Tungnath is another beautiful destination lying close to the mesmerizing hill station of Chopta. Situated at a height of 3,680 meters above sea level, Tungnath is the highest temple in the world dedicated to Lord Shiva. The unprecedented Himalayan view from the meadows at Tungnath temple is leave anyone is awe. The natural beauty comes to its full glory at Tungnath temple, which is also one of the famous five Panch Kedar shrines of Uttarakhand. For someone travelling to Chopta, a visit to Lord Shiva’s abode at Tungnath is highly recommended. Generally, the pilgrimage to Tunganath is undertaken as part of the Panch Kedar trekking covering all five temples over a 170 km route (road cum trek length) starting from Rishikesh in the order of: Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheswar and Kalpeshwar.
Legends and History of Tungnath
The Tunganath is connected to the root of the Panch Kedar Circuit (Lord Shiva Temples) which were built by the Pandavas. The legend expresses that Vyas Rishi prompted the Pandavas that since they were at sin of killing their own particular relatives (Kauravas, their cousins) amid the Mahabharata war , their sin could be exonerated only by Lord Shiva. Subsequently, the Pandavas went looking for Shiva who was keeping away from them since he was persuaded of the blame of Pandavas. With a specific end goal to avoid them, Shiva appeared as a bull and sought total isolation in an underground place of refuge at Guptakashi, where Pandavas pursued him. Later Shiva’s body as bull’s body parts rematerialized at five unique areas that speak to the "Panch Kedar" where Pandavas built the temple of Lord Shiva at every area, to revere and love, looking for his exculpate and endowments. Every one is related to a piece of his body; Tungnath is distinguished as where the bahu (hands) were seen: bump was seen at Kedarnath; head showed up at Rudranath; his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhyamaheshwar; and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar.
How to Reach Tungnath
From Chopta, Tungnath can be easily reached after a 4km trek on a well laden path. In fact, the trek route to Tungnath commences just beside the road at Chopta and can be easily spotted. The trek path is stone paved with benches provided en route at intervals to rest and enjoy the beautiful views of the Chowkhamba, Nanda Devi, Neelkanth and Kedarnath peaks.
Places to See in Tungnath
Tungnath Temple – The famous Tungnath temple is thought to be over 1000 years old and, according to the scriptures, is third temple to be visited in the Panch Kedar circuit. The serenity and calmness that envelopes this place is something beyond words. It is believed to be constructed by Pandavas after the Kurukshetra War.
Chandrashila – With a height of 4,000 meters, Chandrashila is the summit of Tungnath peak. It is located 200 meters uphill from Tungnath temple. It is believed Lord Rama mediated at this place after slaying demon king Ravana.
Things to Do in Tungnath
Camping – Tungnath offer ideal opportunity to camp in open grounds under the clear night sky which is an amazing experience to have with family and friends surrounded in the lap of nature with breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
Trekking –The enthralling trek take travelers through enchanting meadows, hushed hamlets, and conifers and oak forests. In winter, the trekking route is covered in snow. For more adventures soul, Chandrashila is another point, some 200 meters uphill from Tungnath.
Pilgrimage – Situated at an elevation of 3,600 meters, Tungnath temple is one of the revered Panch Kedar (i.e. five templesdedicated to Lord Shiva in Uttarakhand) and witness large number of pilgrims. The shrine sleeps under a thick blanket of snow during winters.