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| Last Updated:: 18/01/2022











Located on the Chandranath parvat in the Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand, the Tungnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the Panch Kedar temples and at an altitude of 3,680, it is the highest Shiva temple in the world. The foundation of this temple is believed to be laid down by Arjuna who was the third of the Pandava brothers. 



The Tunganath is indelibly linked to the origin of the Panch Kedar temples built by the Pandavas. The legend states that sage Vyas advised the Pandavas that since they were culpable of slaying their own relatives (Kauravas, their cousins) during the Mahabharata war or Kurukshetra war, their act could be pardoned only by Lord Shiva. Consequently, the Pandavas went in search of Shiva who was avoiding them since he was convinced of the guilt of Pandavas. In order to keep away from them, Shiva took the form of a bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptakashi, where Pandavas chased him. But later Shiva’s body in the form of bull’s body parts rematerialized at five different locations that represent the "Panch Kedar" where Pandavas built temples of Lord Shiva at each location, to worship and venerate, seeking his pardon and blessings. Each one is identified with a part of his body; Tungnath is identified as the place where the bahu (hands) were seen: hump was seen at Kedarnath; head appeared at Rudranath; his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhyamaheshwar; and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar. 



Legend also states that Lord Rama, the chief icon of the Ramayana epic, meditated at the Chandrashila peak, which is close to Tungnath. It is also said that Ravana did penance to Shiva, the lord of the peaks, when he resided here. 



The temple was discovered by Adi Shankaracharya. The footpath to Tungnath begins at Chopta and it is a 3000 ft climb and takes about two to three hours on foot or pony-back. A richly decorated arch at the entrance name 'Tungnath' painted on the top can be seen. There is a sign board at this gateway which states that the temple is 4 km distance away from this. It also states that the pilgrims who are unable to travel to the temple can leave their donations in the box at the gate. The temple can be reached through rocky terrains that wend through green meadows and rhododendron thickets. The temple is located in some of the finest, most picturesque pocket of the Himalaya. 



Architecture of Tunganath Temple







The opulent temple is made up of stones adorned with decorations which are painted on the outside depicting tall towers. There is a wooden stage present on top of the highest dome which also has sixteen openings. The roof of the temple is composed of stone slabs and at the entrance lays a stone image of Nandi facing towards the idol of Lord Shiva. Tens of thousands of pilgrims visit this divinity year after year. There is an image of Lord Ganesha on the right side of the temple entrance. 



Within the sanctum, Shiva's image is worshipped in the form of his face. The sanctum also has idols of sage Vyas, Kala Bhairav, Adishankara and disciples of Shiva. It also has the images of the Pandavas and silver plaques of other four Kedar shrines. Surrounding this temple, there are a number of small shrines. Among the smaller shrines, the central temple is to Shiva's wife Parvati. 



The priest at this temple is a local Brahmin from ukhimath village, unlike the other Kedar temples where the priests are from South India, a tradition set by the eighth century Hindu seer Sri Adi Sankaracharya. It is also said that the Maithani Brahmins officiate as priests at this temple. During the winter season, the temple is closed and the symbolic image of the deity and the temple priests are moved to Mukkumath, which is 19 km (12 mi) from here. It is near Duggalbitha 10 km (6 mi) before Chopta towards Ukhimath. 



Tens of thousands of pilgrims visit this divinity year after year. 



Akash Ganga Waterfalls is situated close to Tungnath, which has a temple dedicated to Nanda Devi. This temple houses a statue of Adi Guru Sankaracharya and it can be easily reached from the Tungnath Temple. The Tungnath Mountains form the Mandakini and Alakananda river valleys. The peak of Tungnath is the source of three springs that form the river Akashkamini. 




Other Attractions 






Deoria Tal is a pellucid lake with an enchanting ambiance. One has to trek uphill to reach the tal. The waters of the lake clearly mirror the image of the surrounding peaks and it is commonly believed that the gods, goddess and nymphs bathe in the Deoria Tal.