Tungnath is one of the highest Shiva temples in the world and is the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the Rudraprayag district, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tungnath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. It is located at an altitude of 3,470 m (11,385 ft), and just below the peak of Chandrashila and is the second in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars. It has a rich legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of the Mahabharata epic. Tungnath is at the top of the ridge dividing the waters of the Mandakini River (rising from Kedarnath) from those of the Alaknanda River (rising above Badrinath). The Tungnath peak on this ridge is the source of three springs, which form the Akashkamini River. The temple lies about 2 km (1.2 mi) below the Chandrashila Peak (3,690 m (12,106 ft)). The road to Chopta is just below this ridge and hence provides the shortest bridle approach path for trekking to the temple from Chopta, over a short distance of about 5 km (3.1 mi). From the top of the Chandrashila peak, picturesque views of the Himalayan range comprising snow peaks of Nanda Devi, Panch Chuli, Banderpoonch, Kedarnath, Chaukhamba and Neelkanth on one side, and the Garhwal valley on the opposite side could be witnessed. The valley between Chopta and Tunganath temple has wooded hills with rich alpine meadows with rhododendron coppices and also agricultural fields. The rhododendrons, when they are in full bloom during March, display dazzling colors ranging from crimson to pink. A high-altitude botanical station of the Garhwal University is located here. Near the top of the temple, there is a forest rest house at Dugalibitta, just opposite to the Kedarnath range of hills. The Kedarnath WildLife Sanctuary, also called the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary, set up in 1972 to preserve the endangered musk deer, which lies in the region, also has a musk deer breeding center at Kharchula Kharak near Chopta. The temple is believed to be 1000 years old and is the second in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars. It has a rich legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of the Mahabharata epic and it is also believed that the present temple is built by the Pandavas to appease the Lord. The place boasts of a serene and devout ambience where one can feel the presence of the almighty. Legend also states that Lord Rama, the chief icon of the Ramayana epic, meditated at the Chandrashila peak, which is close to Tungnath. It is also said that Ravana, also of Ramayana fame, did penance to Shiva, the lord of the peaks, when he resided here. Activities to do in Tungnath Trekking – The trek route to Tungnath Commences at Chopta and involves easy to medium grade trekking. The enthralling treks take some through enchanting meadows, hushed hamlets, and conifers and oak forests. In winter, The trekking route is covered in snow. You can continue the trek to Chandrashila Summit as well. – Pilgrimage – Perched at a height of 3,600 meters, Tungnath shrine is one of the revered Panch Kedar dedicated to Lord Shiva in Uttarakhand and a large number of pilgrims visit the shrine. The shrine sleeps under a thick blanket of snow during winters. – Bird Watching – If you are into bird watching then this place is surely a heaven for you. You can see Monal, Pheasant , Barbet, Forktails and Other birds easily around Tungnath. If Lucky you can also spot musk deers in the region. Climate here is generally cool throughout the year. Summers are pleasant with average temperature hovering around 16 degrees Celsius during the day time. Winters are very chilly and temperature drops below the freezing point very frequently. The best time to visit the temple is from April to September. Due to heavy snowfall, the Tungnath Temple remains closed for around 6 months during winter.