There’s something special about journeys to religious places. These places either move us at some level or awaken our spiritual being. The quest, however, keeps jarring us until we sneak out time from our hectic lives to find that one single place where we feel connected to Lord. And if you are still searching for a sacred site where you may find that missing solace, Panch Kedar Yatra is for you.
These five best treks of Uttarakhand’s religious circuit include Kedarnath, Madmaheshwar, Tungnath, Rudranath and Kalpnath. This spiritual journey to these five sacred temples dotted in the Indian state of Uttarakhand will lead you to the path of enlightenment, help you in the purification of sins and also prove essential when you need awakening the most.
Here’s everything you need to know about this fascinating spiritual sojourn. Check out!
Panch Kedar Yatra | A Journey to 5 Sacred Shiva Temples in Uttarakhand
‘Panch’ means ‘five’ and ‘Kedar’ is one of the names of ‘Lord Shiva’. So basically, Panch Kedar comprises five sacred shrines of Lord Shiva that are located in Garhwal district of Uttarakhand state.
Story Behind Panch Kedar
Panch Kedar history is directly related to the spiritual journey of Pandavas, the mythological heroes from Mahabharata. According to legends, Pandavas felt miserable with the bloodshed that happened during the war with their cousins, Kauravas. As advised by Rishi Vyasa, all the five Pandava brothers along with their wife - Draupadi enroute Himalayas to meet Lord Shiva In order to offer remorse. However, Lord Shiva didn’t want to meet Pandavas because he was unhappy with the bloodshed.
So he disguised himself as buffalo and manifested himself at 5 different places in the Himalayas. However, Bhima recognized him and began to chase him. As he pulled the bull from its tail, its body scattered across 5 different locations where Lord Shiva himself appeared in his divine form to meet and forgive them for all unintentional wrong doings.
The hump of the bull showed up at Kedarnath, the torso surfaced from Madhyamaheshwar, his arms were manifested at Tungnath, his face surfaced from Rudranath and hair at Kalpeshwar. The temple that was built by Pandavas was in Kedarnath which is counted among the 12 Jyotirlingas present in India.
Places to Visit in Panch Kedar Trek | Complete Itinerary
Panch Kedar Yatra trek stretches along 170 km and takes about 15 days to complete the journey to all these five temples. Here is a list of places to visit in Panch Kedar Trek.
1. Gaurikund: Basecamp for Kedarnath Temple
The trek to Kedarnath temple is 14 km long and begins from Gaurikund that lies on Rudraprayag–Kedarnath road. After paying homage at Kedarnath shrine en route Jagasu via Guptkashi.
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2. Jagasu: Basecamp for Madhyamaheshwar Temple
From Jagasu, a 24 km trek begins for Madhaymaheshwar temple via Gaundhar.
3. Chopta: Basecamp for Tungnath Temple
Then drive to Chopta via Jagasu from where a 4 km trek leads to Tungnath temple.
4. Mandal: Basecamp for Rudranath Temple
From Chopta leave for Mandal from where a 20 km trek will take you to Rudranath temple.
5. Helang: Basecamp for Kalpeshwar Temple
Then return to Mandal base camp and drive to Helang. From here the enduring trek of 11 km begins for Kalpeshwar temple. This completes your spiritual journey to Panch Kedar.
6. Rishikesh: Gateway to Panch Kedar Yatra
From Helang you can leave for Rishikesh which is about 245.3 km away.
7. Dehradun: Nearest Airbase
From Rishikesh, you can leave for Dehradun (43km) to catch a flight back home from Jolly Grant Airport. It is a domestic airport that serves as the major air gateway for the state of Uttarakhand.
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These 5 religious treks in Uttarakhand will not only give you a chance for spiritual connection but also will acquaint you with mesmerizing views along the journey in Panch Kedar Trek including verdant forests, virgin valleys and gorgeous meadows.
Best Time to Visit Panch Kedar Trek
Since all the temples of Panch Kedar are located on high altitudes, they remain inaccessible during the winter season due to heavy snow. Only Kalpeshwar temple is accessible all through the year as it is relatively at a lower altitude and weather conditions are not as harsh in Helang. The other 4 temples in this religious circuit are majorly opened for 6 months in a year during May to October which indeed is the best time when you can plan this religious sojourn. Only Kalpeshwar temple remains open all through the year as it is relatively at a lower altitude and weather conditions are not as harsh.
Things to Carry in Panch Kedar Trek
Panch Kedar Trek requires a good endurance level since all the treks have greater difficulty levels and the circuit ideally takes about 15 days to complete. Right from prepping up on fitness to keeping all your essentials ready, you need a whole lot of things to carry in Panch Kedar Trek. Take a look!
1. Woolen Clothes. You must carry woolen clothes including jackets, warmers, caps, socks, gloves and mufflers. You must also carry a combination of heavy and light since altitudes vary.
2. Trekking Shoes. This is really important as you have to trek a lot and through some treacherous trails.
3.First Aid Box. Don’t forget to carry a first aid box including general medicines (headache, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting etc.), ointments (Volini, Dettol etc.), band aids, bandages etc.
4. Power Bank & Charger. Since all these temples are at high altitudes, chances are that you will be out of network at some points. Also, it's wise to have a power bank to keep your phones charged during trek and darshan.
5. Insulated Water Bottle. Temperatures can be freezing cold so make sure you have your own bottle of warm water to keep yourself hydrated during treks.
6. Energy Bars & Dry Food. It's important to carry some dry food and energy bars during such enduring trips as you never know what you may get to eat.
7. Essential Toiletries. You don’t need big bottles but a miniature set of toiletries. Keep soap strips, wet tissues etc. in a small pouch that will help you maintain good hygiene.
8. Masks & Sanitizers. These are indispensable essentials which actually need to be packed without saying. Carry a few disposable masks to avoid contamination.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Panch Kedar Yatra
Q 1. What are the 5 Kedars?
A 1. Kedarnath, Madhmaheshwar, Tungnath, Rudranath, Kalpnath collectively are known as five Kedars.
Q 2. What does Panch Kedar mean?
A 2. Etymologically, Panch means 5 and Kedar means Lord Shiva. Together they are a circuit of 5 significant Shiva temples that are located in Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.
Q 3. Where is Panch Kedar located?
A 3. Panch Kedar temples are located in Uttarakhand.
Q 4. How can I visit Panch Kedar?
A 4. You can easily visit Panch Kedar from Rishikesh which is believed to be a gateway to this famous religious circuit of 5 Shiva temples located in Uttarakhand.
If you are considering travelling by air then you will have to book a flight for Dehradun. You can also get in touch with us at Adotrip.com to get a customized Panch Kedar Yatra package and other tour packages across the world.
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