Panch Kedar (Sanskrit: पंचकेदार) refers to five Hindu temples or holy places of
the Shaivite sect dedicated to god Shiva. They are located in the Garhwal
Himalayan region in Uttarakhand, India. They are the subject of many legends
that directly link their creation to Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic
The five temples designated in the strict pecking order to be followed for pilgrimage for worship are the Kedarnath (Sanskrit: केदारनाथ) at an altitude of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), the Tungnath (तुंगनाथ)(3,680 m or 12,070 ft), Rudranath (रुद्रनाथ) (2,286 m or 7,500 ft), Madhyamaheshwar (मध्यमहेश्वर) or Madmaheshwar (3,490 m or 11,450 ft) and Kalpeshwar (कल्पेश्वर) (2,200 m or 7,200 ft). The Kedarnath is the main temple, which is part of the four famous Chota Char Dhams (literally 'the small four abodes/seats') or pilgrimage centers of the Garhwal Himalayas; the other three dhams are the Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. Kedarnath is also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.
As the legend goes...
In the mahabharat, while on their Himalayan Pilgrimage, the Pandavas decided to pay Homage to Lord SHIVA. But Lord Shiva was not interested in meeting them as they were guilty of Gotra Hatya. Seeing the Pandavas coming, the Lord disguised himself as a Bull. But the Pandavas saw through Shiva's disguise. Viewing that his disguise had not worked the bull tried to plunge himself beneath the ground. But Bhima was swift and held on to the hind legs of the bull, thus preventing it from vanishing. In the struggle that ensued different parts of Lord Shiva's body appeared at various places in Kedarnath. With the forelegs showing up at Pashupatinath in Nepal, the rump of the bull at Kedarnath, the torso including the navel at Madhmaheshwar, the Arms at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, and the matted hair of Shiva at Kalpeshwar.
Worship during winter season
During the winter period when the temples are inaccessible due to snowfall, the sanctified symbolic Shiva idol of Kedarnath is worshipped at the Omkareshwar temple at Ukhimath, the representational idol of Tunganath is worshipped at Mokumath, the Rudranath symbolic image is brought to Gopeshwar, and the Madhyamaheshwar symbolic idol is venerated at Ukhimath.
Detailed Trek Itinerary:
Altitude Range: 1219 m to 3810 m.
Best Season: May to September.
Trek Grade: Moderate to Tough.
Day 01: Delhi Rishikesh (230 km)
Rishikesh is a gateway of Panch Kedar trek. Visitors can reach here from Delhi by train or drive as suitable for them. Usually there are several trains from Delhi to Haridwar which takes hardly 6 7 hours to reach Haridwar. From Haridwar, Rishikesh is only 20 km. There is also a direct train facility from Delhi to Rishikesh (DLI RKSH Pass, No. 54471), but it takes more than 10 hours to reach here.
Rishikesh is a famous spiritual place and know as the Home of Yoga. This beautiful city situated at the convergence of the holy River Ganges and Chandrabhaga in Dehradun district of the Uttarakhand state. You can stay here for that day and enjoy your evening in various spiritual ceremonies here and also visit local temples and Lakshaman Jhula.
Day 02: Rishikesh Pipalkoti (Altitude: 1219 m, Distance: 218 km)
Driving Direction: Rishikesh Devprayag Srinagar Rudraprayag Gauchar Karnaprayag Nandaprayag Pipalkoti (via NH 58).
It is suggested that leave Rishikesh early in morning to reach Pipalkoti upto evening, because night driving is not safe on such route. This drive offers you scenic beauty of Garhwal Himalaya and most importantly youll muse the famous Prayags (confluences), like Devpyrag (confluence of Rivers Bhagirathi and Alakananda), Rudraprayag (confluence of Rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini), Karnaprayg (confluence of Alakananda and Pindar River) and Nandaprayag (confluence of Alakananda and Nandakini Rivers) en route to Pipalkoti. At Pipalkoti youll find good hotels and GMVN tourist Bungalow to stay.
Day 03: Pipalkoti Helang Urgam Kalpeshwar Urgam (Altitude: 2134 m, Distance: 15 km Drive + 13 km trek)
From Pipalkoti, a 15 km drive will bring you Helang and here you have to start trek for Urgam village which is 9 km from Helang. The entire trek passes from dense forest and cascading waterfalls while traversing along the Kalp Ganga. Urgam valley is well known for terraced fields, apple orchards and potato plantation. If you reached Urgam late in evening then you should stay here for that night otherwise may proceed further towards Kalpeshwar. A 2 km trek from Urgam will bring you to one of the Panch Kedars, known as Kalpeshwar. Here Lord Shiva worshipped in His mattered hair form. After Darshan (sight) of first Panch Kedar in this trek you have to return back to Urgam.
You can camp at Urgam and have a good opportunity to explore the beauty of this place. Due to remote area, there are no hotel and lodge facilities, you have stay overnight in tents.
