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Tungnath Temple | History, Architecture and Facts of Tungnath

Engage in a Thrilling Adventure Trekking to Tungnath Temple

Ideally situated in the Tungnath mountain range in the Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand, Tungnath temple is recognized as one of the Panch Kedar temples. This highest Shiva temple is situated at 3680 meters high on the Chandranath parvat. Tungnath mandir is the Tritiya (third) Kedar among the Panch Kedars in ranking. The temple, which is connected to Pandavas, is a famous trekking center.

       Tungnath Temple | bontravelindia.com

Fascinating History of Tungnath Temple

When it comes to the history of the temple, the legend says that the Tungnath temple is perpetually associated with the origin of Panch Kedar temples, which were built by Pandavas. Arjuna, who is the third in the hierarchical order among Pandavas, built the temple. According to the legend, the Pandavas were advised by Vyas Rishi to approach Lord Shiva and pray him to pardon their sins of slaying their own cousins Kauravas and their relatives in the Mahabharata battle. Since they could be pardoned only by Lord Shiva, Pandavas went in search of him.

Lord Shiva, who realized that Pandavas were guilty, wanted to avoid them and so he went hiding in the underground in the form of a bull at Guptkashi. Pandavas followed him to find the bull’s body parts come into existence at five different places, which later represented Panch Kedar. At the locations where the body parts of the bull were found, Pandavas built the temples and worshipped Lord Shiva, with complete ritual devotion to seek his blessings.

Each of the Panch Kedar temples is known for Shiva’s or bull’s body part and Tungnath is recognized for having the hands or bahu of Lord Shiva. As for the other temples, hump appeared at Kedarnath, while the head at Rudranath. Madhyamaheshwar has his navel and stomach, while Kalpeshwar has its dreadlocks (jata).

The other legend says that Lord Rama spent time meditating at the Chandrashila peak, which is near Tungnath. Adi Shankaracharya discovered this temple and set a tradition of offering poojas to Lord Shiva through a priest, who is a Brahmin from Makku village.

Architecture of Tungnath Temple

The Tungnath temple is the symbol of Nagara architectural style. Built using stones, the temple has towers that are painted both inside and outside. You can find a stage finished in wood on the highest dome, where there are as many as 16 openings. The roof of the temple is made of stone slabs and they can be seen used on all the roofs.

At the entrance, there is a statue of ‘Nandi’, which sits across the sanctum facing Lord Shiva’s idol, which is his face. There are other images, such as that of Lord Ganesha, Kala Bhairava, Adi Shankaracharya, Sage Vyas and several others who look like the Ganas, God Shiva’s disciples. At one place, there are images of Pandavas and the silver plaques of the four Kedar temples.

There is a temple at the center of Parvati, while several other small shrines are found around for various deities. The Tungnath temple looks more than one thousand-year old. The temple is prominent for the tower, which unlike the shikaras (spiraled roofs) is not spiraled.

Know Some Facts about Tungnath Temple

Here are a few facts about this prominent Lord Shiva’s temple.

  1. The temple is located at 3680 feet high and is believed to be one of the highest temples in the world.

  2. It is one of the five Panch Kedar temples built by Pandavas.

  3. The Tungnath temple is built using stones.

  4. Near the temple there is a black rockstone, which is worshipped by people as the sacred Shivalinga.

  5. Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple during March, April and May months to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.

  6. Adverse climatic conditions in winter keep the temple closed in winter.

  7. It is believed that King Ravana performed penance here when Lord Shiva stayed here with his wife Parvati.

Some of the Famous Festivals held at Tungnath Temple

Among the few festivals celebrated in the Tungnath temple, Mahashivaratri is the most prominent one. A lot of pilgrims from Chopta, which is a nearby village, visit the temple during the festival day. They offer prayers to Lord Shiva by fasting and chanting bhajans all through day and night. The temple is decorated using flowers during the time and pilgrims are offered prasad.

Another festival celebrated with pomp is Basant Panchami, where it is a cultural festival of Chopta. Devotees throng the temple during the time to have the blessings of Shiva. During winter people perform the Pandava dance in front of the temple. It is usually done after the harvest. The performers dress up as the various characters in Mahabharata epic and dance. Diwali and Dussehra are the other festivals when people visit the temple.

Get to Know the Timings of Tungnath Temple

You can visit the temple during April and May, which are the ideal months to visit. The Tungnath temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. There is no entry fee. However, you need to check for the opening of the temple, which is announced by the temple committee every year.

How to Reach Tungnath Temple?

Located on top of the ridge, its position divides the Mandakini River water, which rises from Kedarnath, from that of Alaknanda River water. You can find the three springs called Akashkamini River which originates from the Tungnath peak on this ridge. The temple sits ideally below the Chandrashila Peak at about 2 km.

Below this ridge, you can find the road to Chopta, which is the shortest route for trekking to the temple at a distance of about 5 km. You can reach Chopta by road, rail and air. The Kund-Gopeshwar road leads to Chopta and it is about 212 km from Rishikesh. You can find several buses and taxis on this route. As for the railway station, you can find the Rishikesh railway station, which is situated 205 km away from the Tungnath temple.

Devotees can also fly to the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and catch the connected train or bus to the temple.

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