Rudranath temple is one among the five of Panch Kedar pilgrimages dedicated to lord Shiva, situated in Chamoli district of Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand at an altitude of 2,286 meters above the sea level. One of the major pilgrimages in India, Rudranath temple derives its history from ancient era and attracts thousands of pilgrimage tourists to its vicinity.
Face of Lord Shiva is worshipped as Nilkantha Mahadev in Rudranath. Angry face of lord Shiva is worshipped as Rudra (Raudra) rup in Hinduism. Irritated and angry lord Shiva had dived into the earth and his angry face had appeared in the place, thus Rudranath. But in Rudranath, lord Shiva’s face has a mask of his Rudra rup and when the priest take off the mask for bathe, one can see the pleasing and charming face of lord Shiva which provides answers to all the questions of life and the devotee feels emancipated. The path to Rudranath is tough and dangerous; one needs to have courage and deep desire. If the tourists halt for the night and get up early, they may get chance to see the pleasing Shiva rup and feel blessed throughout their life.
Rudranath temple has statues of Pandavs, Kunti and Draupadi as well. Devotees take bath at Narad Kund before visiting the temple.
Rudranath Temple Tourism
Rudranath temple is travelled by thousands of religious tourists every year specially during the Char Dham yatra season starting from May till October.Near the Rudranath temple flows the holy Rudraganga popularly known as Vaitarani or Baitarani (the river of salvation in Hinduism which the dead souls must pass through or they won’t be freed). Hindu pilgrims perform Shraddha (last rites of dead ancestors) at Baitarani river. Once in Rudranath temple, tourists can view beautiful Nanda Ghunti, Nanda Devi, Trishul peak, Devasthan and Hathi parvat. There are many sacred water kund (lakes) like Surya-kund, Chandra-kund, Tara-kund, Mana-kund near the Rudranath temple.
Celebrations at Rudranath Temple
Every year on the day of Rakshyabandhan (tying protective thread on wrist), the full moon day in the Hindu month of Sravan (July-August), an annual fair is celebrated in the temple. Locals attend the fair. Bhattas and Tiwaris of Gopeshwar village, 24km below Rudranath, are the priests of the temple.
During winter, the symbolic image of lord Shiva is brought to Gopinath temple of Gopeshwar for worship and return journey of the image is celebrated in special manner. The doli yatra (journey) begins from Gopeshwar, passes through Sagar, and crosses Lyuti Bugyal and Panar and reach Pitradhar. At Pitradhar, they worship the ancestors. There is temple of Shiva, Parvati and Narayan (Vishnu) at Pitradhar. People keep stone at Pitradhar as house for their ancestors. The yatra continues crossing through Dhalabni Maidan and finally reaching Rudranath. They perform a worship of Vandevi as they believe that the area is protected by Vandevi.
Rudranath Temple Trek
Trekking enthusiasts generally plan a trek to Rudranath Temple. The dense forests, beautiful meadows, enthralling springs, lovely peaks will make your tough journey easy and interesting. Trekkers note the journey as a lifetime achievement that nourished the body, mind and soul. The return trek to Panar is easy and quick. Alternate route can also be used- downwards walk for 2000 meters to reach village of Sagar then go to Mandal or Gopeshwar in jeeps. Jeeps are available in regular intervals.
Rudranath Temple | Best Time to Visit
Rudranath Temple can be best visited during summer and spring season when the weather is mild pleasing and sky is clear. During winter, the difficult route to Rudranath becomes more misty and difficult to pass through. During monsoon, it is impossible to pass through the tough track. Visit during summer and spring season will be adventure and a bit easier in comparison to other seasons. Be prepared that you will be passing through very difficult trekking route which challenge even the experienced trekkers. Pack comfortable clothes and shoes. Be light and pack necessary articles, equipments and medicines in case needed.
Rudranath Temple | How to Reach ?
There is no direct air, rail or road service to Rudranath. No vehicle reaches to the temple. You will have to trek for 20km or 24 km. The beautiful scenery, dense forest and panoramic view of Himalayan peaks will relax your mind and the effect will be transferred to the body as well.
- By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport Dehradun, almost 258 Km from Rudranath. You will find taxis and cars in the Jolly Grant Airport which you can hire to Gopeshwar or Sagar. Then you will have to trek.
- By Rail: The nearest railway station is Rishikesh railway station at a distance of 241 km from Rudranath. You will find bus at Rishikesh ISBT or you can hire taxi or jeep that drops you 20km below the temple.
- By Road: Buses are available from Rishikesh, Hairdwar, Dehradun and Kotdwara to Rudranath. You will have to trek to the temple.
Route to Rudranath Temple
- Dehradun – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Karnaprayag – Chamoli – Gopeshwar – Sagar Village – Rudranath Temple
Places nearby Rudranath are – Nandprayag | Tungnath | Karnaprayag | Auli