Tungnath Highest Shiva Temple Rudraprayag

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Tungnath is one of the tallest Shiva temples in the world and is the tallest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the Rudraprayag district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tungnath Mountains (literal meaning: Lord of the Peaks) form the valleys of the Mandakini and Alaknanda rivers. It is located at an altitude of 3,470 m (11,385 ft) and just below Chandrashila Peak. and is the second in the hierarchical order of the Panch Kedars. It has a rich legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of the Mahabharata epic.



The priest of this temple is a local Brahmin from the village of Makku, unlike the other temples in Kedar where the priests are from South India, a tradition established by the 8th century Hindu seer Sankaracharya. The Maithani Brahmins are also said to officiate as priests in this temple. During the winter season, the temple is closed and the symbolic image of the deity and the temple priests are moved to Makkumath, which is 29 km from here. It is near Duggalbitha 10 km (6 miles) before Chopta towards Ukhimath.



Tungnath is on top of the ridge that divides the waters of the Mandakini River (which rises at Kedarnath) from those of the Alaknanda River (which rises at Badrinath). The Tungnath Peak on this ridge is the source of three springs, which form the Akashkamini River. The temple is located about 2 km (1.2 miles) below Chandrashila Peak (3690 m (12,106 feet)). The road to Chopta is just below this ridge and therefore provides the shortest bridle path to walk to the temple from Chopta, in a short distance of about 5 km (3.1 miles). From the top of Chandrashila Peak, you could see picturesque views of the Himalayas comprising the snow-capped peaks of Nanda Devi, Panch Chuli, Banderpoonch, Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, and Neelkanth on one side, and the Garhwal Valley on the opposite side. The valley between Chopta and Tunganath temple has forested hills with rich alpine meadows with low rhododendron mounts and also agricultural fields. Rhododendrons, when in full bloom during March, display stunning colors ranging from crimson to pink. Here is a high altitude botanical station of Garhwal University. Near the top of the temple, there is a forest lodge in Dugalibetta, just opposite the Kedarnath chain of hills. The Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, also called the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary, established in 1972 to preserve the endangered musk deer, found in the region, also has a musk deer breeding center in Kharchula Kharak, near Chopta.



The climate is generally cool throughout the year. Summers are pleasant, with an average temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius during the day. Winters are very cold and the temperature drops below freezing very frequently. The best time to visit the temple is from April to September. Due to heavy snowfall, Tungnath Temple is closed for about 6 months during winter.

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