(January 2017) An unplanned trip where we had planned for Shimla but headed to Chopta. The weather forecast for Chopta was for Snow. It was decided; we were heading to Chopta instead of Shimla not knowing that the experience was going to be probably a once in a lifetime for many of us. Packed our bags and left from our office at around 10 PM. The plan was to reach Chopta by next day afternoon, take rest and then start trekking to Chandrashila early in the morning, though we never reached Chandershila."Tungnath is one of the highest Shiva temples in the world. It is in the mountain range of Tungnath in Rudraprayag district. The Tungnath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. It is located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft), and just below the peak of Chandrashila (13,000 ft). The temple is believed to be more than 1000 years old. There is a legend linking the place to the Pandavas, from Mahabharata era."
It was a long and tiring journey. The weather was pleasant all the way and all were looking at me because I had suggested Chopta in place of Shimla and there were no signs of snow yet. As we were approaching Chopta, just few kilometers behind the wind started getting chilly and we also noticed some negligible spots of snow. On reaching MAYADEEP HERBAL RESORT at Duggalbitta the staff setup the fire and we were preparing for the BBQ. Suddenly light snow started coming down from the sky. It was around 5 PM. It lasted only few minutes.
"There is no electricity available at this place as this is a sanctuary, I believe. The gen-set runs for three hours from 7 PM – 10 PM and then the staff provided small solar emergency lights for night (if needed).
The kitchen runs on firewood. We carried the item to cook with us. The resort staff cooked for us and we also cooked some of the items ourselves (credit goes to our dear Mr. Rakesh (Rocky))."
|We, the TEAM!!!||Much needed warmth of Fire!!!|
|And the uphill task begins!!!||Journey back to home started!!!|
In the way we met some people coming down and they informed that it is not possible to reach Tungnath due to bad weather, low visibility and probably some wolfs have also gathered there. Ignoring the earning we continued our journey. However, it was getting more difficulty every minute. Taking rest was also dangerous as feet would start freezing in wet socks. At one point just around few hundred meters below Tungnath we faced a mild snowstorm. The air was blowing from all sides with snow directly hitting our faces making difficult to move ahead. We stooped for a while. Our guide who has already been warning since the beginning of the dangers of weather and wild animals post sunset, said it’s a matter of life and death and we should return as soon as possible to reach the hotel before it gets dark.
|Snow just started!!!||Getting a little more of it!!!|
|On the way to Tungnath!!!||On our way back from Tungnath!!!|
We descended back sliding on the snow on slopes throughout our way back. When we reached the camp at around 8:00 PM the snow was almost knee deep. Wet jackets were frozen from outside and even eyebrows had ice on them.
|!!!!||We could only stay here for a minute!!!|
|The Tungnath Temple!!!||The Tungnath Temple!!!|
Next day Govt road clearance party had cleared the snow leaving behind a thin hard layer on road surface making it difficult to drive. Our tempo traveler once skidded off but luckily not towards delft. The vehicle was not moving. Had to put some soil on road to move the vehicle. After few hundred meters had to stop because road was still not opened for traffic. After waiting till noon, we finally left that place with a lot of memories to carry home. It was dense fog on the way from Haridwar to Delhi with no visibility, but our driver kept moving. And, as always, another journey was over with lot of experiences and memories!
|Getting ready for the trek!!!||view from resort!!!|
|ice plated road!!!||Lucky! We only got stuck here!!!|
|View from resort!!!||View from resort!!!|