Panch Kedar of 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 Kashi.
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 Panch Kedar?
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.
- Kedarnath ( 11,755 ft) – Humps
- Tungnath (12070) – Arms
- Rudranath (7,500 ft) – Face
- Madhymaheshwar (11,450 ft) – Navel and stomach
- 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- http://naturelovers.co.in/uttrakhand/panch-kedar/