Rudranath Temple- Panch Kedar Tour

29th Aug 2019
Photo of Rudranath Temple- Panch Kedar Tour 1/5 by Himalaya Resort Chopta
Rudranath Temple- Here the face of Shiva is worshiped as Neelkanth Mahadev.

Rudranath Temple is a very ancient temple of Lord Shiva and is situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The temple is named after Rudra, which is another name for Shiva. Rudra means the angry one and is also referred to the furious storm like anger of Lord Shiva. Rudranath therefore is dedicated to the Angry God Shiva. It is one of the five Panch Kedars and is generally visited after Kedarnath and Tungnath (Read my blog on Kedarnath or Tungnath to know about the legend of Panch Kedars).

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Here at this temple, Shiva’s face is worshipped as the Neelkantha Mahadev. The face and eyes of Lord Shiva seem very enchanting and one gets mesmerized by looking at the face of Lord Shiva. It seems that the Lord is looking directly in to the eyes of His devotees. The temple is situated in a natural rock cave at an altitude of 3590 meters. The cave’s exterior has been modified to make it look like a temple. The Nanda Devi, Trishul and Hathi Parbat along with other snow-covered mountain peaks are visible from the Rudranath temple.

Location Of Rudranath Temple

Rudranath temple can be reached only on foot. It is at a distance of about 20 kms from Sagar village, up to which motorable roads are available. Sagar village can be reached via the Gopeshwar-Kedarnath Road. From Rishikesh, the road distance up to Sagar village is 219 kms. The temple is closed during the winter months and then the Doli of Lord Shiva is brought to the Gopinath Temple in Gopeshwar for resting and worship. The return Doli Yatra before the start of summer starts from Gopeshwar via Sagar. These Yatras can be attended by the Tourists. One can also attend the annual Shravan Mela of the temple, held on the day of Rakshabandhan in mid-August.

Photo of Rudranath Temple- Panch Kedar Tour 2/5 by Himalaya Resort Chopta
Panar Bugyal just 10km before from Rudranath Temple

The trek on foot to the temple is considered as a moderately difficult one. It is because of the steep slope during the route and the unpaved trekking route. This also makes the trek the least visited one and the views one gets are unmatched. This is the reason why it is quite popular among the trekkers. Situated at a completely remote location away from any human settlement makes the place very attractive for spiritual and religious reasons. The trek passes through dense forests and Bugyals with very tall grasses. The landscape is very different to what we see at all the other places in the region. The route offers clear views of many snow covered Himalayan peaks. The trekking route is considered by most as the most picturesque one among all the trekking options.

Photo of Rudranath Temple- Panch Kedar Tour 3/5 by Himalaya Resort Chopta
Himalayas in Backdrop

Priests at the Rudranath temple

The priests at the Rudranath temple are Bhatts and Tiwaris of Gopeshwar village. Every morning the Pujari ji performs the Shringar of the idol of Lord Shiva and decorates Shiva’s face. The entire decoration is then removed in the evening every day. Morning Aarti is done at 8 am and evening Aarti at 6.30 pm. These can be attended by the devotees.

Photo of Rudranath Temple- Panch Kedar Tour 4/5 by Himalaya Resort Chopta
HImalaya View from Rudranath Temple

Just near the temple is a clear water stream known as the Vaitarini or Rudraganga River. This is also popularly called as the ‘Water of Salvation’.It is believed that this is the river from which the dead cross to reach the other world to achieve salvation. Most people therefore visit Rudranath to perform rituals for their dead ones and perform pind daan according to Hindu shastras. The Pind daan done here is considered many times more sacred than that offered in the holy city of Gaya. The temple is surrounded by a number of small water pools called – Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund and Manas Kund.

Weather and Temperature:

The temperatures here can easily fall below zero because of the high altitude. Despite the high altitude, the air is very fresh and most trekkers don’t feel any difficulty in breathing and in fact feel fresh and invigorated. The visitors need to carry waterproof shoes, raincoats and caps along with warm clothes to complete the trek. The trek up to the valley is of moderate difficulty and can be easily done by people who are of average fitness levels.

Rudranath Trek

There are 2 trekking routes available to reach Rudranath. Here I will talk about the shorter and more popular one which goes through the village of Sagar.

Best Rudranath Trek Itinerary-

Day 01: Rishikesh to Sagar Village(Drive)

Reach Sagar village or Gopeshwar, which is around 210 Kms from Rishikesh. Stay overnight at Sagar village or Gopeshwar.

Day 02: Sagar Village to Panar Bugyal

Sagar village is about 5 kms from Gopeshwar. Trekking starts from Sagar village. After a trek of about 2 hours, one reaches Pun Bugyal. People generally halt here for breakfast and refreshments. After another 2-3 hours or about 5 kms, one reaches Lyuti Bugyal. One can stop for lunch here. After another 2-3 hours one reaches Panar Bugyal, where one can stay overnight in makeshift tents.

Day 03: Panar Bugyal to Rudranath Temple

Rudranath temple is 8 kms from Panar Bugyal and may take the whole day. One crosses Pitradhar on the way and after reaching the temple, one can offer prayers and then they have to return to Naola pass for an overnight stay. One can’t stay overnight near the temple.

Day 04: Rudranath Temple to Sagar Village or Gopeshwar

Start return journey to Panar Bugyal and then to Sagar village.

Few things to remember -

One needs to have basic fitness levels to undertake this trek. The temple is situated in a very secluded place, quite far from civilization, electricity and mobile networks. One needs to be aware of this fact during the trek so that the resources are used optimally to last the 3- 4 days of the trekking journey. The weather is very unpredictable and the trek has a steep slope. So it is suggested to travel with a guide or a professional trekker. The ecology of the place should be respected and all travelers must ensure that they don’t leave behind any plastic or garbage.

Photo of Rudranath Temple- Panch Kedar Tour 5/5 by Himalaya Resort Chopta
Saraswati Kund Near Rudranath Temple

But all said and done, this according to me is one of the most beautiful treks I have ever undertaken and would love to take visitors like you along with me to Rudranath. The peace and spiritual connection one gets there is amazing and the cool and fresh breeze makes you forget all the tiredness of the trek. Everyone who has been here once has longed to visit it again.

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Contact for planning your trip -

So when are you planning your trip for the Rudranath Temple? You can comment below for your queries or feedback. You can also tell me what you like about this post and which other treks you would like me to write about in future.

Hope a visit here is in your bucket list.


Neeraj Tiwari