There is an interesting legend about the Panch Kedar. According to it, after the battle of Kurukshetra the Pandavas went out look for Lord Shiva to seek his blessings. But Lord eluded them since he did not wish to meet them.
When the Pandavas found out where Lord Shiva was, the Lord assumed the form of a bull. The legendary Pandava Bhima tried to pick up the bull but it sank into the earth. However, Bhima could manage to retain the hump of the bull.
Impressed by their determination, Lord Shiva finally blessed the Pandavas and freed them from their sins. The lord then asked them to worship his hump at Kedarnath.
The other parts of Lord Shiva's body, arms, face, nevel and hair locks appeared at Tungnath, Rudranath, Madmaheswar and Kalpeshwar. These four shrines along with Kedarnath are worshipped as Panch Kedar.
Thus, the five kedars or Panch Kedar are as under:-
Kedarnath, another name of Lord Shiva, is located at an elevation of 3, 584 meters above the sea level in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It lied on the head on river Mandakhini and is considered amongst the most sacred placed of Hindu faith. Here, the hump of Shiva is worshipped. Kedarnath is one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas'.
Located at an elevation of 3, 680 meters above the sea level, highest amongst the five kedars, Tunganath is where Lord Shiva's arm appeared. Tunganath is about 3 Km uphill trek from Chopata in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand state. The peak of Tungnath is the source of three springs that form the river Akashkamini. By road, one can reach Chopata which lies on Kund-Gopeshwar road at a distance of 212 Km. Nearest railhead is at Rishikesh (215 Km) and nearest airport is Jolly Grant (232 Km) of Dehradun.
Rudranath, situated at an elevation of 2, 286 meters above the sea level, is about 23 Km from Gopeshwar. Rudranath can also be reached from Sagar by a 22 Km trek. Here, the face of Lord Shiva is worshipped as Neelkanth Mahadev. Some of the holy Kunds like Suryakund, Chandrakund, and Tarakund are situated nearby. The temple site offers breathtaking views of Hathi Parvat, Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti, Trishuli and other peaks. To reach Rudranath, one can take either the Gopeshwar-Kedarnath road or come from Sagar which is about 219 Km from Rishikesh. Nearest railhead is at Rishikesh (241 Km) and the nearest airport is Jolly Grant (258 Km) of Dehradun.
Madhmaheshwar, situated at an elevation of 3, 289 meters above the sea level, is located at a distance of 31 Km from Guptkashi in Rudraprayag district. Here, the navel of Lord Shiva appeared. Thus, the Lingam here is navel shaped. Madhmaheshwar temple can be reached through a trek from the Siddha Peeth of Kalimath. Some important peaks like Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Neelkanth are visible from here. . To reach Kalpeshwar, one has to reach Kalimath which is about 196 Km from Rishikesh and then trek for another 31 Km. Nearest railhead is at Rishikesh (227 Km) and nearest airport is Jolly Grant (244 Km)of Dehradun.
Kalpeshwar, located at an elevation of 2, 134 meters above the sea level is where the hair of Lord Shiva appeared. Kalpeshwar can be reached after a 12 km trek from Helang which lies on motorable Rishikesh-Badrinath route, 242 Km from Rishikesh. Nearest railhead for Kalpeshwar is Rishikesh (255 Km) and nearest airport is at Jolly Grant (272 Km) of Dehradun.