In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is the God of Destruction. Many temples in India and other parts of the globe are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Different religious meanings are given to all ancient temples of Lord Shiva in India and around the World.
Tungnath Mahadev, the ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, will be our topic today. This ancient Shiva temple located at Chandranath Parvat( Mountain) at the highest elevation in the World is also the highest altitude Temple.
Five temples dedicated to Lord Shiva are in Uttarakhand Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar Mahadev. All these temples of Lord Shiva from ancient times are called Panch Kedar. The Tungnath Mahadev Temple, the third of all Panch Kedar temples in order, is the most important.
Tunganath translates to the God of Mountain, or Lord of the Peaks. This temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is situated just below Chandrashila’s peak. It is thought to be over 1000 years old. It is in close contact with the Mahabharata Pandavas.
It is located in India’s Uttarakhand, in the Mountain Range of Tunganath of Rudraprayag District of Garhwal. Tunganath temple offers something for everyone, whether they are nature lovers or devotees of Lord Shiva. Its location is such that it adorns the natural scene.
- Tungnath Temple Mythology, History & Legends
- Tungnath Temple Architectural Significance
- Geography of Tungnath
The scriptures indicate that this is where Lord Shiva laid his hands. It is also said that Pandavas constructed the temple to please Lord Shiva.
The temple has great spiritual value and is so beautiful that visitors will be captivated by its idyllic location. It is an ideal spot for avid trekkers, revealing the Gharwal country’s incredible beauty. It is a beautiful, gushing cascade that looks almost like it has just appeared out of heaven.
The trek to the temple is covered in brownstones, but the breathtaking view of the pasture makes trekking a memorable experience.
Tungnath Temple Mythology, History & Legends
According to Hindu mythology, Shiva and Parvati reside in the Himalayas. Shiva is located at Mount Kailash. Parvati, also known as Shailaputri, means “Daughter of Mountain.” A lot of folklore is related to the Garhwal region, Shiva, and the creations of the Panch Kedar temples.
Panch Kedar is a folk legend that refers to the Pandavas, heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. In the epic Kurukshetra War, the Pandavas defeated and killed their cousins — The Kauravas.
They wanted to atone for their sins of fratricide (gotra-Hatya) and Brahmanahatya (“killing of Brahmins — priest class”) during the war. Pandavas desired to be free from sin, so Lord Krishna told them that Lord Shankar would bless them. They then handed over their kingdom to their kin and set off to search for Shiva and seek his blessings.
They first visited Varanasi (Kashi), a holy city believed to be Shiva’s favorite city and is known for its Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Shiva, however, wanted to avoid them because he was incensed at the deaths and dishonesty of the Kurukshetra War and was insensitive to the prayers of the Pandavas.
He assumed the form of Nandi, a bull, and fled to Garhwal. The Pandavas did not find Shiva in Varanasi, so they went to Garhwal Himalayas. Bhima, the second Pandava brother, stood astride two mountains and began to search for Shiva.
He saw a bull grazing in the vicinity of Guptakashi (“hidden Kashi”) — his name is derived from Shiva’s hiding act. Bhima recognized the bull as Shiva immediately. Bhima grabbed the bull’s tail and hind legs. The bull-formed Shiva vanished into the ground, but he later reappeared in part, with the Kedarnath hump raising and the arms appearing at Tungnath.
Rudranath’s face, the Nabhi or navel, and stomach appear in Madhyamaheshwar. Kalpeshwar’s hair also appears. The Pandavas were pleased to see Shiva’s return in five forms and built temples at each location. So the Pandavas were freed from all their sins.
A variant of the tale credits Bhima is credited that He caught the bull and stopping it from fleeing. The bull was then torn into five pieces and appeared at five locations within the Kedar Khand region of Garhwal, Himalayas. The Pandavas built the Panch Kedar Temples. They meditated at Kedarnath to seek salvation, performed Yagna, and then went through the process of making the Panch Kedar Temples.
The sacred path known as the Mahapanth (also known as Swargarohini) led to salvation or heaven. Panch Kedar Temples were built in North-Indian Himalayan Temple Katyuri architecture, with the Tungnath, Kedarnath, and Madhyamaheshwar. Temples look similar.
It is a religious rite that Vishnu can be visited at the Badrinath Temple after the pilgrimage of Shiva’s darshan at Panch Kedar Temples has been completed. As final proof that the devotee has sought blessings from Shiva, These ancient texts by the Hindus contain the Epic saga Ramayana legends according to Vedic mythology.
