colours of green.
- See the Royle’s Pika
How can someone not see this beautiful Pahadi Chuha or Tailless Mouse (As called locally here) of the high Himalayas. You can be sure that you will see him while trekking all the way from Chopta to Tungnath. Some locals consider sighting it very fortunate.
Personal Tip: Look for it on the stone walls all along the way. If you cannot see it there, go off route and look for it near slow flowing streams.
- Experience Sunset from Chandrashila
When seeing a sunrise from Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, sun mostly rises from behind the Himalayan Range of Trishul and Nandadevi, and the range from Chaukhamba to Draupadi ka Danda is side lit. However during sunset (in winters specially) the peaks are lighted directly from front and are bathed in the most beautiful hues of Yellows, oranges, pinks and purples (post sunset). Don’t forget to experience these spectacular views during sunset.
Personal Tip: Winters are best
- Experience Raavan Shila
Most people go to Chandrashila, but totally skip visiting Raavan Shila. Raavan Shila is a prominent peak just below, and to the right of Chandrashila (and it’s on the way). Raavan Shila is fabled to be the place where Raavan Meditated during Tretayug in Ramayana. Raavanshila provides very beautiful and completely different perspectives of the Himalayas compared to Tungnath and Chandrashila.
- Explore the Bugyals
When Visiting Chopta and Tungnath, instead of just wandering on the route, take a local and trek off the route. Locals know a lot of areas which are stunningly beautiful and hardly explored. Trek along the route which goes from Tungnath to Gopeshwar (Yes there is a trek route from here?). Climb the surrounding Bugyals and if you are lucky you can see a lot of Himalayan Tahrs grazing on the beautiful pastures.
Having listed my personal tips, I am pretty sure there must be a lot of things which i must have missed.
I am sure, some of you must have been to the place and explored things not listed here. I would love to hear your personal experiences in comments below ?.
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Hope this Helps!!!!