One of the most popular temples of Lord Shiva is the Tungnath Temple of Chopta. An altitude of 3680 mts above sea level makes it an endearing view. It is one of the five kedars known for its devotional appeal. The temple derives its name from Tung(arm) and Nath refers to Lord Shiva. The sanctity of the place attracts devotees and travelers alike. It also happens to be Lord Shiva’s highest temple. The trek to the temple is steep but short measuring only 4kms.
The magnificent architectural beauty together with a breathtaking location makes it an enchanting place to visit. It is built with North Indian style but is small in size. The stony architecture of the temple is decorated from outside and depicts tall towers. The highest dome is fashioned with a wooden stage. It has sixteen openings. Towards the right of the entrance, there is an image of Lord Ganesha. The temple houses images of Pandavas and incorporates images of other four Kedars.
Tungnath Temple’s History
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva along with some idols of Goddess Parvati and other gods. Discovered by Adi Shankaracharya, Tungnath is a stone structure. Its existence is associated to Mahabarata and its legends. Believed to be more than 1000 years old, this temple has a mythological tale to its existence. Vyas Rishi told Pandavas that they have done an evil deed by killing their own brothers. The Pandavas felt guilty of killing their own brothers and went in search of Lord Shiva. Vyas Rishi told Pandavas that they would be forgiven only by Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva hid himself in the Himalayas to avoid them as they were guilty. He disguised himself as a bull and took shelter underground. The places wherever the body parts of the bull were found became temples. Tungnath Temple is supposed to be the location of his hands.
Temperature of Tungnath in winters is around 5 to 15 degees celcius.The invigorating view of the Himalayas gives a splendid backdrop to the temple. During winters, the white snow makes the region a surreal beauty. Due to snow fall, the trek becomes difficult and for the convenience of the devotees a symbolic image of Shiva is moved to Mukunath. The trek is rocky, bushy and offers natural vistas for travelers. Many Himalayan peaks can be viewed from Tungnath Temple making it a scenic charm.
Best time to visit Tungnath
Although travelers throng at the holy place throughout the year, April to November is the most pleasant time to be here. The weather is cool and ideal to relax and indulge in the natural beauty of the place and its devotional faith. You can become the part of holy prayers (aarti) done every day at 6.30pm. An impeccable fusion of natural beauty, lofty attitude and religious faith – the Tungnath Temple is a place worth visiting.