Panch Kedar refers to five Hindu temples of Lord Shiva or holy places of the Shaivites. Panch Kedar is one the most difficult pilgrimage tour in India, as all the Kedars are reached by trekking, with few lodges and eating places. The five Kedar lies in the valleys between the rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda.
The pilgrimage Panch Kedar yatra covering all five temples over a 170 km route (road cum trek length) starting from Rishikesh in the order of: Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheswar and Kalpeshwar.
The Garhwal region is also called the Kedar-Khanda after Kedar — the local name for Lord Shiva. The region abounds in emblems and aniconic forms of Shiva sect of Lord Shiva, much more than the Vaishnava sect. The western part of this region in particular, which constitutes half of Chamoli district being known as Kedar-Kshetra or Kedar mandala, encompasses in its ambit all the five temples constituting the Panch Kedar.
Each of the temples is placed on the most serene and unruffled parts of the Indian Himalayas. No direct motorable road goes straight to the temples. Every temple requires some amount of trekking with varying levels of difficulty.
Undertaking Panch Kedar Yatra will take you on a long magnificent journey to remember for a life time. Attached with the element of sacredness, the meadows, mountains, snow-covered peaks, wildlife and streams - all attain a more special significance. The Panch Kedar pilgrimage normally takes 15/16 days to complete.
Kedarnath: Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple (shrine) dedicated to Shiva. Located on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river. The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 22 kilometres uphill trek from Gaurikund. According to Hindu legends, the temple was initially built by Pandavas, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva.
Tungnath: Tungnath is one of the highest Shiva temples in the world and is the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tunganath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys.
Rudranath: Rudranath is a Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva, located in the Garhwal Himalayan mountains in Uttarakhand, India. The face (mukha) of god Shiva is worshipped as "Nilkanth Mahadeva" here. Trek is very hard with a distance of approx 24 km. The Rudranath temple is believed to be established by the Pandavas.
Madhyamaheshwar: Madhyamaheshwar is a Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva, located in the Goundar village of Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand, India. The middle (madhya) or belly part or navel (nabhi) of the Shiva, is worshipped at this temple, believed to be built by the Pandavas, the survivors of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The water from the temple precincts is considered so highly sacred that even a few drops are stated to be adequate for ablution.
Kalpeshwar: Kalpeshwar is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located at an elevation of 2,200 m (7,217.8 ft) in the picturesque Urgam valley in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand state in India. The temple's ancient legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of epic Mahabharata eminence is the fifth temple of the Panch Kedars (five temples) of Shiva's five anatomical divine forms. Kalpeshwar is the only Panch Kedar temple accessible throughout the year.