Nestled amidst the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, Rudranath is one of the revered sites dedicated to Lord Shiva. This Temple also forms an integral part of the Kedar circuit and needs to be visited third after Kedarnath and Tungnath, in this Kedar circuit. “Him who is Angry” is the direct translation of the name “Rudranath.”Perched at an elevation of 3600m, temple the face of Lord Shiva is worshipped as Neelkantha Mahadev.
The gigantic peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Nanda ghuti act as a perfect backdrop for this revered Site. Within a dense forest of rhododendron dwarfs and Alpine pastures, this natural rock shrine is found.
MYTHOLOGICAL LEGEND BEHIND RUDRANATH
The most popular legend about the Garhwal region, Lord Shiva, and the construction of the Panch Kedar temples, relate to Pandavas from the Mahabharata era.
According to the legend, In the Kurukshetra war, the Pandavas conquered and killed their cousins, the Kauravas. During the fight, they wanted to atone for the sins of fratricide (gotra hatya) and Brhmanahatya (killing of Brahmins). As a result, they entrusted the reins of their kingdom to their cousins and set out in pursuit of Lord Shiva and his blessings. They began their journey in the holy city of Varanasi (Kashi), which is thought to be Shiva’s favorite city.
Shiva, on the other hand, desired to avoid them since he was enraged by the murder and dishonesty at the Kurukshetra war and, as a result, was unresponsive to Pandavas’ petitions. As a result, he disguised himself as a bull (Nandi) and fled to the Garhwal region.
The Pandavas proceeded to the Garhwal Himalayas after failing to find Shiva in Varanasi. Standing astride two mountains, Bhima, the second of the five Pandava brothers, began his search for Shiva. He came to a bull grazing near Guptakashi. Bhima identified the bull as Shiva right away.
The bull’s tail and hind legs were caught by Bhima. The hump raising in Kedarnath, the arms appearing in Tungnath, the face appearing at Rudranath, the nabhi (navel) and stomach surfacing in Madhyamaheshwar, and the hair appearing in Kalpeshwar, the bull-formed Shiva vanished into the ground and reappeared in pieces. The Pandavas, who were overjoyed with Shiva’s rebirth in five various forms, constructed temples in each of the five locations to honor and worship him.
Devotees worship antique historic swords projecting from the rocks at Nandikund (2,439 m or 8,002 ft), on the hiking path to Rudranath (if traveling through Madhmaheshwar), thought to be those of the Pandavas.
INSIDE THE TEMPLE
The temple has a grey stone idol of Rudranath. Near the shrine, there are several holy water tanks (“Kunds”). Surya-kund, Chandra-kund, Tara-kund, Mana-kund, and others are among them. Rudranath’s mountain cave was converted into the present-day temple.
AARTI TIMING AT RUDRANATH
Morning Aarti- 8:00 am
Evening Aarti- 6:30 pm
THE DOLI YATRA OF RUDRANATH
A symbolic representation of Shiva is carried from Rudranath to Gopinath Mandir in Gopeshwar for adoration throughout the winter. The Doli Yatra begins in Gopeshwar and ends in Sagar. The Doli Yatris travel through Lyuti Bugyal and Panar before arriving in Pitradhar. This is where ancestors are worshipped. After passing through Dhalabni Maidan, the Doli, or Shiva’s symbolic image, arrives at Rudranath.
FESTIVAL AT RUDRANATH
The temple holds an annual fair on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Sravan (July–August), which falls mostly on Rakshabandhan day. Locals are the majority of those that visit the fair.
Being one of the toughest Panch Kedar Temple to reach, the temple provides a trekking trail for adventurous souls. To get to Rudranath, you must walk 20 kilometres from Gopeshwar.
The hike takes you through lush grass, oak, and rhododendron groves. The journey route is said to be slick. Other options include a 17-kilometre uphill hike from Gangolgaon — 3 kilometres from Gopeshwar — via the forest and shepherd communities of Panar and Naila.
Another route from Gopeshwar to Rudranath goes through Mandal for 13 kilometres, then another 6 kilometres to the Anusuya Devi Temple, and finally another 20 kilometres trek distance to Rudranath.
A hiking path from Kalpeshwar to Rudranath through Dumak, Kalgont Kimana, and Palla is also available. The path comes together at Urgam village, with Kalpeshwar a little distance ahead.
A strenuous Rudranath trek distance of 45 km is available from Joshimath via Helang.
MUST-HAVES DURING TREK TO RUDRANATH
- As the temperature seems to drop down during the evening, make sure to carry warm and comfortable clothing along with trekking shoes.
- As the trek to Rudranath is a bit difficult, make sure to carry a medical kit with you.
- For obvious reasons, you will not find ATMs near Rudranath. So, make sure to carry some cash beforehand.
- As you get to witness the beauty of nature all along the trekking trail offering you memories for life. Make sure to carry a camera or good-quality phone to capture this beauty.
- Some time it get hard to trek so it is recommended carry a stick for support while trekking to hilly step paths.
WHAT ARE THE VIEWS ALONG TREK TO RUDRANATH?
While travelling from Rishikesh to Sagar village, you will be enchanted by the diversity of flora and fauna across the region. Route to Rudranath is filled with numerous temples in between.
After Sagar village, head towards Punar Bugyal. You will reach there within 2 hrs. This Bugyal will offer a panoramic view of mountain peaks and grassland. You can also get a glimpse of Chaukhamba Peaks from the Pitradhar ridge.
BEST TIME TO VISIT RUDRANATH
Due to extreme weather conditions during the winter season, the temple remains closed from November to April every year. So you can visit this shrine from May to October.
WHERE TO STAY AT RUDRANATH?
You can find simple accommodations maintained by the temple committee and some options for homestay. You can even take your own tents and supplies for camping near Rudranath.
You can also book state government guest houses maintained and authorised by GMVN i.e. Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited link is given below
FOOD AT RUDRANATH
Being situated at a higher elevation, there are no restaurants nearby Rudranath. You must take your own homemade food. Also, you can take packaged food to enjoy during your trek. High energy-producing food is recommended during the trek.
Road Route from Delhi to Rudranath
Delhi – Meerut- Haridwar – Rishikesh Devprayag via Srinagar- Rudraprayag- Gopeshwar – Sagar Village, thereafter trek of 19 km to Rundranath Temple.
By Train: The nearest Railway Station is the Rishikesh Railway Station, which is 241 km
By Air: Jolly Grant, Dehradun 258 km from Rudranath via Rishikesh