Panch Kedar refers to the group of five temples of Lord Shiva in the Kedarnath valley namely : Kedarnath, Madhyamaheshwar, Tungnath, Kalpeshwar and Rudranath.
- Madmaheshar – 3497 meters
- Tungnath – 3680 meters
- Kalpeshwar – 2200 meters
- Rudranath – 3600 meters
History and Mythology
Popularly-narrated legend holds that subsequent to the Kurukshetra battle (final battle of the epic Mahabharata) the Pandavas were advised by Lord Krishna to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and atone for the sins committed by them by killing their own kin. So, before seeking salvation, the Pandavas went to Kashi to meet Lord Shiva.
Legend holds that Lord Shiva was not willing to meet the Pandavas since he was annoyed with them for the massive bloodshed in the Kurukshetra battle. Shiva, therefore, avoided meeting Pandavas at Kashi and took the form of a bull (Nandi) and went away to the Himalayas. However,the Pandavas pursued him and recognized him. Upon seeing the Pandavas, the bull dived into the ground. Bhim, the second Pandava brother, tried to hold the bull by its tail and hind legs but the bull disappeared leaving behind his hump on the surface at Kedarnath. Other body parts of the bull appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations – the arms at Tungnath, face at Rudranath, belly at Madmaheshwar, locks and head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and these four other shrines are referred to as PanchKedar.