India is home to some of the most unexplainable wonders. Churdhar trek is the one wonder that leaves everyone who visits it awestruck and mesmerized by its beauty. The trek to Churdhar Peak takes you to the highest peak outside the Himalayan range. This peak is so high that you can easily spot it from Kasauli, Shimla, and Kufri. The trek is well defined and is hence so popular.
Table of Content:
- Churdhar Trek: An Overview
- The Meaning behind Churdar
- Mythology of Churdhar: Deity Chureshwar Maharaj
- The Best Time to Visit
- How to Reach
- Churdhar Trek Routes
- Churdhar Trek: Detailed Itinerary
- Nearby Places to Visit
- Things to Carry On the Trek
- Churdhar Trek Cost
- How to Get Fit For the Churdhar Peak Trek
- Useful Tips Regarding the Trek
- Summing Up
The Churdhar peak is surrounded by a 56 square km forest sanctuary that adds an element of tranquillity to the whole experience. The trail takes you through dense Deodar forests, Gujjar pasture lands, and terraced fields.
Churdhar Trek: An Overview
- Where it is Located: Himachal Pradesh
- Number of Trekking Days: 2 - 3 days
- Trekking Grade: Moderate
- Max Altitude: 3,647 meters
- Trekking Distance: 7 km (shortest route) to 50 km (longest route)
- Trail Type: The trail initially takes you through rocky and grassy paths. Once you cross that part, the trail is rather easy and moderate. However, as you reach the last part, the trail becomes steep and kind of vertical if you take the shorter route.
- Base Camp: Nohradhar
- Best Season: May to November (Avoid the Monsoon season)
- Livingit Rank: Enthusiast - Advanced
The Meaning behind Churdar
Churdhar, also called Choor Chandni, is the tallest peak of the Shivalik Himalayas. The term “Choor Chandni” translates to “mountains in bangles of snow”. It is from here that you would get to witness beautiful snow clad peaks of Kedarnath and Badrinath.
Mythology of Churdhar: Deity Chureshwar Maharaj
Several legends are associated with Churdhar trek. According to one such legend, Churdhar has been named after the deity Chureshwar Maharaj who used to reside here in the ancient times. According to the mythology, he was sent away by Lord Shiva when he struck lightning at the top of the hill.
According to another legend, Churdhar is thought of to be the abode of Dev Srigul (He is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva) who was born to Raja Bhokru of Sirmaur. Churu was the servant of Srigul and a devotee of Lord Shiva. The peak is supposed to have been named after him. There was a battle and Srigul fought it bravely against the Mughals. He handed over his kingdom to his loyal servant Churu and hence the name.
The Best Time to Visit
The best time to go on the Churdhar trek is November to March. The peak is not exactly in the Himalaya and hence the snowfall isn’t as blinding. However, there is a good amount of snow and if you are someone who enjoys the snow, winters might be the perfect time for you.
Trekking during the monsoon season isn’t recommended. The weather in higher altitudes can be quite unpredictable. Also, the trails are going to be quite slippery, making it difficult for you to walk.
- Winter: 22 to 27 degree Celsius (day); 11 to 16 degree Celsius (night)
- Summer: 30 to 35 degree Celsius (day); 20 to 25 degree Celsius (night)
- Monsoon: 28 to 33 degree Celsius (day); 23 to 28 degree Celsius (night)
How to Reach
To begin the Churdhar trek, you would have to reach your base camp, Nauradhar. But, first, you would have to reach Chandigarh. From Delhi, there are several means of transport available to reach Chandigarh.
There are daily flights between the Delhi and Chandigarh.
Trains like Shatabdi Express from Delhi towards Kalka can also be taken. You can get off at Chandigarh.
You can also choose to drive or rent a car. The distance is about 131 kilometres and if you take the NH5, it would take you approximately 4hours 35 minutes to reach Chandigarh.
Once you reach Chandigarh, take the Kalka-Shimla highway to reach Solan. Buses are rather easily available at Chandigarh from Sector 43-ISBT. Once you reach the Solan Bypass road, get off there. Hire an auto rickshaw or walk towards D.C. office, Solan (1 km). Take a bus to Rajgarh from there and from Rajgarh, take a bus directly to Nohradhar.
Churdhar Trek Routes
You can approach the Churdhar summit from three sides.
- The most popular trail is from Nauradhar in Sirmour district where you would trek 20 kilometres uphill.
- Haripurdhar in Sirmour district is the longest route and here you would need to trek for about 50 kilometres.
- Chaupal, situated near Shimla, is the shortest route where the trekking distance is only about 7 kilometres.
