Located at an altitude of about 2,608 meters in Uttarakhand, Chopta Chandrashila Trek is a small region inside the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. A base camp for trekking to the Tungnath temple, Chopta is famous for its mesmerizing views of open meadows and evergreen forests of pine and oak along with the magnificent Garhwal Himalayan mountains along the skyline. At a distance of about 75kms from Chopta and above the Tungnath temple lies the Chandrashila summit at an altitude of about 3,690 meters. Literally meaning the ‘Moon Rock’, the Chandrashila summit is best known for its spectacular views of some of the most famous mountain peaks in the Garhwal Himalayas. The trek from Chopta to Chandrashila is one of the most famous treks in the state and is visited by trekkers and mountaineers in large numbers every year. This article gives a brief overview of the Chopta Chandrashila trek.
Duration: 5-6 days.
Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate Chopta Chandrashila Trek
Popularly known as ‘Mini Switzerland’ of Uttarakhand, Chopta is best known for its scenic beauty of alpine meadows, valleys, and forests of pine, oak, and deodar. Lying at a distance of about 162 km from Rishikesh, the region has emerged as a popular tourist destination in the past years due to recent developments in connectivity and accessibility. The place acts as a base camp for trekking to the famous Tungnath temple, the third temple of Panch Kedar. Lying above the Tungnath temple is the Chandrashila summit, known for its significance in Hindu mythology. The Chandrashila summit is best known for its breathtaking views of some famous Garhwal mountains, which include Mount Nanda Devi, Mount Trishul, the Kedarnath peak, the Bandarpunch, and Chaukhamba peaks to name a few. One of the most sought-after treks in the state, the Chopta Chandrashila trek will take one through numerous lush green valleys and open meadows, thick forests of pine and oak, and streams and waterfalls along with the snow-laden Garhwal Himalayan mountains in the backdrop. What makes this trek even more special is that one can get glimpses of all the major summits of western and eastern Uttarakhand. The region is also known for its rich natural biodiversity and is a sheer delight for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Apart from all this, one also gets to closely experience the rich cultural diversity and tradition of the remote Garhwal villages on the lap of the mountains. One can also trek to Deoriatal, an alpine freshwater lake at an altitude of 2,438 meters.
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An easy to moderate trek in terms of difficulty, the Chopta Chandrashila trek is an ideal trek for both beginner and expert trekkers owing to its relatively gradual elevation. Though the trail consists of some tricky and difficult ascents, it can still be traversed easily with a little help from professional guides. The initial part of the trek is comparatively easier and well defined, while trekking from the Tungnath temple to the Chandrashila peak can be a little difficult at times.
Another special feature of the Chopta Chandrashila trek is that it can be visited during both summers and winters. Different seasons have their own impact on the mountains and terrains. While one can witness the beautiful lush green valleys and forests along with the magnificent snow-capped mountains amongst the cool breeze in the summers, the winters offer ravishing views of the mountains and forests covered in snow. It is one of the few Himalayan treks which remain accessible during the winters, and this makes the Chopta Chandrashila trek an even more desirable trek especially in the winters. The monsoons make the trek difficult owing to the slippery roads and frequent landslides, and it is generally advised not to visit this trek during this time of the year.
One of the most popular treks in the state of Uttarakhand, the Chopta Chandrashila trek has its admirers and visitors from all over the world. The serenity and scenic beauty of the mountains is what inspires trekkers and mountaineers to overlook the challenges and set out to explore the mountains, and what nature offers in return is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences. But, with the rapid growth in tourism there comes the inevitable stress and damage to the natural ecological balance of the mountains. So, it is high time that we collectively work towards preserving the natural biodiversity and ecosystem of one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in the subcontinent while we continue relishing the breathtaking scenic beauty and tranquillity of the mountains