Tungnath Temple : The Highest Temple of Lord SHIVA 2023
Tungnath is one of the tallest Shiva temples in the world and the tallest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the Rudraprayag district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tungnath (literally: Lord of Peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river basins. It is situated at an altitude of 3,680 meters (12,073 ft) and is just below the peak of Chandrashila. It has a rich legend associated with the Pandavas, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata.
Legends and History of Tungnath
Tungnath is associated with the root of the Panch Kedar circuit (Lord Shiva temples) that were built by the Pandavas. Legend expresses that, the sage Vyasa inspired the Pandavas that since they were in the sin of killing their own brother (Kauravas, their cousins) during the Mahabharata war, their sin could only be expiated by Lord Shiva. Thereafter, the Pandavas went in search of Shiva who was staying away from them due to the fault of the Pandavas.
With a specific end goal to escape them, Shiva appeared in the form of a bull and sought complete isolation in an underground refuge at Guptakashi, whereupon the Pandavas followed him. Later Shiva’s body in the form of a bull’s body parts re-materialized in five unique regions talking of “Panch Kedar”, where the Pandavas built, worshiped, and settled a temple of Lord Shiva in each region.
Each one is attached to a piece of his body; Tungnath is reputed to be where the bahu (hand) was seen: the Hump was seen at Kedarnath; the Head shown in Rudranath; His navel and stomach appeared in Madhyamaheshwar; and his Jata (hair or locks) in Kalpeshwar.
Lord Ram’s Connection with Tungnath Temple
The Hindu Puranas mention that Lord Rama had a special relationship with Shiva. He worshiped Shiva as his deity. Devotees say that after killing Ravana, Rama spent some time in the Himalayas. He meditated on the Chandrashila peak just above the Tungnath temple.
Near By Destination
Chopta is a picturesque village that is still undiscovered by travelers, and is also famous as the “Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand”. The cool salubrious breeze and the chirping of birds in Chopta, which is far away from the blaring horns of cities and other hill stations, is the morning view from Chopta when the red rays of the sun kiss the snow-laden Himalayas. This serene abode is surrounded by declining pine, deodar, rhododendron, and other conifers found in the area, making Chopta rich in flora and fauna.
Chandrashila which literally suggests ‘moon rock’ is the peak of the Chandranath mountain, on which the Tungnath temple of Panch Kedar is situated. The majestic Chandrashila peak serves as a vantage point that offers a heavenly panorama of the great Himalayas. (Tungnath to Chandrashila trek distance is 1.5 km and even though it’s a steep climb, the distance can be easily covered in 1 hour. )
Rohini Bugyal is a serene meadow hidden in the dense forest of Chopta Valley. During the journey to Chandrashila peak via Deoria Tal, Rohini Bugyal serves as an ideal place for camping. Magnificent views of the Garhwal Himalayas including Kedarnath peak, Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, and Thali Sagar, can be seen from Rohini Bugyal.
Deoria Tal – The Reflection Lake
Deoriatal is an emerald lake situated at an altitude of 2438 meters above sea level. During the early morning on a clear day, Deoria Tal blesses the tourists with miraculous reflections of the Chaukhamba peaks on its crystal clear waters. Deoriatal is an easy weekend trek for beginners. One can extend his trek via Rohini Bugyal to Bisuri Tal, Chopta, and even Tungnath and Chandrashila.
How to Reach Tungnath
Tungnath and Chandrashila trek starts from the scenic town of Chopta. The length of the trek is about 4 km. One can reach Chopta village via Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar, and Rudraprayag.
Chopta is well connected to all the major cities of Uttarakhand. Chopta is about 40 km from Ukhimath. Chopta and Tungnath can be reached from Rishikesh by Chamoli-Gopeshwar-Chopta road. Buses are available from Srinagar and Rudraprayag to Ukhimath. Then you can get a cab from Ukhimath to Chopta.
The nearest railway station to Chopta is Rishikesh, at a distance of 215 km. Buses are available from Rishikesh to Srinagar and Rudraprayag.
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun at a distance of 232 km. From the airport, several buses and cabs are available for Srinagar and Rudraprayag. From there, buses and taxis are available for Ukhimath from two places.
Tungnath Mahadev Trek Distance
From Chopta, the tungnath trek length is easily accessible after a 3.5 km trek (Chopta to Tungnath trek distance) on a well-paved road. In fact, the tungnath trek route starts right next to the road at Chopta and can be easily visited. The tungnath temple trek path is stone paved with benches provided along the way to relax and enjoy the beautiful views of Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Neelkanth, and Kedarnath peaks.
Tungnath Summer Weather (April – June)
Summer season is undoubtedly the peak season for tourism in Tungnath. Chopta, the base of Tungnath trekking, remains in its lush green and most beautiful form during this time. From here the trek takes 3.5 km uphill to expose the natural beauty. From April to August, the weather is pleasant without rain or snowfall.
The Tungnath Temple opens during the summer which is the perfect time for pilgrims. The temperature remains around 16 °C, and the climate is moderate. The rhododendrons are also at their reddest during June, making the valleys look like a slice of heaven. If you want to take a relaxing and enjoyable trek then this is the best time ever.
Tungnath Monsoon Weather (September – October)
Monsoon does not bring heavy rainfall in Tungnath. Between July and September, the region receives little rainfall. The complete shutdown of tourism is not too adverse, but the crowd is inevitably less than in summer. The main problem of monsoon is a cloudy sky.
From almost late summer till the monsoon months, the sky is covered in a layer of gray clouds and the view of the mountains becomes shadowy and obscured. Considering that the natural beauty of Garhwal is one of the main attractions of the Tungnath trek, this would be a disappointment that tourists and trekkers might face. Also, the area becomes vulnerable to landslides. So, be careful while planning your trip during this time.
Tungnath Winter Weather (November – March)
Winters are for the adventurous at heart and nature lovers. After the monsoon rains on the hills, leaving a crystal blue sky and a lovely crisp air, Tungnath comes alive to look more magical and more resplendent than ever. The temperature during winter can start from 10°-12°C but easily goes down to -15°C. Carry layers of warm clothes to protect yourself from the cold. Snowfall is common, and snow is abundant. Trekking in the area can be a challenge during this time, but if you are up for it then nothing is better.
The Best Time to visit Tungnath
April to November is a good time to visit Tungnath. The city is in full bloom during the summer, and the air is fresh and crisp. The peaks are covered with a lush green cover of pine deodar and rhododendron. During monsoons, the place becomes prone to landslides, so it is advised to avoid them. Whereas the winters are very mild as Tungnath remains covered with a thick blanket of snow till the beginning of March.