Tungnath Temple is the highest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is also one of the holy ‘PaanchKedar’ pilgrim spots. Legends say that Rishi Vyas asked the Pandavas to ask for forgiveness from Lord Shiva after the war of Mahabharata. When the Pandavas were looking for Lord Shiva, the almighty hid himself underground, but later his body rose above the ground at five places which are now known as the ‘PaanchKedar’. Tungnath was the place where his hands were seen. The other four were Rudranath (Head), Kedarnath (Hump), Madhyamaheshwar (Navel) and Kalpeshwar (Hair). After the discovery of the hands, Arjun built a temple here to please lord Shiva on the advice of Rishi Vyas. Other stories also state that Lord Rama meditated on the Chandrashila after killing Ravana. Ravana himselfperformed an act of penance to mollify Lord Shiva at the place where Tungnathstands. The temple was later discovered by AdiShankaracharya, according to some sources.
This spectacular religious structure is more than 1000 years old, built in a typical north Indian architecture. The styleof the temple is also similar to other Kedars, especially Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar. The deity of the temple is a Swayambhu (self-manifested) Shivaling, along with a statue of AdiShankaracharya. Given the historic and religious importance of the temple, a lot of pilgrims make their way up to the temple especially during summers. There are several other shrines in the temple, and a couple of smaller temples outside. The temple is in a very peaceful and beautiful environ; thus, being a must visit for people.
With the advent of winter and snow, the deity in the temple is moved to another temple in the village of Mukunath, approximately 19 kilometres from the Tungnath. The temple is closed for winter.
There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva’s wife Parvati, just outside the main temple of Tungnath. Most people believe that this temple has to be visited along with the main temple to complete the pilgrimage.
Ved Vyas Temple
This is another of the smaller temples located around the main Tungnath Temple. This temple is dedicated to sage Rishi Ved Vyas, upon whose advice the temple was built by the Pandavas.
Nanda Devi Temple
A little farther from the main temple is a waterfall called Akash Ganga. There is small temple of Nanda Devi situated to signify the descent of the Goddess from heaven.