Tungnath Temple is one of the Panch Kedar temples of Lord Shiva, present in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It comes second, if one follows the order of Panch Kedar temples. Also, it is the highest Shiva temple in the world. Moreover, Tunganath mountains form Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys.
Tungnath temple is also a huge tourist attraction because it’s also a trekking destination along with being a pilgrimage site. Of all the Panch Kedar trek routes, the route to Tungnath is the shortest: only 4 km from Chopta that can be covered in approximately 3–4 hours. It is a part of the Char Dham Yatra PAckage in Uttarakhand.
What is the history of Tungnath Temple?
According to history, Tungnath Temple is 1000 years old. Devotees believe that Adi Shankaracharya discovered the temple. As per alegend, Pandavas slew their kin Kauravas during the Mahabharata. Hence, Rishi Vyas advised them to go to Lord Shiva, because only he could absolve them of their sins.
However, Shiva kept hiding from them and took the form of a bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptakashi. Later, Lord Shiva’s body parts as a bull rematerialised at five locations. The Pandavas then built Shiva temples in these five places, popular as ‘Panch Kedar’ (Find out more about the Char Dham Yatra). Tungnath is the place where the bahu (hands) appeared.
What is the significance of Tungnath Temple?
The significance of Tungnath Temple is that it has a local Brahmin priest, unlike the other Panch Kedar temples which have priests from southern India. Also, Maithani Brahmins officiate as priests at this temple. Devotees believe that Adi Shankaracharya set this tradition. Moreover, the temple remains closed during winters.
Then, the symbolic image of the diety is shifted to Mukkumath. Tungnath is at the top of the ridge which divides the waters of rivers Mandakini and Alaknanda. Moreover, the temple lies about 2 km below the Chandrashila Peak. Most of the pilgrims arrive at the temple during summers because it becomes inaccessible during winters because of extreme weather conditions.
What are the timings of Tungnath Temple?
Here are the timings of Tungnath Temple:
|Morning Aarti||6 AM|
|Evening Aarti||6:30 PM|
What are the festivals celebrated at Tungnath Temple?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Tungnath Temple are:
- Mahashivratri: This festival is in the honour of Lord Shiva. Devotees believe that he is the Adi guru who is the source of the Yogi tradition. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga as well as meditating.
- Dussehra: This is an important Hindu festival which is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Dussehra is the day when Lord Ram killed Ravana and established peace and prosperity. As a ritual, devotees burn an effigy of Ravana.
How to reach Tungnath Temple?
Here’s how to reach Tungnath Temple:
- Air: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport, at a distance of about 260 km.
- Train: The nearest railway station is Haridwar, which is about 225 km away from Chopta.
- Road: State-owned buses and private buses run regularly to and fro from the neighbouring cities and states to Chopta.
Where to stay near Tungnath Temple?
Some of the places where one can stay near Tungnath Temple while undertaking the Char Dham Yatra are:
- Chopta Hotel/Guest House: This hut is near the temple and one can stay at night after the trek instead of going back to Chopta, specially if you want to enjoy 360 degree Himalayan view from Chandrashila peak in the morning. Tents can also be arranged on additional costs on prior notificatin depending upon weather conditions.
- Chopta- 3 bedroom stay and cafe: It is present right the start of famous Tungnath-Chandrashilla Trek point. Moreover, Indian and Chinese food is available on request. It also has a beautiful camping ground and the hotel can arrange bonfire depending on the weather conditions.
What are the other Panch Kedar destinations?
The other Panch Kedar destinations are:
- Kedarnath Temple: It is the first, and the most famous temple among the Panch Kedar templs of Lord Shiva. Kedarnath temple is the place where the hump of the bull form of Lord Shiva appeared. The temple remains closed during winters and at that time, devotees bring the idols of the temple to Ukhimath for worship. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kedarnath, the ‘Lord of Kedar Khand’, which is the historical name of the region.
- Rudranath Temple:It comes third, if one follows the order of Panch Kedar temples. It is followed by Madhyamaheshwar and Kalpeshwar temples. Moreover, the face of god Shiva is worshipped as “Nilkanth Mahadeva” here. Rudranath Temple is the place where the face of Lord Shiva appeared.
- Madhyamaheshwar Temple: It comes fourth, if one follows the order of Panch Kedar temples followed by Kalpeshwar Temple. Peaks like Chaukhamba, Neel Kanth and Kedarnath surround the temple.Madhyamaheshwar Temple is the place where the navel of Lord Shiva appeared.
- Kalpeshwar Temple: It comes last, if one follows the order of Panch Kedar temples. One must visit Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath and Madhyamaheshwar temples before Kalpeshwar temple. It is the only Panch Kedar temple accessible throughout the year. Also, it is a small temple and devotees have to pass through a cave passage in order to reach it. Kalpeshwar Temple is the place where the Jata (Tress) of Lord Shiva appeared.
These temples are also a part of the Char Dham Yatra destinations within Uttarakhand.