Picturesque Chopta, the Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand

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Picturesque Chopta, the Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand

The tiny, picturesque Chopta will enchant and captivate you as it does millions of tourists. Located at a height of 2680 meters, Chopta is blanketed by forests of pine and deodar and guarded by tall mountain peaks such as the Chandrashila, standing an imposing 4000 meters high. From here you can have a grandstand view of the Nanda Devi, Trishul and Chaukhamba Mountains. Chopta is pristine and virginal in its beauty and innocence that will go straight to your heart. In addition, it is the starting point of treks to these mountains and to Tungnath.

Chopta during april monthWhy Visit Chopta?

The picturesque hamlet of Chopta has remained fairly unexplored by travelers; however this ‘mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand’, is grabbing a lot of attention in the recent times. This place has attracted a lot of attention of adventure travelers and trekkers as well as for people looking for some peace, quiet and some time away from the maddening city crowd. Surrounded by the snow-laden ranges of Himalayas, this lush green valley offers invigorating views of the surroundings. The entire place is enveloped in a peaceful sense of serenity which is accentuated by the presence of unparalleled natural beauty. Chopta is also frequented by trekkers who use this place as a base for trekking further to Chandrashila peak and the highest Lord Shiva temple, Tungnath.

Places to See and Things to Do

  • Tungnath, about 4 kilometers away, is where you will find the holy temple of Lord Shiva, one of the five Kedars. You have to trek from Chopta to Tungnath over rough, steep rocky terrain.
  • Chandrashila is about 1 kilometer up and above the Tungnath temple, at a height of 4000 meters, the highest point of the mountain on which Chopta is located, giving you an astonishingly spectacular view.
  • Deoria Tal is a lake in the vicinity, at a height of about 2350 meters, where you can go boating, watch birds or take in the surrounding breathtaking scenery.
  • From Chopta you can take a trip to the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary abounding in pines and oaks and populated with variety of fauna. One of the most popular activities here is bird watching since the area is full of a number of bird species.
  • Atrimuni Falls is another attraction here at Chopta.
  • Then there are excursions to Madhmaheshwar, Gaurikund, Gopeshwar and Kalimath.

For adventure seekers, Chopta is the start of trekking to Tungnath, Deoria Tal and Chandrashila—all of them challenging to say the least. If these are too difficult you can clamber down to grasslands and stroll along relatively flat lands of the Bugyal Meadows. Then you can go snow skiing in winter, rock climbing, rappelling and mountain climbing.

Since Chopta is located at a height of over 2500 meters, you would need to spend a day or two to get acclimatized to the rarefied atmosphere before you attempt to go trekking or undertake any strenuous activity.

Activities to Do in Chopta:

  • Trekking: The trekking expedition for Chandrashila and Tungnath kick starts from Chopta and is an easy grade of trekking. The trek is famous for its mesmerizing sites, forests of conifers and oak and breathtaking beauty which is experienced throughout the trekking journey.
  • Photography: Chopta is famous for its invigorating views and sites which you cannot easily forget. The Himalayan beauty is worth capturing which makes it a prime centre of photography. The 360 panoramic views of the mountains gives every photography enthusiast an opportunity to capture some one of a kind and unique beauty which this place has to offer.
  • Camping: Being located at a height, the landscape of Chopta is the best place to spend some time among the beauty of nature. If you want to have some quality time with your friends, family and loved ones then going on a camping expedition to Chopta and sleeping underneath the stars will definitely be a unique experience.
  • Bird Watching: The forest of Chopta consists of a thick covering of oak and conifer trees. Apart from being the ideal spot to enjoy some peaceful time away from the hustle and bustle of the city life this place is also home to a range of colorful birds making it an incredible oasis for bird watchers and nature lovers alike. February to April is considered to be the best time to go on bird watching.
  • Yoga and Meditation: on your visit to Chopta it is the perfect opportunity for you to let your hair down and relax by performing some meditation activities or doing some yoga. The clean air works great in purifying your heart and refreshing your mind. Since the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh gets crowded during the peak seasons then you can choose to go on a yoga and meditation retreat to Chopta.

Excursion Places from Chopta:

Dodital Lake

  • Deoria Tal – The path leading up to Deoria Tal from Chopta is quiet easy. The entire trekking route to this place is 2 kms with the starting point being Sari Village which is situated on the Guptkashi – Gopeshwar road and it sits on an elevation of 2,438 metres above sea level. Form here you can savour some beautiful views of the Chaukhamba peak or just relax by the crystal clear water of the lake.
  • Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary – Situated on the Chopta – Gopeshwar road at a distance of 7 km this place is famous for its breeding of musk deer. This unique sanctuary pans over an area of 5 sq. m. and is the perfect place for every visitor looking to have a different type of an experience. This is a great place to witness some rare wildlife of the Himalayan region.
  • Gaurikund – Situated at a distance of 50 kms from Chopta and as the name suggests this place holds immense religious and sacred significance for every spiritual traveler and devout Hindu. This is due to the fact that it is believed that it was here that Lord Shiva had agreed to marry goddess Parvati.
  • Gopeshwar – Known all over the town for being the administrative headquarters of district Chamoli the hamlet of Gopeshwar is one of the most loved tourist site for spiritual as well as travel purposes. This place has numerous tourist attractions like – Vaitarni kund and the ancient temple of Lord Shiva.

Getting There

Rishikesh is the nearest railway station, about 202 kilometers away. From here you can take taxis or travel by bus to Chopta. Chopta lies on the road connecting Gopeshwar with Guptkashi and you can easily get buses to this charming hill station from major towns in Uttarakhand. Dehradun is the nearest airport, about 220 kilometers away, from where you take buses or travel by taxis the rest of the way. The best time is from March to October. As the bus or taxi winds its way up slowly up the steep roads, you can admire the scene, drink in the fresh air and relax. When you arrive here, it is as if you have arrived in a different era and a different place.

Best Time to Visit:

The months of summer which lasts from April to may experience a comfortable weather condition where the temperature ranges from 30 to 10 degrees Celsius. This is also considered to be one of the most pleasant time to visit this beautiful hamlet. If you want to experience the cool Himalayan winter then going on a trekking expedition to Chopta during the months of November, December, January and February are the best, this is also the best time to experience some snowfall. Remember not to venture out on the hills during the monsoon months which last from July to September since the entire region remains susceptible to landslides and avalanches.

Food Availability:

Being located in a small hamlet and at a height, this place does not have a plethora of dining options available. In the name of restaurants there are roadside Dhabas and food stalls available which serve some popular North Indian and Chinese dishes. The food availability also depends from hotel to hotel since a number of resorts and hotels have their own restaurants whose menu is a bit more diversified and you have a lot more delectable food items to choose from.

Accommodation

There are resorts and hotels in Chopta ranging from modest to luxury types. You can also opt to stay in tent style resorts or stay out in the open in tents, a popular method with adventure seekers.

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