For the mountain lover, the winters are a great time to be travelling in the Himalayas because of the clear views and sunny days. This winter trek gives you the opportunity to scale a small trekking peak in the Garhwal Himalayas, Chandrashila peak (4000m). On the trek you pass through undulating grass meadows in summer, but in winters this terrain forms the perfect base for a snow trek with undulating meadows of snow. With the close proximity of this trek to the roadhead, the trek is iodeal for beginners wanting to experience the joys of snow trekking in a safe and relatively comfortable manner.
In the first leg of the trek we hike up to Deoriatal. This is a beautiful lake at an altitude of 2438 m and has captivating surroundings with forests all around. This trail would not have much snow and it forms an easy start for the trek ahead. From Deoriatal, the Chaukhamba peak feels like it is an arm’s length away and the reflection of the mighty peak in the crystal clear waters of the lake creates a beautiful effect. The story associated with this scenic place is that when the Pandavas were in exile and were hiding from the Kaurava king, Duryodhan, they stopped nearby for a rest. When their mother Kunti felt thirsty, one by one four of her sons went to fetch water from this lake but died, as they could not answer the question put forth to them by the Yaksha Devta who resided here. When the eldest son's Yudishtra's turn came, he answered all questions correctly and with the result the dead brothers also came back to life. Chaukhamba Peak View from Deoriatal Here we will camp by the lakeside and enjoy the star spangled sky in the night.
Next on our trail is Chopta, popularly referred to as the Mini-Switzerland of India because of its undulating green meadows (carpets of snow in winter!!) and a breath taking view of the majestic Himalayan peaks. We will start getting into big snows on this trail and once in Chopta would have a lot of snow all around. Depending on the snow conditions, we will either decide to camp or we would stay in some homestays that dot this place. Staying in here is a totally enjoyable experience with the excellent views and beautiful valleys all around. Next day, from here we will trek up to the Tungnath temple, which at an altitude of 3680m is the highest Shiva shrine in the world. There would be thick snow all around and we would have a totally enjoyable experience trekking through this terrain. All along the route one gets wonderful views of the Himalayan giants including Bandarpoonch, Kedar, Chaukhamba peaks and many more. From Tungnath you can trek up a further 1 kms to the summit of Chandrashilla peak at about 4000 m. The 180 degree view of the snow-capped peaks and the underlying valleys all around make this trek well worth it.
Another interesting and beautiful part of this trip is the opportunity to spend time at RFA adventure' Himalayan Eco Lodges & Camps at Kund. This lodge overlooks the Mandakini river and is in the shadow of the Kedar peak and is a beautiful base to begin and end the trip.
Winters are a great time for all the trekking enthusiasts to travel through the rugged terrains of the Himalayan mountain range. The skies are clear and the sunny days make it more beautiful. Chandrashila (4000m) peak is a short trek in the Garhwal Himalayan Range, which takes you through the undulating meadows in summer months and snow covered grasslands in the winter months. This trek has a close distance from the road head and for beginners or first-time climbers, its a perfect travelling experience. The trek is safe and does not pose many challenges.
The first phase of the trek is a hiking trip up to Deoriatal. Deoriatal is a beautiful lake that is at an altitude of 2438m above sea level. The enchanting surroundings are covered with dense forests all around. This trail gives an easy trekking experience to the trekkers. The peak of Chaukhamba is close from this place, and the towering reflection of the peak can be seen in the clear waters of the lake. As the legend goes, Pandavas were in exile and were hiding from the Kaurava king, Duryodhana, they stopped nearby for a rest. When their mother Kunti felt thirsty, one by one four of her sons went to fetch water from this lake but died, as they could not answer the question put forth to them by the Yaksha Delta who resided here. When the eldest son's Yudishtra's turn came, he answered all questions correctly and with the result the dead brothers also came back to life.
Chopta comes in the next leg of the trek and doing justice to its nickname "Mini-Switzerland of India", the green meadows and the majestic view of the Himalayan peak can take your breath away. Chopta has a lot of snow besieged trails and depending on the snow the trekkers can decide about their plans of camping or take alternative home stays. A trek to Tungnath temple is preferred by most of the trekkers and at an altitude of 3680m, Tungnath temple is considered to be highest Shiva shrine in the world. Chandrashilla Peak is about 4000m above sea level and gives a complete round view of snow capped peaks. Chandrashila Trek is considered to be much more muscle flexing than the rest of the trails. RFA adventure gives an opportunity to the trekkers to spend time in the "Himalayan Eco Lodges & Camps at Kund.
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DAY 01: Haridwar – Kund (1350m) Drive/200 kms/6-7 hrs
We will meet at Haridwar railway station at 7:00 a.m and from here board a vehicle and be driven up to Kund. This is an interesting drive. You will, for most part of the journey drive along the Ganga & Alaknanda river before turning into the Mandakini valley. Enroute you will be crossing the holy towns of Rishikesh, Devprayag and Rudraprayag. Evening we will go for a short hike to stretch our leg muscles and also spend some time by the riverside. Overnight in the lodge.
DAY 02: Kund (1350m) – Deoriatal (2438m) Trek/4-5 hrs
Today when you start hiking from the lodge you will initially walk through a few villages and a small temple town, Ukhimath. The walk from here on is through an enchanting mixed forest abundant in bird life. Today’s hike is mostly uphill. We will reach Deoriatal lake by afternoon and spend rest of the day exploring the serene surroundings. This is a fine place for photography and bird watching. Overnight in tents.
DAY 03: Deoriatal (2438m) – (Sari 1900 m) - Dugalbitta (2550 m) - Chopta (2800m) Trek/2 hrs
What a lovely morning by the beautiful lake. After exploring the beautiful surroundings in the morning we will trek down to the village Sari. From here we will board the vehicle and drive to Duggalbitta. At Dugalbitta we get off the vehicles and start the trek to Chopta. This trek is through the beautiful forest of Oak and Rhododendron to reach the meadows at Chopta. We will reach the campsite by afternoon and spend rest of the day exploring Chopta. The views towards the evening are going to be great so keep your cameras handy. The sunset from Chopta is also a photographer’s delight!! Overnight in tents.
DAY 04: Chopta (2800m) – Tungnath (3680m) – Chandrashila peak (4000m) – Kund Trek/4-5 hrs & Drive/1 hr
We start the day by climbing up the slopes of the snow meadow. The climb is demanding but short and extremely scenic. It will take about a couple of hours to reach Tungnath temple. Religious or non-religious does not matter, just sit by yourself for a few minutes in the courtyard of the temple with eyes closed you will feel very light! After a brief stop for refreshments and rest carry on with your climb to reach the summit of Chandrashilla peak at about 4000m. The effort is going to be rewarded multiple times with views which are surely unparalleled. From the summit you can see big Himalayan peaks (Nanda Devi, Trishul, Chaukhamba and many more) and surrounding valleys in all directions.
After capturing the views in your camera start walking down to the base camp at Chopta and from there get onto your vehicles and drive down to the lodge in Kund where a refreshing shower and hot dinner awaits you. Spend time by the riverside. Overnight in the lodge. On this day we will take a call as in to summit the peak Chandrashilla. Those who want to summit Chandrashilla peak will start at 5 am in the morning. Who just want to trek towards Chandrashilla summit and Tungnath will start at 8 am in the morning.
DAY 05: Kund – Haridwar Drive/200 kms/6-7 hrs
Post breakfast, we drive back to Haridwar. Our trip ends here.
Mirag, Joshimath, Dist. Chamoli, UTTARAKHAND
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