Chopta is the least explored region with its beautiful forest cover is sitting in the peaceful and ever charming lap of the Himalayas. It forms a part of the famous Kedarnath wildlife sanctuary in the Uttrakhand state of India. Having a fantastic location with awesome views of beautiful Himalayan peaks like Trishul and Nanda Devi, Chopta is an unspoiled and picturesque landscape. Chopta is a small yet beautiful hamlet, located in the Uttrakhand state of India at an altitude of 3475 meters. It is located at a distance of 165 Km from the Yoga capital of India- Rishikesh. Chopta is a tiny hamlet located on the national highway connecting Delhi-Haridwar-Ukimath. It is situated at a distance of 201 Km from the capital city of Dehradun.
Why Chopta is Famous
Still very less disturbed from the commercialization, this beautiful location of Chopta is famous for its natural beauty surrounded by evergreen forest cover. Chopta is also famous as the mini Switzerland of Uttrakhand, because of its amazing meadows and valleys. This location also acts as a base for the famous trek to Tunganath and Chandrashila summit. You can experience this small yet astonishing beauty with soothing birds chirping around and a cool breeze passing across you.
Best time to visit Chopta
Chopta is although visited throughout the year, in the winter season, it receives heavy snowfall. It is famous for the famous Tunganath trek which becomes quite difficult because of snow in the winter season. So the best time to visit chopta is in April to November, but you can visit in winter if want to go for a snow experience. But finding accommodation during winter and road closure due to heavy snow can be a hurdle for tourists visiting here in the winter season.
How to reach Chopta
Chopta is located on the national highway connecting Delhi to Rudraprayag and Ukimath. It can be accessed easily throughout the year, except for some unscheduled days where heavy snow obstructs the road to chopta from Rudraprayag. But you can reach here easily by taking mode of transport as per your convenience.
By Road to Chopta
Chopta is located at a distance of 200 km from the capital city of Dehradun and 165 km from the Yoga capital- Rishikesh. The condition of the road leading to Ukimath is quite good and you can drive to your destination easily. It is recommended to drive only if you have enough experience of mountain driving, as this road has numerous sharp bends enroute with deep valley and riverside by. You can drive by yourself or can go for hiring a taxi to reach here. Another well-adopted way by maximum tourists is to use public transport and conditioned buses ply on regular intervals from major cities. Another popular hill station is located on the same route that is the skiing destination of India – Auli.
By Flight to Chopta
There is no flight connectivity to Chopta and the nearest airport to chopta is Jolly grant airport in Dehradun which is at a distance of 200 Km from here. Dehradun airport is well connected with the major cities of the nation with flights at regular intervals. From the airport, you have to catch Bus or taxi to your destination which is available easily at the airport gate. It will take you another 7 to 8 hours from the airport to reach here at your destination.
By Train to Chopta
The nearest railway station to chopta is Rishikesh at a distance of 165 Km, which has not so much connectivity with the rest part of India. Alternatively, you can take the train up to Dehradun or Haridwar city and both these cities have frequent trains from the main cities like Delhi. From here, you have to take the road till your destination arrives and you can easily get transport from both the cities at regular intervals including private arrangements.
Things to do at Chopta
Chopta is a tiny hamlet that has very minimal things in it but the beauty it contains is awesome. But it has many locations worth visiting in its close proximity which will surely make your trip memorable. Sitting in the calm and natural lap of Himalaya with a cool breeze touching your face and smoothening sound of chirping birds will enhance your experience here at Chopta.
Trekking in Chopta
If you are an adventure and trekking lover, this destination is perfect for you. Chopta acts as s base camp for the famous trek to Tunganath and Chnadrashila, and both these treks are easy to moderate with beautiful surroundings enroute. As the trek passes through a protected area, so you can expect the beauty of the forest in its raw form and it is well preserved. There are some other treks like a trek to Deorital and Bisurital which can be explored with a fabulous experience. Some treks are of 4-5 days duration with moderate difficulty level and recommended that should be undertaken under guidance only.
Tungnath Temple Trek
Chopta acts as a base camp for this beautiful and famous trek to Tungnath, which is considered the highest temple of Lord Shiva among the Panch Kedar Temples built by Pandavas. Tungnath temple is also considered as purest among those five temples and it is located at an altitude of 3681 meters above sea level. It is located at a distance of 3.5 Km from Chopta and can be easily accessible through a simple trek of 4 Km which lasts for 2 hours. This trek generally receives heavy snowfall during the winter season, hence becomes quite difficult for beginners to trek here.
