Panch Kedar Yatra Uttarakhand: History, Significance, 2023 Opening Date

Panch Kedar Yatra

Panch Kedar yatra

Uttarakhand is also known as “Devbhoomi” (the land of the gods). The state has got this nickname because it is home to some of the holiest pilgrimage sites in Hinduism such as the Char Dham Yatra, which includes Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Panch Badri, Panch Kedar, etc.

Panch Kedar yatra is a pilgrimage of five ancient Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the Himalayan range of the Garhwal region. These temples were built by the Pandavas and built at a location where the part of the deity Shiva is found. According to the legend, after the end of the Mahabharata war the lord Krishna advised Pandavas to worship Lord Shiva as penance for the bloodshed and Brāhmanahatya in the war.

Legend has it that Lord Shiva was hiding from the Pandavas in the Garhwal region by taking the form of Nandi (buffalo) but somehow the deity was recognized by Bhima and then the bull-form Shiva disappeared into the ground and later appeared in parts at various places in the Himalayas.

The five temples are Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar. Each temple represents a different body part of Lord Shiva.

  • Kedarnath (The hump of Lord Shiva)
  • Madhmaheshwar (Belly button)
  • Tungnath (Arms)
  • Rudranath (Face)
  • Kalpeshwar ( Jata or hair).

Worship During Winters

In the winter season, all Panch Kedar except Kalpeshwar gets closed as it becomes inaccessible due to the heavy snowfall in the regions. In winter, the idol of Lord Shiva from the Kedarnath temple is worshiped at the Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath, the idol from the Tungnath is worshiped at Makkumath, the idol from Rudranath temple is brought to Gopeshwar and Madhyamaheshwar temple idol is worshiped in Ukhimath.

History Of Panch Kedar Yatra

In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas defeated and slayed their cousins( Kauravas). They wants to do penance for the sins of committing fratricide and Brahmanahatya during the war so Lord Krishna advised them to worship lord Shiva. Then the Pandavas gave up their kingdom and went to Vanarashi to find Shiva to seek the blessing. But, Shiva wanted to avoid them as he was deeply affected by the death and dishonesty at the Kurukshetra war so he take the form of a bull (Nandi) and hid in the Garhwal region.

When Pandavas did not find Lord Shiva in the Varanasi then they go towards the Garhwal region. While they were standing near a mountain near Guptkashi and searching for diety, Bhima’s second brother in the Pandas saw a bull and he immediately recognized Lord Shiva. Bhima caught hold of the bull’s tail and hind legs then the bull-form Shiva disappeared into the ground and later appeared in parts at various places in the Himalayas.

Pleased by this reappearance in five different forms, the Pandavas built temples at five places for worship. The Pandavas meditated at Kedarnath for salvation, performed Yagya, and Mahapantha, and then attained salvation.

Priest In Panch Kedar Temple 

  • The priest and pandit who perform rituals and worship in the Panch Kedar temples are from South India except for Tungnath.
  • The Jangams, who are Veerashaiva Lingayats established by the Panchacharyas, are the chief priests of the Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar temples.
  • The chief priest of Kedarnath is called Rawal and Jagadguru. Dashnami Gosai is the head priest of the
  • Rudranath and Kalpeshwar temples were established by Adi Shankaracharya.
  • Khasi Brahmins serve in the Tungnath temple. In the case of Tungnath, it is also said that local Brahmins of Mokumath act as priests.

Panch Kedar Temples Yatra

The Panch Kedar Yatra Journey starts from the city of Rishikesh, which is considered the gateway to the Himalayas. From Rishikesh, you can start your journey enjoy the trek, journey, and attain salvation.

Kedarnath Temple: It is a 1200 years old Hindu temple dedicated to lord Shiva. The temple is located in the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini River in the Uttarakhand. This temple is built by Pandavas as they found the hump of Lord Shiva. Due to the harsh weather condition, the temple is generally open for 6 months.

This year 2023, the temple will be open on 26 April and will be closed on 14 November 2023 …. Read More

Madhmaheshwar Temple: This is the second Kedar of the Panch Kedar. This temple is situated in the green valley in the Mansoona village of Garhwal, Uttarakhand. You have to trek a total of 19 km to reach Madhyamaheshwar Temple. The trek will start from Uniyana, which is about 18 km from Ukhimath. In between treks will get villages like Ransi and Goundhar village. Here the Pandavas found the Belly or navel part.

You will get accommodation in the Goundhar Village… Read More

Tungnath Temple: Tungnath temple is the third Kedar in the Panch Kedar circuit. it is one of the highest Lord Shiva temples in the world, which is at a height of 3,680 m in the Rudraprayag district. The arm of Lord Shiva appeared in this place.

To reach the temple you have to trek about 4 km from Chopta. While streak you will be able to get a sight of Nanda Devi Chowkhamba and… Read More

 Rudranath Temple: This is the 4th Kedar Of the Panch Kedar. It is situated at 2,286 m within a dense forest of rhododendrons in Garhwal Himalayan, Uttrakhand. In this temple, the face of Lord Shiva is worshipped as a Neelkanth Mahadev.
There are various treks to reach the temple, 3 treks start from Gopeshwar village and1 from Joshimath…Read More
Kalpeshwar Temple: This is the last Kedar of the Panch Kedar Circuit. This temple is located at a height of 2,200 m in the Urgam Valley of Garhwal, Uttrakhand. Here the Jata of Lord Shiva was found. This is the only Kedar in Panch Kedar that remains open throughout the year.
This would be one of the easier treks in all of Panch Kedar. You can Sagar village to Helang by taxi and from Helang you can take a jeep to Urgam and then from here it will be a few km trek…Read More

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