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Tungnath temple built by Pandavas declared national monument

The world's highest Shiva temple in Rudraprayag has been declared as a national monument (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@hinduacademy)

One of the world’s highest Shiva temples, Tungnath is also the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples in the district of Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand, has now been declared as a national monument.

The third of the Panch Kedar temples, it was declared as a monument of national importance by the Central Government in a notification dated March 27 according to Devraj Singh Rautela of Archaeological Survey of India.

The official revealed that ASI had been trying for a long time to declare Tungnath as a national heritage and for this it had sought objections and views from the public.

Tungnath Temple3
The ancient temple which is located at an altitude of 12,106 feet is connected with the Pandavas (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@VertigoWarrior)

The ancient temple which is located at an altitude of 12,106 feet is connected with the Pandavas. After defeating Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war the Pandavas wanted to atone for their sins of fratricide and Brahmanahatya or killing of Brahims during the battle. For this they handed over the reins of the kingdom and went in search of Lord Shiva to worship him and be free of their sins.

They reached Varanasi but the God wanting to elude them as he was deeply disturbed by the deceit and death in the war assumed Nandi’s form and hid in Garhwal. The Pandavas, determined to seek His blessings moved to Garhwal and it was Bheem who saw the bull and recognised it to be Lord Shiva.

He caught the tail and the hindlegs of Nandi but the God vanished and reappeared in parts. In Kedarnath the hump came up, in Tungnath it was the arms, in Rudranath the face, the navel and stomach in Madhyamaheshwar and hair in Kalpeshwar.

The Pandavas built temples in all these five places to worship Shiva and atone for their sins.

This decision of the Central Government was welcome by everyone. Acharya Ram Prasad Maithani told the media that with this the temple will get a platform to propagate and spread the story connected with the temple to the world. “It will definitely give a unique identity to the look of the Tungnath temple in the country and abroad,” he observed.