As the name suggests Panch Kedar refers to 5 Lord Shiva Temples or holy shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. Panch Kedar is located in Himalayan region in Uttarakhand. The Panch Kedar Temples are known as- Kedarnath Temple, Tungnath Temple, Madhyamaheshwar Temple, Rudraprayag Temple and Kalpeshwar Temple. After the name of this celestial place Garhwal is also known as Kedar- Khanda. Panch Kedar are the most visited temples due to its religious facts and importance. It is also said that the temples are built by the Pandavas of Mahabharata and are most revered temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Panch Kedar History/ Panch Kedar Story
Panch Kedar History is one of the unknown truths. It is believed that the Shrine was built by the Pandavas of Mahabharata. According to Mahabharata, when the Pandavas were searching for Lord Shiva in the Himalayas, Lord Shiva turned into the form of bull to avoid detection. However, when one of the Pandavas i.e., Bheem captured the bull, it disappeared and reappeared in 5 body parts in 5 different locations which sum up and known as Panch Kedar-
- Hump reappeared in Kedarnath Dham
- Arms reappeared in Tungnath Dham
- Navel reappeared in Madhyamaheshwar Dham
- Face reappeared in Rudranath Dham
- Hair and Head reappeared in Kalpeshwar Dham
Later on, according to Panch Kedar story it is said the Pandavas built temples at these 5 Different locations for worshipping Lord Shiva.
Panch Kedar Trek
Panch Kedar Trek includes trek to 5 different locations- Kedarnath Temple at an altitude of 11,755 ft, Tungnath Temple at an altitude of 12,070 ft, Rudranath Temple at an altitude of 11,677 ft, Madhyamaheshwar Temple at an altitude of 11,450 ft and Kalpeshwar Temple at an altitude of 7,200 ft.
Total Trek covering all the 5 Panch Kedar Temples is approx. 170kms (including road travel upto Gaurikund). Panch Kedar Trek starts from Gauri Kund with mesmerizing views of Himalayas. The trekking is done during 2 seasons- 3 months during summer and 2 months after monsoon season. Apart from these seasons all the Temples except Kalpeshwar Temple is inaccessible due to snow. The trek to Panch Kedar Temples takes 15-16 days.
Panch Kedar Map
Panch Kedar Yatra
Panch Kedar Yatra are the most visited yatra due to its religious facts and importance. Not only this it also provides beauty of high altitude, pleasant scenery. Apart from that enjoying camping under open sky amidst beautiful landscape to the pilgrims.
Panch Kedar Temples are not connected to motorable road. Panch Kedar Yatra starts from road that leads to Gaurikhund on Rudraprayag. From their trekking starts to Kedarnath Temple which is of 14kms. After visiting Kedarnath Temple yatra to Guptkashi starts covering Jagasu. From Jagasu Yatra to Madhaymaheshwar Temple starts which is of 24kms proving view of Kedarnath and Neelkanth Peaks. After that trek to Tungnath Temple starts from Chopta which is 4 kms away. After returning Tungnath trek, Trek to Rudranath Temple starts which is 20km away. After this the last Panch Kedar Trek starts to Kalpeshwar Temple which is 11kms away.
Panch Kedar Temples
1. Kedarnath Temple-
Kedarnath Dham is situated in Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand. Kedarnath Yatar is not only included in Chota Char Dham Yatra but also in Panch Kedar Yatra. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and situated near Mandakini River. This place is known for attaining salvation and removing all sins. According to mythological facts Kedarnath Temple was built by Pandavas from Mahabharata. It is believed that Nar and Narayan prayed here and pleased Lord Shiva and asked a boon from Lord Shiva to take a permanent seat as Jyotirlinga at this religious place. The trek to Kedarnath Dham can be finished in 6-7 hours.
2. Tungnath Temple-
Tungnath Temple is known as one of the highest Temple in the world dedicated to Lord Shiva. Tungnath lies at a height of 3,680 m in Rudraprayag District. It is believed that Lord Shiva arms have reappeared here. The trek to Tungnath Temple starts from Chopta and can be finished in approx. 1 hour. Not only this trek to Tungnath Temple provides mesmerizing view of Nanda Devi peak, Chowkhamba and Neelkanth. It is also said that Ravan also did penance to Lord Shiva when he resided here. The temple is believed to be more than 1,000 years old.
3. Rudranath Temple-
Rudranath Temple or a natural rock temple is situated at 2,286 m covered with thick forests. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Neelkanth Mahadev in this temple. There are various sacred kunds such as Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund and Mana Kund that are situated near the temple. There is numerous trek route to Rudranath Temple but the most visited trek route starts from Gopeshwar Viallge. Lord Shiva’s face is worshipped here. The linga in this temple is said to be swayam bhuva i.e., something which has appeared by itself in the form of Shivalinga with a face.
4. Madmaheshwar Temple-
Madmaheshwar Temple is situated at an altitude of 3,289 m. As the name suggests Madmaheshwar or Madhyamaheshwar it means in middle or i.e., Navel Part of Lord Shiva has emerged here. The trek to this temple is encircled by spectacular snow-covered peaks of Kedarnath Dham, Chaukhamba and Neelkantha. The trek to Madmaheshwar Temple starts from Uniana which is 18 kms away. This is considered as one of the toughest treks.
5. Kalpeshwar Temple-
Kalpeshwar Temple is the last Panch Kedar Temple. Kalpeshwar Temple is the only Panch Kedar Temple that remains open throughout the year. Hair of Lord Shiva are worshipped inside the temple. Lord Shiva is known as Jatadhar or Jateshwar in this Temple. This Place is famous for Kalpavriksha tree or wish granting tree.