Rudranath is a Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva, located in the Garhwal Himalayan mountains in Uttarakhand, India. Located at 3,600 metres above sea level, this natural rock temple is situated within a dense forest of rhododendron dwarfs and Alpine pastures. The temple is the third temple to be visited in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit, comprising five Shiva temples in the Garhwal region. The other temples in the circuit include: Kedarnath and Tungnath to be visited before Rudranath and Madhyamaheshwar or Madmaheshwar and Kalpeshwar to be visited after Rudranath. The face (mukha) of god Shiva is worshipped as “Nilkanth Mahadeva” here.
The Rudranath temple is believed to be established by the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The legend states that sage Vyas Rishi advised the Pandavas that since they were culpable of slaying their own relatives (Kauravas, their cousins) during the Mahabharata war or Kurukshetra war, their act could be pardoned only by Lord Shiva. Consequently, the Pandavas went in search of Shiva who was avoiding them since he was convinced of the guilt of Pandavas. In order to keep away from them, Shiva took the form of a bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptakashi, where Pandavas chased him. But later Shiva’s body in the form of bull’s body parts rematerialized at five different locations that represent the “Panch Kedar” where Pandavas built temples of Lord Shiva at each location, to worship and venerate, seeking his pardon and blessings. Each one is identified with a part of his body; Tungnath is identified as the place where the bahu (hands) were seen: hump was seen at Kedarnath; head appeared at Rudranath; his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhyamaheshwar; and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar.
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun (258 kms). The nearest railway station is Rishikesh (241 kms). Most trekking routes to Rudranath are from Gopeshwar or nearby places. A motorable road is present up to the village Sagar — 5 km from Gopeshwar, beyond which a 20 km trek has to be undergone to reach Rudranath. The trek winds through tall grass, oak and rhododendron forests. The trek path is stated to be slippery. Other routes include: an uphill, 17 km trek from Gangolgaon — 3 km from Gopeshwar — through the forest and Panar and Naila shepherd settlements. Another trek route from Gopeshwar to Rudranath passes via Mandal (13 kms ) and then additional 6 km to the Anusuya Devi temple and then another 20 km to Rudranath. The Anusuya Devi temple is home to goddess Anusuya, who is believed to help devotees in distress. A 45 km trek path is available from Joshimath via Helang too (considered a strenuous trek). There’s also a trekking route to Rudranath from Kalpeshwar, via Dumak,Kalgont Kimana and Palla. The route meets at Urgam village, a little ahead of which is Kalpeshwar.Once at Rudranath temple you can view beautiful view of various Himalayan peaks including Nanda Ghunti, Nanda Devi, Trishul peak, Devasthan and Hathi parvat.
20 kms one way
Level – Moderate/Hard
May , June , Sept , Oct
Highest point is aprox 3600 mtrs
Numbers of Days (Delhi to Delhi)
6 – 7 Days
How to get there:
By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport Dehradun, almost 258 Km from Rudranath. You will find taxis and cars in the Jolly Grant Airport which you can hire to Gopeshwar or Sagar. Then you will have to trek.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Rishikesh railway station at a distance of 241 km from Rudranath. You will find bus at Rishikesh ISBT or you can hire taxi or jeep that drops you 20km below the temple.
By Road: Buses are available from Rishikesh, Hairdwar, Dehradun and Kotdwara to Rudranath. You will have to trek to the temple.
Route to Rudranath Temple
Dehradun – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Karnaprayag – Chamoli – Gopeshwar – Sagar Village – Rudranath Temple
Picture Credits:Rohit Bahuguna – Member Palampur Bikers Club