Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tungnath Chandershila

I was planning Tungnath and Chandershila for quite some time. A casual mention with a friend ultimately finalized the program. We were four, me, Dh, Bb, Sk and everybody had this or that to do. We had only 2-3 days but still we decided to touch our destination and reach up to Chandershila for sunrise. We started around 9-30 from Kurukshetra on Thursday night, 18 June in my M-800. Sky was clear and no chances of rain. They do not allow tourist vehicles beyond Rishikesh after 7-30 PM. We reached ‘Muni Ki Reti’ around 2-00AM and decided to sleep here. At 5-30 in the morning the view of Ganga and the hills on Swargashram side was wonderful. After freshening up we rushed towards Chopta via Rudraprayag. The road from Rishikesh was being recarpeted and some patches were in a very bad shape. We had our breakfast in Srinagar around 10-00 AM and around 3-00 PM we were in Chopta. Had our lunch here.

The sky was almost clear, there are good staying options in Chopta in the form of independent huts with 2-3 beds. 8-10 eateries also cater to the needs of the pilgrims and commuters. Some hotel wallahs started telling us that we were late and it will be better to stay in Chopta for the night start for Tungnath next day to come back in the evening but after a few more FAQs we started our climb of 3 ½ or 4 kms exactly at 04-20 PM. After warming up you start feeling that the climb is although steep but doable at a steady pace as the track is well laid and cemented. It is smooth climb all along no descents at all. We reached Tungnath at 7-00 PM the setting sun was presenting a beautiful sight.

Tungnath does not have many staying options but still, as per information, the local Dhaba-wallahs can provide beds to as many as 150-200 tourists. We stayed in the Kali Kamli Dharamshala and paid 150/- for a room with quilts (just workable). Hot water is provided in buckets @ 10/-, No electricity they use kerosene lamps and solar lights. You wake up with pure carbon in your nostrils. The temple is at a very peaceful location at around 3700 meters. Oxygen is low here and quick ascent prompted AMS. I was uncomfortable with acute headache but an anti-gas pill helped me as the head-ache is mainly caused due to gas trouble and undigested food in the upper stomach. We started for Chandershila at 4-00 in the morning as suggested by the locals. Walk up to Chandershila around 1.5 kms is through rocky terrain and can take 1 to 1 ¼ hrs. The first rays of the Sun fall on Choukhamba and the Sun rises 25 minutes later from this.

One can very easily return by 7-00 AM. Chandershila is at a height of 4000 meters from MSL. Those who do not want to walk can hire ponies (one way around 200/-). If you are staying in Chopta, ponies can be hired up to Chandershila for Sunrise even. There are so many meadows around and all along the route, I wonder what it will be like in the clouds flying past you. The beauty of the area is heavenly.

Chandershila can be done from Delhi also in the same time, Chopta is 210 kms from Rishikesh.

Some more photos.