Chopta Rhododendrons 20

Chopta Travel Guide: Tungnath-Deoria Tal-Kartik Swami-Trekking

This is a comprehensive Chopta Travel Guide including trekking to Tungnath and Chandrashila as well as other major treks in the area including Deoria Tal, Kartik Swami, and Anusuya Devi with route map & stay details. It is one of the easier and shorter yet most rewarding treks in Garhwal that can be done without any guide or assistance. Yet, I am trying to spoon-feed everything for the extreme novice. Advanced travellers can skip the basics and check the parts they need.

Chopta Travel Guide

Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila-Deoria Tal-Kartik Swamy-Trekking Map

Before going any further, take some time to understand the routes. These are not exactly according to scale but should give you enough idea about the directions you need to take. As you can see, there are several treks (shown by dotted lines) in that region between Rudraprayag and Chamoli/Gopeshwar. They are not far from each other and can be wrapped up in one trip. A long weekend of 4-5 days from Delhi should be ideal.


Approximate Distance Chart around Chopta and Deoriatal

Rishikesh to Rudraprayag 140 kms
Rudraprayag to Ukimath 42 kms
Ukimath to Sari 12 km
Sari to Chopta 16 km
Ukimath to Chopta 29 km
Rishikesh to Gopeshwar 214
Gopeshwar to Mandal 14 KM
Gopeshwar to Chopta 41 KM
Rudraprayag to Kanakchauri 40 KM
Banswara to Kanakchauri 37 KM

Where and what exactly is Chopta?

Actually, Chopta is just a small settlement on the road with a few restaurants. It looks like a collection of restaurants and small hotels. When one says that he has trekked to Chopta, it basically means he has trekked upwards from that point to the Tungnath Temple and further up to the Chandrashila Top. Tungnath is one of the Panch Kedars (5 major temples dedicated to various forms of Shiva) of Garhwal and so it is an important pilgrim destination. Chandrashila is the peak of that particular mountain beyond the temple.

Chopta Rhododendrons 19
As good as it gets

But the Google Map shows a Chopta very near to Rudraprayag!

Yes, there are two Choptas in that region! Check the map, I have marked the other Chopta in Red while the Chopta that leads to Tungnath is marked in orange. If you are going to Kartik Swamy from Rudraprayag, you will come across the 2nd Chopta. Actually, this is a bigger village and hence it is shown more prominently by google, thus confusing newbie trekkers. Also, there is a different place called Chopta Valley in Sikkim. Do not confuse this with that one too. This post is about the Chopta from where the Tungnath-Chandrashila Trek begins.

How to reach Chopta?

There are multiple routes. But you will have to reach Haridwar-Rishikesh first and move up along the NH 58. After that you have multiple options,
• Break your journey at Rudraprayag, go to Ukimath and then Chopta.
• Break your journey at Rudraprayag, go to Ukimath and then to Sari. Visit Deoria Tal and go to Chopta the next day.
• Break your journey at Rudraprayag, go to Ukimath and then to Sari. Visit Deoria Tal and trek to Chopta the next day via Rohini Bugyal.
• Break your journey at Gopeshwar (which is ahead of Rudraprayag), and then come to Chopta via Mandal.

Buses and shared cars should be available on these routes. You can also try hitchhiking at the last stretches.

Now, I personally chose the 2nd one. The 4th route is longer but the road is supposed to be better. On the other hand the 3rd option is interesting but will take one day extra to accommodate more trekking, something we should have planned beforehand.

What on earth is Rohini Bugyal?

Rohini Bugyal is an alpine meadow that connects Chopta to Sari Village (Deoria Tal). Instead of taking the road, one can trek through the Bugyal and negotiate the thick forests to reach from one place to another. However, this will take one extra day and will be risky without a local guide. I have not tried this route yet.

What exactly is to be done at Chopta?

The primary activity in Chopta is trekking. It is not a very long or hectic trek. The road is well built and there is no need for guides or assistance. Once you reach Tungnath (Around 3600 meters), you can visit the ancient Shiva Temple and explore the hills. You will easily locate Himalayan Monals, an endemic species of pheasant. However, the prospects of locating other animals are thin. There are places to stay in Tungnath and you can also camp.

Himalayan Monal (10)

The next day if the time permits you can trek upwards and summit Chandrashila which is around 4000 metres. I personally had to abandon this part for various reasons but it is not very difficult either.

What are the accommodation options at Chopta?

When I first visited the area back in 2014, accommodations were limited and basic. However, tourism exploded in the region after that. So, the entire stretch is now full of homestays, campsites, lodges, and what not!

