Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world and is one of the five and the highest Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tunganath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. Located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft), and just below the peak of Chandrashila, Tungnath temple is the highest Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be 1000 years old and is the second in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars.
Tungnath is linked to the origin of the Panch Kedar temples built by the Pandavas. 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.
Chandrashila (meaning Moon Rock) is a summit of Tungnath and is located at an alltitude of aprox 4000 mtrs. The legend says that this is the place where Lord Rama meditated after defeating the demon-king Ravana. The views from Chandrashila top is Incredible. It offers 360 degrees panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas.
Deveria Taal: Deveria taal is a small treck of about 3 kms from Sari village (a small detour on Chopta – Ukhimath route). Located at an altitude of about 2387 meters, it has heavily wooded, lush green surroundings with snow covered mountains in the backdrop. The lake is known for its wide 360 degree panorama.Mountains like Chaukhamba , Bandarpunch , Kedar Range, Kalanag can be viewed from here.
5 kms – Tungnath + 1.5 kms Chandrashila Summit
May – Oct
Highest point Chandrashila summit is Aprox 4000 mtrs
Numbers of Days (Delhi to Delhi)
Minimum 4 Days
How to get there
Delhi – Roorkee – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Chopta (530 kms / 12 – 14 hrs by Car)
What we recommend
Start early/late night from Delhi and reach Ukhimath latest by 1600 hrs. On you way don’t miss the Devprayag Sangam point (Confluence of river Bhagirathi and Mandakini) at Devprayag. Devprayag is the place where river Ganga gets its name. Also see Rudraprayag Sangam (Confluence of river Mandakini and Alaknanda). Check in guest house and attend the Aarti at 1800 hrs at Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath. You will remember this Aarti for long time. After attending the Aarti explore the local market and return to guest house. Rise early next day to witness sunrise and start early (0600 hrs) towards Chopta and enjoy wonderful Bugyals of Dugalbitta. Have breakfast at Chopta and start trek for Tungnath. Your target should be to reach Tungnath/Chandrashila before 1200 hrs as after that chance of cloud cover is high and you may miss the panoramic views all around. A stay at Tungnath is highly recommended as this gives you very good chance of experiencing sunrise from Chandrashila peak. However there are no guest houses or hotels here but temporary arrangements and that too when temple is open (Mid April – Mid Oct). Explore the surroundings and sleep early as you will need to wake up by 0400 hrs. and start your trek to Chandrashila peak and reach before sunrise. Enjoy a mesmerizing sunrise and start your journey back to Tungnath and then to Chopta. After breakfast drive down to Sari village and then trek to Devaria Taal. You can either stay overnight at Deveria Taal (Tented accommodation is available in season) or trek back to Sari and reach Ukhimath for better stay options. Return to Delhi the next day , if possible take a dip in holy waters of Ganga at Devprayag sangam.
Things to Consider
1>Carry enough cash as after Rudraprayag ATM’s will be hard to find or may not be in working condition.
2>Pertrol Pump: The last one on this route is at Agastmuni (45 kms from Ukhimath). It’s better to top up at Rudraprayag or at Agastmuni.
3>Before starting the trek from Chopta check with local shop owners if water is available en-route or if any shops are open in the route. During off season (when temple is not open) you may not find any shops open / water on the way.
4>Be Responsible, Do not Litter, keep surroundings clean.