Locat­ed at an alti­tude of 3680 meters above sea lev­el, Tung­nath Tem­ple is the high­est Shi­va tem­ple in the world and is the source of many myths and leg­ends.

tungnath

Entry relat­ed to place: India

The tem­ple is believed to be 1000 years old and is asso­ci­at­ed with the Pan­davas from the epic Mahab­hara­ta. There are five tem­ples in the Tun­ganath moun­tain range called Panch Kedar.

shiva temple

Accord­ing to leg­end, these tem­ples were built by the roy­al Pan­davas who want­ed Lord Shi­va to par­don them for the Kuruk­shetra war in which they killed their Kau­ra­va cousins. On the advice of the great sage Vyasa Rishi, the Pan­davas went to the moun­tains to find Lord Shi­va, but he avoid­ed them.

Inter­est­ing selec­tion: The most famous Hin­du tem­ples

He took the form of the famous bull Nan­di and hid in the Gup­takashi. The bull rema­te­ri­al­ized at five dif­fer­ent loca­tions in the Panch Kedar com­plex, where the Pan­davas built five tem­ples in hon­or of their Lord. Accord­ing to leg­end, Lord Rama from the epic Ramayana med­i­tat­ed on the near­by peak of Tung­nath.

tungnath

The tem­ples of Panch Kedar are only acces­si­ble on foot and are closed in win­ter. Due to the loca­tion at such a high alti­tude, every­thing around is cov­ered with a thick lay­er of snow. The tem­ple is sur­round­ed by charm­ing idyl­lic sur­round­ings. The beau­ti­ful sacred site has become a pop­u­lar trekking des­ti­na­tion, attract­ing many vis­i­tors. It can be reached by a steep 4 km route start­ing from Chop­ta.

high temple

Dur­ing the hike, vis­i­tors can see beau­ti­ful mead­ows filled with rhodo­den­drons. When these flow­ers are in full bloom, the view is breath­tak­ing. The hues shift from crim­son to pink, and from the top of Chan­drashila Peak you can see many peaks of the Himalayan range, includ­ing Nan­di Deva, Kedar­nath and Chuli.

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The tem­ple is small and only ten peo­ple can enter it at a time. There are even small­er tem­ples around Tung­nath, dec­o­rat­ed with images of Hin­du gods.

decoration of the facade of the temple

The inte­ri­or is made of mar­ble with orna­ment­ed walls, and at the entrance there is a stone image of the bull Nan­di and the image of Lord Gane­sha. In win­ter, when the tem­ple is closed, the images of the gods are trans­ferred to Mukku­mat. It is a famous tourist des­ti­na­tion for camp­ing, week­end get­aways and pil­grim­ages. Dur­ing the Maha Shiv­ara­tri fes­ti­val in Feb­ru­ary, the tem­ple attracts many tourists.

Read more: Viru­pak­sha Tem­ple in Hon­or of Shi­va