  • So, you can stay near Chopta. There will be many hotels, homestays, and campsites in and around the place.
  • You can also stay at Tungnath after the trek, where there are some basic accommodations. If you stay at Tungnath, the next morning you can quickly hike up to Chandrashila Top.

If budget is not an issue, fancier options have also come up. This time we were hosted by PeaceTrips, a traditional mudhouse turned into a homestay.  It is a couple of KMs ahead of Chopta, towards Gopeshwar. Chopta Snowfall 7

The Best Season to Visit Chopta-Tunganth

It is technically accessible throughout the year although a lot depends on weather and landslides. The winter trek is more difficult as the route is completely covered in snow. But the best season is spring and early summer when the Rhododendrons are in full bloom. Between March to early May should be your preferred time.

Chopta Rhododendrons 12

Can I get snowfall in Chopta?

It obviously snows in the winter. But you can get it even in the spring or early summer. But it depends on your luck. A sudden storm or rain can dramatically reduce the temperature and cause a snowfall. This time, we did get lucky and witnessed both snowfall and rhododendrons in March.

How long is the Chopta Tungnath Trek?

The actual trek is around 4-5 KMs from the starting point on the road to the temple of Tungnath and should not take more than 2.5 hours for an average trekker.

Can we enter the Temple?

14206705306 63cc949cd8 o1
Tungnath Temple

The Tungnath Temple gets closed in the winter and remains so in spring too. During this time, the deity is moved down to Ukhimath. It reopens sometime in the summer. However, you can still visit the temple, although the main door of the sanctum sanctorum will remain shut.

How Long is the Chandrashila Trek?

Chandrashila is a further couple of kilometers from Tungnath. It should take another hour of trekking from the temple.

What to buy at Chopta?

The squash made of Rhododendron, called Buransh by the locals is supposed to be good for health. You will get to buy bottles at the restaurants in Chopta.

Where and what is Deoria Tal?

Most people also cover the lake called Deoria Tal in this trip, which is in a slightly different direction but not very far from Chopta. You approach the lake from Sari Village, which is around 15 kms away from Chopta. On a clear day, you can see reflections of Chaukhamba and other peaks on the water although I have never been lucky in that sense.

DSC 0543


How to Reach Sari Village and Deoria Tal?

You will find shared cars at Ukhimath going towards Sari. They should not cost much per head although I don’t remember the exact amount now. Also, while there is a motorable road, there is also a steep trek to Sari Village from the main road, which starts from a village called Mastura (see map). This is a beautiful stretch of terrace cultivations that reminded me of another hike in GHNP.

What to do at Deoria Tal?

Deoria Tal is in a comparatively lower region at around 2300 metres and you need to trek for around 2.5 kms from Sari Village to reach it. You can camp by the side of the lake. The tour operators at Sari can help you with that.

Sari Village (3)


Where to stay at Sari or Deoria Tal?

Accommodation in Sari used to be cheap and basic when I visited in 2014. But this time I noticed that several new constructions have come up and the prices have also shot up. People were quoting prices like INR 1500-2000 although I think they can be brought down with negotiation. Most of the people in the village are involved in tourism and trekking. The same people can also organize trekking.

Where and what is Kartik Swami?

As you can see from the map, Kartik Swami is located on a slightly different route, but again, not too far away. It is basically a temple on a hilltop, dedicated to Kartik, the son of Shiva. A short 3 KM hike starts from a place called Kanakchauri, 40 KMs from Rudraprayag.

Why visit Kartik Swami?

Apart from the temple, you can get an excellent view of many peaks from here on a clear day. You can 360-degree unobstructed views from the top and even at the starting point, the peaks are visible. The whole stretch is covered with rhododendrons.

Kartik Swamy Temple

How to Reach Kartik Swami?

  1. From Rudraprayag, just look for buses going to Pokhari. Kanakachauri is on the way and you will reach it easily in an hour and a half.
  2. However, if you are coming from the Chopta side, there will be no direct connectivity. In that case the suggested route is Chopta-Ukhimath-Banswara-Mohankhal-Kanakchauri. You may have to change your vehicle (mostly shared cars) at each of the points.

Where to stay in Kartik Swami?

We just did the trek and came out to Rudraprayag and did not stay ourselves. There is an expensive-ish accommodation at Kanakchauri as per my knowledge. But the best option is to stay near the temple itself. You need to talk to the priest about this.

Read the complete Kartik Swami Travelogue here.

Are there any other treks in the region?

