The lingam at Kedarnath, unlike its usual form, is pyramidal and is regarded as one of the 12 jyotirlings.
The pandavas after having won over the kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers & sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption.He eluded them repeatedly & while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four places and are worshiped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tunganath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madmaheshwar & his locks at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath including these four shrines is treated as Panch Kedar.
Pilgrims traditionally first visit Yamunotri and Gangotri and bring with them the holy waters from the sources of the rivers Yamuna and Ganga and offer abhishekams to Kedareshwara. The traditional pilgrim route is Haridwar - Rishikesh - Devaprayag - Tehri - Dharasu - Yamunotri - Uttar Kashi - Gangotri - Triyugnarayan - Gowrikund and Kedarnath. Alternatively, the route to Kedar from Rishikesh is via Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag and Ukhimath. Near Kedarnath is the source of the river Mandakini. Mandakini joins Alakananda at Rudraprayag.
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