12.07.2009

Tungnath, highest abode of the great Lord Shiva


Chilling winds blow through the mountains as the fog descends on to sacred land. There in the horizon, high up overhanging the cliff stands a small temple, with a character so profound, my feet remain stuck in the earth as I look up to this splendor, this beauty that feels like a divine gift from heaven. 

Brass bells hang down inviting me into this mystical world of beauty and power that I wonder as why I am wasting my life in this mundane reality when my heart yearns out to be with the Lord, here in his heavenly abode. 

Lost in a world of its own, inaccessible to all those who either dont know or dont care, cradled in the lap of mother nature, with a few ancient stones put together to sanctify a presence of the Lord who once graced this planet, here stands the small and quaint temple of Lord Tungnath Shiva. 

The Garhwal Himalayas tower around as a protective cover to this splendid workmanship once meticulously put together in stone. Such is the poetry that mystically covers this land, this earth, this temple, the sacred hands that once fell to the earth when Lord Shiva tried to escape from the Pancha Pandavas. 


The bells ring, reverberating sounds pierce the air as the fog clears to let the bright sunlight through. White clad, ice laiden, transforming this beauty into a mystical maiden, Tungnath temple leaves anyone breathless over how beautiful the world can really be. The red flag of the Gods flies hight up into the air, the eroded rock wake up to another day of chilling weather, and the white snow gleams in the sunlight describing the untouched beauty of Tungnath. 



My feet penetrate the snow that blankets this earth as the sunlight directs me to the open doors of heaven. My heart melts, my emotions sink, my eyes are frozen staring into this clear silence in the wind. Nandi sits in divine presence, the sound of OM becoming even more clearer as he sits at the doorstep of Lord Shiva in silent meditation.

In this chill, I sit for a while, closing my eyes, feeling my breath as I descend into meditating on the sacred verses of Trayambaka Shiva. There is nothing here, simple void, just the stark presence of the Lord makes one feel in union. The chill in the air, the clear blue sky, the constant sound of the bells, the sweet verses that roll out of my self and the deep breath that gathers momentum after repeating the sacred syllables. This is meditation, this is dhyanam, this is what the world looks like when we give up all materialism and desire. 

The belief that great souls once walked this earth, the faith that there is power and purity in this land, the living power of sacred meditation now housed within stone walls of a small quaint temple, built centuries ago to preserve the truth that divinity still rules, love still exists, surrender is the only path and enlightenment is the only way forward to the next life. What a different thought, what a different feeling to live this profound worship.

17 comments:

Anu said...

this was just great!! you are lucky to be able to visit this wonderful temple...... I believe you need to trek to visit it... how difficult was it???

Kavitha said...

Hi Anu

I have not yet been there, I am going there soon. I should be spending my New Years at Tungnath.

I will fill you in on the trek once I get back.

What I wrote here was more my imagination :) though I believe the real thing should not be too different.

It is a trek and we can take a pony ride as well. The path is a rocky road way up. 4 wheelers cannot make it there.

Rest will appear after I get back :)

Regards
Kavitha

YOSEE said...

Hi Kavitha, wish i could accompany you on your imminent trip ! Your lovely post makes it so enticing, i long to sink into that snow and melt into the sweetness of Sivam !.... Am sure the real visit will be as beautiful an experience, if not more, as your imagination ! Best Wishes.

Bart said...

Wow Kavitha, I was, while reading your post, really thinking the very same as Anu, but her questions and mine have to wait until the new year, I understand. Have a blissful and inspirative pilgrimage to the Abode of Lord Tunganath, the High Ruler, on 3,680 mtrs above Sea Level. Almost in heaven. What a happy new year for you to be there!

You have made us all daydreaming to accompany you, and we will do, at least in the Spirit we will with.

Are you planning to visit all five Panch Kedar Temples? I am looking forwards to answer and your stories. Be in the meantime blessed and protected on your journey by the Great Good Lord. Om namah Shivaya |||·

Kavitha said...

