Tungnath Route

A Trek to highest Shiva Temple in the World – Tungnath and Chandrashila

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As winters say goodbye in the month of February & the summer steps in to bring the temperatures close to 40 degrees, there is always an urge to escape to the mountains to beat the heat. This urge brought 3 friends from my office together to chalk out a trekking plan in the lap of Himalayas. We decided to select couple of short treks. First one was a trek to Kartik Swami Temple (10000 ft. above sea level) located near Kanak Chauri village in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Second one was Tungnath & Chandrashila Peak (13000 ft. above sea level) Trek which starts from Chopta village (225 km from Haridwar).

After completing all the trek arrangements and bookings, we left Pune on 26th April night and reached New Delhi. From there we reached Haridwar by Shatabdi Express & boarded a car from Haridwar to reach Rudraprayag at 5 pm on 27th April. We stayed there for a night in KMVN rest house.

Ganga River
Ganga River on Haridwar to Rudraprayag route

On 28th April, we visited the holy confluence of Mandakini River (originating from Kedarnath) & Alaknanda River (originating from Badrinath) at Rudraprayag.

Rudraprayag Sangam
Holy confluence of Mandakini River (originating from Kedarnath) & Alaknanda River (originating from Badrinath) at Rudraprayag

Then we reached Kanak Chauri village at 11 am. After a refreshing tea, we started our trek to Kartik Swami Temple dedicated to the elder son of Lord Shiva, Kartikeya, who offered his bones as testimony of his devotion to his father. It is believed that the incident took place here. It is a moderate 3 km trek to the top and passes through a beautiful dense forest. We completed the trek in 1 hour and reached the top. The temple is located at the end of narrow ridge with deep valley all around offering splendid 360 degree view of Himalayan peaks. An hour spent on the top was really peaceful & it was time to return back to base village.

Kartik Swamy Temple

We had a simple but tasty lunch at a small hotel in village and started our 70 km journey to Chopta village (which is known as ‘Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand’) and reached there in the evening for a stay of couple of days. In the evening, we had a nice stroll and had a yummy dinner at a small dhaba in Chopta. Although it was summer, the temperature in Chopta was close to 5-6 degrees in the night & we had to take the heavy blankets and woolens before going to sleep.

Chopta
Chopta – A small but beautiful village with a cool climate. Tungnath route starts from here.

On 29th April, we started our trek to Tungnath & Chandrashila Peak summit at 8 am. Chopta to Tungnath is a gradual inclined trek of 3 km going through a beautiful forest of rhododendron flowers. The trek route was full of Red, Pink & light Violet rhododendron flowers along with lush green meadows. It reminded me of a Triund trek route which also has rhododendron trees just before reaching the top.

Meadow
Lush green meadows to relax peacefully

 

Rhodo
Pink Rhododendron Flowers
Rhodo Trees
Route was full of beautiful Rhododendron Trees

Weather was fantastic & cool. We had a great time on this beautiful route and reached Tungnath temple in 2 ½ hours with a leisurely climb and lots of photography.

Tungnath Route
A serene route. It is a trekkers paradise.

Tungnath Temple is world’s highest Shiva temple, at a height of 12074 ft. It is one of the five Panch Kedar temples.The history says that the arm of Lord Shiva was found and worshiped by Arjuna here at Tungnath. Temple was closed and was scheduled to open on auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya on 9th May.

 

Tungnath Temple
Tungnath – World’s highest Shiva Temple located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft) above sea level

Route from Tungnath to Chandrashila is a steep climb of 1.5 km and it took us 1 hour to reach the summit at 13000 ft. above sea level. It seemed, we were on the top of the world. A magical power seemed to fill us with life along with a sense of achievement. You just feel calm & peaceful in Himalayas. It was cold & windy on the Chandrashila top. Even in summer, the temperature was close to 15 degrees at 12 pm in afternoon.

Chandrashila route
Glimpse of Chandrashila Peak just before reaching Tungnath
Chandrashila
Chandrashila Peak @ 13500 ft above sea level – On the top of world with a sense of achievement

We recharged ourselves with the energy food and started a return journey at 1 pm. While coming down, we had a hot and tasty Maggie at a small hotel near Tungnath. The food served by these small dhaba style hotels is always amazing. In the evening, we walked peacefully in Chopta and had a mouthwatering Rajma-Chawal-Parathas in a dinner before going to bed.

On 30th April, we reached Shivpuri (before Rishikesh) and completed a 15 km white water rafting on the river Ganga. There were 5 to 6 thrilling rapids in the river. Couple of stretches were really calm and smooth so we got a chance to jump out of a raft in the cold waters of Ganga. The whole experience was full of adventure and thrill.

Rafting
River Rafting in Ganga

After this we were back in Haridwar at 5 pm and thereafter at New Delhi airport at 11.30 pm in night to catch a flight back home at 5 am on 1st May. We reached home on Sunday morning to have a good rest and get back to concrete jungles of IT Park on Monday.

 

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