Tungnath Temple and Chandrashilla Peak, Uttarakhand
Tungnath temple, at an altitude of 3680 Mtrs, is considered to be the highest temple of Lord Shiva and is one of the Panch (Five) Kedars. Madhmaheshwar, Tungnath, Rudranath and Kalpnath with Kedarnath form the Panch Kedar and considered as the five most important temples of Lord Shiva in Garhwal Himalayas.
Chandrashilla, at an altitude of 4000 Mtrs, is highest point of the mountain on which Chopta and Tungnath are situated. Chandrashilla offers 270 degree views of the Himalayan range and is located 1.5 KMs further upwards from Tungnath Temple which makes it a 5 KMs trek from Chopta.
Chopta is situated at an altitude of 2600 Mtrs in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand and is well known as a base point for a trek to Tungnath Temple and further to Chandrashilla peak. But, Chopta itself offers a beautiful snow meadow in winters locally called as Chopta Bhugyal (bhugyal meaning meadow). The place is extremely rich in Flora and Fauna and you can find lots of species of birds around Chopta and Tungnath region.
Tungnath Temple is located at a trekking distance of 3.5 KMs from Chopta and comes under Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Chandrashilla peak is further 1.5 KM ahead of the temple.
Altitude of Tungnath Temple is 3,680 Mtrs or 11,220 Feet and that of Chopta is 2600 Mtrs or 7,925 Feet. Chandrashilla Peak is further ahead at an altidue of 4,000 Mtrs or 12,192 Feet.
Season to Travel to Tungnath / Chandrashilla
Best time to travel or visit to Tungnath Temple is April – November (exclude monsoon). In winters i.e December – February, when the snowfall starts the Tungnath becomes inaccessible. Soon, Chopta also gets snow bound and gets cut-off from the rest of the valley. As the end of February approach, the snow starts to melt around Chopta, Duggalbitta and Baniya Kund which creates a ray of hope for people looking for Snow Trek to Tungnath / Chandrashilla and experience some real adventure. However, be ready to trek more than 6-7 KMs on either side as the roads to Chopta are not accessible almost till March (mid) from December (after snowfall).
So, if you are looking for abundance of snow then February (Mid) to March is the ideal time but be ready to snow trek to Chopta from Duggalbitta or Baniya Kund as the road to Chopta do not open up to March (Mid). If there is plenty of snow on the trek to Tungnath it is sometimes difficult to climb and complete the trek. It is also worth noting that you may need a guide too if you are doing a snow trek to Tungnath.
If you are interested in Chandrashilla as well then better make your plans post April (mid) because the amount of snow becomes huge after crossing Tungnath Temple in these months. December to March, Chandrashilla may not be possible at all subject to the amount of snow present and should only be attempted if you are an experienced trekker.
Since, the roads are not be accessible in winters (December to March (mid)) and the options of stay at Chandrashilla and Tungnath are none, you will need to come back to either Duggalbitta or Ukhimath for overnight stay. Hence, do not take any chance and move further, if you feel that you won’t return back from Chandrashilla / Tungnath before the sun goes down.
Monsoon season is generally not a suggested time period to visit the region of Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashilla – Deori Tal.
How to Reach Tungnath / Chandrashilla
Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala, Dehradun, 41 KMs from Haridwar. After reaching Haridwar you need to carry rest of the journey by road only. Haridwar to Chopta is about 225 KMs by road.
Nearest railway station is at Haridwar. After reaching Haridwar you need to carry rest of the journey by road only. Haridwar to Chopta is about 225 KMs by road.
Below is the route that needs to be followed to reach Deoria Tal from Delhi –
Delhi – Haridwar (212 KMs) – Rishikesh – Dev Prayag – Srinagar – Rudra Prayag (take left towards Kedarnath) – Agustmuni – Syal Saur – Kund – Ukhimath – Duggalbitta – Baniya Kund – Chopta (448 KMs) – Tungnath – Chandrashilla
Vehicles can go up to Chopta only and you need to trek about 3.5 KMs from Chopta to reach Tungnath. If you are interested in Chandrashilla, you need to further trek about 1.5 KMs from Tungnath to reach the Chandrashilla peak. There is no motorable road to Tungnath and Chandrashilla. The trek is a paved path from Chopta up to Tungnath temple and from there on to Chandrashilla it is not paved but track exists. People generally complete the trek to Tungnath (without snow) in about 2-3 hours and to Chandrashilla in about 3-5 hours from Chopta. However, the presence of snow on the trek, scripts a different story altogether. The time and feasibility of trek then depends entirely upon the amount of snow present on the trek and the weather on the particular day.