Hi Bart, Yosee,

I wished i could do the Panch Kedar but unfortunately i dont have as much time.

I squeezed 10 days and now even that doesnt look enough.

I will be covering Guptkashi, Ukhimath, Rudraprayag, Tungnath [will be closed for the winter], Hrishikesh and Haridwar.

So I dont get to do Kedarnath though i see the shrine at Ukhimatt and I dont get to do Kalpeshwar as well as Madamaheshwar which is a little too way off.

Regards
Kavitha

Jaya Vijaya said...

Hari Om Kavitha!

Over the years, I've been a secret admirer of your blog. By the mercy of Sri Tungnath Mahadeva, I was inspired to share a few words regarding your upcoming darshan of the Lord.
As we all know, it will be incredibly cold, in fact, freezing during the New Year period. But again, it reminds us how austere (for us humans) the Himalayan environment is. We can try to understand how many yugas of tapasya so many great souls have performed (and are still performing today) to reach their self-realization. Even the Panch-Pandavas performed incredible austerities searching out Lord Siva, eventually resulting in the Panch-Kedar:1)Kedarnath-hump @ 3584 m; 2)Madhmaheshwar-naval @ 3289 m; 3)Tungnath-arm @ 3810 m;
4)Rudranath-face @ 2286 m; and 5) Kalpanath-hair @ 2134 m. (And of course, there is Pashupatinath [Nepal] which is said to be the head of the Lord).

Yes, you can take a khachchar (mule) from Chopta to Tungnath, but trekking is always more rewarding (I've yet to see a blissful pilgrim's face upon arrival when either a mule or palanquin is used). It's a very short trek (4 kms), but incredible steep (50-60 degrees) and quite exhilarating (to say the least)!

Since you are going during the winter months, I'm uncertain if the temple will be open? As with Kedarnath & Madhmaheshwar, where the utsava is brought down to Ukimath for the winter puja, I'm don't recall what is the procedure with the other Kedars during the winter months.

Plus, after a robbery of all the silver paraphernalia inside the Tungath Mandir several years ago, the locals (pujaris) keep the temple locked until requested by a pilgrim for darshan.

During our past visits (usually during Sept-Oct, end of the monsoon season) the weather was either solid clouds (couldn't see 1 meter in front of you) or clear (where you can see forever).

Anyway, enough said for now. We all wish you a very blissful journey to Tungnath, whenever you may visit.

May Lord Siva always bless & guide you with each & every step you take towards Him.

Om Namah Shivaya!

jaya vijaya das

Kavitha said...

Hello Jaya Vijayaji,

Thank you for that little pearl of wisdom in your comment. I will definitely try and see if the pujari can open the door for darshan.

I have heard the temples are closed, specially Kedarnath, Tungnath and Madamaheshwar but i plan to push my luck with Tungnathji temple.

I believe, if the Lord desires, he will find a way to open his door to me. I will none the less try and see if we can get the pujari to open the door.

Regards
Kavitha

JC said...

Hi Kavitha, Nice imagination! Perhaps a reflection of formless creator's dream...

Please do not take it otherwise, being eccentric, 'I' would just add that the naturally existing highest abode of 'Tungeshwarnath' on earth ('Mayavi/ Mithya Jagat or illusory earth/ universe) is indicated - by highly elevated Yogis - as the Mount Kailash, symbolic of the 'churner' while MANSAROVAR is the 'milk', the source of cream (Ganga!)...reflected by Shivlinga, and in human form by 'man' that is mind, the source of infinite human thoughts - recorded in the eight numbers 'chakras' along the 'merudand' the model of shivlinga - that need 'manas manthan' or 'churning of the mind' to reach SHIV- PARVATI :)...

JC said...

