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Kedarnath in Puranas (5th Jan 2016) : According to the Puranas, in the battle of Mahabharat, the Pandavas had massacred their own kinsmen – the Kauravas. That was a sin and Pandavas were very sad of their act. They wanted to repent and get absolved of their sin. In order to get rid of their sin, they took the journey to Kashi at Lord Shiva’s place. Lord Shiva did not want to give His darshan to them and escaped to Himalayas. Lord Shiva made Guptakashi his abode initially, the name implied the Kashi in hide.

After having being detected by Pandavas, the Lord Shiva went further up in Himalayas in hiding. Pandavas again started chasing Him, and after a long struggle they reached at present Kedarnath. At Kedarnath, again the Lord Shiva changed his form into a bull amongst other cattle in order to dodge the Pandavas. The Pandavas had suspected the Lord Shiva’s presence and played a trick. They waited until the dusk when the cattle start going back to their home. As soon as the cattle started going back to home after the dusk, Bhim stretched his legs across the mountains, so all the cattle had to pass underneath him.  Soon after, the cattle started returning back to home and one by one all the cattle passed underneath Bhim except the bull. On realizing the problem, Lord Shiva dived into the earth. While diving, Bhim could catch His back portion in his hand. After a long struggle, Lord Shiva got pleased due to their high dedication and absolved them from their sin. Lord Shiva also bestowed them the opportunity to worship him at the place where Bhim had caught the back portion in the form of hump. It is from that day, the place is worshipped in the form of a conical stone and known as the temple of Kedarnath.    

As per the legends, when Lord Shiva dived into earth, the other body portions appeared at different places. The other places with different body parts are as follows :

Pashupatinath (Nepal) – Front portion; Tungnath – Arms; Rudranath – Face, Madmaheshwar – Navel, Kalpeshwar – Hair coils.

The Kedarnath and the above places except Pashupatinath are called Panch Kedar.

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 The Char Dhams of Uttarakhand