Panch Kedar Yatra in Uttarakhand | Visit 5 Shiva Temples

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Panch Kedar Yatra in Uttarakhand | Visit 5 Shiva Temples

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Panch Kedar Yatra is one of the most important pilgrimage tours for Hindus in India. Apart from Chota Char Dham, millions of devotees undertake this sacred journey every year to immerse themselves in spirituality. Panch-Kedar refers to the five temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, namely Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar. These holy places of Lord Shiva are located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.

The meadows, mountains, snow-capped peaks, and wildlife along with the purity make the Panch Kedar Yatra special and a trip worth remembering for a lifetime to both the devotees and the tourists. No direct motorable roads exist, and you have to trek to each temple. Stay updated about the latest news on Panch Kedar and other prominent pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand with Dehradun News.

Legend of Panch Kedar

The most famous legend behind the creation of Panch Kedar traces back to the fierce battle of Mahabharata. During the battle, the Pandavas had killed their relatives and gurus. Later, the Pandavas approached Lord Shiva to repent of their crime. However, Lord Shiva was annoyed by them because of the dishonesty committed by them on the field so he hid in the form of a bull at Guptkashi in the Garhwal Himalayas. This is how Guptkashi (hidden Kashi) got its name.

The Pandavas came in search of Shiva in the Garhwal region and recognized Lord Shiva in the form of a bull. Bhima tried to catch the bull, but it fell to the ground and got divided into different parts. Shiva reappeared in different parts of Garhwal. The hump of that bull appeared in Kedarnath, the navel emerged in Madmheshwar, the face on Rudranath, the hands in Tungnath, and the hair of that bull in Kalpeshwar.

After this incident, the Pandavas built temples at each of these places and these five temples together are known as Panch Kedar.

Panch Kedar Pilgrimage Sites

The five prominent Shiva Temples of Panch Kedar are very significant for Shaivites. Here are some important details before you embark on this spiritual journey:

1. Kedarnath

kedarnath

Situated at an altitude of 3,584 meters, the Kedarnath temple is set against a spectacular backdrop of snow-capped peaks and forests. Kedarnath Temple, located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, occupies a prominent position in the Panch Kedar temple.

Kedarnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas established in India and is also a part of ‘Chota Char Dham Yatra‘ in Uttarakhand. The temple has a conical-shaped Shiva Linga which is believed to be the hump of Shiva. It is said to have been founded by the Pandavas. This temple was re-established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8/9th century.

How To Reach Kedarnath Temple?

The motorable road to Kedarnath is up to Gaurikund. After reaching here, you have to walk 14 km to reach Kedarnath. In 2016, two more tracks have been developed to go to Kedarnath. The first of which is to reach Kham via Chaumasi, then to Rambada, and then to Kedarnath. The total distance of this route is 18 km. The other way is to go from Triyuginarayan to Kedarnath by covering a distance of 15 km.

You can also hire a pony or take a helicopter flight. Phata, Sirsi, Guptakashi, Sitapur, and Gaurikund have helipads to take off for Kedarnath with a night stay or same-day return option.

  • Darshan Timings: 04:00 am to 09:00 pm. The temple remains closed for darshan between 03:00 pm to 05:00 pm. Darshan’s time for the public ends at 07:00 p.m.
  • Morning Aarti (Maha Abhishek): 04:00 am
  • Evening Aarti (Shayan Aarti):30-07:00 pm
  • Opening and Closing Months: This temple opens for Darshan only between April and November, and people wait throughout the year to come to Kedarnath temple. It usually closes before the 15th of November and reopens after 25 months in April.

2. Tungnath

Tungnath Temple

Located in Rudraprayag district, about 4 km from Chopta, Tungnath Temple is another important temple of Panch Kedar Yatra. Situated at an altitude of 3,680 meters, this temple is the highest temple of Lord Shiva in the world.

This is the place where the hands of Lord Shiva in the form of a bull appeared, after which the Pandavas built the temple. This temple exhibits elegant architecture, due to which thousands of pilgrims come every year to take the blessings of Lord Shiva.

The path to reach Tungnath Temple passes through meadows full of rhododendron flowers which are very attractive and mesmerizing. Apart from these, one can also see the spectacular view of peaks like Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, and Kedarnath while trekking on this route. If you want to have an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding peaks, then you can trek up to 2 km to the Chandrashila Peak.

How To Reach Tungnath Temple?

Tungnath Temple is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. To reach Tungnath Temple, one can reach Chopta by road, and after reaching Chopta, trek for about 4 km to reach Tungnath Temple. You can take a helicopter ride from Sirsi helipad.

  • Darshan Timings: 06:00 am to 07:00 pm
  • Morning Aarti: 06:00 am
  • Evening Aarti:30 pm
  • Opening and Closing Months: It opens for devotees in April month. The closing date for Tungnath Temple is announced on Dussehra (Vijayadashami). It is usually before the 15th of November.

3. Rudranath

Rudranath Temple

Rudranath is another important site, which is made of natural rock formations. The Rudranath temple is situated at an altitude of 2,286 meters amidst alpine meadows and dense forests of rhododendrons. Here Shiva is worshiped as ‘Neelkanth Mahadev’. This is the place where the Pandavas saw the face of Lord Shiva in the form of a bull. It is the only temple where the face of Shiva is worshipped.

