Panch Kedar Yatra 2022 | Panch Kedar | Panch Kedar History | Legend of Panch Kedar | Panch Kedar Yatra Complete information
Panch Kedar Temple is the five such temples of Lord Shiva in which five different parts of Lord Shiva’s body are worshipped. According to Mahabharata, all these temples were built by Pandavas to please Lord Shiva. By the way, it is believed that all these temples are more than 5000 years old. According to historians, all these temples are 1000 years old.
The five temples of Lord Shiva located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand are Kedarnath, Madhyameshwar, Tungnath, Rudranath and Kalpeshwar all of these temples are known as Panch Kedar. Panch Kedar temples are considered to be the most prominent temples of Lord Shiva in Hinduism and thousands of millions of devotees visit these ancient temples of Lord Shiva every year.
The journey of these five temples of Lord Shiva is also known as Panch Kedar Yatra. Panch Kedar temples are open for devotees for only 06 months in the summer season throughout the year. Due to excessive snowfall in the winter season, the trekking of Kedarnath, Madhyameshwar, Tungnath and Rudranath temples are closed from November to April for the devotees to visit.
There is a lot of snowfall in the winter season due to which these temples are covered with many feet of snow. Many feet of snow accumulate around all these temples, due to which it is not safe to reach these four temples in the winter season in any way. Due to excessive snowfall, these four Kedar temples are worshipped in the Omkareshwar temple of Ukhimath during the winter season.
If you want to visit these four Kedar temples in the winter season then you have to reach Ukhimath via Rudraprayag and then here you can visit the Kedar temples in Omkareshwar temple. Among the Panch Kedar temples, the only one is the Kalpeshwar temple, whose temple is open to devotees throughout the year. The Panch Kedar Yatra performed by the devotees of Lord Shiva is considered extremely difficult.
If you are not physically strong and want to do five Kedar Yatra then you have to work very hard to do Panch Kedar Yatra. You should have at least 15-20 days of extra time for you to complete the Panch Kedar Yatra at one time, only then you will be able to visit all the Panch Kedar temples comfortably.
Kedarnath temple located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand is worshipped as the first Kedar in Panch Kedar temples. Lord Shiva’s back is worshipped in this ancient Shiva temple. Kedarnath is the most famous and revered among the Panch Kedar temples. The highest number of pilgrims in Panch Kedar temples come to Uttarakhand to visit this temple.
Apart from Panch Kedar Temple, Kedarnath Temple is also considered one of the Chota Chardham Yatra (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri) to be done in Uttarakhand. Apart from this, Kedarnath is also considered one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. No such authentic references have been seen anywhere, who built the Kedarnath temple.
But this temple is directly linked to Mahabharata and it is believed that Janmejaya, a descendant of the Pandavas, built the Kedarnath temple. Kedarnath is mentioned in many ancient texts and Puranas related to Hinduism. The Shivalinga installed in the temple is believed to be several thousand years old. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya got the Kedarnath temple renovated 1000 years ago.
But there are clear indications that even around the 10th century, pilgrims used to visit Kedarnath. According to some historians, people of Shaivism used to visit Kedarnath before Adi Shankaracharya. Situated at an elevation of 3,583 meters (11,755 ft) above sea level, Kedarnath remains open for devotees to visit from April to November only for six months a year.
During the winter season, the palanquin of Kedarnath is taken to the Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath and then from November to April, Kedarnath is worshipped in this temple. You can reach the Kedarnath temple after walking about 18 kilometres from Gaurikund. The chief priest of the Kedarnath temple is the Jangam Brahmin of Mysore who has been worshipping in the Kedarnath temple for centuries.
In Kedarnath, during the morning aarti, Shivalinga is given a natural bath after the Shivalinga is given a natural bath. During the morning aarti, devotees can visit the Shiva lingam installed in the temple. At the time of Sandhya Aarti, Shivalinga is duly adorned, at this time devotees can visit Shivalinga from afar.
The Madhyameshwar temple located in Goundar village of Garhwal region of Uttarakhand is considered the second Kedar in Panch Kedar. Lord Shiva’s belly (navel) is worshipped in the Madhyameshwar temple located at an altitude of 3497 meters (11473 ft) above sea level. To reach the Madhyameshwar temple starting from Akkildhar / Ransi, you have to walk for about 18 kilometres.
The history behind the construction of this temple is linked to the Mahabharata period. It is believed that when Lord Shiva was divided into five different parts to hide from the Pandavas, his belly (navel) appeared at this place. After them, the Pandavas started worshipping them by building a temple at this place to please Lord Shiva.
Madhyameshwar Temple is an ancient Shiva temple built in the North Indian style. In the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, a black stone Shivling made in the shape of the navel of Lord Shiva is installed. Two smaller temples are also built near the temple, out of which Shiva and Parvati are worshipped in a temple.
And in the second, the Ardhanarishwar form of Lord Shiva is worshipped. Like the Kedarnath temple, this temple is also open for devotees’ darshan for only 06 months of the year. In the winter season, Madhyameshwar is also worshipped at the Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath.