The Epic mentions that Lord Rama meditated once at Chandrashila Peak, close to Tungnath Peak. The ancient texts say that the King of Lanka, the Ravana, came to this area and meditated before Lord Shiva to receive a boon.
Tungnath Temple Architectural Significance
It is believed that the Tungnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is more than 1000 years old. The architecture of this temple is very similar to that of the Kedarnath temple. Several small temples have been built around Tungnath’s temple.
Tungnath Temple, a cute temple located just a few meters from Tungnath peak, is called Tungnath Temple. Although this temple was not built, it is an ancient one that the Mahabharata legends Pandavas visited.
They worshiped this spot first and called it the Lord’s Peak, or the Tungnath. Some say this temple was built by Pandavas. This temple is one-tower and has its sanctum Sanctorum right below the temple’s dome.
This tower is an obelisk with a dome-shaped porch at the top. The enclosure contains beautiful paintings and temples made of stone. The dome has 16 openings, and the highest crown features a wooden stage at its top.
It is home to a 1-foot-long black rock (the Shiva Linga), slightly tilted to the left and depicting Lord Shiva’s arm. The temple structure was constructed with granite stone locally mined from the same mountain. The temple’s roofs are also made from stone slabs.
An image of Nandi in stone faces the sanctum at the temple’s entrance. The mandatory image of Lord Ganesha is located at the temple entrance to the right. Ashtadhatu idols made of eight metals are also found in the main sanctum.
Also housed are the images of the Pandavas and the silver plaques from the four Kedar shrines. This structure is constructed in the Hindu Nagara style, which can be seen in North Indian temples.
The Gharwal rulers and King of Nepal altered this temple many times in the medieval period. This temple’s main deity is believed to be self-declared. This temple serves as an almighty home for Lord Shiva. This invited devotees to come from all over India.
Come to this holy month to offer your prayers to Lord Shiva for a blessed and joyous life.
Geography of Tungnath
Tungnath, located in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag District, Devbhoomi, is 3470m (11385 ft). Tungnath is situated at the highest elevation of Lord Shiva Panch Kendra temples in Uttarakhand.
Tungnath Mountain Range is home to holy rivers such as Alaknanda and Mandakini. These two rivers are not the only ones that flow here. The peak of Tungnath is also believed to be the source of the three waterfalls.
From which the Akashmani River is formed. Chandrashila can be found about 1.5km from Tungnath. It is believed that Lord Rama visited Chandrashila to meditate after killing Ravana. Chandrashila’s elevation is just 3690m (12106 ft) above sea level.
Unforgettable views of the Himalayas’ major mountain ranges, such as Kedarnath and Bandarpunch, Nandadevi and Neelkanth from the Chandrasila summit Panchachuli, etc. These are visible.
To reach Tungnath, you must start your journey in the agricultural fields of Chopta. Cross the alpine meadows and continue to the summit of Tungnath.
Crossing the forests of Rhododendron and Coppice, Garhwal University, near Tungnath, also maintains a botanical station there. Dugalibitta also has a rest house near the temple’s top. This is for tourists and devotees.
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary is located near Tungnath, established in 1972. It is also known as the Kedarnath Kasturi Deer Sanctuary by its residents because it has endangered musk deer. The Kharchula Khark near Chopta has also been built to save and increase the number of musk-deer.
Amazing Facts about Tungnath Temple?
- Tungnath, one of the World’s most revered temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, is among the five Panch Kedar temples in the Rudraprayag region of Uttarakhand.
- It is also worth noting that the Tungnath temple, a majestic rock temple, is also notable.
- The temple is surrounded by small shrines dedicated to various Gods.
- Adi Shankaracharya discovered the temple, and now the temple’s priest is a local Makku village Brahmin.
- The Shivaling is found in the temple with the idols of Goddess Parvati, Kalbhairav, and Vyas.
- The temple is situated at 3,680m (12,073ft). This is why the snow in front of it always remains frozen.
- This magnificent temple is 1000 years old.
- Tungnath, an ancient temple built in a unique architectural style that is North Indian, is well-known.
- According to Hindu mythology Arjuna, the third Pandava, built the Tungnath temple. He also prayed at the shrine to Lord Shiva.
- The temple is only open for six months of the year. The symbolic idol of Lord Shiva, Tungnath, is moved to Mukkumath during the rest of the year. It is located 19kms from Tungnath.
- Temple has a local Brahmin priest, unlike other Panch Kedar temples with priests from south India. Maithani Brahmins also officiate at this temple as priests.
- Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple in March, April, and May to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings.
timings of Tungnath Temple
estivals celebrated at Tungnath Temple?