Tungnath temple is the highest temple with marvellous architecture showcasing the best of the art form in it. Temple is believed to be more than 1000 years old and it has idols of Parvati and other Gods among chief deity Shiva here. This temple was discovered by Adi Shankaracharya and it remains closed in the winter season (generally from November to April) due to heavy snowfall in the area around it. Hence, the symbolic Lord shiva statue is taken to Makku Math which is 29 Km from Chopta near Ukimath. There are limited options to stay in the Ashram maintained by the temple at Tungnath peak and it has no prior booking facility. So devotees and travellers must keep this thing in mind that you have to descent to chopta for accommodation if no space at Ashram.
Chandrashila means Moon Rock in Hindi and this peak is situated at 1.5 Km from the famous Tungnath temple. This peak is actually a summit of the Mountains and Tungnath temple is also located at Chandrashila parvat only. Situated at an altitude of 4000 meters, it requires another one hour of a trek to reach the summit from the Tungnath temple. This summit has a mesmerizing location with a complete 360-degree view of Himalayan peaks for you. Due to heavy snow, trek to this summit becomes quite difficult but can be undertaken under guidance. No camping arrangements are allowed at the summit, hence you have to descent to Tungnath temple ashram or to Chopta for accommodation purposes.
Mythogy behind Panch Kedar
Panch Kedar represents a group of a total of five temples that were built by Pandavas post-Mahabharata war. In the war of Mahabharata, Pandavas executed war action against their close relatives only and so they were looked at as killers of their own blood relatives. So to get pardoned, they were advised by Sage Vyasa to please Lord shiva. Hence, Pandavas started their search for Lord Shiva, while Lord Shiva was avoiding them because of this act of war. As per mythology, Lord Shiva took the form of a bull and went underground at Guptakashi, but was chased by the Pandavas in due course of time. After some time, different parts of the bull resurfaced at five different locations which were turned into temples by Pandavas known as Panch Kedar.
Tungnath temple is the purest among those Panch Kedar where the Arms part of the bull was resurfaced. Kedarnath temple was built at a place where the hip part of the bull body emerged. Rudranath temple was built at a place where the Head of the Bull rematerialized. Madhyamaheshwar temple, where Naval and Stomach part rematerialized While Kalpeshwar where Hair or Jata par has emerged.
Sari Village is another tiny but scenic hamlet located 12 Km from Chopta and it comes enroute while going to Chopta from Ukimath. Orchards of apple and peach spread over the amazing meadows of the village valley, makes it more beautiful. This village also serves as a base for another short yet fantastic trek route up to Deoriatal which is 2 Km from here. This village is naturally guarded by the thick oak trees making this hamlet an amazing landscape. This destination can be on your bucket list if you are fond of different cultures and offbeat travelling. You can enjoy camping and trekking here with nature at its best raw form in front of you. If the road to Chopta is closed due to heavy snow, you can find accommodation here at Sari, as the village has a good number of Lodge and Homestays for you to offer services.
As the name suggests, it is a lake that is believed to be a holy lake as per tradition. It is located at an altitude of 2438 meters. It can be reached upon by a simple and beautiful weekend trek of 2 Km starting from the Sari Village. It can be a great experience for you with camping at the lake with your family, hence an overnight stay is highly recommended at the lake. This lake having crystal clear water throws utmost sharp reflection of peaks in its water in the morning time. The trekking route will take you through the lush green jungle making your journey relaxing and calm. It is advised not to move here alone especially in the evening and nighttime, as the region is still unexplored. Littering or throwing garbage at the peak is a punishable offence and also it is our moral duty to keep the location clean. You can enjoy camping for accommodation purposes or else can look for the forest rest house.
Kalimath is another religious place famous for its temple devoted to Goddess Kali. It is located 20 Km from Ukimath and you have to leave the way to chopta and take a left turn from Ukimath to reach here. It is believed that Goddess Kali became underground after killing the demon Rakhtbeej here at the spot where the temple is located in the present time. The place where it is believed that Goddess Kali went underground remains covered by a silver plate. This plate is removed by the chief priest once a year at midnight only to perform a pooja.
Another popular and beautiful trekking starts from chopta is up to Bisurital. This lake is situated at a height of 4000 meters and you have to trek for 15 Km to reach this lake. A total of 30 km up and down trek will offer you nature in its raw form with lush green and unspoiled beauty. Trek to Bisurital is moderate to difficult and beginners must avoid it or undertake it under proper guidance. Trekking to Bisurital will take you through amazing meadows, water streams, waterfalls, and landscapes that will remain in your memory forever.
