Located in Uttarakhand, the trails of Garhwal Himalayas boasts abundant emerald rivers, natural beauty, snow-capped peaks, green-cloaked hills and lush green forests. Needless to say, the Garhwal offers many trekking trails for beginners to experts. Tungnath trek is one of the easiest and exciting trekking routes which offers an incredible experience to the trekkers. The pristine natural beauty and aura of these mountains will definitely enchant everyone and also offers a surplus choice of adventure. Adding to this adventure is trekking in the Garhwal Himalaya and explore it to the fullest. The splendid trails and picturesque views come as a treat to the trekkers after a strenuous trek.
Best Time For Tungnath Trek
The best time for Tungnath trek is when the temple is open in the month of May (summer) and the deity of Lord Tungnath is taken from Mukumath to Tungnath temple. You can also trek during the winters from Jan and March to make the journey more exciting.
The weather during the summers is quite pleasant in the Himalayas where the temperature remains 16 degrees on average. The weather might get chilly in the evenings, thus, carrying of light woolens is recommended to keep yourself warm.
Due to rainfall, trekking in monsoon becomes a little challenging here as there are chances of blockage of roads for a couple of hours because of landslides. It becomes difficult to trek to Chopta during the monsoons.
Tungnath trek in winter allows the trekkers to enjoy the snow blanket covering the trails and mountains. Chopta looks best during the winters but the accommodation options are restricted to a few. Tungnath trek in December can become more difficult as it starts to snow.
About Tungnath Temple
The highest shrine of Lord Shiva in the world is Tungnath that rests peacefully on the Chandranath Parvat. Housed on the top of the mountain ridge, this sacred temple divides the water of the Alaknanda River and Mandakini River. The formation of Akashkamini River is mainly due to the formation of the 3 springs which in turn is because of the peak of Tungnath on this ridge.
Soaring up at an altitude of 3,680 meters from the sea level, this temple aged more than 1000 years is undoubtedly worth visiting. Although the highest temple of Lord Shiva (of the five Panch Kedar temples), it is easiest to reach. Tungnath is the third Kedar (Tritiya Kedar) of the five Kedar (Panch Kedar) and is known for its artistic structure and magnificent architecture.
Designed in North Indian Style of architecture, the foundation of this temple was laid by Arjuna, the third of the Pandava brothers. There is a tale associated with this temple that says Lord Rama performed a meditation to free himself from the curse of Brahmahatya for killing Ravana. You can find a beautiful main idol of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and there are a dozen shrines of other Gods surrounding this shrine.
Things To Do On Tungnath Trek
If you are wondering what all you can do on the trek apart from admiring the scenery, here are some experiences you should definitely strike off your bucket list.
On your trek to Tungnath, visiting the sacred temple of Tungnath to seek the blessings is a must. It is better not to take the Tungnath trek in December as the temple is generally closed during the winters due to heavy snowfall and the idol of Lord is moved to the Mukku Village. The doors to this temple are open for the pilgrims during the summers at the end of April and shut in November.
2. Bird watching
While on your way to Tungnath, you can treat your eyes with the views of spectacular exotic Himalayan birds. Tungnath is part of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary and abode to the most beautiful bird of India – Himalayan Monal. Plus, if you are planning your trip in winter, you will get to see Snow Partridge from a close distance.
While in Chopta, you can see Koklass Pheasant and if moved a little down from Chopta, you can also see some rare finches and nesting Pied Thrush. You can stop near the Mandakini river and see the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide. Those visiting Tungnath in early summers are rewarded with multiple sightseeing of the Spot-winged Starling. The lucky ones can also find musk deer around this region.
Other main attractions found in this region are Kalij Pheasant, Upland Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier), Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Himalayan Owl, Spot-winged Rosefinch, European Goldfinch, Fire-capped Tit, Ashy Wood-Pigeon, Nepal Wren-Babbler, Spotted Laughingthrush, Variegated Laughingthrush, Pied Thrush, Long-billed Thrush and more.
Suggested Read: 15 Places To Visit In Uttarakhand This Winter 2020
Please yourself by the clear and picturesque views of the majestic peaks, Himalayas, and vegetation. Chopta is surrounded by dense forest and in the early spring, many flowers bloom in the Rhododendron forest that gives it a red glow.
How To Reach Tungnath Temple
The length of Tungnath trek from Chopta is about 4 km, therefore, the trekkers will have to first reach Chopta and then set off on the Tungnath trek. Situated at an altitude of 2600 meters in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, Chopta is the start-off point for your Tungnath trek.
In winters Chopta is embellished with snow meadows which makes your Tungnath trek in winter mind-blowing. The route of Tungnath trek is adorned with coniferous, mists and snow, which makes the journey more thrilling and one heck of a trek that you must take.
Firstly, you will have to reach Haridwar via railway which is at a distance of 225km from Chopta. Traveling via flight is another option and the nearest airport to Chopta is the Jolly Grant Airport at a distance of 260km. Next, catch a public bus to Chopta that are widely serviced to and from this city.
There are around 2 to 3 routes to reach Tungnath via Chopta, the mentioned one can is the best one among all. Once you reach Haridwar, you will have to head to Sari which is an 8hour drive from Haridwar. It is a picturesque base camp with plenty of campsites, homestays, and guest houses so you can also plan to halt here.
Important Tips: Tungnath Trek
Keep these tips handy if you are planning to trek to Tugnath. These pointers will only make your trip hassle-free and enjoyable.
- There are no major halting points from Chopta to Tungnath, it is best to carry plenty of water, trekking boots, warm clothes, raincoats, sunscreen, first-aid kit and prescribed medicines from the doctor if any.
- Carry light snacks to munch when required, for instance, glucose, chocolates, biscuits, nuts, etc.
- Carry a walking stick for extra support and waterproof trekking shoes as there are chances of slipping on the snow.
- Carry power banks and cash as there are no charging points and ATMs on the route
- Photographs are not allowed inside the temple
- You can find rooms for the halt in Chopta, and Sari and not on the route to temple from Chopta
- Avoid trekking during the nights.
The adventure aficionado can enjoy the best of both trekking and sightseeing during their trip to Tungnath. This year-round adventure is right in the heart of Uttarakhand and the route of Tungnath trek allows you to embrace the adventure you have been craving for. Plan your trek and embark on this exciting journey.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tungnath Trek
Q. Is Tungnath temple open?
A. Tungnath is the highest temple of the deity Lord Shiva and is usually shut during the winter and is open during the summer for visit.
Q. How long is Tungnath Trek?
A. One of the moderate and easy treks, the tungnath trek is approximately 4km from Chopta and can be reached within 3-4 hours. To reach Tungnath from Haridwar will take up to 3-4 days.
Q. Is there snowfall in Chopta?
A. During the month of January the region is covered in 4 to 7 feet thick snow and a few roads to Chopta are blocked in the winters. There is an alternative route to Chopta via Deoria Tal, which is 10–12km trek.
Q. Is Chopta safe?
A. Chopta is completely safe and the locals are very humble and assure the safety of the tourists. But beware of the wildlife and do not to roam around the Jungle after sunset.
Q. What is the height of Tungnath?
A. Tungnath peak is located at an altitude of 3680 m (12073 ft) below the Chandrashila peak.