Day 04: Urgam Kalgot (Altitude: 2215 m)
This trek is quite tough compare to previous one. You have to traverse through dense forest, ups and downs followed by lush green meadows. Reaching Kalgot after a long trekking makes relief for trekkers because the scenic beauty is here splendid. Kalgot is perfect place for camp. Along with beauteous of this place trekkers can explore local cultures of such a remote place.
Day 05: Kalgot Rudranath (Altitude: 2286 m)
From Kalgot there is direct trek to Rudranath temple, another Panch Kedar in this trek. Face of Lord Shiva is worshiped in Rudranath as Neelkanth Mahadev. A magnificent view of Hathi Parvat, Nanda Devi, nanda Ghunthi, Trishul and other mountain group can be seen clearly from here. You can also visit Chandrakund, Tarakund and Surya Kund, which are located around the temple. Overnight stay in tents.
Day 06: Rudranath Sagar Mandal (Altitude: 2175 m, Distance: 18 km trek, 8 km drive)
From Rudranath, trek down to Sagar village. Trek passes from dense forest, ups and downs and followed by some small meadows. After arrival Sagar village, 8 km drive will bring you to Mandar village. Mandal is suitable place for overnight camp.
Day 07: Mandal Chopta (Altitude: 2900 m) Tungnath (Altitude: 3810 m, Distance: 20 km drive, 4 km trek)
Chopta is a well known destination of Garhwal Himalayan region and famous as Switzerland of Garhwal. Chopta is 20 km in driving distance from the Mandal. This place offers plenty of beauteous panoramic view of Himalaya due high altitude. 4 km trek from Chopta will bring you to Tungnath temple, which is situated at an altitude of 3810 m and another Panch Kedar temple in this region. This trek is easy and enjoyable along the scenic beauty of snow capped peaks and meadows. Arm of Lord Shiva worshipped in Tungnath temple. You can also trek to Chandrashila peak, which is only 1 km from here. Diner and overnight stay in Tungnath.
Day 08: Tungnath Chopta Jagasu Gaundhar (Distance: 45 km drive, 12 km trek)
Early in morning, post breakfast return back to Chopta and from here a 45 km drive will bring Jagasu village. On reaching Jagasu trek up to 12 km for Gaundhar. There you found a confluence of Madhyamaheshwar Ganga and Makandya Ganga Rivers. For that day you can camp here and stay in night.
Day 09: Gaundhar Madhyamaheshwar (Altitude: 3289m, Distance: 18 km trek)
Madhyamaheshwar is fourth temple (Panch Kedar) of lord Shiva in this trek and situated at an altitude of 3289 m. Navel appearance of Lord Shiva is worshipped here. This trek is quite long but a moderate trek. Scenic view of Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Neelkanth Peaks marvelous from Madhyamaheswar temple. Camp here for overnight stay.
Day 10: Madhyamaheshwar - Gaundhar
After musing the beauty of Madhyamaheshwar temple, return back to Gaundhar. It is suggested that you should stay here for that night because next day trek is long enough, and trekking in night might be danger in this region.
Day 11: Gaundhar Jagasu Guptkashi (Altitude: 1319 m, Distance: 12 km trek, 30 km drive)
Return from Gaundhar to Jagasu you have to trek 12 km and then drive 30 km for Guptkashi town of Rudraprayag district. It is famous for the ancient Vishwanath Temple dedicated to god Shiva - similar to the one in Varanasi (Kashi). The other famous temple here is dedicated to Ardhanareshvara (a half man half woman form of Shiva and Parvati). The name Guptakashi has legendary significance linked to the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epicMahabharata Its religious importance is considered next to that of Varanasi, believed to be the most pious of all Hindu pilgrimage places. You can enjoy you evening in this beautiful town to visit nearby place and found good quality hotels and lodges to stay.
Day 12: Guptkashi Gaurikund Kedarnath (Altitude: 3584 m, Distance: 33 km drive, 14 km trek)
To reach up to Kedarnath (last shrine of Panch Kedar) on the same day, you have leave Guptkashi early in the morning. From Guptkashi drive 33 km via NH 109 for Gaurikund. Gaurikund is also scared pilgrims of Hindu, where Goddess Parwati did penance to please Lord Shiva and win over his heart. Hot and cold water ponds are here believed that offer salvation by a single dip into them. Kedarnath dham is situated at altitude of 3584 m. Lord Shiva resembles as hump of the Bull in Kedarnath and worshipped in this form. This temple is also valuable because it is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. There are several guest house and lodges in Kedarnath, so you can enjoy Kedar valley in full bloom.
Day 13: Keadarnath Gaurikund Rudraprayag (Distance: 14 km trek, 75 km drive via NH 109)
After visiting all Panch Kedar, now its time to return. Perform morning rituals and aarti in Sri Kedarnath Dham, and then proceed towards Gaurikund. After a 14 km trek of Gaurikund, drive toward Rudrapyag which is 75 km from there. Stay here for that night and get an opportunity to explore another gigantic confluence place of Alakananda and Bhagirathi. Rudraprayag is place where River Ganga takes her name after meeting of two sacred rivers.