Yes, there can be scores of trails in the region. The trail to Rudranath, another of the Panch Kedars along with Tungnath, is nearby. We did one part of this trail during my recent visit, to the shrine of Devi Anusuya and Atri Muni, which was an experience beyond my wildest imaginations.

Check this post for the Anusuya and Atri Muni Trek.

Anasuya Atri Muni Trek 20
Narrow but steep

What is the right season for Rhododendrons?

All over the Himalayas, the rhododendrons bloom in the spring season. The exact timing can fluctuate according to weather conditions. But March and April should be safe bets. You should see both red and pink rhododendrons.

Can you connect us to a guide?

While I trekked without a guide, you can surely hire one from Sari Village. They can also help you arrange for camping equipment such as tents and good quality sleeping bags to withstand the cold and take you to more remote areas that you cannot do alone.

I can suggest Umendra Singh Negi of Chaukhamba Himalayan Adventure for this purpose.

Phone 8958647802/9456534062
Email [email protected]

Jitaditya Narzary

65 thoughts on “Chopta Travel Guide: Tungnath-Deoria Tal-Kartik Swami-Trekking”

    1. Nalin Kant Mudgal

      I am 69+ and my wife is 64+ we are stationed at Haridwar,practically with no health problem except age.I am driving my car any where we go.Now suggest me which route we should take for Tungnath treak.Time is not a problem but it should be economical..

  1. Your DIY guide is good!
    I am planning to do the Chopta – Tunganath and VOF treks this year. Could you tell me best time to visit to get clear views of Himalayas?
    Last year in May I trekked from Munsiyari to Khuliya top and the sky was completely hazy, hiding all the peaks all day long. Huge disappointment for me.
    Even your photos show cloudy skies.


    1. Thanks for dropping by…
      The weather in the hills is completely unpredictable… May should have been better… June and July will be even more difficult in terms of clarity of views… I suggest you try something post-monsoon/autumn season…

      Have you seen my trips from last september?

      1. Thanks for the reply. I saw pics of Chitkul just now. Amazing pics.
        Yes, I should will plan for Sept/ Oct instead.

  2. i want to visit tunganath at september . for this reson i want a gide . please help about this matter .

  3. Christopher Guna

    Excellent write up and the information is placed so well. The picture frames show the maximum view of the area. We a group of 5 are going to these areas in the first week of May 2016 as well as to Parvathi valley. Your blogs and info are so much helpful in our planning. Thank you so much and wish you to have many more beautiful trips in future.

  4. Hi,
    We are a group of 7 adults and 2 children, out of which 3 are senior citizen.
    1. Can kids aged 12 and 11 do this trek? They are very active kids and have trekked before.
    2. Where can we leave our parents while doing this trek as they cant walk with us?
    3. Is Sari a better place for them or Rudraprayag? We shall need good accomodation facilities.
    4. Do we need to hire a guide for the trek?
    5. If so, whom will you suggest?

    Thanks a lot in advance. Regards.

    1. Hi,

      I did come across a group with several young kids and they seemed to be fine. It is not that long a trek and should be fine.
      Your parents can probably stay at Rudraprayag and visit the temples out there. You can also consider Devaprayag that comes before it.

      Sari is a small village. Very convenient for the trek and great views. But not sure about all the facilities. Rudraprayag is a proper town that will have everything.

      It can be done without guides, the route is straightforward. If you must take one, you will find them in Sari village.

  5. Hi, read the DIY details, want to visit tungnath/ chandrashila next , have very limited 4 days in hand.
    Just few queries
    1. is it possible to reach chopta to haridwar by road in a day, basically how long does it take?
    2. I guess stay arrangements can be done in Chopta?
    3. where to take permits from as i read on many blogs?
    4. can i do chopta to tungnath/ chandrashila in a day & back?
    Thank you so much!

    1. You can easily reach Sari or Chopta from Haridwar in one day… start early in the morning and you will have time left for the Deoria Tal trek in the afternoon…

      You can stay at Tungnath after the trek…

      I am not sure what permits you talk about. We did not need any. Probably it is needed if you go to Chopta from Deoria Tal directly through the jungles… it is an alternate route through Rohini Bugyal that I mentioned. I have not done it but you will need a guide for that purpose.

      It is possible but ideal would be to trek to Tungnath from Chopta, spend a night up there, summit Chandrashila the next morning, and then come back.

  6. Hi

    It is a very informative post and photos are very beautiful as well. I have a plan to visit the place in the month of September.

    Can you tell me wheather Chowkhamba peak will remain snow covered in this time of year ?

