The Mighty Rudranath

Photo of The Mighty Rudranath by anargha biswas

Rudranath is one of the five kedars popularly known as the panchkedars and is believed to be the most difficult of the five. (The most common among all being kedarnath, followed by tunganath, kalpeswar and Madamaheswar.)Though the natural beauty of this route is unique and breathtaking, still this route is not much popular and has not converted into a tourist destination yet. 

Oct, 2007, Day 1 --

We started our journey from Haridwar and traveled via Rudraprayag and Nandaprayag, to Gopeshwar and to a small unknown village called Sagar, a village that is yet to be located on google maps. This is the place from where we were to start for the trek. We stayed for the night at the only hotel at the place, just beside a beautiful waterfall. We hired a person who could guide us for the trek.

Early next day we started our trek with a great zeal of enthusiasm through the fields but very soon our route diverted us towards the mountains. The route was a pleasant one in the beginning through the forests with a small river flowing with us as if guiding us into its territory.

However as we entered the deep forests the slopes of the mountain increased as well. Now and then we would come across small green meadows with shepherds laying lazily while the sheep grazed.

Photo of The Mighty Rudranath 1/2 by anargha biswas

These meadows are called bugiyals in the local language. Mostly the forest was so dense that I doubted if the sun-rays has ever touched the grounds. It was almost evening when we managed to reach Panar bugiyal where we were to stay for the night. It was a wonderful sight. Only one small shepherd's hut and the vast green valley and nothing else. The shepherds gave us a warm welcome with hot bajra rotis and omelette. The food tasted like GOD's gift at that hour of hunger and tiredness. We prepared a small camp fire as arrangements were made to stay for the night. The whole night we could hear the bells of the buffaloes tied across their necks so as to sound an alarm in case they are attacked by the wolves. That night was a heavenly one with the entire valley flooded with moonlight.

Photo of The Mighty Rudranath 2/2 by anargha biswas
Panar Bugiyal
Day 2

Sunrise from Panar Bugiyal.

Photo of Uttarakhand, India by anargha biswas
Day 3

Early next morning we continued our journey. The entire valley was covered with a thin sheet of frost. The previous day we had walked 10kms and another 9kms lay ahead of us before we reach our destination. We could see patches Of snow here and there as we walked our way. Today's route was relatively easier with lesser ascends and descends. After some time, 3 kms before the destination we reached the point from where we got the first glimpse of the Rudranath temple. It made me wonder what inspired someone to build a temple at such a spot. Whatever it is, the mere glimpse of the temple brought a new zeal of enthusiasm within us. As we reached the temple we could see that there were a few small huts for people to stay there, built by the villagers. Its the belief of the locals that the place is frequented by the apsaras from the heaven. We stayed for the night in one of the huts( secretly wanting to see the apsaras,but werent lucky enough;) ).

It is also believed that lord Rudranath fulfills whatever wish you ask for. (which is again justified considering the effort to reach the place). Our guide showed us another easier route which heads towards the fifth kedar,i.e the Kalpeshwar. Unlike the route that we followed there are quite a few villages along that route and it is from these villages that the villagers come to the temple during the summer. The temple stays open only from April to October. Rest of the year the route stay closed due to heavy snow. I tried to imagine how the daily lives of these villagers would be.

The Mighty Rudranath Temple

Photo of Rudranath, Uttarakhand, India by anargha biswas

Anyways we followed our same ol' route, the one via which we came. It took us 4 days to come back to our starting point.i.e Sagar village.

I would say that the route is actually of moderate difficulty but is less popular amongst the trekkers and more popular amongst the pilgrims. At the same time the route is really challenging and is of untouched natural beauty.

Day 4

Many tend to compare Rudranath trek with Tunganath and Chandrashila route. But I do not see a comparison between the two, the reason being that, Chandrashila though being the highest point of Uttarakhand, is just a steep climb of a day at the max. whereas, Rudranath Route is something that surprises the trekker with its beauty and its wildness. It is a proper blend of forests and rocky mountains on one hand and the faith and dedication towards GOD. In all, a perfect place to get submerged into the beauty of nature.

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