The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in a recent survey, revealed that the Tungnath shrine in Uttarakhand is tilting five to six degrees, and the smaller structure inside the complex has leaned about 10 degrees. The development has emerged amid the ongoing tourist season.
The ASI officials have also suggested the Central government designate the shrine as a protected monument. Taking cognizance of the matter, the government has reportedly begun the process of declaring the shrine a monument of national significance. Meanwhile, ASI is also assessing the cause of the damage and whether the shrine requires any repairs. As the probe continues, officials are not ruling out the possibility of subsidence.
Elevated at about 12,800 feet, the holy shrine of Tungnath is worshipped by pilgrims worldwide. Regarded as the world&rsquos highest Shiva temple, snowy trails surround the pilgrim destination in Garhwal&rsquos Rudraprayag district. The temple is one of the &lsquoPanch (five) Kedar&rsquo temples in Uttarakhand, with Lord Shiva as the presiding deity. Other four temples include Kedarnath, Madhmaheshwar, Rudranath and Kalpeshwar. Even among the &lsquoPanch Kedar&rsquo temples, Tungnath is believed to be the highest Shiva shrine.
According to folklore, after the Kurukshetra war ended, the Pandavas sought to seek forgiveness from the gods for the sins committed during the war. They embarked on a journey to the Himalayan mountains in search of Lord Shiva. Disguising as a buffalo, Lord Shiva tried to hide from them, but Bhima discovered the hiding place. However, Lord Shiva vanished again, appearing as different body parts of the bull in various locations. These locations are known as Panch Kedar and temples dedicated to Lord Shiva were built there. The Tungnath Temple marks the spot where the limbs of the bull materialized.
Trek approximately 3.5 kilometres (2-3 hours) from Chopta to Tungnath.
By Air Dehradun's Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport
By Train Rishikesh railway station is the nearest. Take a taxi or bus from there.
By Road Drive from cities like Delhi or Dehradun. Regular bus services ply from Rishikesh or Haridwar to Chopta