When I visited, overall the road conditions were not that bad. In between Dev Prayag and Srinagar the road is quite dusty and at some places in poor shape. It slightly improves after Srinagar and up to Rudra Prayag with few bad sections. After Rudra Prayag the road condition further improves upt o Agustmuni. You can cruise as you like after Agustmuni as the roads are in best of shape up to Chopta.
Almost any vehicle (car/bike) in perfect running condition can take you to Chopta from where the trek to Tungnath and Chandrashilla starts.
Suggested Itinerary for Tungnath / Chandrashilla
Day 1 – Delhi to Syal Saur, GMVN
I would suggest that on day one you prefer to stay at Syal Saur, GMVN, Ph. 9536384724 (15 odd KMs before Ukhimath) right on the banks of River Mandakini. But, in case you do not opt to stay here (which I won’t suggest), then do halt here for a cup of tea on the way back on Day 4 or even Day 1. You will get a very good view of Kedarnath Peaks over calmly running Mandakini river…
Day 2 – Syal Saur to Chopta to Tungnath to Chandrashilla
This day you can utilize to go towards Tungnath to see snow (if in winters) and capture beautiful sunset near Chopta meadow. You will also find lots of beautiful birds there, especially, Magpie, enroute Chopta. There will be lots of red colored flowers around April – May, I guess Rotadendrum is the name. In our case, we reached at 5 PM at Sari Village in the evening on Day 1 and hiked in the evening to stay overnight at Deoria Tal which gave us a day extra to trek to Tungnath easily and at comfort. Hence, start early morning from Syal Saur by 7 AM, say, to complete the Tungnath Chandrashilla trek in that day. Stay overnight at Duggalbitta or Chopta or Ukhimath after completing the trek.
Day 3 – Chopta or Duggalbitta or Ukhimath to Sari Village to Deoria Tal
In the first half of the day, you can even go towards Ukhimath and visit the local temples. After having lunch, you move towards Sari Village and trek to Deoria Tal to enjoy the sunset. Keep in mind it will take about 1.5 Hrs to trek for a normal person to complete the trek. So, start by 3 PM so as not to miss the sunset reflections. Stay overnight at Deoria Tal. The road only goes to Sari Village and hence, you need to park the car at Sari Village. Call either of Bharat Puspwan: 09719875326, 09456108780, Umeid (09411737835), Mr. Hira Singh Negi (09410241543) or Mr. Surendra (09410367921, 08958329376) few days before so that he can book the room for you at Deoria Tal, FRH or arrange tents for you with proper bedding. He will be available for you near BSNL tower at Sari Village. The FRH caretaker will also charge you some fees for entry to Deoria Tal, give him just the tip … he will be more than happy.
Day 4 – Deoria Tal To Sari Village to Delhi
Enjoy the early morning reflections of Chowkhamba range in Deoria Tal and have your breakfast. On the way back check the local temple of Sari Village as well. After getting down start the journey towards Delhi. You can opt for dinner at Bikano or Moolchand Resorts or Cheetal, all near Mujjaffar Nagar. If you forget the cut to Cheetal you may miss by running over a flyover, hence do not miss that turn from the highway, if you like Cheetal.
You can also check the itinerary which I prepared for myself and followed to some extent only, at the below link: Itinerary | Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashilla – Deoria Tal
Accommodation Options at Tungnath / Chandrashilla
I will always prefer to stay at Syal Saur, GMVN (Ph. 9536384724) whenever I will be visiting the region next time at least either on the first day or on the last day. It is right next to Mandakini River and an awesome place to spend the evening.
Nearest GMVN is at Ukhimath for winters, 25-27 KMs before Chopta from where the trek to Tungnath and Chandrashilla starts. Ccontact or phone number for Ukhimath, GMVN is 9568006692. The care taker is Umeid. Ask him to give rooms at discounted rates. 550 was the price for double-bed room and you can always ask him regarding further discounts by letting him know upfront that you won’t need any GMVN bill ;)…
I guess there is a Rest House of GMVN at Duggalbitta as well, confirm from Ukhimath, GMVN for the food and the electricity in winters. Hotel Mayadeep is also a good place to stay at Duggalbitta. If you think you can shell some money for more comfortable and knowledgeable stay then perhaps, Magpie Camps at Duggalbitta may suit your needs.