Churdhar Trek from Chopal
To reach Chopal you can hire a car from Shimla. From Chopal take a taxi or bus to reach Sarain. This would be the starting point for the Churdhar trek. If you are coming from Delhi, take the NH1 and reach Ambala. Once you get there, take NH22 to reach Shimla. Keep moving on NH22 which goes to Kinnaur from Shimla. The road would take you through Sanjauli and Dhali up to Theog. Upon reaching Theog, take the road to Chopal via Deha, Sainj, and Khirki. From Chopal, follow the road that leads up to Nerwa and then go onto the road that leads to Sarain.
Churdhar Trek: Detailed Itinerary
Chandigarh to Nauradhar to Jamnallah
To start your adventure, you would need to travel to Chandigarh. Once you reach Chandigarh, opt for the transportation you find convenient to reach Nauradhar. Nauradhar is the town from where you can easily purchase basic essentials. Upon reaching Nauradhar, it is recommended that you rest for some time, have your breakfast, get your lunch packed before beginning your journey.
Once you start trekking, you will find that the first half an hour of the trail is quite steep. After that, you will walk through a forest filled with pine trees till you reach Jamnallah. You can camp here for the night if you like. During the evening, you can explore a bit and then sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy the mesmerizing view. There are a few shops here where you can stock up on food and refill your water bottle.
Alternatively, you could also make Teesri your camping site. Teesri is a little place on the ridge of the mountain and has a few tea shops. For this, you would have to walk further away from Jamnallah. It is completely up to you to choose your camping site.
Jamnallah/Teesri to Churdhar Peak and back to Jamnallah
The next day, it is recommended that you pack your lunch from one of the shops and have a good breakfast as the journey ahead is a long one. If you are coming from Jamnallah, you would have to reach Teesri that is about 5 kilometres away. The climb would take you approximately 3 hours. This is the easiest part in the entire trek and you would be moving through the forest filled with pine trees.
The serene surroundings and the forest’s fresh fragrance creates an amazing atmosphere. If you are starting from Teesri, it won’t take you long to reach the temple which is only about 2 kilometres away from there. As you proceed towards the temple, you will cross the tree line from where the number of trees slowly starts to decrease. The tree line is a geographical term that refers to a hypothetical line from where the trees cannot grow.
Once you reach the temple, you can have lunch there. From there it would take you about an hour to reach the Churdhar summit. The view from the top is absolutely stunning and magnificent. From here, you would get 360 degrees view of several Himalayan ranges.
In his blog, Gagandeep Niak, a trekker who visited the Churdhar peak, speaks about the view from the top, “The moment left me speechless. View at the top was splendid as I fell in love with the beauty of the place. A 3600 view of mountains covered with snow can be seen. We were surrounded by Dhauladhar, Pir-Panjal Himalaya in North, and the Gangetic plains in the south. Sun was setting and there was a rainbow in the sky. We were at the altitude of 3647 metres. No other mountain was as high as the peak we were on.”
Once you have spent some time admiring the wonderful views, you can begin to go back down towards your campsite at either Seema or Jamnallah. It is advisable to stay at Jamnallah as there are several shops there where you can have dinner.
Jamnallah to Nauradhar to Chandigarh
On the last day of the trek, trekkers usually get up in the morning, have breakfast, get their lunch packed and trek towards Nauradhar. It would take you approximately 3 hours from Jamnallah to reach Nauradhar. From there, with your convenient means of transport, reach Chandigarh. This is where your trip comes to an end.
Nearby Places to Visit
The Churdhar Trek has lots of places that you can visit to forget your worries and simply relax. Let’s take a look some such places.
Kedi is about 27 km from Chopal and 7 km from Nerva and is the perfect destination for campers. This is the ideal location to be at if you want to get away from the dissonance of city life. At Kedi, there’s a forest rest-house that is situated away from the village area on a ridge. The rest house itself has a huge open space around it which is bounded by tall pine trees. Getting up in the morning and looking at the view outside from your window is an experience that cannot possibly be explained in words. From Nerva, there’s a motorable road that connects it to Kedi. You can also choose to walk from Nerva to Kedi.
This place is quite popular for its tranquil and calm atmosphere and its quaint surroundings. It is located at an altitude of 932 meters and has an enjoyable weather all year round. Near this place, the main attractions are Military Round, Villa Round, Hospital Round, ancient palace, temples and much more. Right below the palace is a beautiful garden that you can visit.
Situated on the banks of River Sutlej, this town is on the national highway 22 (NH22). This charming town has several temples, shops, and lanes. There are quite a number of temples here as well and the ones that you must visit would be Dumgit Buddhist Temple, Raghunath Temple, Padam Palace, Narsingh Temple, and Ayodhya Temple. An international stature fair known as "Lavi" is also held here on the 25th of November each year. This town was also once the capital of Bushahr, a princely state.
