Tungnath temple is the highest shrine in the world, located as it is at an altitude of 3,680 meters. The temple is situated on the inner Himalayan range, just below
in Rudraprayag District
. The presiding deity here is Lord Shiva
. A 2.5-feet-tall idol of Adi Shankaracharya
can be seen near the shivling
. The Tungnath temple is one of the Panchakedar temples of Garhwal.
According to a popular legend, the Pandavas sought the blessings of Lord Shiva to atone their sins after the battle of Kurukshetra. Lord Shiva eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took the form of a bull at Kedarnath. On being followed by the Pandava brothers, he dived into the ground and disappeared; only his hump could be seen. Bhima, the second Pandava brother, jumped on this hump and tried to catch hold of the bull by his hump. It is believed that just as bull's hump appeared in Kedarnath, his belly appeared in
Madmaheshwar Temple, his limbs at Tungnath Temple; his head at Kalpeshwar Temple and his face at Rudranath Temple. All these five temples are together known as Panchakedar and a pilgrimage of all these five shrines is considered holy by the Hindus.
Situated off the main pilgrim route, Tunganath temple is less frequented than Kedarnath Temple. It is situated 30 km off Ukhimath-Gopeshwar Road and can be reached only at the end of a difficult trek through dense forests. Chopta is the closest road-head. Nearest airport is at Dehradun.