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Rudranath, Chamoli Overview

One of the Panch Kedars in the world, Rudranath is a place of immense religious significance and is situated in the Chamoli district of Garhwal, Uttarakhand. The town hosts a large Lord Shiva temple and requires devotees and trekkers to undertake a thrilling trek to reach it. Home to one of the Panch Kedars and the toughest one to reach, Rudranath is famous for its Lord Shiva temple which has one of the five body parts Lord Shiva divided himself into to avoid the Pandavas. The temple also has idols as well as statues of Kunti, Pandavas, and Draupadi. All the devotees who visit the temple take a bath in the holy Narad Kund situated near the temple before going inside the temple.

Perched at an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level and covered in thick forests, Rudranath is a place of great mystique and religious importance. The grand temple is composed of natural stones and is situated amidst a dense forest comprising of Alpine grassland. Rudranath is accessible through a 21 km long trek that takes one through some amazing forests providing enchanting views of the nearby peaks such as Nanda Devi and Nanda Ghunti.

On reaching the temple, one finds themselves surrounded by some of the most spellbinding views with greenery all around, peaks covered in snow and cool air gushing at the face. Rudranath is a challenging place to reach and making it quite favourite amongst trekkers. A totally secluded and remote location where one can experience solace and peace amongst silver mountain peaks.

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History of Rudranath

According to the legends, the Rudranath Temple was built by the Pandavas, the heroes of Mahabharata. After the war, Pandavas went to the Himalayas while searching for Lord Shiva so that they could be forgiven for their sins which they had committed after killing their relatives in the war. Since Lord Shiva was convinced that they were sinners and did not want to meet them, he took the form of a bull and escaped. He then appeared at the Panch Kedars,  now known as the Panch Kedar Temple- his arms appearing at the Tunganath Temple, hunch in Kedarnath, face at Rudranath Temple, hair at Kalpeshwar and the navel and stomach at Madhyamaheshwar.

Lord Shiva is worshipped as 'Nilkanta Mahadev' in Rudranath Temple. It is said that Lord Shiva jumped into the earth and appeared in Rudranath. However, the angry face of Lord Shiva is his temporary mask, and one can witness his pleasing beauty when it is taken off from the face while giving him the holy bath. This holy face of Lord s to enlighten all his devotees and offer them peace.

Rudranath Trek

The journey begins from Rishikesh from where you can take a taxi till Gopeshwar which lies in the way to Rudranath. Take rest at the Sagar village which lies at a distance of 5 km from Gopeshwar. The next morning is when the trek starts from a gate situated there. You will reach Pun Bugyal after 2 hours and have breakfast there. You will be required to climb uphill from here all through the forest.

As you keep moving up, you will notice a change in the atmosphere and nature at its best in here with mushrooms, flowers, and insects. You will then reach Litti Bugyal after 4-6 km. The next stop is Pun Bugyal which takes nearly 3 hours to reach. You can then set up tents here and relax for a while.

The next morning you will start for the Rudranath Temple which is 8 km from Panar. After travelling for 2 hours, you will come across Pitradhar which is decorated with flags and bells. You will reach Naola Pass 1 km downhill from here where you can have your breakfast. You will finally be able to see the Rudranath Temple after 4 km surrounded by clouds.

Best Time To Visit Rudranath

The ideal time to pay a visit to the Rudranath Temple is during the summer and spring season when the sky is clear, and the weather is good. One can enjoy the scenic beauty of the place and get involved in various activities including hiking and trekking. The temple remains open for the visitors from May to October when the snow melts and the routes open up for access. The region remains colds even during these months, requiring one to wear a lot of woollens to protect oneself from the cold. The temple remains closed from the third week of November to April every year. 

Traveling Around Rudranath

Travelling to and about the region is largely by foot and mules.

Stay Near Rudranath

Madmaheshwar en route to Rudranath has some home stays and the temple ashram, for accommodation. Besides that Sagar, the starting point of the trek to Rudranath, has good accommodation options at reasonable rates.

Sightseeing Around Rudranath

Lyuti Bugyal and Panar Bugyal are attractions to visit while here.

Activities At Rudranath

Trekking is the prime activity in the region.

Local Experiences At Rudranath

A totally secluded and remote location where one can experience solace and peace amongst silver mountain peaks.

Food At Rudranath

Try out some amazing Garhwali and Kumauni cuisines such as aloo ke gutke, gahat, chainsoo and kaapa.

Sample Itinerary For Rudranath

Reach Sagar and follow it with a day long trek to Rudranath. There isn't much of an itinerary that you'd need here apart from the traditional trekking trails.

Tips For Visiting Rudranath

Avoid the monsoons as access to the region becomes very difficult due to rainfall. Carry as many winter clothes as possible and maintain physical fitness before undertaking the trek.

How to reach Rudranath

  • Air: The nearest airport is at Dehradun. One can easily get a cab or catch a bus for Sagar village from the airport. At Sagar Village you start trekking for about 21 km to reach Rudranath.

  • Rail: The nearest rail head is at Rishikesh. One can easily get a cab or catch a bus for Sagar village from the railway station. At Sagar Village you start trekking for about 21 km to reach Rudranath.

  • Road: Rudranath is connected by motorable roads up till Sagar Village from where one needs to undertake a 21 km long trek to reach Rudranath. Buses and taxis connect Sagar Village to nearby regions regularly.

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