Rudranath Temple Toughest Trek – Panch Kedar 2023
Rudranath Temple is a temple of Lord Shiva, one of the Panch-Kedar located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state, India. Rudranath Temple situated at an altitude of 2290 meters above sea level is full of grand natural shade. In the Rudranath temple, only the face of Lord Shankar is worshipped, whereas in Pashupatinath, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, the whole body is worshipped. The snow-capped peaks of Nanda Devi and Trishul are visible from the front of the Rudranath temple.
History of Rudranath Temple
The Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit includes five major temples in the Garhwal region, and Rudranath Temple is the third in chronological order. Other temples that complete the trajectory are Kedarnath, Tungnath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar.
According to Hindu mythology, the Pandavas established this temple. After the Kurukshetra war, these brothers of Mahabharata came to the Himalayas in search of Shiva. Shiva did not wish to meet him and went into the body of a bull. Later, visit the Panch Kedar sites with the spreading humps at Kedarnath, the arms at Tungnath, the belly and navel at Madhyamaheshwar, the face at Rudranath, and the hair and head at Kalpeshwar.
Near By Destination
Nandi Kund Lake
Nandi Kund is ideally located in the high Garhwal Himalayas and is spread over an altitude of 3,497 m to 4,800 m above sea level in the Madhyamaheshwar-Kalpeshwar trail. The ancient Nandikund lake is spread over an area of one and a half km. Nandi Kund is the source of the Madhyamaheshwar Ganga river.
Panar Bugiyal is one of the most beautiful meadows in Rudranath, full of wildflowers. It is at a distance of about 8 km from the destination and provides beautiful views to travelers. Another trekking route leading to this enchanting meadow starts from Sagar village. Tourists can also visit a waterfall and a temple located near this area.
Pitridhar is situated at an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level and offers a bird’s eye view of the beautiful valley. This is the highest point on the Rudranath trekking route. This route passes through lush green meadows, peaks, and rocks. Difficult terrain and high cliffs make it one of the most difficult trekking trails in the Garhwal region.
Things One Can Do During Rudranath Yatra
The temple can be reached by trekking by devotees and adventurers and the Rudranath trek is one of the most challenging expeditions. You can choose a trek route based on your preferences and options to explore the area. The route to the temple reveals the rustic and ancient ambiance of the area. Following are the three routes to reach the temple:-
Route 1:- One can take a taxi or bus to Sagar village which is 5 km from Gopeshwar. Beyond this one has to climb 20 km to reach Rudranath. The path is slippery and you need to be careful.
Route 2:- Another option is a 17 km trek from Gangolgaon which is about 3 km from Gopeshwar. The route goes through the forest and you will pass the colonies of Panar and Naila herders.
Route 3:- The route starts from Gopeshwar to Rudranath and passes through Mandal (21 km) including Anusuya Devi Temple.
You can attend the annual festival held on the full moon day of the month of Shravan, which according to the Hindu calendar falls in the month of July or August. A huge fair is organized during the festival and it has a quintessential local vibe. The temple priests, i.e. Bhatt and Tiwari of Gopeshwar village, perform the rituals.
Special pujas are conducted at Nandikund which is located on the trekking route to the temple. On this day devotees worship the historical swords carved out of rocks believed to be of the Pandavas.
Worship and Rituals
One of the popular things to do here is to involve yourself in the prayers and rituals performed at the temple. You can attend the morning Shringar, aarti, evening rituals when all the decorations are removed, etc.
Kalpeshwar to Rudranath Trek
This trek is one of the lesser visited pilgrimages in Uttarakhand and that is the reason why it has retained its distinctive grandeur. The trail goes through well-supported towns that are essentially dependent on vegetation. It offers a virgin footpath with various courses to reach the trek. While most people start this circuit from Helang, one can also start from Sagar and Mandal near Gopeshwar.
Best Time to Visit Rudranath
The temple opens in May and can be visited till October. However, May, June, September, and October are the best months to visit. The season-wise details are as follows:-
Summer (April to August):- The weather remains pleasant as the region experiences a moderate climate. The average temperature hovers around 15 degree Celsius and is ideal for planning sightseeing tours, temple visits, and other excursions.
Monsoons (From September to November):- The region experiences insufficient rainfall, however, making the trek slippery. If you wish to enjoy the lush green surroundings and indulge in local activities while staying at a homestay, then you can plan a trip here during this time.
Winters (From December to March):- You can expect extreme conditions as the days are cold and the average temperature drops to 4°C. The minimum temperature can go below zero.
How to Reach Rudranath
State buses to Gopeshwar are easily available from Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwar, and Haridwar. From Gopeshwar the temple can be reached on foot.
The nearest railway station to Temple is located at Rishikesh, approximately 215 km away. This railway station is well connected to major Indian cities by regular trains. Tourists can hire prepaid taxis from the railway station to Gopeshwar.
Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the nearest airport, located 221.5 km from Gopeshwar. This airport is connected by regular flights to Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. Taxis are available from Jolly Grant Airport to Gopeshwar, which is approximately 23 km from the temple.
Temple Travel Tips
The morning aarti is performed at 8 a.m., while the same ritual is performed in the evening at 6:30 p.m. The trail is risky, and do check with local authorities and tour guides about weather and road conditions. Try planning an expedition with a local guide. Avoid planning your visit during winter as the temple remains closed between November to April.