Chandrashila is also knows as the moon rock because as per Hindu mythology its the resting place of the moon god. Also its believed that Lord Rama meditated here after defeating Ravana.
Route :: Delhi – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Chopta
Distance :: 444 Kms
Time :: 13.5 Hrs with couple of stops and easy driving
Budget :: INR 6,000 per person (inclusive of diesel cost, stay, food etc)
Duration :: 3 days (weekend with one day leave)
Mother of all drunk plans with one thing unique in it – It actually happened
Three brothers decided to test out their lungs at one the easiest treks possible in Uttarakhand. Another thing that may interest you is that we did Noida Chandrashila Noida in only three days. Hence any long weekend can do. All you need is a bit of madness, three good drivers & rest is taken care by the mountains.
We left on Friday evening at 2000 Hrs and headed towards Rishikesh, where we were stopped & not allowed to go ahead by the cops for fear of landslides and accidents. They allowed us to proceed at 0400 hrs and then we took a small halt at Devprayag. Devprayag was special because it is here that river Alaknanda and Bhagirathi meet to form the mighty Ganga.
From here we took a right and kept moving towards Rudraprayag. We kept changing driving duties so that everyone could enjoy the magnificent views along the way.
We were following Google maps & we took a right from Rudraprayag which turned out to be a mistake. Apparently there are two Choptas in Uttarakhand & around 60 kms away from each other. Now, 60 Kms may not sound like a big deal, but 60 kms in the mountains is definitely a big deal after an entire night of driving. The only saving grace was the crazy view of the Himalayas from this Chopta as well.
Nonetheless we were suggested about a shortcut by the locals. We reached the right Chopta at around 1300 Hrs to the camping sight known as Neel Kanth. It is a crazy camping sight with the view of the mountains to die for.
After driving for almost 14 hours, we were finally in Chopta and the weather was like a dream. We ordered for lunch which was sent to our tent by world’s best attendant, Amit. He still keeps sending us pictures of Chopta on Whatsapp. Yes, Whatsapp works there. Then we all slept only to be woken up by lightning thunders at around 1800 Hrs in the evening. This was already informed to us by Amit that there will be rain in the evening. So the setting was perfect and the spirits started to flow in the tent.
We had decided that we will leave for Chandrashila at 0400 Hrs in the morning to make it to the summit before sunrise. Little did we know then about our fitness levels. Mind you this was our maiden trek with almost zero physical activity for last five years. I was playing a bit of football when I was in Bombay, but that too was like six months back and used to be once a week only.
At 0400 hrs, we drove towards the trek starting point to begin our trek. And within 20 mins we were huffing and puffing with nature showing us a mirror in our face.
But we continued and kept taking brakes after every 500 steps or so. The terrain although killing us, was also giving us the much needed motivation to keep going.
Our first aim was to reach Tungnath temple (Highest Shiva temple in the world) which is like a kilometer and a half below Chandrashila. There is an interesting story behind Tungnath which I believe I should tell the readers.
According to Hindu mythology, the legend goes that both Shiva and Parvati reside in the Himalayas. And Tungnath temple is linked with the Panch Kedar temples built by the Pandavas. So apparently Sage Vyas had told the Pandavas that since they had killed their own relatives in the war against the Kauravas (Mahabharat), they had committed a sin. And only Lord Shiva could pardon this act done by them. So Pandavas came to the Himalayas looking for Lord Shiva for forgiveness. But Lord Shiva knew that the Pandavas were guilty and was avoiding them. So he took a form of a bull and went into hiding underground near a place known as Guptakashi, where the Pandavas chased him. Later his body as bull’s body parts appeared at five different places which are today known as Panch Kedars, where Pandavas built temples in order to seek his blessings and forgiveness. Each one is identified with a part of his body; Tungnath is identified as the place where the bahu (hands) were seen, hump was seen at Kedarnath, head appeared at Rudranath; his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhyameshwar, and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar.
Once we reached Tungnath, we visited the temple and took Lord Shiva’s blessings to continue our trek towards Chandrashila. The sun was out by now and we had missed the chance of seeing Chandrashila at Sunrise.
The trek from Tungnath to Chandrashila is steep and relatively difficult in comparison to the trek from Chopta to Tungnath. But somehow it was not very tiring because the trek is relatively direct towards the summit and doesn’t go too much side to side and then just like that, you summit.
The view from the top is simply breathtaking. It felt like a major achievement after 4 hours of trekking. Every now and then you can see a few choppers flying lower than your own height which is a different experience. The height of the summit is debated a lot, but one can safely say that it is at 13,000 ft, if not more.
We spent one hour at the summit clicking pictures and relaxing with mountains all around us.
The climb down from the summit was difficult again and it took us 2 hours to reach Chopta. We came back to the tent, had our lunch and died. Again we were woken up by thunders in the evening. For an hour none of us moved in our beds and just kept chit chatting away about our experience through the day.
Next morning, we were greeted by an even better view of the Himalayas from our tent.
Then we began to drive towards home. It took us 12 hours to reach Noida with enough time to relax before heading out to our offices the next morning.