Rudranath – a paradise situated in the mighty hills of Garhwal Himalayas in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is a Lord Shiva temple located at an altitude of 3600m above sea level. This natural rock temple is situated within a dense forest of rhododendron (the state tree of Uttarakhand) and Alpine pastures. The temple is the third temple to be visited in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit.
Rudranath holds a special place in the heart of Lord Shiva's devotees. The face (mukha) of god Shiva is worshipped as "Neelkanth Mahadeva" here. Amongst the 'Panch Kedar' Rudranath is a far-flung temple. According to legends, the Pandavas of the epic Mahabharat set up this temple when they were roaming in the Himalayas in search of Lord Shiva to absolve their sin of killings in Kurukshetra war. Later the shrine was built in 8thCentury AD by seer Shri Adi Shankaracharya.
There is a small rectangular space just outside the sanctum sanctorum. The deity is a Swayam Bhuva (Self Appeared) Shivalinga shaped like a human face formed by the projection of a huge rock. This face has a serene smile and a gaze of pure benevolence in the all-seeing eyes. Measuring about 3 feet from the chin to the top of the jatas, a white cloth remains bound tightly on the crown of Lord Shiva.
Along with the sacred temple that is situated in the beautiful alpine meadow, Rudranath is adorned by several blessed water bodies like; Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund, Manas Kund, Vaitarani, Baitarani, and Rudraganga rivers. One can also relish the awe-inspiring views of the mountain peaks of the Trishul, Nanda Devi, Devasthan, Nanda Ghunti, Hathi Parbat.
In winter, a symbolic image of Shiva is brought to Gopinath mandir in Gopeshwar for worship. The priests at the Rudranath temple are Bhatt’s and Tiwari’s of Gopeshwar village. Every morning priest of the temple perform the Shringar of the idol of Lord Shiva and decorates as a face and removed it in the evening.
Trek starts from Sagar village which is approximately 3 km from Gopeshwar. The other trek starts from Mandal which is 12 km from Gopeshwar. This trek goes through Anusuya devi temple. Trek is full of adventures with a distance of approximately 24 km.