By Gargi M gargimas@vsnl.com | 2010

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We start the drive from Guptakashi, which is enroute from Rishikesh to Kedarnath. A valley view from Guptkashi.

Trekking to Deoria Tal is about 4 kms from the base point.

Deoria Tal. On a clear day you can see from here the Chaukhamba range which has Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamonotri and Kedarnath peaks.

A view of some of the peaks from here. We trekked back to the base point from where a two-hour bus drive took us to Chopta

Trekking on the way to Tungnath. It is one of the Panch Kedar, which are a set of 5 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. “These temples are important & ancient Shiva Temples in India and the Himalayas. The origin of these temples is traced back in time through the special mention that they find in the famous epic the Mahabaharatha. According to legend the Pandavas set out to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva to atone for their sins after their battle of Mahabharatha. In order to test their perseverance towards liberation, Lord Shiva repeatedly eludes them. The Pandavas finally trace him down in the Himalayas, where Shiva was hiding in the disguise of a bull amongst other cattle in a valley”

“When Bhim, the strongest among the Pandava brothers recognizes Shiva in the form of the bull and grabs him by the hump, Shiva sinks into the ground and disappears leaving his hump behind. Pleased with their tenacity and perseverance Lord Shiva gives them Darshan and advises them to worship his hump as His symbol to atone for their sins. The Pandavas built a temple at this spot, which is today famous as Kedarnath”. Mountain view on the way to Tungnath. See flowers at the lower right of the picture. Tungnath is where sanyasin turned politican Uma Bharati goes very often.

“When Shiva disappeared into the ground the hump came to be worshipped as Kedarnath remaining parts of his body are said to have emerged at four other places; the arms at Tungnath, the face/mouth at Rudranath, the navel at Madmaheshwar and the matted locks at Kalpeshwar. All these five spots are together known as the Panch Kedar”. This is the last trekking stretch on the way to Tungnath. In the center of the picture I wonder if you can see a white spec. It is actually the shed that you shall see in the next picture.

Tungnath temple is at an altitude of 3,680mt is the highest Shiva shrine among the Panch Kedars. The easiest to reach is from Chopta 6kms away.

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