It is a beautiful and Introductory trip of Himalayas.
Kedarnath Temple – 1 st Panch Kedar Temple
Kedarnath Temple is the 1st Panch Kedar Temple and it is a holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus. The temple, believed to be very ancient, has been continually renovated over the centuries. The lingam at Kedarnath, unlike its usual form, is pyramidal and is regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. Situated at an altitude of 3,581 mts. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva the protector and the destroyer. Shiva, is considered the embodiment of all passions-love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism that are expressed through his various forms.
Madhyamaheshwar – 2 nd Pancha Kedar
The stomach of Shiva is believed to have emerged at Madmaheshwar. The temple of Madmaheshwar is located at an altitude of 3,289 m. above sea level, on the slope of a ridge, 25 km northeast of Guptakashi. There is a motorable road from Guptakashi to Kalimath. The best statue of Har Gauri in India measuring over a metre high is found in the Kali temple. The trek from Kalimath to Madmaheshwar is distinguished by wild unparalleled scenic beauty and engulfed by Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Neelkanth peaks. Gaundar at the confluence of Madmaheshwar Ganga and Markanga Ganga, is the last settlement before one reaches Madmaheshwar.
Located at the base of Chaukhamba peak at an altitude of 3289 m 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 ablution. The natural scenery is dramatically wild, with deep gorges & valleys, mountain sides flung upwards towards the skies, the forests where the snow lies thick in winter, only to be replaced by a carpet of greenery in the summer. Kedarnath & Neelkanth peaks are visible from here, the entire ring of mountains associated with the life & times of Shiva. The confluence of Madmaheshwar Ganga just short of the temple, is one of the prettiest spots in the region.
Tungnath – 3 rd Panch Kedar
Tungnath Temple is the 2nd Panch Kedar Temple and it is situated at an altitude of 3,886 meters, Tungnath is the highest temple in India. Legend has it that the arm of Shiva appeared here. Ravana, of the Ramayana, is said to have performed penance at this temple to propitiate Shiva. The high altitude temple is a Seat of Swyambhu Linga or the Lord Shiva Incarnate. The mythology has it that Lord Shiva was enraged at the act of homicide enacted by the Pandavas by killing their brethren in the grand battle of Mahabharata. Aware of Shiva’s annoyance, the Pandavas built the temple to please Lord Shiva and for their own salvation. Others claim that the Adi Shankaracharya during his historic visit to the region had got it built. They cite the presence of Adi Shankaracharya’s image in the garbha-griha or the sanctum of the temple. A dark left-tilting one-foot high linga is the centre of attraction. The locals describe it as an arm of Lord Shiva. The arm of Lord Shiva is also associated with a legend.
Rudranath – 4 th Panch Kedar
The face of Lord Shiva is worshipped at Rudranath temple in a natural rock temple as Neelkantha Mahadeva. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Neelkantha. The temple is situated amid thick forest at a height 2286 mtrs. From Gopeshwar 4 kms by car up to village Sagar from where 20 kms. trek leads to Rudranath and can be approached from Joshimath as well, by trekking about 45 kms. One can explore the magnificent view of Hathi Parvat , Nandadevi, NandaGhunti, Trishuli and many other from the Temple.
There are numbers of holy Kunds (Tanks) near Rudranath temple namely Suryakund, Chandrakund, Tarakund etc. The Baitarini, the divine river flows pass behind the temple. Anusuya Devi temple is located on the trek to Rudranath involving an additional trek of 3km.This is the only temple in India where the image of Shiva is worshipped as a symbol of his face, a sublime, tender aspect of Shiva, unusual, serene and beautiful indeed to behold.
Devotees come to Rudranath to offer ritual obeisance to their ancestors, for it is here, at Vaitarani river (the water of salvation), that the souls of the dead cross when changing world.
Kalpeshwar – 5 th Panch Kedar
The hardier tourist may like to trek about 35 km to Kalpeshwar, where the locks (hair) and head, of Lord Shiva are worshipped as JATADHAR.
Located in Urgam Valley at an altitude of 2,134 m. above sea level, the temple is a further 10 km trek from Rudranath to Helong, the motor head on Rishikesh-Badrinath route. The small rock temple of Kalpeshwar is where the Hair appeared. Short of Kalpeshwar is the picturesque valley of Urgam.
