Take the pilgrimage tour to Pratham and Dwitiya Kedar, Kedarnath, and Tungnath temple.
Baba Kedar, Lord Shiva is the deity of both the Kedarnath and Tungnath shrine. A trek of 18 km approx from Gaurikund is to be covered by pilgrims to reach Kedarnath Dham and 4 km from Chopta to reach Tungnath temple. Along with this holy tour, you will trek 2.5 km to Deoriyatal famous for panoramic Himalayan views. Chopta is a small hamlet and one of the famous places to visit in Uttarakhan
There are various versions of the origin of the Kedarnath temple. Some say it was built by Hindu seer Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th Century. Other versions claim it was built by Raja Bhoj of Malwa in the 2nd Century. But what inspired them? Again, there are multiple stories.
One of them leads on from the Mahabharat. Legend has it that following the Kurukshetra carnage, the Pandavas sought to meet Shiva to seek his forgiveness for the sins of the war. Shiva, unhappy with them, refused a meeting and left Kashi, his abode. He appeared as Nandi the bull in Guptakashi. But the Pandavas found out and tried to catch hold of Nandi. Shiva escaped and this time, reappeared in five different parts in different places—the face at Rudranath, arms at Tungnath, navel, and stomach at Madhyamaheshwar, the locks at Kalpeshwar and the hump at Kedarnath.
The second tale is Nara-Narayan, a Hindu deity, who went to worship Parvati, and Shiva appeared. Nara-Narayan asked him to stay there in his original form for the welfare of humanity. Lord Shiva granted his wish and Kedarnath became his home.
Under snow for 400 years!
Geologists claim that the temple of Kedarnath was under snow for nearly 400 years, sometime around 1300-1900 AD, a period known as the Little Ice Age. Scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, say the several yellow lines on the temple walls point to glacial activity in the region. The temple not only survived being under the snow for 400 years but also escaped any serious damage from glacial movement, as per this report.
Scientists say that even the inside of the temple shows signs of glacial movement and the stones are more polished. The report further adds that scientists studied architecture and concluded that those who designed the temple not only kept in mind the terrain but also the formation of snow and glaciers, and ensured that the structure was strong enough not only to withstand natural disasters and the passage of time.
Chandrashila is the summit of the Tungnath. It literally means "Moon Rock". It is located at a height of about 12,083 ft above sea level. This peak provides views of the Himalayas, including Nandadevi, Trisul, Kedar Peak, Bandarpunch, and Chaukhamba peaks.
It is one the best trek for beginners to start with trekking in the Himalayas or high altitudes.
Tungnath temple is the third of the Panch Kedars. These are 5 temples believed to have been built by the Pandavas to atone for the sins of killing their kin and Brahmins in the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata. Lord Shiva, whose forgiveness they sought, disguised himself as a bull. Parts of this bull appeared in 5 different places, each of these identified as a Panch Kedar.
Once at the top of the peak, you get a 360-degree view of the mountains of Garhwal and Kumaon. From Chandrashila peak we can see some great mountains of Uttarakhand, like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nandaghunti, Kamet, Dunagiri, Chaukhamba, Kedar dome, Thalaysagar, Gangotri ranges, Jahanukut, and more. The sunrise view from this spot is the best you will get to see in all of the Himalayas. At Chandrashila, we can find another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is believed to have been built by Rama to atone for the sin of killing Ravana. This temple is open from April to October.