My personal account of TUNGNATH trek: Everything you need to know.
“What are men to rocks and mountains?”- Jane Austin in her book Pride and Prejudice.
Something to seriously ponder upon, isn’t it? What are we to the massive mountains, to the silent streams flowing down the gigantic hills, to the valleys and lakes, to the colossus trees and lush forests? I wouldn’t go deep into my own thoughts and ramble about them here, for this is a travelers’ platform and each one of us in our state of desultory, has extensively spent time in an endless array of thoughts.
I am here to tell you how mountains fascinate us, a story of Tungnath, on Garhwal Himalayas and how it toppled my world upside down.
From where to where!
DELHI to HARIDWAR
HARIDWAR to RUDRAPRAYAG
260 per person
RUDRAPRAYAG to UKHIMATH
2 HRS(11:30AM-1 PM)
80 per person
UKHIMATH to CHOPTA
800 for 4 people
12.53 for 4
CHOPTA to TUNGNATH
3 HRS(3pm to 6pm)
Before I plunge into the complications of time, distance and speed- There is a 5000 year old legend to this magical place that I have been dying to share with y’all. To know about it click here
TUNGHNATH is located at an altitude of 3680 m , just below the peak of CHANDRASHILA the Moon Rock. Apart from being the highest Shiva temple in the world, its also considered as on of the most divine places for SHIVA followers. The roots of the temple goes back 5000 years, to the epic Mahabharata and the unfathomed avenues of this place are intact and carefully hidden from the hoopla of metro cities.
NOTE– Don’t be a sissy, that’ll help you save money. We traveled in local transportation like Buses, shared mini traveler tempos, stayed in 600 INR ( 9.5 $) a night Hotel and ate whatever was available on the road.
Day 1/Night 1-(DELHI to HARDWAR) We left from Delhi on a Friday night, boarded a 9 o’clock deluxe bus from ISBT New Delhi and reached Haridwar at 4:00 AM Saturday. It was pleasant unlike our Weekend in Rishikesh bus fiasco. Roads were easy. Fellow passengers were nice and we slept like wild sloths.
Day 2- (HARIDWAR to RUDRAPRAYAG) We stepped out of our comfort zones and began searching for a bus that would take us to Rudraprayag, a small district in the state of Uttrakhand. The frequency of buses streaming to the hilly areas is much lower than the ones running on the plains. No relevant methods for pre- reservations either. So all you’re left with is, waiting on the Bus stop, for a bus conductor to shout out “Rudraprayag! Rudrapyaaaaaaaaaaaaag!!”
After about an hour and half, we found the mini BUS travelling to Rudraprayag and we hopped in immediately, irrespective of the seats (which were just beside the bonnet 😦). It was a scenic 5 hours journey and en route we crossed the leafy towns of Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar and some tiny townships, the names of which I do not recall.
RUDRAPRAYAG to UKHIMATH(44KMS)- We reached Rudraprayag at 11:00AM and stepping out was awkward (there was some serious bone stretching and cracking). We spotted a tiny outlet and ordered Potato Paratha and REAL juice packs. We were already running late on our expected schedule and without wasting any time (we were fixing our hair and running simultaneously), we boarded a shared Jeep to Ukhimath, a tiny pilgrimage and the last town on our way to TUNGNATH temple. Yes- You can take a shared jeep and No- There’s nothing to be scared about. The route is decent and taken by serious travellers only. Although zigzag roads up and down the hill might take a toll on you. We reached Ukhimath at 1:00PM and were already looking like zombies.
UKHIMATH to CHOPTA – The only consolation was imagining a bed. We were dying to reach Chopta, the base camp for Tungnath trek.We had to again book a private jeep from Ukhimath and there were lesser options on the road. The 30-35 KMS ride cost us 800 INR(12.5$), although we had to negotiate a little( common Indian habit). Mr.Mukesh Rana drove us to Chopta and he was a great guy. He offered us help, transport assistance and provided us his contact details. To our (HOLY SHIT!) surprise, Chopta base camp had very little options to offer on accommodation and as we reached Chopta at 2:15PM my friends were like, What the Heck! Let’s climb this baby!(I was NOT voting for it, but they dragged me along anyways). But our first mission was finding decent food which was a major constraint in the area, limited to a couple of roadside DHABAS (Local food joints) serving Tea, maggi, parathas etc.
CHOPTA to TUNGNATH – The trek was a little over 4 KMS and there is a Govt. entrance fee of 150 INR for Indians and 600INR(9.4$) for foreigners.
One word “Breath-taking”- However hard I try to put it in words, I would only miserably fail. An endless array of Rhododendrons hanging at the corner of the tiny path, stretched for 2 KMS, a goose-bumpy view of the mammoth Himalayas, a crazy landscape to die for- The journey was more of a silent admiration, like something I once heard in a movie that said, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention”.
After having trekked for 2 KMS, the far off “snow clad view” came right under our feet and suddenly it was white and undescribably beautiful. I don’t wanna ruin it by putting in too many adjectives, but boy! The view was beyond perfection – IT WAS LIKE A MAGICAL DREAM. We reached Tungnath Temple, a nanoscopic shrine on the lap of Garhwal Himalayas, at 5:45PM and as it was already getting dark, we stayed their just for a while and headed back to Chopta.
It took us 1 hour 45 minutes to trek down to Chopta, where we rented a very basic room for 800INR (12.5$) a night (for 4 of us) at a very modest Hotel. And rest my friends is history!! We slept like royal horses and woke up with swollen eyes and hungry bellies.
Day 3-We called Mr. Mukesh who was happy to arrange us a taxi from Chopta to Rudraprayag and followed the same route back –Rudraprayag to Hardidwar- Haridwar to Delhi- Delhi to Office on Monday, tuesday, wednesday and so on (grumpy cat face).
Like always, it was really hard returning – More like our heart still beats at the last place we visit and every time, there is a void on the left side of the rib cage, just above the lungs, thumping blood in and out.
But moving on, we’ll plan yet another adventure and everybody’s welcome to join.
1. The entire trek was very unpredictable, weather wise. It’s highly recommended you carry your umbrellas and proper walking sticks. Oh Wait! Your umbrellas can be your walking sticks too( that’s what I am gonna do next time).
2. You have to have those super awesome trekking shoes, an absolute must. Why? Coz snow can effortlessly enter your simple sport shoes and it gets REALLY difficult to walk like that.
3. You might not feel the chill at first, but it gets numbly cold as you climb up the meters.
4. NEVER expect quality food on the hills, it’s always going to be simple and straight forward. But at the same time, eating properly is IMPORTANT, so just eat!
5. SOLO TRAVELLING chikas, the routes is amazing and everything, but tends to get lonely at some point. Ofcource you can join any group, people are more than happy to help, but just in case, BEWARE!
6. April-May-June are the best months to visit 🙂
ALL THE PICTURES TAKEN BY VIJAY KRISHNAN-THANK YOU VERY MUCH
Write to us if you need any further assistance regarding any location in the state of UTTRAKHANDemail@example.com.
(if you like anything, leave a comment and follow us on Instagram @digitalbatutta)