Rudranath is a temple dedicated to god Shiva, located in Chamoli, Uttarakhand. Located at 2,286 metres (7,500 ft) above sea level, this natural rock temple is situated within a dense forest of rhododendron dwarfs and Alpine pastures. The face of god Shiva is worshipped as "Nilkanth Mahadeva" here.
The Rudranath temple is believed to be established by the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Legend has it that the Pandavas came to the Himalayan mountains in search of god Shiva, to redeem them of the sins of killing in the epic Kurukshetra war. God Shiva did not wanted to meet them and escaped in form of a bull in the ground and reentered in parts in the Panch Kedar places with the face showing up at Rudranath. In winters, a symbolic image of Shiva is brought to Gopeshwar for worship and taken back in summers in form of a festival (Doli Yatra). The Doli Yatra starts from Gopeshwar via Sagar village. The Doli Yatris cross Lyuti Bugyal and Panar and finally reach Pitradhar. The worship of ancestors is done here. Then, after crossing Dhalabni Maidan, the Doli or the symbolic image of Shiva, reaches Rudranath. Here first the Vandevi is worshipped. The local belief is that Vandevi protects the area. The temple celebrates an annual fair on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Sravan (July–August) that is mostly on the day of Rakshabandhan. The fair is attended mainly by locals. The priests at the Rudranath temple are Bhatts and Tiwaris of Gopeshwar village.
There are numerous sacred water tanks ("Kund") near the temple. These include Surya-kund, Chandra-kund, Tara-kund, Mana-Kund etc. Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti are the famous mountain peaks, which provide the backdrop to the temple. The holy river Vaitarani or Baitarani or Rudraganga flows near the temple, which has a grey stone idol of Rudranath. The river is identified with the "river of salvation", where souls of the dead cross to reach the other world. Thus, devotees visit Rudranath to perform rituals of the dead, such as performing a pind offering. Some believe that offering a pind to ancestors here equals offering a hundred million at the holy city of Gaya. The mountain peaks of Trisul, Nanda Devi, Devasthan, Hathi Parbat and Nanda Ghunti are visible from Rudranath. The name "Rudranath", literally means, "Him who is Angry".
Rudranath Temple can be best visited during summer and spring season when the weather is mild pleasing and sky is clear. During winter, the difficult route to Rudranath becomes more misty and difficult to pass through. During monsoon, it is impossible to pass through the tough track.
A motorable road is present upto Sagar village which is 3 Kms from Gopewshar. Gopewshar is 212 Kms from Rishikesh. From Sagar you have to commence trek of around 20 kms to reach Rudranath. Buses and Taxis to Gopeshwar are easily available from Rishikesh.
The nearest railway station to Rudranath is Rishikesh which is situated around 241 kms away. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India.
Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Rudranath at a distance of 258 kms. It is connected by direct flights to Delhi at regular intervals. The distance beyond this has to be covered by road either through bus or taxies upto Sagar village. Beyond Sagar one has to go on foot.