At an Altitude of 12,073 Feet, The 5000 Year Old Tungnath Temple in Uttarakhand is The Highest Shiva Temple In The World!

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Shiva, Shankara, Shambhu, Maheshwara. No matter what you call him, Lord Shiva has lakhs of followers in the country and outside. And people travel miles and miles and climb the highest mountains to reach his shrines to seek his powerful blessings.
And one such temple which draws people towards it, despite a super tough trek is the Tungnath Temple- the highest Shiva temple in the world! Yes! At an altitude of 3680 m (12,073 ft), the Tungnath temple a reference for many myths and legends and here is everything you need to know about it.

The history and origin

The Tungnath Temple is believed to be 5000 years old and has a connection to the Pandavas of the epic Mahabharata. You will find five temples located in the mountain range of Tungnath, which together are called Panch Kedars.
Legend has it that these temples were built by the royal Pandavas who wanted to be pardoned by Lord Shiva for the Kurukshetra war where they killed their cousins, the Kauravas. So, the Pandavas went in search of Shiva who was avoiding them since he was convinced of their guilt.
To avoid them, he took the form of a bull and hid at Guptakashi, an underground haven. When he went back to his original form, the body parts from Lord Shiva’s bull-body rematerialized in five different spots, which are now called Panch Kedar and the Pandavas built five temples to honour their Lord. Each temple is identified with the part of the bull or Shiva’s body that was found there. Tungnath is identified as the place where the hands also known as ‘bahu’ were seen.

Trek to Tungnath

The Panch Kedar temples are mostly accessible by foot, and you’d be surprised to know that the trek to the world’s highest Shiva temple is actually pretty easy. The Trek to Tungnath commences at Chopta and can be reached by a moderately easy trek of 3.5-5 km. Seeing the Himalayan peaks spread over 180 degrees up from there is nothing less than a visual treat! With the peaks of Panchchuli, Nanda Devi, Nilkanth and Kedarnath keeping you company, Chopta to Tungnath is a simple trek which is both adventurous and enthralling.

How to reach

The nearest airport to Tungnath is The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 260 km away from Chopta. Once you reach Dehradun, you can take a taxi or bus to Chopta. From there begins the trek of nearly 3.5-5 km to Tungnath. You can also take a train with the nearest railway station being Haridwar which lies at a distance of 225 km from Chopta.

Featured Image Source: Flickr

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