No signboard and not a single line mention in tourism brochure! Despite this, the meditation point of demon god Ravana, locally famous as ’Ravansheela,’ has emerged as a hot attraction for tourists visiting Tungnath in district Rudraprayag.
Tungnath is mainly famous for two things- first the ancient Tungnath temple believed to be one thousand years old and considered as world‘s highest Shiva temple located at an altitude of 3,680 Mts. Second, Chandersheela, where Lord Rama did penance for recovering from ’Brahmhatya,’ after killing Ravana who was a Brahamin.
The craze of Chandersheela (4,000 Mts) remains all time high as the sunrise and 360 degrees panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas continues to attract a large number of tourists. But, the completely ignored ‘Ravansheela,’ has started pulling visitors without any publicity.
Tour operation and bird watching guide, Yashpal Negi from Mukku village, says, “Whenever I tell visitors about the place where Ravana meditated they become excited. Most of the group which come for the Chopta-Tungnath-Chandersheela trek visit 'Ravansheela'.”
The 3-km trek to Tungnath starts from Chopta. Almost half a kilometre before the Tungnath shrine, an isolated route branches off from Ganesh temple to take curious tourist to ‘Ravansheela.’ Passing through green pasture, the 400 Mts long trek finally ends at the ridge where demon-king meditated to please lord Shiva. The panoramic view of the valley from 'Ravansheela' leaves the visitors spellbound. The mythological connection and natural beauty make the spot popular.
Prakash Purohit, manager of Tungnath temple says, “Most of the time a tourist get information about ‘Ravansheela,’ after arriving in Tungnath. And they are tempted to tour the place.”
Tungnath is among the ‘Panch Kedar’-other being Kedarnath, Rudernath, Madhmaheshwar & Kalpeshwar- where Pandavas built temples dedicated to lord Shiva. The 3-km trek from Chopta presents a picture postcard like setting- with lush green pastures.
Surinder Negi from Sari village says, “Off late many tourists have started going to ‘Ravansheela.’ That is a good sign as a new tourist attraction is developing near Tungnath.”
Annually pilgrims from far and near visit Tungnath for offering their prayer to lord Shiva. The Chopta-Tungnath-Chandershila trek remains in hot demand among adventure lovers. When winter approaches the Tungnath temple is closed and a moveable idol of lord Shiva is taken to village Mukku- where routine prayers are conducted till the reopening of the shrine in summer.