It is a favorite location of meditating sages. Legend has it that the sage Arghya had performed austerities here and created the nymph, Urvashi. Rishi Durvasa is also believed to have meditated here under the wish-fulfilling tree, Kalpavriksha. The sage had given Kunti the boon that she could invoke any of the forces of nature and they would appear before her and grant whatever she desired. Known for his quick temper, Rishi Durvasa is often recalled in context of the incident when, along with several disciples, he visited Kunti’s sons, while they were in exile. He indicated that he and his disciples expected food. There was not a grain to cook. Lord Krishna who appeared and miraculously solved the problem answered an anxious Draupadi’s prayers.
After you have sought Shiva’s darshan by completing the Panch Kedar, you must go to Badrinath and make Vishnu your witness that you have sought Shiva.
The five Badries are revered by all as the apt tribute to Lord Vishnu. Badrinath is devoted to the worship of Vishnu who, according to an amusing tale, usurped this place from Shiva. For Vishnu had come here as the gods once did, to offer penance. He loved the place so much that he plotted to unseat Shiva from his meditation here.
He took on the form of a beautiful child and began to wail. Shiva’s wife, Parvati picked him up but could not calm the child. Since his wailing continued to disturb Shiva, he shifted to Kedarnath in exasperation, leaving the spot free for Vishnu to occupy. But remainders of Shiva’s stay continue to linger, most visibly in the name, badri, a kind of berry that Shiva was most fond of, and the gigantic tree, invisible to the morale eye, that served Shiva. Considered one of the Char Dham or four principle places of Hindu worship at himalayas, Badrinath’s four subsidiary badries include Bhavishya Badri, Yogdhyan Badri, Vridha Badri and Adi Badri.
1 st Badri Nath
Also known as Vishal Badri, this temple located at the height of 3,133 mts. is the largest himalayas and most popular of Vishnu pilgrimages among the five Badries. The original temple here is believed to be built by King Pururava and the icon of the lord carved by Vishwakarma, the creator of the gods. The idol was recovered by Adi Shankaracharya from the waters of the nearby Naradkund and consecrated once more in the temple, restored in the 19th century by the royal houses of Scindia & Holker. So holy in this shrines that it forms one of the four prominent places of Hindu worship. The epic Mahabharata, it is believed, was composed in the Vyas and Ganesh caves close by. The Vishnu Ganga which later becomes Alaknanda flows below the while Neelkanth keeps vigil over all devotees.
2 nd Bhavishya Badri
The Bhavishya Badri is located at 2,744 mts. amidst the thick forests surrounding Tapovan. According to a divination, it is here that all devotees will throng once Badrinath is no more. While there can be no conceivable reason why this should happen, scientists agree that Joshimath, the entry point into the area before the final, most strenuous climb, is sited on an ancient landslide and has been sinking, and with a barrage coming up close by, may actually see the fulfillment of the divine prophecy. But whatever happens, Bhavishya Badri is popular even now. Enshrined here is the lion headed image of Narsingh. Visitors pass the serene the Tapovan a place known for its hot water springs en route to the banks of the Dhauliganga, and on to shrine.
3 rd Yagdhyan Badri
Every so often in the Garhwal Himalayan, tales from the Mahabharatha spring magically to life. Yogdhyan Badri, 1,920 mts. is located at Pandkeshawar, named after the Pandavas King. It is said that the Pandavas, victorious after their battle against the Kauravas, but emotionally scarred, came to the himalaya. And it was here that they handed over their capital, Hastinapur, to Raja Prikshit and took up penance before seeking out the highway to heaven. The importance of the badri is immence and the sanctum has an image of the lord in a meditative postures.
4 th Vridh Badri
Before Badrinath was designated one of the four Char Dhams of Hindu worship by Adi Shankaracharya, the idol of Badrinah carved by divine Vishwakarma was enshrined and worshipped here. It is said that when mankind entered the age of Kali, Vishnu chose to remove himself from the temple. Interestingly the image was found by Adi Shankaracharya at NaradKund, and restored, through part of it remains damaged. This, the first Badri, is located at the height of 1,380 mts. at Animath. While Badrinath closes during winter, the idol and priests hibernating at Joshimath, Virdha Badri remains opens throughout the years.
5 th Adi Badri
Another pilgrimage centre of local importance is this group of 16 temples en route to Ranikhet and closes to the confluences at Karan Prayag. The main temple is dedicated to Narayan and has a raised platform in the pyramidal form. Within the temple, a black stone idolis installed. It is believed that thease temples, dating to the Gupta age , was sanctioned by Adi Sankaracharya who wanted to spread the tenents of Hinduism to every remote corner of the country.