Trek to Tungnath, the Highest Lord Shiva Temple in Uttarakhand

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Are you a Lord Shiva devotee, fascinated by his power and energy, or seeking an exceptional "trek" to a place infused with divine energies? Well, the Tungnath trek in Uttarakhand is a place you simply can't miss, and the journey to the temple is bound to leave you mesmerized. Tungnath temple, perched on the Chandrashila Parvat in the Tungnath mountain range of Uttarakhand, sits atop an impressive altitude of 12,073 feet. Tungnath Temple, which translates to “God of Mountain Before”, is a divine sanctuary situated amidst a stunning backdrop which not only is the highest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva but also the highest of the PanchKedar temples.
The PanchKedar comprises five sacred temples devoted to Lord Shiva. It is advised to follow the prescribed order while starting on a pilgrimage to these holy sites, which include Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar. These significant temples are situated in Uttarakhand, with Tungnath being the third in the sequence, known as Tritiya Kedar.

Tungnath Temple has perched on the Chandrashila Parvat in the Tungnath mountain range, in the state of Uttarakhand. It sits atop an intimidating altitude of 12,073 feet.

Tungnath Temple is a heavenly abode that literally translates to “God of Mountain Before. Set amidst the most beautiful backdrop, it is not only the highest "temple" of Lord Shiva but also the highest of the PanchKedar temples.

Panch Kedar is the 5 holy temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It's said while trekking to these holy temples one should follow the strict order for a pilgrimage to these temples which is Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar.
The Panch Kedars are in Uttrakhand and Tungnath is the Tritiya Kedar (3rd) among the PanchKedars.

What is the mythology behind the Panch Kedar?

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After emerging victorious over the Kauravas in the battle of Mahabharat, the Pandavas, recognizing their past sins, sought redemption for their sins. It was Rishi Vyas who advised them to approach Lord Shiva and seek forgiveness.

The Pandavas went in search of Lord Shiva, each of them heading in a different direction. Aware of the Pandavas’ responsibility for the demise of their cousins, the Kauravs, Lord Shiva harbored reservations. As a result, he avoided the Pandavas by assuming the form of a bull and hiding himself underground in Guptkashi.

Later, when Lord Shiva took to his original form, his body parts were discovered in five distinct locations. In honor of Lord Shiva, the Pandavas constructed "temple" at these sites, collectively known as the Panch Kedar. Each temple was associated with the specific body part of the bull, symbolizing Lord Shiva, that was found there. According to scriptures, at Tungnath Temple, Lord Shiva's hands (bahu) were revealed.

Each temple is associated with the body part of the bull (Lord Shiva’s body) that was discovered there. According to scriptures, at Tungnath Temple, Lord Shiva's hands (bahu) were seen.

The journey to Tungnath

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En route to Tungnath you will experience basically three specific spots where you will halt; Sari, Chopta, and Deoria Tal.

Chopta is perched at an elevation of 8,556 ft in the lush evergreen forest area of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a small region that lies 29 km from Ukhimath. Chopta village, also famously known as the “Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand” is an unspoiled hamlet in the Uttarakhand Himalayas with a mesmerizing view of the majestic peaks such as Trishul, Chaukhamba, and Nanda Devi which will definitely trigger your urges to trek and reach the peak of these mountain ranges.

Tungnath temple is best visited along with the Chopta-Chandrashila "trek" which also covers the high-altitude glacial lake called Deoria Tal.

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Chandrashila meaning the “moonrock” is the summit or the endpoint for the Tungnath Mahadev Trek. Chandrashila peak is at the alluring height of 13,000 ft above sea level.

According to one legend, Lord Rama after defeating Ravana meditated at this peak. It is also believed that Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Rama meditated here at the Chandrashila Temple.

Another legendary story which makes Chandrashila peak a unique yet most alluring destination is that Chandra, the god of the moon stayed here in self-abasement.

Incredible things about the Tungnath temple:

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1. Tungnath temple, also known as Tunganth Mahadev is believed to be more than 1000 years old.
2. During the harsh "winter", the idol of Lord Shiva is moved to his nearby winter abode, Mukkumath Temple during the winter season.
3. The mythology behind Tungnath Temple dates back to the times of Mahabharata.
4. Perched on the ridges of Chandranath Parvat, the temple divides the two glistening streams of Alaknanda and Mandakini.

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