Kalpeshwar

About Kalpeshwar

Kalpeshwar temple is one of the Panch Kedars and has to be visited last in the order. Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of matted hair at this place. This is related with the popular story of Panch Kedar where Lord Shiva appeared in different bodily form at 5 places. After seeing Shambhu and receiving blessings from the Lord, the Pandavas went free from sins of Kurukhsetra war. Once the visit to this place is done, one must pay homage to Badrinath temple.

There is also Kalpvriksha, the divine tree where Rishi Durvasha has meditated. Many Sages found this place to be very calm and good for meditation.

This small temple lies at 7,217.8 ft height in Urgam valley of Garhwal region of Uttrakhand. Earlier there was a trek of 14 kms from Helang, but now road is made and one has to hike only for 2.5 kms from Urgam valley to the temple. The valley remains lush green all the time and you will get to see many beautiful farms on the way.

About trekking

There is no trekking on the way to visit Kalpeshwar temple. You have to simply walk on the field for around 2.5 kms. At just below the temple, there is steep rock where you to climb for around 400 mtrs very carefully. But overall it is very easy.

Temple opening and closing time

This is the only temple in Panch kedar which is open throughout the year. You can visit any time but avoid monsoon because of landslides and routes get blocked.

How to reach

This place lies on Rishikesh – Badrinath road in Chamoli district. From Rishikesh you can avail bus services for Badrinath road and drop in Helang. From here, hire shared Jeep or Scorpio which will take you to Urgam valley which is around 11 kms and the road is not in good condition. Mostly it is kaccha rasta and the vehicle must have good ground clearance.

Trek distance and other options : Only 2.5 kms of hike which is actually very easy. Everyone should be able to visit the temple very easily. There is no option of Pony or porter.

Difficulty level : Very easy

Options for stay: There are many options in Chamoli district for accomodation. Else go ahead towards Badrinath or Auli and enjoy the great view of mountains from your window.

Nearby travels : Bhavishya badri temple, Badrinath, Auli

Popular things :

Mostly people go to Auli for skiing which is very popular winter sports out there. Do check for the dates before you leave.

Panch Kedar in Himalayas

Panch Kedar refers to 5 holy places of Lord Shiv in Garhwal region of Uttrakhand which is related to a great story around 5000 years ago. Pandavas the heros of Hindu epic Mahabharat were guilty after war for killing theirs brothers and Brahmins. So, they went to Lord Krishna seeking for solution. He suggested to visit Kashi (Varanasi) and take blessings of Lord Shiv. But Shiv wanted to avoid them as he was deeply incensed by the death and dishonesty at the Kurukshetra war, hence he disappeared from there.

He took form of a bull and went to Garhwal region. Pandavas were searching hard for him and recognized him near Gupt Kashi. The bull was not allowing to touch himself by Pandavas, so Bhim took giant form and stretched his legs from one to another end of valley and then caught bull from his hump. So, the hump is worshiped at Kedarnath temple.

Still Shiv didn’t want to appear, then he buried himself under ground. And, later he appeared at 4 other different places in Garhwal region and blessed Pandavas. They built temples on all the places and worshiped Shiv. This is how Panch Kedar temples holds an important significance and visit to all temples wipes away all the sins.

How to reach

These temples can be reached by trek on beautiful landscape with magical view of mountains of Garhwal region. One should do pilgrimage to all of the Panch Kedar and pay homage to Badrinath in the end as a final affirmatory that we have got Shiva’s blessings.

  1. Kedarnath ( 11,755 ft) – Humps
  2. Tungnath (12070) – Arms
  3. Rudranath (7,500 ft) – Face
  4. Madhymaheshwar (11,450 ft) – Navel and stomach
  5. Kalpeshwar (7,200 ft) -Hair

Worship during winter

All the Panch Kedar remains closed for 6 months except Kalpeshwar due to snowfall. the sanctified symbolic Shiva idol of Kedarnath and Madhymaheshwar are brought and worshiped in Omkareshwar temple of Ukhimath. The representational idol of Tunganath is worshipped at Mukumath. The Rudranath idol is worshiped at Gopeshwar.

Reference: The map of Panch Kedar is taken from here.

Rudranath

Rudranath temple is one of the Panch Kedars and has to be visited third in order. Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of face (mukh). This is related with the popular story of Panch Kedar where Lord Shiva appeared in different bodily forms at 5 places. This temple shelters the face of Shiva. The sanctum has grey rock Swayambhu (self manifested) ShivLinga of about 3 feet in the form of human face with serene smile on it and beautiful eyes. Every morning, Shringar (makeup) and decorations are performed by the priests following by Morning Aarti and is removed in evening. A white cloth is bound tightly from chin to the Jata of Lord Shiva making it more gorgeous and you can not take off your eyes from him.

Temple lies at an altitude of 11,800 ft above sea level. Initially there was only cave and the temple is  built over it which we see today.

River Vaitarini flows near the temple which is identified as “River of salvation”. Devotees visit the temple and river to perform rituals of the dead. Offering pind to ancestors here is hundred million times equal to same thing if done in holy city Gaya.

