Panch Kedar: A Journey With The Lord Himself
North India is scattered with religious temples that are frequent by pilgrims and tourists alike. These five heavenly shrines Panch Kedar: A Journey With The Lord Himself are sprawled all over Uttarakhand and rest atop beautiful mountains. These amazing temples are located in some of the most scenic and picturesque places in Uttarakhand, in this region is especially popular for having some of the most amazing holy abodes.
Owing to this rich religious significance of Uttarakhand, the Panch Kedar was formulated. Much like the Panch Badri, the Panch Kedar encompasses the most important holy temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. However, the trek to a few of these shrines is not easy- but then again, anything that is worth seeing is not easy to reach. The trails to reach these shrines are enthralling and you will be intoxicated by the forests, meadows and the tantalizing views that fall on your path.
Origin Of Panch Kedar
The beauty of Panch Kedar is that the places are dedicated to different parts of Lord Shiva’s body. This unique efficacy is explained by a story found in the Mahabharata. It is believed that the Pandavas wanted to absolve the sins of fratricide that they had committed. To do so, they were seeking blessings from Lord Shiva. However, the Lord didn’t want to forgive them so easily, so he disguised into a bull.
As the Pandavas began searching for Lord Shiva and reached the Garhwal Himalayan Ranges, Bheema spotted the bull and recognized it to be Lord Shiva. As he jumped to catch it. Shiva decided to disappear in the ground.
After some time Lord Shiva was seen again at the Garhwal Himalayan Range, but this time, different parts of his body were seen at different places- like his hump was found in Kedarnath, this arms in Tungnath, face at Rudranath, the hair at Kalpeshwar and Navel and Madhyamaheshwar. After this, all these places became sacred, and these parts of the Lord’s body began to be worshipped.
Kedarnath Temple in the Himalaya
One of the most magical and mystical temples in India- Kedarnath Temple redefines the word sacred.
Nestled in the laps of the mountains with peaks covered with snow, this temple is radiant with power. This is the most sacred and significant temple among the Panch Kedar, and pilgrims come here in flocks.
One very fascinating fact about this temple and a testimony to its queer powers are that during the cloud burst in Uttarakhand, everything else was destroyed and in ruins. Yet, this wonderful temple withstood the fury of nature and stood there with the least amount of damage. It was as if some kind of external power was protecting this temple.
The journey to the temple is as radiant as the temple, and you will be blessed with breathtaking views of the mesmerizing city that lies underneath the gigantic mountains. As you climb along with several pilgrims beside you, you will feel as if you are trekking to heaven itself, with clouds descending to touch you.
The temple has a cone lingam which symbolizes Lord Shiva’s hump. The inner sanctum of the temple will fill you with a special kind of power and your entire body will be at peace. After offering your prayers and healing considerably after a strenuous trek, venture out and bask at the panoramic views that this top has to offer.
Tungnath Temple in Garhwal Himalaya
This wondrous shrine is devoted to another body part of Lord Shiva- this time his hands. To reach this scared and charming temple you have to embark on a tough trek, but with enchanting views to keep you company, the trek will seem easier than it is.
While this temple is frequented by devotees and pilgrims, many nature lovers and adventure seekers also come here to admire the beauty that surrounds this temple. It makes the entire trek worth it. This temple is located at the highness altitude among the other shrines in Panch Kedar.
As you reach here, you will find a beautiful stone temple just sitting there as the natural setting of the great Himalayas dominates the background. The overwhelming grey stone temple flanked with colorful prayer flags that break the monotony and makes it look vibrant and pious. The temple is believed to have been built 1000 of years ago in this Chandranath Mountain.
Tungnath temple located in the Rudraprayag district also finds its mention in the Mahabharata, where it is believed that Arjun was the first one to lay its foundation. If not for the beauty of this temple, and the artistic brilliance, then come for the enthralling trek that leads to this temple.
Rudranath Temple in Garhwal Himalaya
This temple is unique in the way that is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the celestial form. Located in the laps of lush green fields of alpine and beyond the rhododendron forests, this holy shrine is the Face of Lord Shiva.
If you look inside you will find a beautiful stone carved idol of a face that looks so lifelike. It seems as if Lord Shiva’s own head was placed on the pedestal. Located in the Chamoli district, this temple is reverently revered by Hindus.
The rock-cut sculpture of the face has a kind of smile that can make any worry fo away. The smile is kind and peaceful, while the eyes hint at the fact that the Lord is always watching. If you pry yourself away from the statue you will find the eternally magnificent Rudra Ganga flowing near the temple and giving it that mystical allure.
If you want to visit this holy shrine, then try and come here during the annual fair that is held in the Hindu month of Shravan. The place completely lights up during this time, and the shrine looks all the more breathtaking.
Madhyamaheshwar Temple in Garhwal Himalaya
The next temple on the consecrated Panch Kedar is the Madhyamaheshwar. One of the most aptly located temples, this place is a must-visit for anyone who is line love with nature or with intoxicating views. The temple rests in the midst of huge mountains and meadows that have sprawling green grass.
This shrine has a lingam which is in the shape of a navel, and it is safely kept in the main sanctum. The entire shrine and it’s surrounding reverberate with the chants of the pilgrims and the hustle-bustle of the tourists who are unable to get enough of the beauty that engulfs this place. This shrine is believed to have been made by the Pandavas themselves, making it all the more important.
If you walk a little over to the right, you will be greeted with a little stone temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. The idol of the Goddess is carved out in exceptional marble which makes it a must-visit the place.
Kalpeshwar Temple in Garhwal Himalaya
The last temple on the Panch Kedar Yatra is the Kalpeshwar Temple which is devoted to the hair of Lord Shiva. Perched in the town of Chamoli, this wonderful temple is highly popular owing to the lower altitude which makes it more accessible.
This small little temple is hugely sought out for since it is the only temple in the Panch Kedar circuit that isoprene throughput the year. The beauty of this temple lies in the journey to the temple. The trekking trail will take you through enchanting dense forests and alluring caves.
Once here, you should also pay your respect to the Kalpeshwar tree, which is believed to be a wish-granting tree and is highly revered among devout Hindus.