Rudranath is located at an altitude of 2286 m in the Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand in the Gopeshwar-Kedarnath road. It is the toughest Panch Kedar temple to reach, requiring a strenuous trek of about 20 kms from Sagar village, the nearest motorable destination.
According to the legend, the Rudranath Temple is related to the Pandavas of the Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’. The Pandavas committed sins by killing their own cousins during the Kurukshetra War and Rishi Ved Vyas suggested them to seek blessings from Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, who was deeply hurted with them, took the form of a Bull and hid in ‘Guptakashi’ in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The Pandavas could recognize him and when Lord Shiva tried to hide himself in the ground, Bhima, the second of the Pandavas, caught him by his tail and hind legs. But the Bull formed Shiva disappeared and reappeared in five different places with the hump rising in Kedarnath, the arms surfacing in Tunganath, the navel and stomach appearing in Madhmaheshwar, the face rising in Rudranath and the hair locks appearing in Kalpeshwar. Lord Shiva then blessed the Pandavas and asked them to built the temples at these five places and perform meditation to seek salvation. So the five brothers built these five temples and after blessings from the Lord, proceed towards the heaven. These five temples, together is known as the Panch Kedar. Also 1 km of steep trek from Tunganath will take one to the Chandrashila Peak, where it is believed that Lord Ram once meditated at this place.
The temple opens for only about seven months of a year (mid-April to early November) along with the Char Dham.
Height: 2286 m
Climate: The place remain cut off from other parts from end November to April due to heavy snowfall. Heavy woolens are required during this time. In summers, light woolens are recommended during daytime and heavy woolens are suggested at nights.
Getting There & Away: How to reach Rudranath
Sagar village is the nearest motorable destination for Rudranath, from where a steep 20 kms trek will take one to the temple.
Road: Sagar is 241 kms from Rishikesh via Gopeshwar-Kedarnath road.
Rail: The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, 241 kms away.
Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant near Dehradun at a distance of 258 kms.
Tourist Attractions in Rudranath
Rudranath Temple: This temple houses the face of Lord Shiva. The deity of the Shivlinga is shaped like a human face, measuring about 3 feet from the chin to the top of the hair, best known as ‘jatas’ of Lord Shiva. The face of the deity has a calm smile and eyes with pure kindness. On the top of the jatas, a white cloth is tightly bound as the crown.
Kunds: Near the temple, there are numerous water tanks, known as ‘Kunds’. Some of the famous are Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund and Mana Kund.
Baitarani Stream: Rudraganga River, famously knows as Baitarani stream flows by the side of the temple. It is believed that a holy dip in the stream helps one to get rid of all committed sins and opens the door of heaven. On the backdrop of the mountain peaks, Nanda Devi, Trishul, Hathi Parbat and Nanda Ghunti, this is an awesome place to enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings.
Trekking: The trek to Rudranath from Sagar is risky and strenuous, but highly rewarding for the tourists. The trek goes through tall grasses and dark forests of oak and rhododendrons, which provide immense pleasure to nature lovers and photographers.