Tungnath Chandrashila Trek – How to Plan & Prepare on Budget

Tungnath Chandrashila Trek

For a quick overview, the Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila trek is a 5.5 kilometers long trail that starts from Chopta and ends at the top of Chandrashila peak. the gap between Chopta to Tungnath is about 4 kilometers and 1.5 kilometers between Tungnath to Chandrashila. The trek is considered to be moderate and is that the most popular ones in all of Uttarakhand. It remains accessible throughout the year apart from the months of January and February when winter season buries the whole region under several feet of snow.

  • Chopta

Chopta is a little region popular as a tourist destination for trekking to Tungnath and Chandrashila. Located at an altitude of 2,680 meters with the forests of pine, deodar, and rhododendron. This entire region is a part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Tungnath Temple

Tungnath is one among the five ‘Panch Kedar’ temples dedicated to Lord Shiva; the other four being Madhyamaheshwar, Rudranath, Kalpeshwar with Kedarnath. At an altitude of 3,680 meters (12,073 ft), it’s the highest of all the five temples but is additionally the easiest one to succeed in it’s said that the temple is over 5,000 years old and third within the hierarchy of the Panch Kedars; due to which it is also referred to as Tritiya Kedar”.

  • Chandrashila

Chandrashila is that the summit of the Tungnath and is located 1.5 kilometers further up from the temple at a height of over 4,000 meters (13,120 ft).

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The Trek

Most people stay at Chopta,do a day hike to Tungnath and Chandrashila and come back the same day. It is possible to do it provided one leaves early, Reach Tungnath pay your respects at the temple and enjoy the scenery. Trek ahead to Chandrashila, come back. Eat lunch either near Tungnath temple or at the dhabas on the trail and start the walk back to Chopta.
Chopta to Tungnath Trek

The entire trek from Chopta to Tungnath is of 4 kilometers. There are a total of 11 zig-zag bends on the way while climbing up the ascent. It takes approx 2 hours cover 4km and reach Tungnath and then another one hour to reach Chandrashila. The descend back to Chopta can easily be done in half the time. So it is advised to start early in the morning

There are a couple of eating joints / dhabas, where you can take a break and eat. The trail will still zigzag and gain altitude. There are several points in between where you can sit and relax while enjoying the views around you.
Ravanshila
The temple remains closed in the winter season and you ought to find snow up here well into April. The peaks of Chandrashila and Ravanshila too are going to be visible from this point. Around ten minutes before you reach Tungnath, there’s a little detour that will take you towards Ravanshila if you would like to explore that too. you can get some amazing panoramic valley views from Ravanshila. If you’re unsure about the situation it’s best to ask the locals at the temple.
Tungnath to Chandrashila Trek

Chandrashila peak may be a trek of another 1.5 kilometers from the temple. The trail leading to the summit is from behind the temple complex, clearly marked and hard to miss. Plenty of people reside Tungnath for the night and then trek to Chandrashila in the morning to catch the sunrise view.

You will once again climb up a series of several scissor bends and reach top of the peak. The pace of the wind too will devour here. From the top, you get a stunning 360-degree view of the mountains around like Nanda Devi , Trishul, Chaukhamba, and Kedar dome.

The Mythology/Believes of Tungnath Temple

As per the Belief, after the battle of “Mahabharata”. The Pandavas went in search of Shiva to seek forgiveness for killing their relatives in the battle. Here Lord Shiva decided to not appear in front of the Pandavas and hide underground after taking the form of a bull (Nandi).

Later, it’s said that Shiva’s body rematerialized at five different locations, still in the form of a bull. These five locations are what is now referred to as ‘Panch Kedar’ Temples. Each of the temples is identified with a unique part of Shiva’s body. Tungnath is identified as where hands were seen, Kedarnath for his mound, head showed up at Rudranath, his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhyamaheshwar, and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar.

Best time for Tungnath Chandrashila Trek

This trek can be completed anytime between April to November but the best time is the months of April, May, and June. If you could not make it in either of these months then September and October are equally good. April will offer you an opportunity to seek out some snow which will add a charm to the overall experience. May and June will have you traveling in very pleasant weather. September will present you with lush green and October would turned the valleys golden with the arrival of Autumn.
Best time for Tungnath Trek: April, May, June, September and October
Best time for Chandrashila Trek: May, June, September and October
The reason why I removed April for Chandrashila because if there was heaps of snow, then you may not be able to reach all the way to the top.

How to reach Tungnath / Chandrashila 

Chopta is where you will need to get so as to visit Tungnath and Chandrashila but there is no direct buses to chopta. You have to first get into one of the bus from Haridwar/Rishikesh that goes to either to Joshimath (get down at Rudraprayag) or Ukhimath/Gaurikund (get down at Kund).
Kund is the point at which the road bifurcates – A left from here goes to Guptkashi and Gaurikund (Kedarnath route) and the straight road goes to Ukhimath, from where Chopta is around 29 kms away. Hence I recommend reaching Kund in order to get to Chopta.
The distance from Haridwar to Kund is approximately 7 hours by Bus. Once you reach Kund at around 12:30 pm, shared cabs (sumo) are available for Ukhimath (₹20) and thereafter from Ukhimath to Chopta (₹50) Depending on the luck with shared transport one should reach Chopta at 2 or 3 pm.
Bus connections to come back from Chopta to Ukhimath and then back to Haridwar/Rishikesh
Shared taxis run all day from Chopta to Ukhimath and cost around 50 Rupees. From Ukhimath to Haridwar, the earliest bus is a GMOU service which leaves at 05:30 am and reaches Rishikesh at around 11:30 am and Haridwar at 12:30 pm. Most buses to Haridwar/Rishikesh/Dehradun leave from Ukhimath in the morning hours.
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Accommodation Choices

Accommodation is readily available at Chopta, Baniyakund, Gopeshwar, Dugalbitta, or even at Tungnath. No need to book beforehand there are many simple guest houses and homestays to stay at Chopta, ranging from as little as ₹100 per person to 500 Rupees for a four bed room with attached bathroom, find a place per your liking and negotiate an on the spot deal.

Best Timing for Views :

 There is basically 2 ways you can have your trek:
  • Scenario No. 1 : One can do a day hike to Tungnath and Chandrashila and come back the same day.
  • Scenario No. 2 : The extremely fit trekkers can reach Tungnath, where there are simple staying options in the style of rustic guest houses. The sunrise views from Chandrashila Top are the best. Staying at Tungnath can enable a person to reach Chandrashila Top before sunrise, otherwise it can become a tough situation to begin the trek from Chopta and expect to reach Chandrashila for sunrise!
NOTE : The important thing to remember would be that the dhabas and restaurant in Chopta charge a bit much even for the simplest of meals. they will not provide you with a menu listing down the prices but will just tell you verbally what’s available. you may order a few basic dishes and then will get slammed with an enormous bill with no choice but to pay. Before you order anything, please make sure that you check prices of the items.
Suggested Read: Kedarkantha Trek – Detail Guide to Plan & Prepare on Budget
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Post Author: subhadeep

3 thoughts on “Tungnath Chandrashila Trek – How to Plan & Prepare on Budget

    Sanjeev Gupta

    (May 26, 2020 - 12:55 pm)

    Nice writeup

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