PANCH KEDAR – Uttrakhand

By Dr.Swati Shah (Editor Tourism)

Uttarakhand addressed as Dev bhoomi has a rich mythological history. Presently well – known nationally and internationally for the chota char dham i.e. Yamunotri – Gangotri – Kedarnath – Badrinath. Yamunotri

Mythologically the existence of these holy shrine is associated with pandavas brother who was in search of lord Shiva for penance after the battle of kurukshetra. Lord Shiva in no mood to pardon them takes the form of bull. Bhim on recognizing God hold his back and therefore the hump of God is worshipped at Kedarnath. The other four Kedar where different body part appeared and worshipped are Madhyamaheshwar, kalpeshwar and Tungnath, Rudranath.

Kedarnath often called as the abode of lord Shiva, located on the bank of river Mandakini in Rudraprayag district. Located at an altitude of nearly 3583m the place offers mesmerizing views of Mother Nature and our mighty Himalayas. The pilgrimage site being very popular over India and the world lets discuss some more on the other four kedar.

Tungnath located at 3680m is the highest altitude shrine of the Panch Kedar. In this holy shrine the arms of lord Shiva is worshiped. Above it at a distance of 2 km lies the beautiful peak of Chandrashila which offers majestic view of Himalayas. A picturesque and exhilarating trek of nearly 4 km from Chopta in Rudraprayag district inculcates panorama bugyals can make you reach Tungnath within 3 – 4 hours. In between the trek you can help your taste bud with delicious maggie and partha provided by small stalls.

The temple where face of Lord Shiva is worshipped is Rudranath. The trek to this holy shrine offers you amazing vistas of nature like rhododendron forest, bugyals, diversified Himalayan ranges and sacred water kunds. Though the trek offers marvelous eyeshot but it more challenging and time – taking in comparison to other Kedars. To approach Rudranath you are first require to reach Gopeshwar from where different trek routes can be taken which includes  a trek of more than 20km. Devotees also visit the place to perform last rituals of their ancestor as river Vaitarani is considered as river of salvation.

At Madhyamaheshwar temple the navel of Lord Shiva is worshipped. The temple  in Rudraprayag district offers panoramic view of green valley besieged with mighty Himalayan peaks. The trek to the shrine is nearly 21 kms and commences from Uniana village while motorable road to some distance is also available.

The last temple among the Panch Kedar is Kalpeshwar where Lord Shiva matted hair are worshipped. The temple is situated in Chamoli district near Urgam village and involves a trek of nearly 12kms.

Whether you travel to any of the Panch Kedar you with be blessed with charismatic views, eye capturing greenery and amazing panorama of Himalayas and experience of every color of Mother Nature.

Best time to visit these shrines is May – june and during October. Due to extreme harsh weather and snow covered valley the temples remain closed during winter except the Kalpeshwar temple and lord Shiva is worshipped in Ukhimath.

To reach these abode of God the nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, while railways facility is available till Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun. From there person can avail bus facility or can book private taxis as suited.