No reaction, Kavitha! So 'I' need to add that because of the apparent hierarchy in all aspects of 'Nature' - at any given point in time - 'we the people' generally are interested in the best (Purushottam, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Mahatma Gandhi, and so on) or the highest, whether naturally existing (Mount Everest, 'Gauri Shankar to ancient Nepalese, in the present or 'Mount 'Sumeru', as believed at a certain time period), or man-made, anywhere on the globe, etc...
But, the Hindu Philosophy indicates the physical universe to have evolved from a point. That is to say, 'The Best', a formless unseen being, a Big Zero, an unborn and unending super intelligent being, and so on, to have ever existed. Who therefore can be found only in zero, or the thoughtless, stage, perhaps an impossible task for 'us' humans to achieve and, therefore, 'we' have to be content with a near zero thought for some time while flowing with the forceful stream of physical universe at other apparent time...

Kavitha said...

I completely agree with you.. though i am not able to map samudra manthan with tungnath at the moment.

Another thing, i would never equate Gandhi to the likes of Ram Krishna and Jesus...

NO, he was so not there. He attempted salvation, he was largely a politician and he was too much of a man to be considered a god.

Regards
Kavitha

JC said...

Good!

'I' had said 'purushottam' or the best among men at any point in time...Rama & Krishna, believably appeared in human forms during certain different time periods according to the mythology. However, Gandhi came to be known as 'Father of the Nation', after Independence of Inida that is Bharat recently as a Historical figure...As a world leader, he was then followed by Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King etc at other locations...

Nobel Peace Prize being ercently given to Obama - during the life-time of any of the USA Presidents for the first time - from the point of view of the 'west', indicates him as 'purushottam' the 'best man' in that hemisphere...

Samudra Manthan - like churning of milk for production of cream that moves up on to the surface - applied to the Himalayas is indicated by the geological fact that the Himalayan Ranges appeared on earth's surface from within the bowels of earth, under the sea north of once upon a time Jambudweep, ie, 'India' existing as an island originally...

JC said...

Maybe, the geological phenomenon of penetration of relatively softer sub-soil - on top of earth's surface - by relatively harder underground rocks could thus also help realise the significance of traditional worship since time immemorial of 'Shivling supported on Parvati's Yoni', as expressed by wiser though ancient Hindus, and made fun of by present day wise - whether 'foreigners', or local, wise :)

Best wishes for a Happy Christmas!

JC said...

Perhaps, one could similarly - as its model, or reflection - one can also see the phenomenon reflected in the forms of plant life, where a seed sown underground and covered with top-soil penetrates it and appears over the surface. And grows bigger and bigger, to its mature form, with time and, of course, with proper care if human agency is involved - 'naturally' in forest though, like Tardeo for example...

JC said...

Now, Yogis have indicated one of the 'panchbhootas', 'sky' as the root of mankind. Therefore, 'I' come to 'my' favourite apparent 'root' of mankind, ie, Moon...

It is known to the 'present day scientists' too - also similar to entrained air in the form of a bubble getting separated from water - Moon is believably to have popped out of the original earth-moon! But, like an infant that is attached to its mother in the womb for nearly 9 months gets separated from its mother, it got separated from earth-moon first, before it could reach the space...One could find similar description in code words in the story related to Shiva-Parvati marriage...

And, although detached from it, moon still appears to be attached to earth since time immemorial, like Mother & Child relationship that is reflected in the story of Parvati & Ganesh - the child believably created by the mother for providing immunity to her from Shiva the universal Destroyer while Herself granting immortality or 'amrit' ('somrus', ie, moonlight) to 'devtas' that is members of the solar system...

Saurabh Makkar said...

Hi... Quick question: Is this a trip log, or one in anticipation of a trip?

I am hoping you went in early Dec, and then wrote this. Let me know if this was the case?

Kavitha said...

Hi Saurabh

I am going to go on the trip today. This post was written more in anticipation of the beauty of Tungnath temple I hope to discover for myself. Hopefully, if the Gods bless us well, we will at least reach his abode, if not see him.

Regards
Kavitha

Saurabh Makkar said...

Great coincidence... We too are starting for Tungnath today, in search of snow and some peace :)

Hope you have a wonderful trip.!!