Day 14: Rudraprayg Haridwar (Distance: 161 km)
Haridwar and Rishikesh both are acts as gateway of main holy pilgrimages like Char Dham Yatra, Panch Kedar Yatra etc. Haridwar is a large junction place compare to Rishikesh, so it is more suitable for trekkers to reach Haridwar.
Day 15: Haridwar Delhi (Distance: 220 km)
From Haridwar you can take either train or bus for Delhi. There is also facility of airways provided by Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun which is on 35 km from Haridwar via Haridwar Dehradun Road/ NH 7.
Day 1 : Delhi- Haridwar (230kms / 6hr)
Arrival Delhi Railway Station / Airport, drive straight to Haridwar. On Haridwar, transfer to Hotel. In the evening view Aarti at Holy River Ganges, at Har ki Pauri. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 2 : Haridwar to Guptkashi (205kms / 7hr)
Drive to Gaurikund (a hot water sulphur spring) via Rudraprayag. Check in Hotel.
Day 3 : Guptkashi to Kedarnath (54kms / 6hr)
After breakfast drive to Gaurikund (40kms), 14kms trek to Kedarnath. Overnight stay at Hotel.
The first destination in the Panch kedar yatra, kedarnath is also one of the char dhams and the Jyotirlinga of Shiva.
Day 4 : Kedarnath to Guptkashi (54kms / 6hr)
After breakfast trek down to Gaurikund. Later after lunch drive to Guptkashi. Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 5 : Guptkashi to Gaundhar (17kms / 6hr)
Trek to Gaundhar with packed lunch. Dinner and overnight in Camps.
Day 6 : Gaundhar to Madhyamaheshwar (10kms / 5hr)
Trek to Madhyamaheshwar (3289mts) with packed lunch. Dinner and overnight in Camps.
According to the legend the torso of Shiva manifested itself at Madhyamaheshwar. In the kedarkhand of Skanda Purana, the mahatm or the significance of the shri Madhyamaheshwar is mentioned. The shrine of Madhyamaheshwar is reach by a trek via Uniana, Gaundhar and Bantoli.
Day 7 : Madhmaheshwar to Gaundhar (10kms / 5hr)
Come back trek to Gaundhar with packed lunch. Dinner and overnight in Camps.
Day 8 : Gaundhar to Ukhimath (28kms / 6hr)
After breakfast 12kms trek to Jagasu and then 16kms drive to Ukhimath. Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 9 : Ukhimath - Tungnath - Chopta (43kms / 3hr)
35 kms drive to Chopta and 4 kms trek to Tungnath. In the afternoon return trek to Chopta. Dinner and overnight in Camps.
Legend has it that arms of shiva appeared in Tungnath after he took the form of a bull.according to Skanda purana shiva tells parvati that whoever has Darshan and seeks the blessings of Tungnath attains sadgati or spiritual salvation regardless of the place of his death.
Day 10 : Chopta - Panargupha (40kms / 7hr)
After breakfast drive to Sagar (30kms). Then 10kms trek to Panargupha. Dinner and overnight in Camps.
Day 11 : Panargupha to Rudranath (12kms / 6hr)
Trek to Rudranath with packed lunch. Dinner and overnight in Camps.
Legend has it that the face of shiva is appeared at Rudranath after he took the form of a bull and tried to escape into the earth. According to Skanda purana mahadev tells parvati that there is a third thirth and which is the best of all pilgrimages and is called Rudranath,pilgrims who comes here with his wish is blessed and all their wishes are granted. Lord shiva is said to reside here perennially. It is believed the ancestors of those who offer pinda tarpan will stay in shivalok till the destruction of the universe.
Day 12 : Rudranath to Dumuk (18kms / 8hr)
Trek to Dumuk with packed lunch. Dinner and overnight in Camps.
Day 13 : Dumuk to Kalpeshwar Mahadev (14kms / 7hr)
14kms trek to Urgam / Kalpeshwar Mahadev with packed lunch. Dinner and overnight in Camps.
Legend has it that the matted locks of shiva appeared at kalpeshwar . according to Skanda purana,shiva tells parvati tha indra, after being cursed by sage durvasa,was miserable and came here to meditate. As a result he regained indrasana,his throne ,whoever performs puja here is relieved of all his sins in his life and also past lives.
Day 14 : Kalpeshwar Mahadev to Rudraprayag (114kms / 7hr)
After early breakfast trek to Helang (9kms) and then drive to Rudraprayag. Check in Hotel.
Day 15 : Rudraprayag to Haridwar (160kms / 6hr)
Drive to Haridwar via Srinagar, Devprayag and Rishikesh. Check in Hotel.
Day 16 : Haridwar - Delhi (230kms / 6hr)
After breakfast, drive to Delhi. Drop at Railway Station / Airport.
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