The first leg of our Journey was from Jaipur to Rishikesh by road. From Rishikesh, after staying at the Palm Valley resort for a night we headed towards Chopta Tunganath. Ohh and do not get confused as Tungnath is the temple that you need to reach from Chopta which is a small market. The trek of 4.5 KM to Tungnath starts from Chopta.
As everyone says, spontaneous travels are the most incredible trips. We started early morning from Rishikesh and headed towards Chopta. It is advisable to start early in the morning from Rishikesh as the traffic in the mountains is unpredictable.
We decided to trek this weekend after hearing about the wonders of the friends’ group enjoying the Tungnath-Chandrashila trip. So here there’s the story and all the details about my Tungnath trip.
Important: If you are going in the summer months i.e. April to July, please make sure that you make the advance booking for your stay. We literally had to return from Chopta as there was no accommodation available. We got a shady bad looking room for which we had to pay INR 3000 for a night.
If you are an adventurer like me I would prefer that you pitch your own camp and pitch at Chopta near any of the eateries/Dhaba’s.
Journey Begins to Tungnath
Tungnath, located in Rudraprayag, is one of the highest Shiva temples in the world. It attracts many tourists all year round due to its religious significance. It lies at an elevation of 3700 meters above sea level.
The base camp for this trek is Chopta. To go to Chopta, you can take a bus/shared taxi from Rishikesh to Rudraprayag. We had our own car so we started the journey on our own. Note*: Bus only takes you to Ukhimath and then you will have to take a shared taxi.
Looking at the picturesque vistas on the tiny roads made us excited.
As I mentioned before make sure to book in advance if you are visiting Tungnath in the peak season. We, fortunately, got one room that we had to share. We were 7 in total and had to spend a night in one room which was shady and not in good shape.
Trek to Tungnath from Chopta
The locals recommended starting the expedition the next day. This helped us avoid the overhead sun at the shrine during peak hours. Few rooms are available at the temple shelter.
Waking up with a lot of anticipation the next day, we started the walk to Tungnath. With a clear sky above us, we set off on our journey with a group of people of all ages.
The hike begins from Chopta. What started as a walk through a hamlet side quickly escalated into a railed and paved route to the shrine.
The entire pathway was surrounded by Conifers, with few waterbodies intensifying the beauty.
The hike appeared to be very beginner-friendly, as even children and the elderly could climb it easily. Coming from the plains, I genuinely mean it when I say the journey was simple. Also, having learned from my mistakes, I would advise you to bring a lighter bag while hiking.
This voyage also required water bottles, caps, arm coverings, and comfy shoes.
We decided to take a short break when we reached the halfway point. Although we had some food with us, some people were selling processed foods such as Lays and Kurkure along the way, but their prices were significantly more than the MRP.
Some of the kids had brought their pots and Maggi packages. They started a fire and cooked right away. As we sat there, enjoying the calm wind and relaxing, a group of devotees passed by, singing “Har Har Mahadev.” We resumed our hike, inspired by their enthusiasm.
The entire journey took almost 2.5 hours to accomplish. The incline is a bit tough if you are not in great shape.
Upon reaching the shrine, the exhilaration of completing the walk was much more gratifying than the mild ache my feet were suffering. The number of people at the shrine was significantly more significant than anticipated.
After hearing so much about its surreal beauty during snowfall from locals, I could think of how it would feel to witness this granite edifice covered in snow.
There were many small shelters and secondary shrines around the temple. As a part of a rite, people erected stone cottages near the temple.
It was accomplished by placing an odd number of stones on top of one another. According to the local priest, one can quickly obtain what he desires after properly completing this task. The contrary leads to an indicator of failure or difficulty in achieving a wish.
There were plenty of excellent sites to pitch a tent for camping. A forest rest house at Dugalibitta, close opposite the Kedarnath range of hills, also stood at the temple’s summit.
We reserved rooms after reaching the shrine, and the number was somewhat limited. The Garhwal University also has a high-altitude botanical station here.
Because the temple is built at such a high elevation, there were few sanitary facilities.
We decided to head back to Rishikesh after the trek and aimed to reach Rishikesh before nightfall. and tour some neighboring sights the next day before leaving.
Locals recommended that we visit Atri muni waterfall or Wildlife sanctuary for bird- and animal watching. Because the Atri Muni waterfalls require another climb, we chose to head back to Rishikesh leaving this for another time.
A separate area of the Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary is dedicated to preserving musk deer. Considerable diversity of bird species, the names of most were alien to me, made the site even more lovely.
We decided to pack it in and return to our regular lives after a day full of memories and fresh air. Our short trip did not allow us to explore Teheri Dam, Deoria Tal Lake, local villages, waterfalls, and many more sites. When visiting Tungnath, stay at least 4-5 days to explore its hidden gems, routes, and waterfalls.
Once a year, go to a place you haven’t been before because travel is the best investment you can make in yourself.