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PANCH KEDAR-TREK

 

 

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PANCH KEDAR TREK 
Region : Garhwal Himalayas
Duration : 15 Days.
Altitude : Max. 4500m
Grade : Moderate
Place covered : Rishikesh : Gaurikund : Kedarnath : Madhmaheshwar : Rudranath : Tungnath : Kalpeshawr
Best Season : May / June / July / September / October / November.

 

This trek includes the five relifious forms of Lord Shiva amidst dense forests and lush meadows full of flowers of every colours, passing through a few rustic villages steeped in folklore , and culture.
Cradled in the Garhwal Himalaya's ranges are five of Hinduism's most important temples inspired by the five religious forms of Lord Shiva, known as the Panch Kedar. 

The Panch Kedar trek includes all the five shrines associated with the Hindu legends. All of them are situated in the Kedar Valley. At Kedarnath, which is situated at the head of the Mandakini River, the Linga is a natural rock that resembles the hump of a bull. Madhmaheshwar, situated at the base of Chaukhamba Peak is at an altitude of 3500 m. Here the Linga is worshipped in the form of a navel. Tungnath, where tha arm of Shiva appeared is the highest temple in Garhwal is situated at an altitude of 3810 m. 500 m above the temple at Tungnath is Chandrashila. The panoramic view of the Himalayas is breathtaking. Rudranath is where the face of Shiva is said to have appeared. Here there is a natural rock temple in which the Shiva Mukha is worshipped. To reach Rudranath, one has to trek throough alpine meadows and dense forests. Kalpeshwar is situated in the beautiful valley of Urgam. There is a cave temple here and Shiva is worshipped in his matted hair form. 

The Panch Kedar trek is one of the best ways of getting a quick preview of the Garhwal Himalaya. The Garhwal Himalaya contain some of the highest peaks in India, viz. Nanda Devi (7817m), Trishul (7120m) and Chaukhamba (7138m). It is the source of the great Ganga and Yamuna rivers. They house the sacred Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines, as well as forests of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Valley of Flowers National Park, Askoa Wildlife Sanctuary and the Benog Reserve (Mussourie), among others.

 

The Panch Kedar trek includes all the shrines associated with these legends.

 

* Kedarnath (3584m) { The Celestial Jyotirlingam}is situated at the head of the Mandakini River, where the Linga is a natural rock that resembles the hump of a bull. Amidst the mountains capes of the magestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas ' of Kedar or Lord Shiva. The orgin of the reverd temple can be found the great epic - Mahabharata. The Lingam at Kedarnath is pyramidal, unlike its usal form. A statue of Nandi - the celestial bull stands at the enterance of the temple and exquisitely carved image adorn the interiors of the temple. 

 

* Madhmaheshwar, at the base of the Chaukhamba Peak, is at the altitude of 3490 m.The Linga is here worshipped in the form of a navel. Located at the base of Chaukhamba peak, the classic temple architecture belongs to the north-indian style. So sanctified is the water here that even a few drops are considered sufficient for absolution. Kedarnath peak and Neelkantha peaks are also visible from here , the entire ring of mountains associated with the life and times of Shiva. The confluence of two streams at Gaundar just short of the temple, is one of the prettiest spots in the region

 

* Tungnath, where the arm of Shiva appeared, is the highest temple in Garhwal (3680 m).500 m above the temple at Tungnath is Chandrashila, with a breathtaking view of the Himalayas. The sanctity of the region of Tungnath is considered unsurpassed. The peak of Tungnath is the source of three springs that form the river Akashkamini. The highest Hindu shrine in the Himalayas. The path that wends through alpine meadows and rhododendron thickets.

 

* Rudranath (2286m) is situated where the face of Shiva is said to have appeared.There is a natural rock temple in which the Shiva Mukha is worshipped.Nearby the temple, there are many little lakes like the Surya Kund, Tara Kund and Manas Kund. 
 

* Kalpeshwar (2134m) is situated in the beautiful valley of Urgam.There is a cave temple and Shiva is worshipped in his matted hair form, when He tried to flee from the Pandavas at Kedarnath. A favorite spot for sages who come here to meditate, following the precedent of Arghya who performed austerities and created the celebrated nymph Urvashi here, and the irascible Duravasa who meditated under the wish - fulfilling tree, Kalvavrishka.