For stay at Hotel Mayadeep, Duggalbitta, you can talk to Dinesh at 09410115787 for the bookings. We couldn’t stay there due to bad weather, so we opted for GMVN, Ukhimath only but that is in opposite direction from Chopta – Tungnath – Chandarshilla, if you are at Sari Village or Deoria Tal
Chopta and Tungnath
The limited accommodation options at Chopta are only open when there is no snow or road is open either from Gopeshwar side or Ukhimath side. April – November is the best bet, you will find them open. There are few guest houses and dhabhas at Chopta.
Even Tungnath does have 1-2 guest houses as well. One of them is the GMVN rest house, I guess.
Sari Village and Deoria Tal
Check accommodation option for Sari Village and Deoria Tal at the following link: Delhi to Deoria Tal, Uttarakhand | Travel Guide
There is no electricity at Duggalbitta, Chopta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal. If you think you will need electricity then do confirm with the hotels or guest houses at these places if they have a generators or not. Mayadeep hotel at Duggalbitta may run the generator for you.
In winters, there is no accommodation at Chopta or Tungnath which you will find open. When there is ample of snow even Duggalbitta is hard to reach.
Food Joints near Tungnath / Chandrashilla
I am not sure of any famous food joint at the place and you will either be eating in the hotel or some dhabha in the day while you are on excursions, as we did on our trip.
Phone Signals at Tungnath / Chandrashilla
We couldn’t find any signals of Phone on the trek to Tungnath and Chandrashilla. Nearby Chopta, the phone signals were present but with very poor connectivity. There is no issue of Phone connectivity on the entire route before Duggalbitta. We had BSNL, Airtel and Idea connections with us.
Petrol Pumps near Tungnath / Chandrashilla
Nearest Petrol Pump is at Kund about 7-8 KMs before Ukhimath. I will suggest that you top-up the fuel either at Srinagar or Rudra Prayag.
ATMs near Tungnath / Chandrashilla
Although there are number of ATMs on the route as well and we used Chandrapuri ATM which comes after Agustmuni and before Syal Saur. Chandrapuri ATM is the closest ATM because I guess there is no ATM present at Ukhimath.
Important Places around Tungnath / Chandrashilla with Distances
- Syal Saur to Ukhimath is 18-20 KMs approx. Syal Saur comes first even before Kund when going towards Ukhimath from Delhi.
- Kund is the bifurcation point where left turn goes to Guptkashi – Gauri Kund – Kedarnath and the straight or slightly right turn goes to Ukhimath – Sari Village – Chopta
- Kund to Guptkashi is about 25 KMs and further 22 KMs is Gauri Kund where the road ends. From Gauri Kund a 14 KMs trek starts for Kedarnath.
- Ukhimath to Sari Village is 13-14 KMs approx. You need to go straight from Ukhimath and you will find a board on the right side stating directions to Deoria Tal. Here, you need to take a U-Turn towards left for Sari village – Deoria Tal. If you do not take the U-Turn and follow the road coming from Ukhimath then you go towards Duggalbitta – Chopta.
- Sari Village to Chopta is 32 KMs approx and Duggalbitta is 4 – 5 KMs before Chopta.
- Overall Delhi to Syal Saur/Ukhimath/Sari Village/Duggalbitta/Chopta are almost alike with overall span of about 50-60 KMs. Hence, from any place you can travel to Delhi in one day without much time difference.
- You can get in touch with two very good local guides Bharat Puspwan: 09719875326, 09456108780 and Umeid (09411737835), may be if you need they can be of much help with everything and you can directly get in touch without involving any travel agent. Both Bharat and Umeid are good people at heart and lovely company to be with. Bharat is working as guide almost for more than 14 years. You can also check with Umendra Singh Negi at +918958647802 and +919456534062, who runs a dhabha at Deoria Tal and camps as well.
There are locale temples of Usha and Anirudh, Shiva and Parvati at Ukhimath which are worth visiting too.
Deoria Tal and Sari Village are nearby Chopta, Tungnath Temple and Chandrashilla which can be included in the trip. For more details check the Travel Guide for these places at the following link: Delhi to Deoria Tal, Uttarakhand | Travel Guide
- A drive to Deoria Tal | Revisiting Uttarakhand
- Reflections in Deoria Tal | Revisiting Uttarakhand
- Deoria Tal to Ukhimath | Revisiting Uttarakhand
- Snow Trek to Tungnath, Climbing Up | Revisiting Uttarakhand
- Snow Trek to Tungnath, Climbing Down | Revisiting Uttarakhand
- A Drive from Ukhimath to Delhi | Revisiting Uttarakhand
It is a great place to go if you really like to see the raw beauty of Himalayas.