In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is considered the God of sacrifice. Many ancient temples of Lord Shiva are built in India and many other countries around the globe.
All ancient temples of Lord Shiva located in India or any corner of the world have different religious significance. Today, the ancient temple of Lord Shiva, which I am going to tell you about, is called Tungnath Mahadev. This ancient Shiva temple is the highest Shiva temple situated at the highest altitude in the world.
The ancient temples of Lord Shiva are located in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar, Mahadev Lord Shiva are known as Panch Kedar.
Among all the Panch Kedar temples, the Tungnath Mahadev Temple is placed at number three. According to mythology, all these ancient Shiva temples were built by the Pandavas after the war of Mahabharata.
Before I talk about the Mahabharata, let me tell you that the Tungnath Temple’s history is related to the Mahabharata period and its location. He is also directly related to Lord Rama and Ravana.
It is said that Lord Rama meditated on a place called Chandrashila, located a short distance from Tungnath. When the Lord resided at this place, Ravana also did penance at the same place to please Lord Shiva. Now we come back to the time of Mahabharata.
After the end of the war of Mahabharata, the sage Vyas tells the Pandavas that – “During the battle of Kurukshetra, you five brothers killed their cousins and relatives; therefore you are all guilty of fratricide, and you have committed this sin only. And only Lord Shiva can forgive. “
The five Pandavas go out in search of Lord Shiva after obeying the sage Vyasa. But Lord Shiva is very angry because of the crime committed by the Pandavas in the battle of Kurukshetra. Due to this, Lord Shiva takes the form of an ox to escape the Pandavas and hides in a secret place in Kashi.
But the Pandavas reach Kashi looking for Lord Shiva. After that, Lord Shiva appears in the form of a bull, and later five different parts appear.
According to mythological beliefs, after shifting from Kashi, the upper part of Lord Shiva appears in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Currently, the temple of Lord Shiva in Kathmandu is called Pashupatinath.
Apart from this temple, Lord Shiva’s back appears in Kedarnath, Arms in Tungnath, Mouth in Rudranath, Navel in Madhyamaheshwar, and Jata in Kalpeshwar.
For this reason, all these temples located in Uttarakhand are called Panchkedar.
The five Pandavas build temples of Lord Shiva in all these places where Lord Shiva appears in different forms. So that they can apologize to Lord Shiva in all these places and please him; after that, Lord Shiva is satisfied with the penance carried out by the Pandavas and blesses the five brothers and free them from the crime of brotherly murder.
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The Architecture of Tungnath Temple
The Tungnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is believed to be more than 1000 years old.
The architecture of the main temple is similar to the architecture of the Kedarnath temple. Several small temples are also built around the Tungnath temple in North Indian style.
After entering the temple, the idol of Lord Shiva’s river remains first.
The Shiva lingam of Lord Shiva, located in the temple’s sanctum, Sanctorum, is black stone. Apart from this, the image of Lord Ganesha is engraved on the right side of the entrance of the temple.
Statues made of Vyas Rishi, Kaal Bhairava, and Ashta Metal have also been installed in the temple premises.
Apart from this, a silver replica of the four Kedar temples and pictures of Pandavas are also engraved. The shikhara of the temple is decorated with giant stone slabs.
Worship at Tungnath Temple
Where the priests of other Kedar temples belong to South India, on the contrary, the priests of the Tungnath temple come from the local Brahmin family.
The priest of the temple is a resident of Makku village located nearby. Due to excessive snowfall during the winter season, the shrines of the Tungnath temple are closed for six months. And the symbolic image of Lord Shiva is taken to Makumath, 29 km from Tungnath, where Lord Shiva is worshiped for the next six months.
Geography of Tungnath
Dev Bhoomi is 3680 meters (12070 ft) above sea level of Tungnath, located in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Tungnath is situated at the highest elevation of Lord Shiva, Panch Kedar temples located in Uttarakhand.
Holy rivers like Mandakini and Alaknanda form the Tungnath mountain range. Apart from these two rivers, the peak of Tungnath mountain is also considered the source of the three waterfalls flowing here, from which the Akashmani river is formed. Chandrashila is about a 1.5 km walk from Tungnath.
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