Things to Carry On the Trek
As is quite obvious, there are a number of things that you should to carry for any trek. Let’s go over the things you would need for this particular trek.
- Trekking backpack: Use a backpack that has comfortable straps and a rain cover. (The backpack should be sturdy so that it can easily carry the weight of all the things that you have packed).
- Water Bottle: Carry at least two water bottles, of one litre each. Also, make sure to carry at least one thermos flask which can be used to carry warm water or tea or coffee.
- Trekking Gear: A walking stick or trekking pole and a head torch.
- Snacks: dry fruits, energy bars, chocolates, and electrols.
- Cutlery: A coffee mug, a spoon, and a coffee mug.
- Plastic Bags: Most trekkers like to carry a few plastic bags so as to store wet clothes or other things.
- Map: Whether or not you are familiar with Google Maps, always carry a map of the area in case your phone battery runs out or you lose connectivity.
Clothes and Shoes
The kind of clothes that you take with yourself for the Churdhar trek would depend on the season.
- Two to three warm layers of clothing: If you are visiting during the summer, you wouldn’t need such warm clothes but temperatures do tend to drop during night time. However, if you are visiting during the winters, it might be really cold. Pack two light layers of woolen and fleece jackets for the trek.
- Full-Sleeve T-Shirts and Trekking Pants: It might be cold but traveling to high altitudes can cause sunburn. To prevent this, it is advisable to carry full sleeve T-shirt. For this trek, just one pair of trekking pants should be enough. You might carry an extra one in case the one you are wearing gets wet.
- Thermals: If you are someone who feels cold a bit too much, you can carry thermals with yourself for the night time.
- Trekking Shoes: The trail is filled with stones and is rather steep towards the beginning. Therefore, it is best to carry good quality trekking shoes that have excellent grip.
Personal Medicine Kit
- Moov or Relispray for sprains and common aches
- Avomine for prevention of motion sickness
- Avil 25mg for allergies
- Crocin for fever
- Diamox for prevention of AMS
- Omez for prevention of acidity
- Crepe Bandages
Always consult with your doctor before coming on any trek, no matter how fit you feel.
- A Good Sunscreen
- Hand sanitizer
- Wipes and Toilet paper
- Lip Balm, toothbrush, and Toothpaste
When you are travelling, there are quite a few documents that you would need to carry with yourself.
- Your Original and photocopy of photo identity card (Voter ID card, Aadhar card, driving license, etc)
- Medical certificate filled in by your doctor
Churdhar Trek Cost
There are lots of trekking tour providers that give good Churdhar trek packages. The cost, inclusions, and exclusions differ from provider to provider and package to package. Here's a general list of what is included in and excluded from a basic Churdhar trek package:
- Trekking gear
- Travel insurance
How to Get Fit For the Churdhar Peak Trek
The Churdhar trek is moderately difficult and on this trek, you would go up to a height of 12,000 feet. The trek might not be difficult but you definitely would have to walk and climb a lot. Therefore, it needs to be ensured that you are physically fit.
Exercises for Flexibility
Flexibility is essential when it comes to trekking. Indulge in some stretching exercises like stretching your quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back muscles, hip flexors, and shoulders. Remember to keep your muscles relaxed.
Exercises for Cardiovascular Endurance
As you would be trekking for nearly 3 days, you need to have an excellent endurance. Begin to prepare your body at least a month in advance. Start by jogging every day at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace each day. You could even indulge in cycling, swimming or steps climbing.
Exercises for Strength
Strength is undoubtedly essential when you are going trekking. You are going to be trekking uphill with your backpack which isn’t an easy task. Your legs are going to be very tired if you aren’t physically fit and do not have enough strength. Strengthening exercises can help your legs. Begin by doing some 3 sets of squats with each about 8 squats in each set.
Useful Tips Regarding the Trek
- Have sufficient cash with you and do not rely on the ATM’s in Nauradhar. This is because the ATM’s in this area usually remain closed on Sundays and all the other holidays.
- Refill your water bottle at every chance that you get. Your bottle might not be completely empty but, it is best to remain prepared in case you do not find a water source ahead.
- From Churdhar Peak if you plan to come to Teesri, there’s a direct path that would save you about 2 hours of time. It is best to ask the locals regarding this route. They would be able to guide you in the best possible way.
- Stock up on food if you spot a shop on your way.
The Churdhar Trek is one of the most popular treks because of the fact that isn’t really that difficult. You can decide to either trek here alone or with your friends and family members. Also, there are a lot of beautiful places around here that you can visit. Just make sure that you have a map with yourself, aren’t trekking at night time, and are carrying all the basic gears. Make proper plans and be safe. This way you would be able to experience and enjoy the beauty of this place to the fullest.
Have you ever been on a trek before? If yes, how was your experience? Do share it with us in the comments.