Tungnath is a popular tourist destination located on the Chandranath parbat in the Rudraprayag, district of Uttarakhand. Tungnath is one of the sacred Panch Kedar and also refers to the ‘Lord of Peaks’ which forms two river valleys including Alaknanda and Mandakini. This holy city is situated at an altitude of about 3,680 metres above the sea level. Tungnath is one of the highest temples in the world and is more than 1,000 years old. The history depicts that Tungnath temple was built by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata period to please Lord Shiva.
According to Hindu Mythology, soon after the war, Mahabharat’s Pandav brothers wanted to see Lord Shiva to seek his pardon for the sins committed by them in the war. In order to maintain distance from them, Shiva took the form of a bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptakashi, where Pandavas chased him and tried to hold on to the tail and legs of the bull. The bull jumped and vanished at a place (now Guptakashi) and then reappeared in five different forms Hump at Kedarnath, Bahu (arm) at Tungnath, Head at Rudranath, Stomach & Navel at Madhyamaheshwar, and Jata at Klpeshwar.
This ancient temple is built in the style of North Indian temple architecture. Small in size, this temple can accommodate ten people in the chamber. Unique architecture and a number of small shrines of several gods surrounded to this temple truly let everyone appreciate this temple construction. The most useful part of the temple adjoins the hills where the sacred standing black rock with tip to the left, of 1 ft height, denoting the form of arms of Lord Shiva is worshipped.
The recent construction of this temple includes the entrance gateway named Tungnath on the top of the arch. The temple exhibits the total area of 4 km and also positioned in a way that those pilgrims who are unable to undertake the trek could leave their donations in the box.
The architectural design of the temple is alike to the temples at Guptakashi, Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar. The small temples inside the corral are made of stones and painted beautifully on the outside portraying tall towers. The highest dome with wooden stage on the top has sixteen openings. The stone slabs are used to make temple roofs. Nandi stone image at the entrance of the temple truly grabs attention of the pilgrimage tourists coming to Tungnath. At the right of the temple entrance there is the mandatory image of Ganesha. The temple is also beautified housing the idols of sage Vyas, Kala Bhairav, disciples of Shiva and pandavas.
Goddess Parvati temple is housed in the smaller shrines of the temple. A group of five small shrines dedicated to the Panch Kedar is also resided on the right side of the Tungnath temple.
Tungnath is also well known as a trekking destination and trekkers often make visit to this place to best meet their dream of trekking come out. The 4 km trek starts from Chopta (9600ft) and this route to Tungnath is the shortest one. However, the trekking on this route always depends on the trekker’s physical ability. Tungnath trek path is stone paved with benches provided en routes at intervals to rest and relish the astonishing views of the Chowkhamba, Nanda Devi, Neelkanth and Kedarnath peaks. Usually, the pilgrimage to Tungnath is undertaken as part of the Panch Kedar trekking covering all five temples over a 170 km starting from Rishikesh in the order of Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheswar and Kalpeshwar. Many of pilgrims also prefer to go for trek to the shrine in the summer month when temperature of the place is little high.
Akash Ganga Waterfalls is also situated close to Tungnath, which has a temple dedicated to Nanda Devi. The Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal place for an excursion from Tungnath.
When to Visit
Renowned as a pilgrimage destination and trekker’s paradise, Tungnath is visited by large number of tourists between September and October, when festivals like Vinayaka Chaturthi and Deepavali are celebrated. Added to that, April to November months are suitable for adventure activities and sightseeing.
Where to Stay
Tungnath provide an array of options to the tourists coming here to make their stay comfortable. There are a wide variety of hotels ranging from budget low cost economical hotels to luxury deluxe hotels from homestays to heritage hotels and resorts are made available in Tungnath.
How to Reach
- By Air: Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is the closet airbase located at about 258 km from Tungnath.
- By Rail: Rishikesh Railway station is the nearest railhead situated at a distance of 241 km to reach Tungnath.
- By Road: Taxis and buses are easily available till Chopta, from where travellers have to trek 2.5km to reach Tungnath.