Mahashivratri is a festival in honor of Lord Shiva. The Adi Guru is believed to be the source of Yogi tradition. This is done by remembering Shiva, chanting prayers, fasting, yoga, and meditation.
Dussehra is a significant Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Dussehra marks the day Lord Ram killed Ravana to establish peace and prosperity. Devotees light an effigy representing Ravana as a ritual.
Opening and Closing ceremonies at Tungnath
The Tungnath temple is at a higher elevation than the rest of the region and is closed in winter because it snows heavily. When winter recedes, the temple is reopened to devotees. The path to the temple then becomes accessible.
Temple marks significant occasions for devotees. The temple priests perform a grand aarti on both occasions. The Tungnath Temple is open when the Char Dhams in Uttrakhand is opened during April or May each year during Vaisakh Panchmi, on the date that is determined.
Baisakhi by the Badro Kedar Temple Committee. The temple is closed in winter after Diwali. Instead, the image of the deity moves to Mukunath, located 19 km from Tungnath. During this time, priests were present.
Things to do in Tungnath Temple
Tungnath Temple offers the following activities:
Trekking and Hiking: The whole Chopta Valley is known for its hiking and trekking activities. There are more than ten trekking trails nearby, ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced.
Photography: Tungnath is the perfect place to shoot a photo or video. You should seek permission from the temple authorities before you plan any photography-related activities at Tungnath. A drone may be allowed here. Chandrashila offers a great place to capture panoramic views of the Garhwal Himalayas and Kumaon Himalayas.
Bird-watching: The Chopta Valley is full of bird-watchers after the monsoons. Tungnath, Chopta, and more than 180 bird species are part of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.
Yoga and Meditation: Tungnath, Chandrashila, and Mahavira are the most popular spots for those who plan to practice Yoga or Meditation. Legend has it that Lord Rama visited Chandrashila to meditate after he killed Ravana, the demon king. We don’t need any more explanation!!
what is Tungnath famous for
- Tungnath Temple – Tungnath Temple is located in the Rudraprayag district, amongst the magnificent mountains of Tungnath. It is the most elevated Shiva Temple in the World. It is arranged at the height of 3680 meters.It is one the Panch Kedars. It is thought to be from an ancient era of almost 1000 years ago.
- Chopta – Switzerland of Uttarakhand. Chopta, a charming hamlet yet to be explored by tourists, is also known as the “Mini Switzerland” of Uttarakhand. You will wake up to a calm, refreshing breeze and the sound of birds in Chopta. This is far from other hill stations’ noise and the city horns. The morning view from Chopta is inspiring when the sun reaches the snow-laden Himalayas.The dwindling conifers of this area, such as deodars, rhododendrons, and pines, make Chopta rich with fauna and flora.
3.Rawan Shila – There is a large rock near the tungnath Temple known as Rawan Shila. It is believed that Ravana did penance to Lord Shiva at this location.
- Chandra Shila–This is the peak a kilometer from Tungnath Temple. It is the Moon Rock. It is located 4000m above sea level. This place is associated with legends.The summit of Chandranath Paravat, where the Tungnath temple is located, is Chandrashila. As a vantage point, the majestic Chandrashila summit offers a magnificent view of the Great Himalayas.
According to Hindu Mythology, after defeating Demon Ravan, Lord Rama came to Chandrashila to mediate.
5.Akash Ganga – It is a small Dhara (stream of water) in Tungnath. The velvety grasslands are where the Akash Ganga flows. You can descend from the hills of Tungnath.
- Deori Tal-The Deoria Tal can be found on the Ukhimath–Gopeshwar road. It is reached via a 2km trek through Sari Village. The Deoria Tal visit is an enjoyable experience by itself. You can walk through the village, take photos, and then chat with the inhabitants.
Pines surround the lake, and it reflects these pines and the Chaukhamba peak once more. The lake is a significant attraction in Chopta. During peak season, there are tons of people who visit it.
7.Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary – The Kanchula Korak Deer Musk Sanctuary is home to the famous Musk Deer. Still, more importantly, it has a wealth of lush green vegetation that locals claim have not been scientifically classified.
It covers an area of 5 square kilometers. You can spend more time here than in other places by simply lying around with binoculars and exploring the area.
8.Madhyamaheswhar-Madhyamaheswhar, the second of the five-Kedars, is approximately 60km from Chopta. Madhmaheshwar, located 60km from Chopta, has a clear view of Mount Chaukhamba. Ransi is the village where you will start your trek. We recommend beginning the hike at Ransi early as it is only 18 kilometers long.
