The Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand is also known as Lands of God and one of the tales of its rich past relates to a Set of 5 Shiva Temple known as Panch Kedar, which includes-Kedarnath, Rudranath, Tungnath, Madhyamaheswar, and Kalpeswar. These sacred sites of Lord Shiva are located in Garhwal region of Uttrakhand. The story of these Temples origin is related to the Pandavas. Each of these Temples is placed on the toughest parts of the Indian Himalayas no direct motor connectivity is available in any of such temples, some course of trekking with varying level of difficulty is required to reach there.
HISTORY OF PANCH KEDAR
According to Legends After the Kurukshetra war, the Pandavas set out to seek blessings from Lord Shiva, as a penance to the “gotrahatya” (Blood relatives) and “brhmanahatya”(killing of the priest class). Enraged with their actions and dishonesty on the war field, Lord Shiva evaded their requests. He hides at Guptkashi in the Himalayas of Garhwal disguised as a bull.
Pandavas came looking for Shiva in the Garhwal region and recognized God Shiva in the form of a bull. Bhim tried to catch hold of the bull but the bull shaped Shiva dissappeared into the ground at the place which is also known as Gupt Kashi (hiddenKashi) today and then resurfaced in parts at five places. The hump at Kedarnath, the arms rising at Tungnath, the navel and stomach at Madhyamaheshwar, the facing showing at Rudranath, and finaly the matted hair at Kalpeshwar.The pandavas, gratified by his appearance.
Kedarnath is one amongst one of the most important shrines in the Hindu Religion. It is located at an altitude of 3583mt above the sea level on the banks of River Mandakini near the Chorabari Glacier in Uttarakhand. Kedarnath temple is one amongst the 12 Jyotirlingas in India and has its significance since the epic Mahabharata.
BEST TIME TO VISIT KEDARNATH
Due to its elevation and geographical location, Kedarnath Temple remains open to the pilgrims for a period of six months. The end of April or beginning of the month of May is chosen for the opening of the portals of this high altitude sacred Hindu shrine. The temple closes right after Diwali and its deity is brought to Ukhimath where its worship continues for the next six months of winter. Therefore the best time to visit Kedarnath Dham is between April and November with April to mid-June and October to mid-November being ideal most.
HOW TO REACH KEDARNATH TEMPLE
Kedarnath can be reached by trekking of 14 km fro Gaurikund which is motorable area and is well connected through road via major cities like Delhi(458km), Chandigarh(387km), Rishikesh (189km).
BY AIR: The nearest airport from Kedarnath is Jolly Grant airport, Dehradun which is about 239 km away and this airport are closer to the Rishikesh (approx 16 km). From there you need to take a taxi or bus to reach Joshimath.
HELICOPTER: Kedarnath can easily be reached via helicopter services which operate through various places in Uttrakhand.
BY TRAIN: Nearest Railway stations are Rishikesh(215km), Haridwar (241 km)
Tungnath is one of the highest Lord Shiva Temple in the world. It is located in the Indian State of Uttarakhand in the Mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district. The word Tunganath literally means the God of Mountain. This temple is the highest shrine of Hindus dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located just below Chandrashila’s peak. It is believed to be 1000 years old and in the order of Panch Kedar, it is the Tritiya Kedar. The temple has a great connection with the Mahabharata heroes Pandavas!!
BEST TIME TO VISIT TUNGNATH
The most favorable time to visit the Tunganatha from April to November
The best season to visit Tunganath is from April to November.
During Summers (April to August)
Summers are apt for visiting the temple as that time it witnesses a moderate climate with an average temperature of 16 degree Celsius. This season is perfect for all the sightseeing and visiting the nearby attractions.
During Monsoons (September to November)
This season witnesses scanty rains! The period is particularly apt for sightseeing as at that time the panoramic view of the hills is very pleasurable.
During Winters (December to March)
These are chilly days with the minimum temperature touching at 4 degree Celsius! The minimum can also touch to sub-zero level. Snowfall can also be seen during this season.
STAYING OPTION IN TUNGNATH
One will get rooms near by Chopta which is the starting point of the Trek and also has the motorable connectivity.