About trekking

This is the toughest trek to reach as compared with other four of Panch Kedar temples but highly rewarding. You have to cover distance of around 22 kms in 1-2 days. Pilgrim has to go through very arduous trek and then only would be able to reach the destined temple.  Most of the people face difficulties because of high altitude, but your all problems go away when you trek through such a beautiful trail and bugyals (grass land) named as Liyuti and Panal bugyal and listen to the sound of river.

There are various sacred water tanks (Kund) on the way to temple like Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund and Manas Kund. While trekking, you will get to see Sword which is believed to be owned by Pandavs.

The gorgeous and giant Himalayan peaks add glory to the pilgrimage where you will relish Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti peaks which can be seen from Rudranath temple.

Temple opening and closing time

Temple opening and closing time depends on the Hindi dates. During winters due to heavy snowfall in this region all the routes are closed, hence the shrine is also closed for 6 months.

It opens for pilgrims around April or May based on weather conditions with huge celebrations and gets closed on the occasion of Bhaiya Dooj (Oct- Nov) after Pooja Archana. After that the idol is shifted to Gopeshwar where Lord Shiva is worshiped. The doli yatra begins from Gopeshwar and continues via Sagar route. Once the idol reaches Rudranath temple, Vandevi is worshipped first who protects that entire region as per the belief of locals.

How to reach

There are 3 routes to reach Rudranath temple.

  1. Starts from Joshimath: Helang- Urgam – Kimana -Dumak
  2. Starts from Gopeshwar-Mandal- Anusuya temple – Naola pass
  3. Starts from  Gopeshwar- Sagar : You have to cross beautiful Panar and Layati bugyals while trekkinh

Trek distance and other options : About 22 kms of trek to be done in 1-2 days. Pony option would be available only on Sagar route but not on others. Else you can hire porter or guide cum porter so that you dont have to bear weight while hiking.

Difficulty level : Difficult

Options for stay: Accommodation would be available in Panar, Layati bugyal,  Sagar, Gopeshwar, Urgam etc. There are many options for home stay. Some trekkers carry their tents and stay near the temple.

Nearby travels : Many travel options depending on which route you are going on. Devi Anasuyaa temple, Kalpeshwar (Pnch kedar) temple

Popular things :

Apart from the trekking, people come here for yoga and meditation also.

Madhyamaheshwar

About Madhyamaheshwar

Madhyamaheshwar temple is one of the Panch Kedars dedicated to Lord Shiva and has to be visited fourth in the order. The middle part (navel) of the bull is worshiped here. The journey to the temple makes it very beautiful when you are surrounded by snow capped peaks on one side and lush green meadows on the other side.

The navel shaped Swayambhu (self manifested) shivlinga made up of black stone is worshiped in the sanctum of temple. Water coming out from the temple is believed to be sacred which can be used in holy rituals.

Bhima, the second Pandava has built this temple around 5000 years ago. The temple is situated at an altitude of 11,473 ft from sea level in Rudraprayag district of Garhwal, Uttrakhand in the green valley enriched with flora and fauna. Also, it is surrounded by very popular peaks Chaukhambha, Neelkantha and Kedar. Altogether it has an appealing elegance with high spiritual vibes. All the people from entire village gather to attend evening Aarti at the temple which makes this valley divine.

After worshiping in this temple, pilgrims visit Kalpeshwar temple which is the last to be visited in Panch Kedar circuit.

About trekking

Trekking to Madhyamaheshwar temple is easy and will give you breath full view of the valley and beautiful snow covered mountain peaks. There is about 16 kms of trek and the tracks are clearly made. This is the place where you can enjoy the journey with nature.

Temple opening and closing time

Temple opening and closing time depends on the Hindi dates. The shrine remains open for pilgrims for about 6 months in year.

It opens for pilgrims on Shubh muhrat of Akshay tritiya around April or May with huge celebrations and gets closed on the occasion of Bhaiya Dooj (Oct- Nov) after Pooja Archana. After that the idol is shifted to Omakareshwar temple, Ukhimath where Lord Shiva is worshiped.

How to reach

First reach Rishikesh and avail bus services till Ukhimath which is 185 kms. From Ukhimath you need to drive till Ransi village which is 30 kms at distance from where the trek begins. If you are unable to come back on same day, then opt to stay in the nearby villages.

Trek distance and other options : 20 kms of trek. There are options for pony and porter also but pony has to be hired in even number. You can reach temple in half day if going by pony. Else it would take 2 days to go and come back at Ransi.

Difficulty level : Easy

Options for stay: There are lot of budget accommodation in the village where you should go for home stay. Enjoy the home made food and great hospitality. Else, set up your tent and get soaked into nature. Its recommended that you stay here for 1 night at least and go for Buda Maheshwar trek which is only 2kms away.

Accommodation options are available in Ransi, Gaundar, Bantoli etc.

Nearby travels : Buda Madhyamaheshwar which is only 2 kms at distance from this place. Do visit Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath where idols from Kedarnatha and Madhyamaheshwar are kept in winters.

If you have 1 more day in hand, then you can go to Chopta and visit Tungnath temple also.

Popular things :

The place is famous for Panch Kedar temple, trekking and enriched natural beauty.

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