  7. Khyati Joshi

    Hi Jitaditya,

    A very well written snapshot with the required info, thank u for this. However, please suggest some stay options at Chopta, planning a trip to Chopta > Tungnath > Chopta > Chandrashila this month. And if you think, Chopta is not an option then as per your blog, its best to stay at Sari.
    Request you to please suggest if we should cover Deori Tal as well and also include some place worth the visit nearby, its for about a week that we look to travel for. Also wanted to know if we would be able to find some snow in the month of April at Chopta or any other place. Would we be fortunate to find some snow at Auli though?

    Thank you for your inputs and time in advance. 🙂

  8. We are planning to visit this trek in January end. Is this right time to visit this place as we want to see snowfall.

  9. This is an excellent primer for those heading for chopta deoria tal trek. More so for independent trekkers since most guided operators have guide and everything is already arranged. The views are stunning…Must do trek!

  10. Chopta looks like a beautiful place for a trek. I think I’d definitely like to go in the spring – the picture with the Rhododendrons in bloom sold me. Love the view from the top as well!

  11. Your pictures are always so beautiful and transport me to the destination. I have, unfortunately, never seen Himalayan Monals, so that certainly made for a pretty picture. And thanks for the guide details, that’s always useful to make plans 🙂

  12. I have read this post about a year back when I was searching for some information to choose between trek to Kedarkantha and Tunganath. I chose to do the Kedarkantha trek then. This post came as a reminder that my trek to Tunganath is still pending.

  13. A squash made of Rhododendrons? That definitely sounds interesting and I would love to try that. Chopta looks like a nice place to trek. I had only heard of Chopta valley in Sikkim before , not of this one.

  14. The Chopta trek seems really mesmerizing. We always look forward to your posts as they cover some of the most picturesque places in Uttarakhand. This one too is a real eye opener to the ethereal beauty of this enchanted land. I love the picture of the pheasant, looks so beautiful.

  15. Beautiful pictures and such an informative post. I am planning to travel to Rudraprayag this week. Will it be possible to take a trek to chopta in February and will it be too cold?

  16. Looks like an absolutely incredible trek. The guide is clear and helpful to get started planning. Buransh sounds like an interesting drink, I can’t imagine what it tastes like.

  17. Nadine Cathleen

    This looks so beautiful! I really want to go trekking again! Will hopefully find a nice trip for this summer 🙂 🙂

  18. It sounds like an easy trek to do with beautiful sights to see on the way. I would do the detour to see the lake as well, it looks very nice. I can’t believe how cheap it is to spend the night at Chopta. That’s like £3-£4/night!

  19. Very useful guide on Chopta. Never knew of the place.. so bad my GK! 😛 🙂
    I loved reading the queries you are getting and your answers. Good work! Keep at it!

  20. Rashmi and Chalukya

    Sometimes when we get tired of those same old planned and touristy places we want to escape to places like Chopta where we can get lost amidst nature. No one to guide or assist except nature itself to allure us into its pristine landscapes. Those vistas of the green meadows and the lush green hills are awe-inspiring. Thanks for such wonderful posts of places we hadn’t known much about.

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  23. Dipanjan Pal

    I’ll go to chopta first from Haridwar, then tungnath and chandrashila…
    On the way to return ,I want to come to sari village via rohini bugyal and deoriytal.
    Is it possible to come down the way from chandrashila to deorytal in a day??
    Next day I’ll come to haridwar via sari village.

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  25. hi Jitaditya, great post. I am planning to go to chopta, deoriatal, tungnath from 25th till 27th Dec with kids (5 yrs) – how feasible is it.

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  27. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your blog, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work

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  29. Your post is quite informative. We’re(8 people) going to Badrinath-Chopta-Haridwar this October end exactly in the same sequence. Can you help us with the following ?
    i) How long does it take to reach Chopta from Badrinath?
    ii) Where to stay at Chopta ?
    iii) Do we need to hire a car to reach Chopta from Badri & Haridwar from Chopta or local transport is available ?


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  31. Many many thanks Jitaditya for this important and highly informative post. I also like to travel with full freedom without any tour operator. I will visit the circuit in the second week of June.
    Thanks and regards.

  32. Very well explained. I recently visited there and it’s an amazing experience.
    I have captured and did vlogging for the whole trek. the best part when you sit on Chandrashila summit complete trek one side and this mesmerizing view is another side. you forget everything and get involved with the aroma. Thanks for sharing such valuable details.

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  35. I had done the whole Rishikesh to Chandrashila part with guides back in 2010. Wow! Was just researching something to write about it and I found your post. Let’s go there once again 🙂

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