The Panch Kedar trek is the holiest trek in the Himalayan region. Panch Kedar trek covers the five temples dedicated to lord Shiva, situated at Kedar Khand (Garhwal region of Uttarakhand). These temples are believed to have been built by the Pandavas. The Panch Kedar is formed of the following five temples:
According to a famous belief, Pandavas (characters of epic Mahabharata) were in search of Lord Shiva, to seek penance for their sins. They reached Garhwal Himalayas in search of Shiva. However, Lord Shiva was in deep remorse due to the Gouhatya (killing of the cow) and Brahmanhatya (killing of the Brahmins) committed by the Pandavas. To avoid Pandavas, Shiva transformed himself into a bull and hid near Guptkashi. When Bhima saw a bull grazing in the fields, he immediately recognised it to be the lord and held the bull’s tail and limbs. In order to escape Bhima, Lord Shiva is said to have split his body into 5 part. His hair and head is believed to have fallen at Kalpeshwar; hump at Kedarnath; face at Rudranath; torso including naval at Madhyamaheshwar; and his arms at Tungnath.About Panch Kedar trek
The trek is of about 170 km and it takes 15 days of hard work to complete it. The trail will open you up to a fresh spring breeze and enchanting view of the Nanda Devi, Trishul and Chaukhamba peaks. Gaurikund is the starting point of the trek. Gaurikund can be reached from Rishikesh. From Gaurikund to Kedarnath, there is a 14km trek. Kedarnath is a pristine beauty and shelters the lord’s fallen hump. After Kedarnath, one has to trek 30 km to Madhaymaheshwar temple (via Jagyasu). Here, the torso including Nabhi (naval) of Lord Shiva is worshipped. Madhaymaheshwar is encompassed by Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Neelkanth peaks. Then Chopta is to be reached via Jagyasu. After trekking 3 km, Tungnath the highest Lord Shiva temple is reached. A short trek to Chandrashilla summit near to Tugnath will be rewarding. Now it’s time to reach Mandal and further trek 12 km to the Rudranath temple, where the face of Shiva has fallen. At 7,200 ft., is located the last temple of Panch Kedar-Kalpeshwar temple. The 11 km trek from Urgam via Mandal is a daunting task as the trail is too steep. However, it is the last effort you will have to put as here the legendary trek would come to a stop.Best Time to Come
Summers are the ideal time to undertake the trek. As the region is landslide prone, monsoon months are to be avoided. While in the winters, Panch Kedar temples are snow covered and inaccessible.