Chopta is a serene place of picture-perfect scenery. It is located in the Rudrapayag district in Uttarakhand at an altitude of 2600m. This trek is best taken up around March to May, and is an ideal trek to beat the summer heat, especially for people living in the plains. This trek is easy and is suited to beginners as well as seasoned trekkers alike.
Day-1 : Travel from Rishikesh to Ukhimath
A 6-hour drive from Rishikesh takes you to Ukhimath. It is an important pilgrimage site. During the winters, it hosts idols brought from Kedarnath and Madhyameshwar, which are then worshiped here for six months. The place is very calm and peaceful, and one can find accommodation here in the form of lodges and guest houses.
Day-2 : Sari village and Deoria Tal
A sort drive later, you will reach Sari village. Once again, a quiet, peaceful village with beautiful hill flora, including apple and peach trees, orchids of all kinds and bushy rhododendron patches. A short 3km trek uphill leads to Deoria tal. Set amidst lush greenery and snow capped Himalayas in the background, this lake are called ‘Indra Sarovar’ and is an important religious site. It is perhaps best known for the scenic beauty, and the reflection of the Himalayan Mountains, notably the Chaukhamba peak, in the calm, still waters of the lake. You may choose to camp overnight near the lake itself.
Day-3 : Deoria Tal to Banagher
From Deoria Tal, a 4 hour walk along the dense rhododendron forests, rich with wild orchids and other hilly flora, will lead you to Banagher, a small clearing amidst the forest. A large part of these forests is actually protected area of the Kedarnath Musk deer sanctuary, so it is advised to keep your eyes peeled for the endangered musk deer of Uttarakhand. A paradise for nature lovers, this walk will allow everyone to connect with nature. At the end, one can set up camp near Banagher clearing.
Day-4 : Banagher to Higher Chopta meadows
Walking away from Banagher and approaching the Higher Chopta meadows, one can see vast, lush green meadows, overlooking the majestic, snow-capped Himalayan ranges. This also passes through Tikar Khal. Due to the vast green meadows, and scenic beauty, Chopta is known as the mini-Switzerland of India. Situated amongst thick forests of Pine, Deodar and Rhododendron, this is an excellent place for plant lovers. At this point, it is advised to rest up for the next leg of the journey. Camp can be set up in tents.
Day-5 : Chopta to Tungnath
The elevation rises steadily to 3680m as you reach Tungnath temple. This temple is one of the highest Shiv temples in the world, and is the highest of the five ‘Panch Kedar’ temples. It is believed to be more than a thousand years old, and is linked to Pandavas and the legend of Mahabharata. The temple itself, although is small, and is surrounded by around a dozen smaller shrines devoted to different gods and goddesses. It is only 4Km away from Chopta and is thus the most easily accessible of the five ‘Panch Kedar’ temples. The area is known to have had sightings of golden-breasted eagles, and may be of interest to bird watchers. Moving even further, the summit of Tungnath - Chandrashila comes into view. It offers a majestic, breath-taking 360degree panoramic view of the Himalayas. The trek to the summit involves steep climbing and is consequently a little tougher, but the view from the top is worth it.
Day-6 : Return to Chopta
Return trek to Chopta follows the same trail, and from there, one can get taxis and buses.
The trek is accessible throughout the year, but during the winters, due to heavy snowfall, the road to Chopta is closed. Tin this case, an alternate route can be taken (Deoria Tal - Duggalbitta - Tungnath - Chandrashila)
No matter what route you take, this trek will surely make for some amazing photographs and life-long memories.