Uttarakhand is a state that has been a place of pilgrimage for as far as one can remember. It has often also been called the “Land of the Gods.” Even though one can find unnumbered temples in the state of Uttarakhand affiliated to one god or another. Lord Shiva is one deity with the most following in this particular region.
Indian pilgrimage sites have always been known through the mystic legends that every temple brings with them. The story behind the five sites known as the Panch Kedar is also quite fascinating.
The legend has it that when the Pandavas set out in search of Lord Shiva, he took the form of a bull to avoid being found. However, when Bhim almost captured the bull, the bull vanished and was found in parts at these five sites, famously known as the Panch Kedar.
The head and hair of the bull were found in Kalpeshwar, the hump at Kedarnath, the navel at Madhyamaheshwar, the face at Rudranath, and the arms at Tungnath. The Panch Kedar temples were built as a symbol of devotion by the Pandavas for Lord Shiva.
Honestly, the story behind the panch kedar wants you to visit these sites and see how it all weaves into this beautiful myth, story, or legend, whatever you want to call it.
Let me tell you a little bit more about the Panch Kedar, starting with one of my favorites:
Kedarnath: Kedarnath, also known as the “lord of the fields,” is the way to heaven itself. The second you step into the valley, all your tiredness magically disappears, and you know you have entered an area filled with nothing but peace, calm, and serenity. It is located at the height of 3,584 m. The trek to Kedarnath temple begins from Gaurikund and is an around 19-km uphill trek. The trek can be finished in 6-7 hours.
(Click to know how to reach Kedarnath)
Madhyamaheshwar: The site has its name as the navel that is the middle part of the bull appeared here. Madhyamaheshwar has a backdrop of a dense forest with the snow-capped Himalayas on one side and alpine meadows. The temple has a typical and straightforward architecture of north India.
(Click to know how to reach Madhyamaheshwar)
Tungnath: The Tungnath Temple is the highest Shiva temple in the world. It sits peacefully on the Chandranath Parvat. You can reach Tungnath after a small trek of 3.5 KM from Chopta. The trek is breathtaking, even if it’s short. You can visit Tungnath any time of the year, even alone. However, if you plan to trek in winter, you will need a guide as the trek is covered with sheets of snow.
(Click to know how to reach Tungnath)
Rudranath: Located in the peaceful Garhwal Himalayas. The 4th temple in the chain of the temples one visits for Panch Kedar lies deep in the lap of alpine meadows and the rhododendron forests. This is one of the hardest of the kedar’s to reach.
(Click to know how to reach Rudranath)
Kalpeshwar: This is the only temple in the circuit of panch-kedar that is open throughout the year. The trek to this temple goes through terrace fields and is quite awe-inspiring. Kalpvriksha tree is an ancient tree that is believed to fulfill the wishes of worshippers and travelers. (Click to know how to reach Kalpeshwar)
The Panch-Kedar are the five places which are
little heaven for the worshippers of lord shiva and haven for the oil of the