The chief priest of this temple is also a member of the Jangam Brahmin family of Mysore who has been serving Panch Kedar temples for centuries. At a distance of 02 km from Madhyamaheshwar, a small ancient Shiva temple is also built, which is called Bura Madhyameshwar.
When you reach this temple by crossing huge gorges and valleys, you get amazing views of the mountain ranges like Kedarnath Massif, Neelkanth, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Panchuli and Kemet from here. Being a part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, you also find endangered wildlife like Monal, Pheasant and Kasturi deer around this temple.
Tungnath temple is considered to be the third Kedar in Panch Kedar, located 3.5 km from Chopta village in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Tungnath temple is the highest altitude temple in the world as compared to any other temple of Panch Kedar and Lord Shiva.
Apart from this, after Kedarnath, the most revered devotees of Lord Shiva come to visit the Tungnath temple. However, this temple is also closed for 06 months in the winter season to pay obeisance to the devotees. But some adventurous people come here to visit Tungnath after crossing several feet of snow in the winter season.
The Tungnath Temple is 3680 meters (12070 ft) above sea level and the arms of Lord Shiva are worshipped in this temple. Like other Kedar temples during the winter season, Tungnath is also worshipped at the Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath. At a distance of 1.5 km from the Tungnath temple is the Chandrashila Shikhar, which is said to have performed austerities to Lord Shiva at this place to get rid of his curse.
While the priests of other Kedar temples are members of the Jangam Brahmin family of Mysore, the chief priest of the Tungnath temple is a member of the Brahmin family of Makku village located near the temple. Tungnath Temple is a famous trekking spot along with being a famous temple of Lord Shiva.
For this reason, apart from the devotees of Lord Shiva, you can see many trekkers here. An idol of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva, has been installed on the premises of the Tungnath temple. The Shiva lingam of Lord Shiva installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is made of black stone which is worshipped as the arms of Lord Shiva.
The temple complex also houses statues of other gods and goddesses of Hinduism, prominently depicting the idol of Kaal Bhairav, made of ethereal metal and the idol of Vyas Rishi. Tungnath also has a silver replica of other Kedar temples.
In Panch Kedar temples, Rudranath temple is worshipped as the fourth Kedar. Among all the temples of Panch Kedar, the Rudranath temple walk is considered to be the highest and most difficult. To reach the Rudranath temple, when you start your trek from Sagar village in Uttarakhand, after trekking for about 24 kilometres, you reach the Rudranath temple.
Located at an altitude of 3600 meters (11800 ft) above sea level, the Rudranath temple is situated within a dense forest of rhododendrons and alpine pastures. In the Rudranath temple, the face of Lord Shiva is worshipped as “Neelkanth Mahadev”. The Rudranath temple is also closed during the winter season to pay obeisance to the devotees.
The chief priests of the Rudranath temple are members of the Bhatt and Tiwari Brahmins of Gopeshwar. According to the Hindu calendar, a huge fair is also organized on the full moon day of the month of Shravan in the Rudranath temple. This annual fair is mainly attended by residents.
Many sacred pools are also located near the Rudranath temple, which is known as Surya-kund, Chandra-kund, Tara-kund and Man-kund. The temple offers views of the major Himalayan mountain ranges such as Nanda Devi, Devasthan, Elephant Parbat, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti.
A Vaitarni river also flows near this temple which is also known as Rudraganga. A statue made of grey stone of Rudranath has also been installed inside the river. In this river, local people also immerse the dead person’s bones and make Pind Daan.
There is a belief among the local people that by immersion and ingestion of the bones of their family in this holy river, the soul of the dead person gets salvation and the person is freed from the cycle of life and death. The Rudranath temple is mainly located in an ancient cave in front of which a temple has now been constructed.
Kalpeshwar Temple, located in the Urgam Valley in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, is the fifth and last Panch Kedar Temple in the Panch Kedar Temple of Lord Shiva. Kalpeshwar Temple, situated at an altitude of only 2200 meters (7219 ft) above sea level, is the lowest height of the Panch Kedar temples.
Apart from this, it is the only such temple in the Panch Kedar temples that remains open for devotees to visit throughout the year. Kalpeshwar Temple is built in an ancient cave. The Jatas of Lord Shiva is worshipped in this temple, due to this the temple is also known as Jatadhari and Jateshwar.
Sometimes back to reach Kalpeshwar temple, it was reached by walking 12 kilometres from Helang village on Rishikesh-Badrinath road. At present, a paved road has been built up to Devgram near Kalpeshwar, so now this walking distance has reduced to just 300 meters.
The journey to Kalpeshwar temple has become one of the easiest in Panch Kedar due to such a short distance. The chief priest of the Kalpeshwar temple is the disciple of Adi Shankaracharya, Dasnami and Gosain. Kalpeshwar Temple situated in the Urgam valley of the Himalayas is situated in the middle of dense forests.
You can see the confluence of the Alaknanda and Kalpaganga River during a walk from Helang to Kalpeshwar Temple. In the Urgam valley, apple orchards and terraced fields remain, in addition to this, potato cultivation is also done on a large scale in the valley.
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