Tungnath temple is the highest temple of Lord Shiva in the world and the highest Panch Kedar temple, situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand state. It is peacefully adorned on the ChandranathParvat. Tungnath is perched at an elevation of 3680m above sea level and is considered to be more than 1000 years old. One can find the idols of Goddess Parvati and other gods other than Lord Shiva. This holy temple was discovered by Adi Shankaracharya. The Tungnath temple is made up of stones that are beautifully painted on the outside depicting the tall towers. One can find a wooden state present on top of the highest dome that has sixteen openings. The roof of the temple is composed of stone slabs and at the entrances, there is a stone image of Nandi facing towards the idol of Lord Shiva.
One can even find the image of Lord Ganesha on the right side of the temple entrance. One can witness the Ashtadhatu inside the main chamber that is composed ofeight metals, idols of saint Vyas and Kala Bhairav and the followers of Lord Shiva. There are images of the Pandavas and four other Kedar shrines present inside the premises. one can see at the end of the trek paths of Tungnath the entrance of the temple is marked with the presence of the name Tungnath painted atop an arch. The sacred Tungnath temple opens when Chardham of Uttarakhand remains open during April or May every year during Vaisakh Panchmi on the date that is decided by the Badri Kedar temple committee on Baisakhi. The temple remains closed during the winter season after the Diwali festival.
As per mythology,the Tungnath temple is associated with the epic Mahabharata. Pandavas were guilty of killing their brothers in the war then Vyas Rishi told the Pandavas that their sins would be expiated only if Lord Shiva pardoned them. Pandavas then began to search Lord Shiva in the Himalayas but the lord shiva kept avoiding them as the Pandavas were guilty. To escape from the Pandavas, Lord Shiva disguised himself as a bull and took refuge underground. The place where the parts ofthe bull were found is now the renowned Shiva temples. Tungnath temple is the place where hishands were supposedly seen. Other tales are associated with these places.
The symbolic image of Lord Shiva is moved to Mukunath during the winter season that is around 19kms away. The trek route to Tungnath starts at Chopta and involves easy to medium grade trekking. This trek takes one through the enchanting meadow, hushed villages and conifers and oak forests. During the winter season, the trekking route gets covered in snow. Make sure that one is physically fit for the trek to Tungnath. On your trip to Tungnath make your stay cosy at some of the budget accommodation loges here. These properties are operated by local priests with limited amenities and services and can be booked on arrival. Most of the tourists prefer staying at Chopta or Duggalbitta that has a handful of accommodation and Swiss Tent camps.
The USP of this place is its location amidst beautiful mountain ranges. It is truly a perfect combination of spirituality, serenity, beauty and tranquillity that makes it a must-visit destination. There are some places near Tungnath that can be explored on your Uttarakhand tour-
Chopta is a very popular and loved destination among travellers. In the state of Uttarkhand and is renowned for its pretty meadowland. This land is perfect for those who are enthusiastic about trekking and camping.
It is located on the Gopeshwar-Ukhimath road at an altitude of 2900m in the Rudraprayag district of Uttrakhand.. it is situated at a distance of just 4kms from Tungnath.
2. Deoria Lake
The stunning Deoria Lake is situated on Ukhimath-Chopta road at an altitude of 2387m. Deoria Lake is a high altitude lake that is surrounded by the Chaukhamba range. One can witness the snow-capped mountains here. This place is perfect for camping.
3. Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary
KanchulaKorak Musk deer Sanctuary is around 7kms from Chopta. It is a protected forest and is spread over 6 sq km area and is full of musk deer.
One planning to visit Tungnath can found accommodation in Chopta thatis just 4kms away. One can go camping at Chopta as it is the best options here. There are several budget hotels available in Chopta that provides all the basic facilities to travellers. Apart from this one can find decent accommodation at Rudraprayag and Ukhimath.
Just take a 1.5km trek from Tungnath and you will reach Chandrashila, an epitome of serenity and bounty of nature. It is truly a paradise for flora and fauna lovers. This sanctuary offers a peaceful place for musk deer and some of the other Himalayan wildlife.
If planning to visit the Tungnath temple just keep some points in mind- photography is not allowed inside the temple. One should carry trekking boots, a thick winter jacket for the cold, sunscreen, water and prescribed medicines from the doctor. Keep in mind to carry waterproof trekking shoes as there are high chances of slipping on the snow. Shoes are also available for rent at the starting point of the trek. One can even carry a walking stick for extra support during the trek.
Best Time To Visit Tungnath
The best time to visit Tungnath is during the summer season when it is feasible for the devotees to seek the blessings of Lord shiva. The weather at this particular time remains quite salubrious with the temperature remaining 16-degree Celcius on average. Visit this place between April to November. The peaks are covered with a lush green cover of pine deodar and rhododendrons. Monsoon season can be a challenging time to trek to this sacred temple but lo of devotees can be seen visiting the temple during the monsoon season too. Bur one should avoid the monsoon season as this place becomes prone to landslides. On the other hand, winters are truly a favourable time for the adventurers who enjoy the beauty of Tungnath all covered under the blanket of snow. It is very chilly during this particular season when the temperature touches sub-zero and a maximum of 4-degree Celcius.
How To Reach Tungnath
One can reach Tungnath only by trekking from the base point at Chopta that is well-connected by roads with places like Rudraprayag that has much-much better connectivity with prominent cities and towns of Uttarakhand. A 3km trek starts for Tungnath from Chopta and another 1km trek from the temple make one reach the Chandrashila peak that it's at a height of 4000m. the nearest airport is the Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun city from Chopta-the last accessible place by a vehicle that is situated at a distance of around 203kms away. The nearest railway station is the Haridwar railway station that is well connected with the prominent cities and towns in India and is located at a distance of around 180km from Chopta. Chopta is the last accessible place by a vehicle that enjoys a good connection with the destination like-Rudraprayag byroad. One can find state-run buses till Rudraprayag and from there one can hire a cab to reach Chopta.