Rudranath Travel Guide
Rudranath is a pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Shiva, situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is the fourth temple to be visited in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit and it is the only temple where face of Lord Shiva is worshipped as Nilkantha Mahadeva. The name “Rudranath”, literally, means ‘Him who is Angry’. The deity is a Swyam Bhuva (Self Appeared) Shivalinga shaped like a human face formed by the projection of a huge rock. This face has a serene smile and a gaze of pure benevolence in the all-seeing eyes. Measuring about 3 feet from the chin to the top of the jatas, a white cloth remains bound tightly on the crown of Lord Shiva.
The priests at the Rudranath temple are Bhatts and Tiwaris of Gopeshwar village. Every morning priest performs the Shingar to the idol of Lord Shiva, and decorates as a face and removed in the evening. During winters, a symbolic image of Shiva is brought to Gopeshwar for worship. This temple also possesses idols of Draupadi, Kunti and Pandavas. Devotees generally take bath in the Narad Kund prior to visiting the temple.
Temple is located in the middle of thick forest at an altitude of 3583 meters. There are numerous sacred water tanks (“Kund”) near the temple. These include Surya-kund, Chandra-kund, Tara-kund, Mana-Kund etc. Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti are the famous mountain peaks, which provide the backdrop to the temple. The Vaitharini stream or Baitarani or Rudraganga flows near the temple. The river is identified with the “river of salvation”, where souls of the dead cross to reach the other world. Thus, devotees visit Rudranath to perform rituals of the dead, such as performing a pind offering.
How to Reach Rudranath
Rudra nath is located near Sagar village in Rudraprayag district of garhwal Himalayas (Uttarakhand) approximately 470 kms from New Delhi and 270 kms from Rishikesh.
The route to Sagar village from Delhi would be: Delhi > Haridwar > Rishikesh > Devprayag > Rudraprayag > Gopeshwar (Or via Ukhimath if you want to cover Chopta Tunganath as well) > Sagar village.
There is no immediate street, rail or air administration to the Rudranath. One needs to cover an 18 Km trek from the Sagar village to achieve Rudranath.
- By Air: The closest air terminal to Rudranath is Jolly Grant Airport situated in Dehradun. One can hire a cab for Sagar village from the airport.
- By Train: The nearest rail head is at Rishikesh or Haridwar, both the railway stations are connected to several cities in the country. Once more; you can enlist a taxi or board a transport to achieve Gopeshwar or Saggar town.
- By Bus: Sagar village is accessible by road. Many buses from nearby towns come to Gopeshwar at regular intervals, which is very near to Sagar village. One may even hire private taxi or shared jeep till Sagar village.
When to Visit Rudranath
The temple opens every year in the month of April/May (Akshay Tritya) and closes in the mid of November. During the winters the idol of the temple is moved to Gopeshwar and later returned on the opening of the temple.
Best Time to Visit-: The best time to have Rudranath Temple is in summers from April – October when the climate is wonderful and is perfect for trekking.
Rudranath Temple Aarti Time-: The Rudranath Temple opens at 7 am, there is special Shingaar Pooja takes place at 7:30 pm. Aarti is performed in the evening at 6:30 pm.
Some of the festivals celebrated at Rudranath Temple are:
- Mahashivratri: This festival is in the honour of Lord Shiva. Devotees believe that he is the Adi guru who is the source of the Yogi tradition. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga as well as meditating.
- Doli Yatra: In the winters, devotees bring a symbolic image of Lord Shiva to Gopeshwar for worship in a Doli Yatra which goes through Sagar village and Panar in order to reach Pitradhar. After reaching Pitradhar, the ancestors are worshipped and then, the Doli Yatra continues to reach Rudranath along with the image.
- Annual fair: Every year, on Raksha Bandhan (July or August), that is, the full moon day in the Shravan month according to Hindu calendar an annual fair is held at Rudranath.
Rudranath Trek Details
- From Sagar: This is the most common route, Sagar is 5 km from Gopeswar. From there, Rudranath is a 18 km trek, often done in 2 – 4 days. The route is as follows : Sagar (1700m) – Pung Bugyal (1900m, 4km) – Maulikharak (3000m, 4km) – Litti Bugyal (3200m,1km) – Panar Bugyal (3400m,2km) – Pitradhar (3860m,3km) – Panchganga (3600m,2km) – Rudranath (3550m,3km).
- From Mandal: The second most common, yet much remote route is from Mandal, 13 km from Gopeswar, then a steep incline to Rudranath, via dense forests. The route is as follows: Mandal (1600m) – Anusuya Devi (2000m, 5km) – Hansa Bugyal – Naola Pass (4260m, 7km) – Panchganga (3600m,4km) – Rudranath (3550m,3km.
- From Helang: The third route is taken by those who wish to cover two PanchKedars in one go. It starts from Helang, a small village between Chamoli and Joshimath, and passes through Devgram, 1 km away from Kalpeswar, and then the path passes through Drumak and finally ends at Rudranath. The route is as follows: Devgram (2015m) – Bansi Narayan (3500m, 12km) – Dumak (2400m,10km) – Panar Bugyal (3400m,12km) – Pitradhar (3860m,3km) – Rudranath (3550m,5km).
- There’s a fourth route, which connects Rudranath to Madmaheswar, but is only undertaken by experienced trekkers, as it passes through Ghiya Vinayak Pass at 5300 metres. But the route is blessed with some unparallel beauty, which includes high altitude lake, Nandi Kund at 4800 metres.
Day01: Arrival in Chopta
The first day after reaching Chopta, we will help you explore the walks in our vicinity; this enjoyable and supremely satisfying experience will acclimatize you for the following days of adventure.
Day02: Chopta to Sagar (Drive) to Panar (Trek)
Today we wake up early morning, get ready and leave for Sagar. Trek to Panar Bugyal from Sagar is approx.10km. Though the trek is difficult, it passes through very dense forests, natural streams flowing at numerous locations making the trek a really relaxing one. The second day after breakfast; will drive to Sagar (Base of the Rudranath Trek), then trek to Panar Bugyal (10km). Overnight stay at Panar Bugyal.
Day03: Panar to Rudranath Temple
On the third day waking up from sleep may be disorienting, early morning bird songs in the middle of god's lush green forest will do that to the best of us. It's almost like waking up into a beautiful dream. After breakfast start trek to Rudranath Temple. Overnight stay.
Day04: Rudranath Temple to Sagar (Trek) to Chopta (Drive)
On day 4; we trace the same trail back to Sagar, then 35 km drive to Chopta will be peppered with views of the snow clad Himalayas. Reach Chopta and rest of the day free for leisure and enjoy bonfire. Overnight stay at Chopta
Day05: Check Out
- Accommodation (double/triple or quad sharing basis)
- 2 meals in each day (start from day1 dinner to breakfast on last day)
- Packed lunch during trek only
- Meals other then the itinerary
- Mules or Porters for Luggage
- Any personal expenses like STD Call, laundry
- Any type of insurance
- Any airfare / Transportation
- Emergency rescue charges
- Warm clothes like windproof jackets, full sleeve sweater, thermal inner wears, woolen caps and socks, mittens and scarf.
- Comfortable clothes like T-shirts, trousers/ lowers etc.
- Raincoat or poncho to protect from rains or snowfall
- Trekking stick (not compulsory)
- Trekking or hiking shoes
- Water bottles
- Sunscreen lotion, lip balms, skin ointment and first aid kit/basic medications (or prescribed if any)
- Torch or flash lights with extra cells and bulbs
- Personal toiletries and towels