Panch Kedar comprises of five Kedars Kedarnath, Rudranath, Tungnath, Madyamaheshwar and Kalpeshwar. These temples are built in ancient times by Pandvas to please Lord Shiva. In these Five Kedars Lord Shiva is worshipped in five divine forms. Like his hump is worshipped in Kedarnath, the arms in Tungnath, the nabhi (navel) and stomach in Madyamaheshwar, the face at Rudranath and the hair and the head in Kalpeshwar as Lord Shiva disappeared in a form of a bull and reappeared at five different places of Panch Kedars.
The Garhwal region is also called the Kedar-Khand after Kedar — the local name for Lord Shiva. The region abounds in emblems and aniconic forms of Shiva sect of Lord Shiva, much more than the Vaishnava sect. The western part of this region in particular, which constitutes half of Chamoli district being known as Kedar-Kshetra or Kedar mandala, encompasses in its ambit all the five temples constituting the Panch Kedar.
Legends about Panch Kedar
Here Shiva is worshipped in the form of a buffalo hump at Kedarnath already referred in Sri Kedarnath section. Lord Shiva took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull and dived into the ground leaving his hump on the surface. The other four parts of Lord Shiva fell at Tungnath, Rudranath, Madyamaheshwar and Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath along with these four are also described as Panch Kedar. The inner walls of the temple have various deities sculpted on it. The scenes also tell mythological stories. The other parts of Shiva’s body-arms, face, navel and hair appeared at Tungnath, Rudranath, Madyamaheshwar and Kalpeshwar. These four places, along with Sri Kedarnath Ji are known as the Panch Kedar.
Panch Kedar Location details
Panch Kedar refers to five Hindu temples or holy places of the Shaivite sect dedicated to god Shiva. They are located in the Garhwal Himalayan region in Uttarakhand, India. They are the subject of many legends that directly link their creation to Pandvas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
The five temples designated in the strict pecking order to be followed for pilgrimage for worship are the Kedarnath at an altitude of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), the Tungnath (3,680 m/12,070 ft), Rudranath (2,286 m/7,500 ft), Madyamaheshwar or Madmaheshwar (3,490 m/11,450 ft) and Kalpeshwar (2,200 m/7,200 ft). The Kedarnath is the main temple, which is part of the four famous Chota Char Dhams (literally ‘the small four abodes/seats’) or pilgrimage centers of the Garhwal Himalayas; the other three dhams are the Badrinath, Yamnotri and Gangotri. Kedarnath is also one of the twelve Jyotirlinga.
How to Reach Panch Kedar
Kedarnath is a place located in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India. Kedarnath is famous for the Kedarnath Temple. Kedarnath Temple is one of the Panch Kedar Temples of Lord Shiva. It is the first temple to be visited in Panch Kedar. The Kedarnath Temple is located at 3,583 m (11,755 ft) above sea level. It is believed that Pandvas in ancient time remorse here to please Lord Shiva.
How to Reach Kedarnath:-
You can reach Gaurikund from Haridwar by bus or by train or by your own vehicle as it is 204Kms away from Haridwar. It will be a beautiful journey as river Ganga will be flowing along all the way.
As you reach Gauri kund, the people there who own mules will ask you that you need a mule for your trek to Kedarnath. It is 16kms away from Gaurikund by trek. Older people can also go to Kedarnath by Doli carried by four people.
Madyamaheshwar is located at 3,265mts above sea level. It is surrounded by the snow cladded peaks that are Chaukhamba, Neelkanth and Kedarnath. The Kedar hills also called the Kedar Massif, provides an enchanting view of the mountains with many glaciers which include the source of the River Mandakini. The region is full of diverse flora and fauna like Himalayan Musk Deer and Himalayan Monal pheasant etc. The best time to visit Madyamaheshwar is June, September and October.
How to Reach Madyamaheshwar:-
After Kedarnath, road travel to Guptkashi and further to Jagasu covers a distance of 30 km From Jagasu, the trek to Madyamaheshwar temple via Gaundhar is over a distance of 24 km. This trek provides spectacular views of the Chaukhamba, the Kedarnath and the Neelkanth peaks. Returning from Madyamaheshwar the road drive to Chopta via Jagasu is of 45 km.
