Image by Ashwini Chaudhary(Monty)

Tungnath

Image by Ashwini Chaudhary(Monty)

Tungnath (Sanskrit:तुंगनाथ) (IAST:tuņgnāth) is one of the highest Shiva temples in the world and is the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the Rudraprayag district, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

Legend

According to Hindu mythology, Shiva and his consort, Parvati both reside in the Himalayas: Shiva resides at Mount Kailash. Parvati is also called Shailaputri, which means 'Daughter of the Mountain'.Many folk legends related to the Garhwal region, Shiva and the creation of the Panch Kedar temples are narrated.

The Tungnath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. It is located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft), and just below the peak of Chandrashila.[2] and is the second in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars. It has a rich legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of the Mahabharata epic.

A folk legend about Panch Kedar relates to the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Pandavas defeated and slayed their cousins — the Kauravas in the epic Kurukshetra war. They wished to atone for the sins of committing fratricide (gotra hatya) and Brāhmanahatya (killing of Brahmins — the priest class) during the war. Thus, they handed over the reins of their kingdom to their kin and left in search of Shiva and to seek his blessings. First, they went to the holy city of Varanasi (Kashi), believed to be Shiva's favourite city and known for its Kashi Vishwanath Temple. 

Tungnath is at the top of the ridge dividing the waters of the Mandakini River (raising from Kedarnath) from those of the Alaknanda River (raising above Badrinath). The Tungnath peak on this ridge is the source of three springs, which form the Akashkamini River. The temple lies about 2 km (1.2 mi) below the Chandrashila Peak (3,690 m (12,106 ft)). The road to Chopta is just below this ridge and hence provides the shortest bridle approach path for trekking to the temple from Chopta, over a short distance of about 5 km (3.1 mi). From the top of the Chandrashila peak, picturesque views of the Himalayan range comprising snow peaks of Nanda Devi, Panch Chuli, Banderpoonch, Kedarnath, Chaukhamba and Neelkanth on one side, and the Garhwal valley on the opposite side could be witnessed.