 

Trek route :

Best time: June to October / 170 km circuit / 15 days (moderate).
Rishikesh - Kedarnath - Madmaheshwar - Tungnath -Rudranath - Kalpeshwar - Joshimath. 


The Panch Kedar circuit is a 170km and 16-day trek, starting with a drive from Rishikesh to Gaurikund. The actual trek begins at Guarikund, one of the most picturesque spots in the entire Garhwal region wouldn't demean the Alps with a comparison, but is as good, if not better!

Situated on the Rudraprayag - Kedarnath road, Guarikund provides a breathtaking view of the Himalayan ranges surrounding it. 

 

Day 1: Rishikesh - Gaurikund by motor road (209 km), check and overnight in hotel. Situated on the Rudraprayag - Kedarnath road, Gaurikund (1981 m.) provides a breathtaking view of the Himalayan ranges.


Day 2: 14 km trek to Kedarnath (3581 m.), sightseeing and overnight in camp. Lunch at Rambara enroute.
The kedarnath Temple is situated on a large glacial terrace. The Valleys are shaped like a 'U' are found below the glaciated terrace. The first foremost is the famous temple of Kedarnathji, which is so widely known for its extraordinary sanctity. Here Shiva is worshipped in the form of a buffalo hump at Kedarnath already referred in Sri Kedarnath section.


Day 3: Trek back to Gaurikund, + 40 km drive to Guptkashi, overnight in camp. 


Day 4: 9 km trek to Gaundhar, overnight in camp. 


Day 5: 10km trek to Madmaheshwar (3289 m.), overnight in camp. It is a trek through dense forest and lush meadows full of colors, passing through a few rustic villages steeped in old culture. 


Day 6: trek back to Gaunduhar with packed lunch, overnight in camp. 


Day 7: 12 km trek to Jagasu + 16 km drive to Ukhimath, overnight in Hotel. 


Day 8: 35 km drive to Chopta (2900m.) and 4 km trek to Tungnath (3886 m.).Back to Chopta, overnight in camp. The narrow trek from Chopta is devoid of too many pilgrimage. Chopta situated in a beautiful meadow. The vision enjoys perfect freedom. There is more to see than what eyes angle of view can afford. The beauty of the bughyal the high altitude meadow is unsurpassable. The Tungnath temple standing in the center of the stone pa ed platform, under 3,600 meters high summit of Chandrashilla (4090m) the monument is a fine piece of ancient architecture.The idols of Vyas and Kalbhairav stand along the "Shivling" inside the temple.
Some derive the name 'tung' with the sense of 'lofty' from the position of the temple of the highest peak outside the main chain of the Himalaya : others , derive it from 'tanga' to be suspended in allusion to the form under which the deity is here worshipped. 


Day 9: 30 km drive to Sagar + 10 km trek to Panargupha (meadow), overnight in camp. 


Day 10: 12 km trek to Rudranath, overnight in camp.The trek goes through alpine meadows and huge dense forests with a panoramic view over the Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti peaks. Rudranath situated amidst thick woods,here the'mukh' or the lord's face appeared and Shiva is worshipped as Neelkanth Mahadev. Situated at a height of 2286 metres all around are fragrant flower laden meadows where herbs,grow in profusion. In the background, in all their glory , are the glittering snow-capped peaks.Near the temple is a stream of sparkling water known as Vaitarini - the ' Water of Salavation'.
The trek to Rudranath can be organized either from Sagar or Helang . A cross country trek from Mandal to Helang via Anusuyadevi,Rudranath,Bansi Narayan, Urgam and Kalpeshwar or vice - versa can really be rewarding.
 

Day 11: 18 km trek to Dumak (village), overnight in camp. 
 

Day 12: 14 km trek to Urgam (village) + 2 km trek to Kalpeshwar Mahadev, overnight in camp.
Kalpeshwar Mahadev According to the legends, the hair of Lord Shiva appeared here when he tried to flee from the Pandavas at Kedarnath . Here his hair and head are worshipped in a rock temple, deep in the

picturesque Urgam - valley forests. The entry to the 
 

Day 13: 9 km trek to Helang + drive 13 km to Joshimath, overnight in hotel. And rest! 
 

Day 14 : Drive back to Rishikesh : O/N : Hotel / Camp.
... One can also trek to the temples dedicated to Vishnu, the Dhayan Badri and Bansi Narayan ones.


But they are not in this Panch Kedar Circuit. They have more local importance...

 

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