Tungnath Legend was built by Pandvas, the heroes of epic Mahabharata as they killed their own relatives and brothers in the war of Mahabharata. So they wanted to get pardoned by Lord Shiva as Vyas Rishi told them that Lord Shiva resides in Himalayas with Devi Gori so they started finding him in the Himalayan range but God Shiv under grounded as a bull. Because Lord Shiva didn’t wanted to meet them as he considered Pandvas had done a sin then after getting under grounded Lord Shiva appeared at five different places of Panch Kedar. It is the place where the hands were seen, hunch was seen in Kedarnath, head reappeared at Rudranath, navel and stomach at Madyamaheshwar, and hair at Kalpeshwar. So Pandvas built five temples at these five places known as Panch Kedar to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
How to Reach Tungnath:-
It is a good destination for trekkers also. So the trek starts from Chopta (4Kms Trek). You can reach Chopta from Delhi via Devprayag, Srinagar and Rudraprayag for this route you have to reach Rishikesh firstly from Delhi. Rishikesh is 241 km away from Chopta and Delhi is 250.6 kms. Chandrashila Peak is only 2Kms away from Tungnath you can visit there It’s a beautiful place to visit. From Chandrashila peak, you can see the snow peaks of Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Panch Chuli, Chaukhamba, Banderpunch and Neelkanth and the Garhwal valley.
Rudranath is one of the Panch Kedar Temples of Lord Shiva and it is situated in Garhwal Himalayan range. The temple is located inside the dense forest of Rhododendron and Alpine pastures. The Rudranath Temple is the third temple of Panch Kedar and before this one should visit Kedarnath and Tungnath and after this at third place Rudranath itself and then Madmaheshwar and Kalpeshwar to be visited. The face of Mahadev is worshiped in Rudranath.
How to Reach Rudranath:-
Rudranath is 432Kms away from Delhi and after that you have to trek up to 21Kms from the nearby places like Gopeshwar. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant near Dehradun. It is only 250 kilometers away from Dehradun. The trek starts from Sagar Village. Sagar village is 5 kilometers from District headquarter Chamoli (Gopeshwar). From Sagar village you have to do moderate trekking (20Kms approx). The trek to Rudranath is full of tall grass, oak trees and Rhododendron.
The Temple is surrounded by many water tanks, the kunds like Chandra-kund, Surya-kund, Mana-Kund, Tara-kund etc. The famous mountains peaks can be seen from the backdrop of temple are Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti, and Trishul.
Kalpeshwar is located in Urgam valley of Himalayan Garhwal region of Uttrakhand, India. It is fifth temple of Panch Kedar. This is a famous temple of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva’s Jatas (hair) are worshiped here in divine form. Kalpeshwar is located in the Urgam Valley at an altitude of 2,200 m (7,217.8 ft) of Himalayan Range which is nearby Urgam Village. On the way from Helang to Kalpeshwar you can see the beautiful Alaknanda and Kalpganga rivers all along the way.
How to Reach Kalpeshwar:-
Kalpeshwar is only 253Kms away from Rishikesh via Rishikesh-Badrinath road. Earlier the trek was from Helang to Kalpeshwar via Urgam Village (10Kms Trek). But as per now a motorable road has been built up to Urgam from Helang. So after that only 2Kms trek remains up to Kalpeshwar. It is the only temple of Panch Kedar which is accessible throughout the year..
Best Time to Visit Panch Kedar Temples
All the temples of Panch Kedar are open, generally from April to October each year however the best months to visit are May, June, September and October. During the winter period all the Panch Kedar temples except Kalpeshwar are inaccessible due to snowfall. Kalpeshwar is open throughout the year.
Total Duration to Complete Panch Kedar Treks
Panch Kedar Trek is one of the toughest treks in India. So prepare yourself for this long journey. The total duration to complete trek of Panch Kedar Route is approx. 15-16 Days from Delhi and from Haridwar 14 Days.