Spectacular views of Nanda Devi, Nada Ghunti, and Trishul peaks can also be seen from this temple. Another feature of the temple is that it is surrounded by many ponds or pools like Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund, and Man Kund.

How to Reach Rudranath Temple?

Reach Gopeshwar in Chamoli district because all the trek routes start here and take you to Rudranath covering 20 kilometers. This is considered the toughest trek during the Panch Kedar Yatra 20 kilometers. You can take a helicopter ride from Sirsi helipad.

  • Darshan Timings: 06:00 am to 07:00 pm
  • Morning Aarti: 06:00 am
  • Evening Aarti:30 pm
  • Opening and Closing Months: The temple stays closed between November and April due to snowfall.

4. Madmaheshwar

Madmaheshwar Temple

Located at an altitude of approximately 3289 meters at the foothills of Chaukhamba Peak, Madmaheshwar is the site where Shiva protrudes middle or navel part. The temple is situated in the village of Mansona in the Garhwal Himalayas in a beautiful green valley surrounded by the magnificent snow-capped peaks of Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, and Neelkanth. Nabhi Lingam is worshipped in the temple and a few drops of water here are holy enough for salvation.

During this trek, you will see Himalayan Monal Pheasant and Himalayan Musk Deer, waterfalls, and the surrounding peaks.

How To Reach Madmaheshwar?

Reach Uniana, around 18 km from Ukhimath. Start a 19 km long trek and reach Bantoli. Trek gets tougher from Bantoli onwards where Madmaheshwar Ganga merges with Matyendra Ganga. You can take a helicopter ride from Sirsi helipad.

  • Darshan Timings: 06:00 am to 07:00 pm
  • Morning Aarti: 06:00 am
  • Evening Aarti:00 pm
  • Opening and Closing Months: The temple remains closed between November and April.

5. Kalpeshwar

Kalpeshwar Temple

Kalpeshwar is the only Panch Kedar that remains open throughout the year. According to the legend, the hair (jata) of Lord Shiva was seen at this place. Shiva is also called Jatadhari or Jateshwar for his long and tangled locks.

The temple of Kalpeshwar is situated in the serene and scenic Urgam valley, mainly covered in dense forest, and offers interesting vistas of apple orchards and potato orchards on terra farms. You will see the beautiful confluence of the Alaknanda and Kalpana rivers on the journey from Helang to Kalpeshwar.

How To Reach Kalpeshwar?

Urgam Valley in Chamoli district is home to Kalpeshwar temple at an altitude of 2200 meters. You have to first reach Helang on the Rishikesh-Badrinath road and then trek for 2 kilometers to reach the temple. Kalpeshwar trek is easy as compared to other temples. You can take a helicopter ride from Sirsi helipad.

  • Darshan Timings: 06:00 am to 07:00 pm
  • Morning Aarti: 06:00 am
  • Evening Aarti:30 pm
  • Opening and Closing Months: The temple stays open throughout the year.

Best Time To Visit Panch Kedar

April to June and September to October are the best time to visit Panch Kedar for a salubrious climate. Heavy rains have lashed this area in July-August. Landslides and road blockages are common occurrences during monsoon. The region receives heavy snowfall in winter.

How To Reach?

Air Plane: Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport to land for the Panch Kedar Yatra. Onward journey, you can start in a cab or bus.

Helicopter: You can complete Panch Kedar Darshan by Helicopter from Sirsi Helipad in Rudraprayag district. In a single day, you can take Darshan to Panch Kedar and come back to Sirsi.

Train: Board the train and reach Haridwar, Dehradun, or Rishikesh stations to begin your voyage.

Road: State and national highways connect Panch Kedar to several parts of India. The all-weather road project will finish in 2022 and reduce road blockages and landslides.

Travel Tips

  • Carry heavy woolen and a first aid kit.
  • Take your original I.D. cards like Aadhar, Voter ID, or driver’s license.
  • Avoid driving after sunset in the hilly area of Garhwal.
  • Visit your doctor for a proper health check-up before visiting these high-altitude places to avoid respiratory problems and acute mountain sickness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which Are Panch Kedar Temples?

Panch Kedar is a set of 5 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It comprises Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar. All the temples are located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.

Which Is The Highest Shiva Temple In The World?

Tungnath is the highest Shiva Temple in the Rudraprayag district of the Garhwal region in Uttarakhand. It is located at the highest altitude among all the Panch Kedar Temples.

Which Part Of Shiva Does Each Panch Kedar Represent?

The hump of bull showed up at Kedarnath. The navel appeared in Madhyamaheshwar. Two forelegs emerged in Tungnath. The face came up in Rudranath, and the hair appeared in Kalpeshwar.

Which Panch Kedar Has The Toughest Trek?

Rudranath has the toughest trek of 20 kilometers. All the trek routes start at Gopeshwar to reach Rudranath in the Chamoli district.

Which Panch Kedar Can Be Visited Any Time In The Year?

Kalpeshwar is the only Panch Kedar that stays open throughout the year. All other Panch Kedar temples remain closed in the winter due to heavy snowfall.