This lake is in Mandakini valley and remains operating from the month of March to December. The water of the lake is believed to have medicinal properties. Trek route starts from Chopta to Chitragufa and Bisurital through River Akash Gamini to Chopta in return. This trekking can be attempted from the Sari village as well and you can experience the beauty of Deorital and Rohini Bugyal if taking this route.
Located at an elevation of 1317 meters above sea level, Ukimath is sometimes pronounced as Okhimath as well. Ukimath is a famous religious site for Hindu pilgrimage as it is home to the winter seats of Lord Kedarnath and Madhymaheshwar. The winter seat is located in the Omkareshwar temple at Ukimath, and you can visit Lord Kedarnath in winter here. You can witness, fabulous Utsav Doli here in the winter season when Both the statues are brought here at Ukimath. It also has many other ancient temples because of its ancient history and religious values for the pilgrims.
Hotels in Chopta
There are limited options available for you to reside while planning a trip to Chopta because of its location and its weather conditions. Alternatively, you can find accommodation in Ukimath and Sari village, but don’t expect deluxe facilities there. There are no camping arrangements allowed at the Chandrashila summit, and you have to descent to Tungnath temple for the same. But accommodation is limited at Tungnath as well, which is provided by the Ashram of temple trust with no prior booking. Hence you have to move back to Chopta or nearby locations for good accommodation. You can enjoy guesthouses, Homestay or camping which is offered by the locals at a reasonable price. You can explore these options to reside and you can book cheap hotels online or offline while payments can be done through all available methods of Plastic money like Credit cards and others.
Services available near Chopta
1. Mobile network —— Yes, of most of the operators
2. Bank/ATM ————— Yes
3. Hospital —————— Only small Medical assistance will be found
4. Pharmacy/Medicals —— Yes
5. Restaurants ———— Yes
6. Bars —————————Yes Liquor shop is also available
7. Automobile/Vehicle Repair —— Yes
8. Courier facility —— Yes
9. Massage & Spa plus Saloons. —— No
10. Police Station —— Yes
11. Parking space —– No
12 Fuel Station —– Yes throughout the route at intervals
Plan your itinerary to chopta as follows–
Nearby Locations to Chopta
* Joshimath – winter seat of Lord Badrinath — 140 Km
* Rishikesh – a Home of Yoga — 172 Km
* Mussoorie – the queen of Hills — 120 Km
* Auli – the Skiing destination of India — 150 Km
Small but Effective Tips
⇒ Please be adhere to simple but effective travel safety tips.
⇒ While planning trekking, you must go through 6 basic trekking tips.
⇒ Food and other required stuff are priced heavily at the isolated locations, hence it is recommended to carry sufficient stock.
⇒ Carry sufficient water and chocolates along in the trek to keep yourself energetic. Please keep filling your reusable water bottles from the waterfalls and streams you are going to cross during the trek. It will save your pocket and also it will save the environment in another way.
⇒ Don’t litter the place around you while at the peak or during the trekking, it is our moral duty to respect mother nature.
⇒ You must have enough cash available with you as there may be a non-availability of an ATM. Hence you should carry enough cash along with you prior.
⇒ No mobile network is available at the peak
⇒ You must carry a small travel medical kit with you on every trip to make you safe from small infections and allergies.
⇒ Try to have minimal weight in your backpack because a heavy load at the back can cause discomfort while trekking. You can go through a helpful guide to backpack for travel.
⇒Don’t throw Plastic and spoil the beauty of Hill station ( and U know Distilled water, Cold Drink Bottles are the main culprit)
⇒Please left this beauty for our next generation to enjoy as well
⇒Try to taste local foods wherever you go
⇒Be polite with serving staff
⇒If time and will permit, please help locals collect garbage thrown over there by visitors like us so that we can think to plan the same destination again.
⇒Hotels can be checked online but if possible please visit Hotel personally and then only proceed for payment (especially in the Offseason). If possible book your hotel using Plastic money like Credit Card or Debit Card.
⇒Check your Hotel room for any suspicious things like a Camera and all as frauds are on the peak so Don’t compromise with your personal safety.
⇒To take your Camera + addition batteries + memory cards to allow you to capture memorable moments forever without any glitches.
⇒Wherever need please, Hire local Guides.
⇒Try to enjoy the time there and don’t just keep clicking images unnecessarily.