Long post alert! Settle down in the sun with a mug of hot beverage of your choice and then begin to read, hope you enjoy the blog!
My daughter had been pestering my husband and me to go on a full fledged camping trip for a while. We were waiting for the right time, the right destination and the right preparation needed to face the challenges that would come with camping. 6 months back a friend of mine shared pictures of her experience on a trek to the Chandrashila peak via the Tungnath temple. The pictures were postcard perfect and we went ahead and our bookings were made for the last week of March to Chopta, but that didn’t happen instead the lock down did:-( However, our bookings were patiently waiting for the perfect time and the Diwali week it was! We literally packed in every bit of warm clothing we owned and hit the road for our week long road trip to the Himalayas
The route we had zeroed in was Gurgaon -> Rishikesh ( stopover at night ) -> Devprayag ->Rudraprayag -> Ukhimath -> Chopta ( our campsite ). The drive to Rishikesh was long, dusty and bumpy owing to the construction of the roads. But the location of our hotel – Himalayan Hideout @Shivpuri more than made up for it . Quaint, comfortable cottages, with easy access to the Ganga beach and a view that was breath taking – pure bliss!
After a good night’s sleep, yummy breakfast- the highlight of which was homemade multigrain bread and crunchy peanut butter spread, it was time to resume our journey. The roads got better and smoother as the route progressed. 2 hours into the journey and our first pit stop was at the Devprayag sangam – confluence of the rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi. The two rivers join here and flow on as Ganga. Those interested and brave ( during the cold weather ) can take a dip here!
A lip smacking meal at a local dhaba was enough to keep us pumped for the rest of the journey. An hour and a half later it was time to stop at confluence number 2 – Rudraprayag – sangam of the rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. They meet here to flow on as Alaknanda. The current of the river Alaknanda is very strong and hence a dip here is banned.
The last leg of our road trip was to our camp at Chopta – a 2 hour uphill drive from Rudraprayag. Driving at night through the numerous hair pin bends was scary, thrilling and accompanied by a few pangs of anxiety! 8 pm and we touched base at what we thought was our camp. Little did we know that we had to trek in the dark with loaded suitcases for a km before we reached our camp – Magpie resort. The camps are basic and function completely on solar energy. Good sunshine means an hour of electricity and 2 buckets of piping hot water the following day . However, what the camp definitely provides irrespective of weather is amazing food! The first night was freezing cold( -3 degrees Centigrade), we wore layers and layers of clothes and tucked ourselves beneath layers of blankets and fell asleep. Our first glimpse outside our tent in the morning was the view below. We were blessed to witness the first snowfall of 2020!
Snowfall also meant that we had to cancel all our plans to go trekking. We stayed put at the camp , played board games, fought over UNO, made new rules , enjoyed mugs and mugs of tea, made new friends and said a tiny little prayer for the weather god to be kind on us and called it a night!
The next day was bright and sunny, the campsite was green and showed NO sign of snow ,the snow peaked Himalayas were calling to us and we decided to trek to Devriya Tal – a little lake at the end of a 2.5 kms uphill mountain trek. The trek is a simple one, there are steps which make it easier and the view that awaits is certainly worth it.
This trek acted like a warm up for the big one, the following day – a 3 km uphill trek to Tungnath Temple-the highlight of our trip!
It is always good to keep an extra day while planning a trip to the hills since the weather can be unpredictable. The 1 extra day we had planned helped us extend our stay at Chopta and complete the Tungnath trek. The trek is classified as a ‘level 0 /beginner’s ‘ one. The trek itself is about 3 kms to Tungnath temple and 2 kms further from there to the famous Chandrashila peak.
Trekking stick, snow boots, water bottles, some light snacks and off we went. Firm and slow in the snow, the melting ice was causing many of the other trekkers to slip. We watched our step as we slowly trekked uphill.
We took several stops to capture the views from different devices, but nothing is as good as the eyes. 3 hours and 30 minutes later, we spotted a signboard that said ‘TUNGNATH TEMPLE’. A sense of pride gushed into all of us as we beamed at the entrance of the ancient temple – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
The confident trekkers that we had become , we completed our downhill trek in 1 hour 45 minutes:-) We celebrated our completion with hot plates of Maggi. With a heavy heart we bid adieu to our campsite and headed back to Rishikesh.
We were motivated trekkers by the end of the trip and we decided to continue the same even in Risikesh. We trekked about 2 kms into the jungle into a little clearing to find ourselves staring at a beautiful waterfalls – the Patna waterfalls. We dipped our feet into the pool and squealed in delight as the cold water gently wetted our feet:-)
Minutes before we headed to Gurgaon, we made a quick stop at the Neergarh waterfalls. The water was too hard to resist for the junior and the husband and they jumped right in!
Feeling satisfied, heads full of memories and a heavy heart we headed back home. Now we are waiting for another break, researching on places , any recommendations please?