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 the highest point of the mountain on which Chopta and Tungnath lie. Chandrashilla offers 270-degree views of the Himalayan range and lies 1.5 km further upwards from Tungnath Temple which makes it a 5 km trek from Chopta.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Tungnath Temple and Chandrashilla Peak, Uttarakhand
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 Chopta Bhugyal (Bhugyal, meaning meadow). The place is extremely rich in flora and fauna, and you can find lots of species of birds around the Chopta and Tungnath region.
No wonder these locations are considered to be the offbeat places in Uttarakhand.
Tungnath Temple is located at a trekking distance of 3.5 km from Chopta and comes under the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Chandrashilla peak is further 1.5 km ahead of the temple.
The 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 altitude of 4,000 Mtrs or 12,192 Feet.
Best Time to visit Tungnath or Chandrashilla
The best time to travel or visit Tungnath Temple is in April – November (exclude monsoon). In winters i.e December – February, when the snowfall starts the Tungnath becomes inaccessible. Soon, Chopta also gets snowbound and gets cut-off from the rest of the valley.
Monsoon season is generally not a suggested time period to visit the region of Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashilla – Deori Tal due to landslides which are common in Uttarakhand.
At the end of February, 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 km on either side as the roads to Chopta are not accessible almost till March (mid) from December (after snowfall).
Travel Tip: You can check out my list of places to play in snow or snowfall in Uttarakhand which are near Delhi.
Can I find snow in Chopta in winter?
So, if you are looking for an 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 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 from Chandrashilla / Tungnath before the sun goes down.
If you are not visiting in winter, you can pretty much do this trek as a beginner without any guide. There is a well-paved track to the top.
How to Reach Tungnath / Chandrashilla
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala, Dehradun, 41 km from Haridwar. After reaching Haridwar, you need to carry the rest of the journey by road only. Haridwar to Chopta is about 225 km by road.
The nearest railway station is at Haridwar. After reaching Haridwar you need to carry the rest of the journey by road only. Haridwar to Chopta is about 225 km by road.
Below is the route that needs to be followed to reach Deoria Tal from Delhi –
Delhi – Haridwar (212 km) – Rishikesh – Dev Prayag – Srinagar – Rudra Prayag (take left towards Kedarnath) – Agustmuni – Syal Saur – Kund – Ukhimath – Duggalbitta – Baniya Kund – Chopta (448 km) – Tungnath – Chandrashilla
Vehicles can go up to Chopta only, and you need to trek about 3.5 km from Chopta to reach Tungnath. If you are interested in Chandrashilla, you need to trek about 1.5 km from Tungnath further 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. But then an unpaved track exists from there on to Chandrashilla. People generally complete the trek to Tungnath (without snow) in about 2-3 hours and to Chandrashilla in about 3-5 hours from Chopta. Hence, makes it one of the easy treks in Uttarakhand.
However, the presence of snow on the trek scripts a different story altogether. The time and feasibility of trek then depend entirely upon the amount of snow present on the trek and the weather on a 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 up to Agustmuni. You can cruise as you like after Agustmuni as the roads are in the 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
Let us look at one of the most popular itineraries that you can follow to visit these places.
Day 1 – Delhi to Syal Saur, GMVN or Ukimath GMVN
I would suggest that on day one you prefer to stay at Syal Saur, GMVN, Ph. 9536384724 (15 odd km 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 an excellent view of Kedarnath peak over calmly running the Mandakini river… Not sure if they ever renovated Syal Saur GMVN after the 2013 flashfloods.
Day 2 – Syal Saur / Ukimath 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, en route 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 that it will take about 1.5 Hrs to trek for a normal person to complete the trek. So, start at 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 the 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 diversion 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
Where to stay 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 the Mandakini River and an awesome place to spend the evening. Not sure if they ever renovated the Syal Saur GMVN after the 2013 flashfloods.
Nearest GMVN is at Ukhimath for winters, 25-27 km before Chopta from where the trek to Tungnath and Chandrashilla starts. Contact or phone number for Ukhimath, GMVN is 9568006692. The caretaker is Umeid. Ask him to give rooms at discounted rates. 550 was the price for double-bedroom, and you can always ask him regarding further discounts by letting him know upfront that you won’t need any GMVN bill 😉
Travel Tip: Did you know that you can also club a visit to Auli when visiting the Chopta region?
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 a more comfortable and knowledgeable stay then perhaps, Magpie Camps at Duggalbitta may suit your needs.
For the 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 the 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 the Gopeshwar side or the Ukhimath side. April – November is the best bet, you will find them open. There are few guesthouses 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 generator or not. Mayadeep hotel at Duggalbitta may run the generator for you.
In winter, there is no accommodation at Chopta or Tungnath which you will find open. When there is ample snow even Duggalbitta is hard to reach.
Where to eat
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.
You should always carry your own water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂
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 inferior connectivity. There is no issue of Phone connectivity on the entire route before Duggalbitta. We had BSNL, Airtel and Idea connections with us.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check this list of things to carry on a trip to Uttarakhand.
Nearest Petrol Pump is at Kund about 7-8 km before Ukhimath. I will suggest that you top-up the fuel either at Srinagar or Rudra Prayag.
Although there is a 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
- Do not forget to carry these must-have things for a trekking trip.
- Syal Saur to Ukhimath is 18-20 km approx. When traveling towards Ukhimath from Delhi, Syal Saur comes first.
- 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.
- The distance from Kund to Guptkashi is about 25 km. A further 22 km is Gauri Kund where the road ends. From Gauri Kund, a 14 km trek starts for Kedarnath.
- Ukhimath to Sari Village is 13-14 km 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 km approx and Duggalbitta is 4 – 5 km before Chopta.
- Overall Delhi to Syal Saur/Ukhimath/Sari Village/Duggalbitta/Chopta is almost alike, with an overall span of about 50-60 km. Hence, from any place, you can travel to Delhi in one day without much time difference.
- You can get in touch with two good local guides Bharat Puspwan: 09719875326, 09456108780, and Umeid (09411737835), maybe 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 friendly company on the trek. Bharat is working as a guide for 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.
Local Sightseeing in Chopta
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 Deoratal linked above in the article.
- 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
Tungnath & Chandrashilla trek is a great place to go if you really like to see the raw beauty of Himalayas. This beginner-level trek will help you get used to trekking and see the beautiful Himalayas has to offer when you are ready to go the extra mile. You will get a chance to play in the snow as well in winter because this region gets decent snowfall.
So, if you have not yet visited Chandrashilla and Tungnath or Chopta region in Uttarakhand, make it to the top of your travel bucket list.
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