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| Last Updated:: 16/11/2018











Rudranath temple located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand is one of the Panch Kedar pilgrimages believed to be built by Pandavas and dedicated to Lord Shiva. This rock temple is situated within a dense forest of rhododendron dwarfs and Alpine pastures at an altitude of 2286 m and is one of the most popular pilgrimages in India among Lord Shiva devotees. This temple derives its glorified history from the ancient era of Mahabharata which attracts several pilgrimage tourists to the temple.  


The face (mukha) of god Shiva is worshipped as "Nilkanth Mahadeva" here.  Literally, the word ‘Rudranath’ means ‘Him who is Angry’. This temple also possesses idols of Draupadi, Kunti and Pandavas.  


Rudranath temple is the toughest one to reach in comparison with other temples of Panch Kedar. The exhilarating trek to Rudranath temple can be either commenced from Sagar village, Helang or Urgam village.  The Himalayan peaks adding to the glory of Rudranath are Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti.  


The temple is surrounded by a number of pools – Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund and Manas Kund – while the great peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti rear overhead. Devotees generally take bath in the Narad Kund prior to visiting the temple.  


The holy river Vaitarani or Baitarani or Rudraganga flows near the temple, which has a grey stone idol of Rudranath.The river is identified with the “river of salvation”, where souls of the dead cross to reach the other world. Thus, devotees visit Rudranath to perform rituals of the dead, such as performing a pind offering. Some believe that offering a pind to ancestors here equals offering a hundred million at the holy city of Gaya.  


Legend has it that the Pandavas came to the Himalayan mountains in search of god Shiva, to redeem them of the sins of killing Kauravas in the epic Kurukshetra war. God Shiva did not wanted to meet them and escaped in form of a bull in the ground and re-entered in parts in the Panch Kedar places: the hump raising in Kedarnath, the arms appearing in Tungnath, the navel and stomach surfacing in Madhyamaheshwar, the face showing up at Rudranath and the hair and the head appearing in Kalpeshwar. The Rudranath Temple is built on the spot where the lord’s face was discovered. The deity here is said to be Swayam Bhu or one which appeared by itself in the form of a Shivalinga with a face, measuring about 3 feet.  


There is a natural ledge overhanging the face of Shiva from where droplets of water fall perennially. The large half open eyes of the deity are kept covered with larger golden coverings. The enormous upturned, golden moustaches transform this face into a terrifying angry face. Every evening, in elaborate worship, the mask is removed from the face of Shiva to give a brief glimpse of a rarely-sighted aspect of Shiva. This is the only temple of Shiva where his face is his symbol.  


The temple opens every year in the month of April / May and closes in the mid of November. During the winters the idol of the temple is moved to Gopeshwar and later returned on the opening of the temple. The temple celebrates an annual fair on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Sravan (July/August) around the day of Rakshabandhan. 




Other Attractions 




Nandikund is a beautiful lake situated amidst lush green meadows and surrounded by snow-clad peaks. The lake is devoted to the Hindu Lord Shiva, and it is believed that His mount, Nandi Bull used to drink water from here. One of the main attractions of this lake is a corroded sword seen close to the lake. According to a popular belief, the sword belongs to the Pandavas. In the lake, tourists can also see the reflection of the Chaukhamba Peak. During summers, the water of the lake remains extremely cold. Moreover, the River Madhyamaheshwar Ganga emerges from this lake.