What is the best time to visit Tungnath?
Tungnath is best visited between April and November. Tungnath is at its best in summer when it is in full bloom and the air is crisp and clean. The lush green vegetation of pine deodars and rhododendrons covers the peaks. The region is inclined to avalanches during the storm. It is best to avoid it.
Tungnath, despite being a no-go area during winters, is still covered in snow until early March.
Tips For Visiting Tungnath Temple
- The temple is not permitted for photography.
- Visitors must bring trekking boots, a thick winter jacket to keep warm, sunscreen, water, and any prescribed medications from their doctor.
- Waterproof trekking shoes are essential as you may slip on the snow. For around INR 200, you can also rent shoes at the start of the trek. A walking stick can be carried for extra support on the walk.
- If there aren’t any charging points along the trek route, you can bring power banks to charge your phones.
- The trek route has minimal internet connectivity. There is only 2G internet connectivity available on the trek route.
- Raincoats are an excellent option to keep you dry in the event of rain. There are no covered halting points along the route.
accommodation facilities in Tungnath
There are no hotels or guest houses at Tungnath’s top. Chandrashila is 1.5 km away at the highest point @ 37-3800 meters from Tunganth. Travelers are pitching tents in the middle of Tungnath. Lately, some budget accommodations/lodges have opened up at Tungnath. Priests from the local area mainly operate these properties.
They are limited in amenities and can be booked upon arrival.
foods available in Tungnath
Tungnath has only three or four essential restaurants that offer food. Maggie, tea, plain rice, dal, and seasonal vegetables for trekkers and pilgrims. Tungnath strictly prohibits non-vegetarian foods and alcohol.
How to reach Tungnath?
By Air-Dehradun is the best way to get to Tungnath. The closest air terminal to Chopta is Jolly Grant Airport, which is situated in Dehradun. It takes approximately 9 hours to travel the 220km distance from the airport to Panger village, close to Chopta.
By Rail-The nearest railway heads to Tungnath are Dehradun and Haridwar. They can be found at an approximate distance of 204 km, 184 km, and 162km from Chopta. Major trains such as Rajdhani, Jan Shatabdi, and Jan Shatabdi run between these cities and the rest of India. Some buses and taxis take you from Dehradun, Haridwar, or Rishikesh to Panger village near Chopta, where the trek begins. You can find many taxis/cabs right outside the railway station.
By road-Delhi, Dehradun, and Haridwar are connected to major Indian cities via private or state transport buses. Dehradun and Rishikesh are located at 162 km, 184, and 204, respectively, from Chopta.
Panger village can be reached from Dehradun or Haridwar in approximately 9 and 8 hours, respectively. It takes about 7 hours from Rishikesh to get to Panger village. You can also find cabs and taxis that will take you to Rishikesh or Haridwar from any major Indian city.
Distance between Delhi and Chopta: 450 km. It takes 10-12 hours to drive down from Delhi to Panger village. You can either hire a taxi or drive your car.
Tungnath Travel Tips
Tungnath trekking requires that one be physically fit. Although the trek is not challenging, running, cycling, and swimming can improve cardiovascular fitness. You can also hire mules or porters, especially in peak season.
Avoid traveling during monsoons as Uttarakhand’s hilly region is subject to constant rain. The area is also prone to road blockages and unexpected landslides.
Tungnath is located in a remote area, so facilities such as ATMs and petrol pumps are not readily available. To find these facilities, one must travel from Tungnath to Ukhimath or Gopeshwar.
tungnath temple trek
Start your trek to Tungnath from Chopta. Chopta to Tungnath – 4 km
Tungnath to Chandrashila 1.5 km
It is a gradual but easy ascent from Chopta to Tungnath. It is straightforward and paved.
The paved path eventually ends after Tungnath and becomes a broken trail. It is slightly more complex and steeper. You can return to Chopta in the evening if you get started early.
The Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila journey is loaded with individuals during the summers. People who visit the nearby Kedarnath Temple often also see the Tungnath temple. Tungnath is only 70 km from Kedarnath.
The Chopta Valley is a great place to travel in the spring because it’s full of red and white rhododendrons. It is much easier than the winters.
However, snowfall in Chopta Tungnath Valley is impossible after April and until October. It is recommended that older people visit Tungnath or Chopta during summer.
It’s always wise to trek to Tungnath or Chopta in the monsoons. After the monsoon rains, the valley looks greener and more beautiful. It is not too hot or freezing, and the temperature is pleasant. You may also have a couple of sweaters or jackets.