HOW TO REACH TUNGNATH
Tungnath is connected via road up to the Chopta from there one has to start Trek of 3.5 km to reach Tungnath Temple. Chopta can be reached in the following ways:
BY AIR: Nearest Airport Jolly Grant, Dehradun (260 km)
BY TRAIN: Nearest Railway Station is Haridwar (225 km)
Rudranath is the place where Shiva’s face came up the ground. A natural rock temple, situated at the height of 2,286 meters amid alpine meadows and thick forests of rhododendrons, is where Shiva is worshipped as ‘Neelkanth Mahadev’. Many sacred Kunds (pools) such as Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund, and Mana Kund exists around the temple. Fabulous peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti and Trishul form an amazing backdrop. The trek involved is considered harder to reach as compared to other Panch Kedar temples.
BEST TIME TO VISIT RUDRANATH TEMPLE
Summers is deemed as best time/season to visit Rudranath Temple. During this time the place experiences pleasant weather. While Winters in Rudranath is chilly. In winters routes get blocked due to snow and it becomes difficult to trek. In monsoon season the rain makes it difficult to reach there.
STAYING OPTION IN RUDRANATH TEMPLE
Since Rudranath is not a place where you can reach in just a single day. You have to do 1-2 days of trekking. During the trekking, you will arrive at a number of places where lodging facility is available. On the route from Sagar village to Rudranath, Liti Bugyal, and Panar Bugyal have the staying provisions. While, in the Mandal village to Rudranath route, Anusuya Temple offers accommodation along with Shepherd hunts. However, a decent number of accommodation options can be found in Gopeshwar.
HOW TO REACH RUDRANATH
The trek of Rudranath is 20 km, Sagar village is the starting point of the trek which is well connected by roads.
BY ROAD: Rudranath is located on Gopeswar-Kedarnath road. From Rishikesh, the entry point is at Sagar which is 219 km.
By AIR: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun which is 258 km away.
BY TRAIN: The nearest Railway Station is Rishikesh which is 241 km.
Kalpeshwar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. Situated in Chamoli district in Dev Bhoomi, Uttarakhand it is the only Panch Kedar pilgrimage open throughout the year. At this small stone temple, which is approached through a cave passage the matted tress (jata) of Lord Shiva is worshipped. Hence, Lord Shiva is also called as Jatadhar or Jateshwar. Situated at an altitude 2,134 meters above sea level, Kalpeshwar temple is one of the best places for meditation in Uttarakhand Himalayas.
BEST TIME TO VISIT KALPESWAR TEMPLE
The best time to visit Kalpeswar is from April – October as the snow clears out during this time allowing easier access to the Temple.
STAYING OPTION IN KALPESWAR TEMPLE
Homestay accommodation is available at Kalpeswar. Tourists can also stay in the temple Dharamshalas. Alternatively, you can also set up your Tents if you want to stay in a Tented accommodation.
HOW TO REACH KALPESWAR TEMPLE
Kalpeswar can only be reached via a Trek from the Urgam village which is about 300 meters from Urgam village and the village is well connected with the road networks of the State.
BY TRAIN: Nearest Railway Station Rishikesh (251km) from Joshimath and from Joshimath to Urgam village it about 17 km.
BY AIR: Nearest Airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun (268 km).
Madhyamaheswar Temple has situated at the height of about 3,289 meters, Madhyamaheswar is the place where, it is believed, the middle or navel part of Shiva emerged. The temple lies in a beautiful green valley in the Mansoona village of Garhwal Himalayas and is encircled by spectacular snow-covered peaks of Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, and Neelkantha.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MADHYAMAHESWAR TEMPLE
Madhyamaheshwar is a small village which experiences moderate weather throughout the year. The summers are warm but pleasant while winters can get cold. It is best to travel to Madhyamaheshwar between the months of May and October. The main attraction of the place, Madhyamaheshwar Temple remains closed from November to April. So if your purpose of traveling is spiritual, prefer not to travel during the duration mentioned above. The monsoon season experiences almost no rainfall.
STAYING OPTION IN MADHYAMAHESWAR TEMPLE
Homestay accommodation options are available at Madmaheshwar. Don’t expect any luxury at Madhmaheshwar, but the rooms are clean and the people are helpful. The homemade food is hygienic and fresh. Accommodation options are also available at various places during the trek like Ransi, Gaundar, Bantoli, etc.
HOW TO REACH MADHYAMAHESWAR TEMPLE
Madhyamaheswar temple can be reached by trekking of 16 km from Ransi village. The trek is very easy to complete up to Bantoli but from Babtoli to Madhyamaheswar there is a steep ascent.
BY ROAD: Anyone can reach to Ukhimath which is the starting point of the trek.
BY TRAIN: The nearest Railway Station from Ukhimath is the Haridwar Railway Station located at the distance of 202 km
BY AIR: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun which is 235 km away