Tungnath is the world’s highest Shiva temple at an altitude of 12,073 ft from sea level in Chopta of Rudraprayag district, Uttrakhand surrounded with uncountable layers of Himalaya mountains and lord of the peaks Chaukhamba which stands straight behind the temple. It is one of the Panch Kedar temples and worshiped second in order. It divides the valley of Alaknanda (raising above Badrinath) and Mandakini( raising from Kedarnath) rivers.
Tungnath is the sanskrit word where Tung means Arms and Nath represents Lord Shiva. So, this place is worshiped for the arms of Lord Shiva and called Tungath.
It is believed that Lord Shiva is worshiped at this place from 5000 years and temple is built around 1000 years ago by Adi Shankrayacharya. It is beautiful and small temple which can barely accommodate 10 people inside, the sanctum is made up of black rock i.e self manifested linga or swayambhu which is of about 1 feet denoting arms of Lord Shiva.
Chandrashila is the summit of Tungnath trek which is only 1.5 kms from Tungnath. It is beliebed that Lord Rama meditated here after killing Ravana. Another legend says that moon (chandra) spent time here for penance,
This place lies at an altitude of 12,100 ft from sea level. The trekking distance is very short, but it is very steep.
Here one can enjoy the yatra with the magnificent view of mountains all around. In such a short time, you will be amazed with breath taking view of landscapes in the gigantic mountains and you can not take off your eyes from great Himalayan range. Its the most beautiful temple which is very easily accessible and a very good start for beginners into trekking also. Proper pave is made from Chopta to Tungnath. For Chandrashila one has to hike on the bugyal but track is very clear.
This is the place once visited, you would want to come here again and again. Even if the temple is closed, one can enjoy coming here in winters also when the entire mountains are covered with snow and trekking during that time gives you very adventurous and unforgettable experiences. This is the place where you enjoy the journey and gives you feeling that you are near to God.
Temple opening and closing time
Temple opening and closing time depends on the Hindi dates. During winters due to heavy snowfall in this region all the routes are closed, hence the shrine is also closed for 6 months.
It opens for pilgrims on Shubh muhrat of Akshay tritiya around April or May with huge celebrations and gets closed on the occasion of Bhaiya Dooj (Oct- Nov) after Pooja Archana. After that the idol is shifted to Mukumath where Lord Shiva is worshiped. It is believed that when the temple is closed for pilgrims, then all the Gods perform Pooja inside the temple.
How to reach
First reach Rishikesh and avail bus services till Ukhimath. From Ukhimath to Chopta is 65 kms from you can take shared taxi. Roads are in good shape except for few places due to ongoing construction.
Trek distance and other options : 4.5 kms from Chopta to Tungnath and further 1.5 kms to Chandrashila. You can hire pony also if not going for trek.
Difficulty level : Easy
Options for stay: Good options in Chopta from where the trek begins. Booking in advance is recommended. Else you can opt to stay in DugalBhitta which is 6 kms from Chopta,
Nearby travels : Mukumath, Deoria tal, Ukhimath
Popular things :
Apart from the trekking, people do come here for photography of the beautiful valley, great peaks Mandini, Kedar, Chaukhamba etc. Also, Chopta is known for migrant birds. So people who are into bird photography spend here good time.
Red color Buransh flower attracts lot of people when you see entire valley is full of red flowers.