Romancing The Mountains: Chandrashila Trek

The Chandrashila trek is one of the best Himalayan treks for beginners. The base of the trek Chopta is about 450 km from Delhi on the Badrinath highway making it easily accessible. The entire region is rich in natural splendour with meadows, evergreen forests, and views of Himalayan peaks. The rich natural beauty along with the easy trek route makes it one of the most preferred treks and suitable for people of all ages.

In 2013, I had visited the Chandrashila peak for the first time. Since then I have been to the peak on four separate occasions. This was my fifth journey to the beautiful peak perched at an altitude of 4000 metres. A paradise for nature lovers with the very little crowd and exhilarating views, this was a place that makes me feel like a second home.

When I was on a trip to Uttarakhand to explore some of the lesser known destinations, I decided to go for the Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila trek again. What made this decision more luring was the fact that I was carrying a Panasonic Lumix G85 – a great device to capture time lapses and landscapes. I was hoping to get some great shots during the trek.

We started our trek from Chopta, a small hamlet located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand about 450 km from Delhi. At an altitude of 2680 m, Chopta is itself a very beautiful off-beat destination in Uttarakhand and serves as the base for the Tungnath and the Chandrashila treks.

 

Chopta
Shot On Panasonic Lumix G-85

We also managed to shoot a time-lapse of Chopta with our Lumix we were quite delighted with. It took us a number of shots and 15-20 minutes to finally create this time lapse.

Time Lapse Of Chopta
Shot On Panasonic G-85

We started our trek at about 10 am in the morning. The trek route is paved with stones and well marked. Hence, this is not a trek where you need a guide to accompany you. There are a number of dhabas, run by the locals along the trek route. Hence, it is advisable to not carry too much food and water with you.

The trek takes you through stunning landscapes with exhilarating views. After a kilometre of the trek, you reach the Bugyals – meadows in the local language. These Bugyals with the backdrop of tall evergreen trees and peaks is a treat to the eyes. As you gain altitude, the views become more and more beautiful. Though the cloud cover had restricted the views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks yet the views were amazing. We stopped at a few places to click photos of the beautiful landscape. However, it started raining and we had to pack our cameras in our bags. The best thing about a mirrorless and compact camera like the Panasonic Lumix G85 is that is its light weight and small size that easily fits in your trekking bags.

Chopta Tungnath Trek Route
Shot On Panasonic Lumix G-85

We decided to halt our trek at Tungnath – the world’s highest Shiva temple at an altitude of 3680m. This temple is reachable after a 4 km trek from Chopta. It took us around 2.5 hours to reach Chopta including our breaks to have tea and click photographs. Basic accommodation facilities are available near this Temple. There are a number of small dhabas at Tungnath which serve simple yet delicious food.

At this point, it started raining heavily and we decided to stay overnight at Tungnath and go to Chandrashila the next morning. We visited the Tungnath temple, and the aarti performed here with the sounds of bells and drums echoing from the nearby mountains makes it really magical.

Tungnath – The World’s Highest Shiva temple
Shot On Panasonic Lumix G-85

The next morning we resumed the trek after the rains stopped. The route to Chandrashila from Tungnath was much more beautiful than the route we had covered. It appeared like we were walking between the clouds.

Tungnath Chandrashila Trek Route
Shot On Panasonic Lumix G-85

It took us around 1 hour to finally reach the Chandrashila peak perched at 4000m. The beautiful views I had witnessed during my previous visits here had disappeared with the white clouds. Nevertheless, the time you spend at such an altitude is always special.

The Ganga Maa temple at Chandrashila Peak
Shot On Panasonic Lumix G-85

We also captured a time lapse of the temple at Chandrasila with our Lumix.

Time Lapse Of The Ganga Maa Temple at Chandrashila Peak
Shot On Panasonic Lumix G-85

We spend about an hour here before we were threatened by rains again and we left for Tungnath. It took us around 40 mins to descend down to Tungnath and another 1.5 hours to reach Chopta that completed our trek.

 

Here’s a quick summary of this trek.

Trek Base: Chopta (250 km from Rishikesh and 450 km from Delhi)
Altitude: 2680 m

Total Trek Distance: 6 km
Final trek point: Chandrashila peak
Altitude: 4000 m

Where to stay/camp? 

Tungnath Temple
Altitude: 3680 m
Trek Distance to Tungnath from Chopta: 4 km
Trek Distance from Tungnath to Chandrashila peak: 6 km

Uttarakhand is a treasure trove for all sorts of explorers, it has something or the other to offer to everyone. If Kashmir is the crown jewel of India’s landscape then Uttarakhand is the grand necklace embedded with countless precious gems. Chandrashila-Tungnath trek is just one of the many gems in the Unseen Uttarakhand, but it’s a destination that deserves your absolute attention and time. Go ahead and plan your next weekend getaway to this amazing destination.

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