Tungnath, the highest temple of Lord Shiva in the world is also the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples. The sacred temple is located in the mountains of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district, in Uttarakhand state. The temple is almost 5000 years old and is the third Kedar in the order of the Panch Kedars. Tungnath is approx. 30kms from the Kedarnath temple.
Tungnath, the highest temple of Lord Shiva
Legend of Tungnath
As per Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva along with his wife Parvati, stays in the Himalayas. Shiva is said to be residing at Mount Kailash. It is believed that the Tungnath was built by the Pandavas. Once Sage Vyas advised Pandavas that since they were guilty of killing their relatives, Kauravas, during the Mahabharata wa, their act could only be forgiven by Lord Shiva.
The Pandavas went in search of Shiva, but Shiva did not want to meet them as he was convinced of the act of Pandavas. To keep Pandavas away, Shiva took the form of a bull and hid himself somewhere underground at Guptakashi. But later Shiva’s body in the form of the bull was seen at five different locations which are known as “Panch Kedar”.
Pandavas then decided to build temples of Lord Shiva at each location to worship him. Each place is recognized with a part of his body. Hands were seen in Tungnath, his hump at Kedarnath; head appeared at Rudranath, his navel and stomach at Madhyamaheshwar and his hair at Kalpeshwar.
Legend also believes that Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, used to meditate at the Chandrashila peak, which is 2km above Tungnath.
Some facts about Tungnath Temple
- The temple was discovered by Adi Shankaracharya and now the priest of this temple is a local Brahmin of Makku village.
- The temple is located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft), which is why the snow present in the front of the temple always remains frozen.
- The temple is opened only for 6 months during the year and rest of the time the symbolic idol of Lord Shiva in Tungnath is moved to Mukkumath, which is 19 kms away from Tungnath.
- In 2019, Tungnath Dham has been opened on 10th May 2019. The doli of Shri Tungnath starts its journey from Mukumath & reaches Tungnath temple for the year’s session.
How to reach Tungnath?
- To reach Tungnath you can take train or a bus. The nearest railway station to Tungnath is Rishikesh.
- After reaching Rishikesh, you can take a taxi or bus to Chopta which lies at a distance of 215 km. From there the journey on foot begins.
- You can reach Tungnath temple by a trek of approx. 4km. The place receives heavy snowfall during winters making Tungnath temple a tough place to reach.
- The trek is a combination of rocky terrains, stoned path and green meadows showering us amazing visual of the nature.
- You will also be able to witness many high peaks of the Himalayan range from Tungnath.
The climate of Tungnath is usually cool throughout the year. During summers, the place has an average temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius during day and winters are very cold and the temperature drops below the freezing point very frequently. During winters, the temple remains closed for around 6 months.