Rudranath (One of Panch Kedar)

Devotees come to Rudranath to offer ritual obeisance ti their ancestors, for it is here, at Vaitarani river that the soal of dead cross when entering another world. The temple of Rudranath at 2,286 mts, entails trekking through ridges at almost twice that height before reaching the meadow where it is located. Within the sanctum, Shiva's image is worshipped in the form of his face.Last week of June 2007, I went to Pauri. One day when I got up in morning I thought about to visit Rudranath. Rudranath is one of five shrines of Lord Shiva in Garhwal (Panch Kedar). I just started to think about such partner who would be adventures, courageous and ready to visit such places and same day 3 friends got ready for pilgrimage. D.S. Negi, Thanna (Thaneshwar) and Makan Singh. Thanna & Makan had already visited the shrine so they became ready to accompany till motor road. We had a detailed discussion about the route. We were intimidated by them (Thanna & Makan) that the route most toughest route but we took it positively & started the journey with more passion.
We did necessary arrangements and left pauri at 1:30 PM by Negi’s Car for Gopeshwar. Next morning we reached at sagar which is 4 Km. from Gopeshwar and base for Rudranath.
In sagar there is trust named Sagar Aashram, formed by Sh. Yoganand Ji. Yoganand Ji is working in a bank at Gopewhwar and do spiritual elucidation time to time. He is grandson of Mr. Shyam Singh ( Famous Patwari ( A person who keeps records of village account) of Niti & Mana Valley). Pilgrims can stay and have good food at ashram. Thanna & Makan decided to stay in ashram untill we come back from Rudranath. We take necessary things & left Sagar at 8:00 AM. Steep climb starts from here and after 4-5 km. we reached at a small Bugyal (Grass Land) where we saw a hotel with STP, PCO signboard. We got WLL phone there and did a phone call to our family members. Here we took tea and after a little rest we moved forward. We were trekking in a dense forest and steep climb but the route was very enjoying. We were enjoying birds chirping and viewing different types of vegetation, Negi was testing wild fruits and explaining its name and taste after seeing this I couldn’t stop myself and tasted some fruits. It’s most dangerous to touch, sniff and taste wild flower & fruits, if you don’t know about that flower or fruit.

We reached at Panar Bugyal For which we were horrified by Thanna & Makan and we had to think about the journey but the Himalayan beauty made it easy. Panar is a beautiful Bugyal and one can enjoy the beauty of Panar only after visiting it, but we need strong will to visit these types of places. We didn’t stay here and moved forward slow & steady. Here we got a hotel where most of pilgrim do night stay because it’s not easy to reach Rudranath in one day. We met some shepherd also who lost their 80 gots next day, in cloud burst. Rudranath is about 8 km. from here. Rudranath is situated at 3286 mts. but one should cross 4000 mts. height enroute. When we reached at top we stayed there for few minutes and ate wet grams which we were carrying with us and a lemon also. Negi was taking care of water. He was carrying a water bottle in his hand. We saw a rat on the way, Negi introduces that as dawar rat. It looks like a little rabbit. After 4-5 km. from Panar we reached at panch ganga bugyal, where a person of dumuk village was running a shop and his income was totally depend on pilgrims. It was 2:30 pm and time for lunch, so we had alloo parantha. We listened his experience, he was telling about fuel problem what he faced in current season and totally depend on forest which is far from this place. Rhododendron tree has changes it’s shape in this height and looks like shrub, which is used as fuel.
We gathered information about Ansuya Devi trek and came to know that there is a steep slope from here But we decided to follow the trail while return and moved to Redranath. Enroute we met four local ladies who were going to Rudranath ji & carrying ration & wood. We saw fist view of Rudranath from here. Temple is located in a nice slope. 4-5 Dharamshalas are available here, some of them are in good condition. We walked through a gentle slope and after 10 minutes we reached at temple gate. We found a natural water spring and a kund near gate. We sat in open area of temple for few minutes and did rest. Natural beauty worked as a medicine and we forgot the tiredness of journey. It was 4:30 pm so we did arrangements for night stay and dinner.

There is a group of temples with different shapes of Shivlings, which looks very beautiful. We joined evening Puja. Rudranath is the place where lord Shiva is worshipped by face. Idol looks very nice in cave shaped temple. Temple gate is made by mud and wood. Idol is slightly bend to it’s left side. After puja we met priest Tiwari ji who was talking to every pilgrim and asking about their journey, food and accommodation. We stayed in a dharamshala and had dinner, prepared by a local guy and went to bed. Next morning we thought to take bath but water was too cold so did panch snan (Washed hand, face & feet) only. Morning puja started at 9:00 am.
After having breakfast we started moving back and followed Ansuya Devi trail. It was steep slope and we had to walk on boulders, at some points the slope was more the 70 degree. Negi was doing this type of journey first time and was facing problem while getting down. I was thinking, that two days back I was thinking about to visit Rudranath ji and today I was coming back from there. Route is not too wide but one can walk easily. After crossing this area we entered in forest. Most of the vegetation was known to me and Negi ji was introducing the unknown. Here one can get confused due to thick layer of leaf. Fortunately we didn’t face any problem. After forest area we found some sheds made by shepherds, we sat with them and listened their experiences. We gave them a small amount for their warm hospitality. Ansuya devi temple was visible from here and just 4 km. from this place. Trail goes via forest but this is a good route. Ansuya devi temple is situated in a nice location, after visiting temple we were in hurry to reach on motor road. We reached there at 6:00 pm and called our friends who had already visited temple same morning and night stay at sagar.
Next morning we moved to sari village which is base for devaria tal. We did breakfast at chopta and reached Sari village. We confirmed lodge for night stay and dinner and moved to Devaria tal. Devaria Tal is just 2 to 2.5 km. trek from sari village. It’s 125 mts. long and 75 mts. in width. Here some local people were running shops for tea and food. We took some snakes there and stayed till evening and than return to sari village. Next morning we returned to Pauri.

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