Madhyamaheshwar (Madmaheshwar) is a Lord Shiva temple, is part of famous Panch Kedar. The temple is located at an altitude of 3497 mts and is the fourth temple to be visited in the Panch Kedar Pilgrimage circuit. The other temples in the circuit include: Kedarnath, Tungnath and Rudranath to be visited before Madmaheshwar and Kalpeshwar to be visited after Madmaheshwar.
Madhya Maheshwar temple is located in the Mansuna village of Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand, India. The middle (madhya) or belly part or navel (nabhi) of the bull, considered a divine form of Shiva, is worshipped at this temple, believed to be built by the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
There is also an old temple known as Vriddh-Madmaheshwar, located on the ridge which looks straight up at the commanding Chaukhamba peaks.
Madhyamaheshwar History and Legend
The legend of Madhyamaheswar is an integral part of the legend of Panch Kedar, which is a captivating narration of the efforts of Pandavas to atone for the
sins of their fratricide (gotra- hatya) act of killing their cousins, the Kauravas, and Brahmanahatya (killing of Brahmins – the priest class), during the epic Mahabharata war. On advice from sages and their trusted benefactor god Krishna they sought Lord Shiva to pardon them and bless them to attain salvation.
Since Shiva was annoyed with them for their conduct during the Kurukshetra war, he tried to avoid them by assuming the animal form of a bull or Nandi and hid himself in the Himalayan Garhwal region. But the determined Pandavas, after sighting Shiva in the form of the bull grazing in the hills of Guptakashi, tried to forcibly hold the bull by its tail and hind legs. But the bull disappeared into the ground to reappear later in his original self of Lord Shiva at five places; in the form of a hump at Kedarnath, in the shape of bahu (arms) at Tungnath, with his face at Rudranath, his nabhi (navel) and stomach at Madhyamaheswar and his hair (locks) called jata at Kalpeshwar.
Pandavas, pleased with the revelation of Lord Shiva at five places in different forms, built temples at these five places, worshipped him and attained salvation with blessings of Shiva.
Inside Madmaheshwar Temple
A navel-shaped Shiva-lingam made of black stone, is enshrined in the sanctum. There are two other smaller shrines, one for Shiva’s consort Parvati and the other dedicated to the Ardhanarishwara, a half-Shiva half-Parvati image. To the right of the main temple there is a small temple where the image of Saraswati made of marble is installed in the sanctum.
Pooja in Madmaheshwar Temple
Priests at this temple are from South India and at this particular temple they are called Jangamas of the Lingayat cast who hail from Mysore in Karnataka state.
Madmaheshwar Opening and Closing Timings
The worship at this temple starts from a specified time period from the beginning of the summer months after the winter and lasts till October/November from start of the winter season when the temple precincts are not accessible due to snow conditions.
During the winter period, the symbolic idol of the god is shifted with religious formalities to Ukhimath for continued worship.
Madhmaheshwar as Trekking Destination
MadMaheshwar itself is a moderate trek which is 21 kms from Uniana. The base of the trek is Uniana which is 18 kilometres away from Ukhimath. The region has rich flora and fauna, particularly the endangered species of Himalayan Monal pheasant and Himalayan Musk Deer in the Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary.
Trekking Route: Uniyana – Ransi Village (3 kms) – Gaundhar (6 km) – Bantoli (1 km) – Khatara – Nanu – Madhyamaheswar.
Gaundhar and Kalimath are two important places on the route to Madhyamaheshwar. Kalimath is of importance for the large number of pilgrims who visit the place for spiritual comfort and hence it is called the Sidh Peeth (Spiritual center). Kalimath is famous for the temples to goddesses Mahakali and Mahalakshmi, and gods Shiva and one of his ferocious forms – Bhairava. Gaundhar is at the confluence of Madhyamaheshwar Ganga and Markanga Ganga rivers and offers enchanting views.
Other Trek option: Budha MadhyaMaheshwar is a 2 kms steep trek through large moors and valleys and then would reach in a small lake, where a full Panoramic range of Himalayas consisiting of the peaks, Chaukhamba, Kedarnath, Neelkanth, Trishul, Kamet, Panchulli, etc.
Best Time to Visit Madmaheshwar
Best Months: May, June, September, October
Madmaheshwar in Summers (April to August): are very pleasant with moderate climate, with average around 15°C. Summers is ideal for all sight seeing, temple visit and also for visiting nearby attractions.
Madmaheshwar in Monsoons (September to November): are accompanied with scanty rains. This period is good for sight seeing as the hilly panoramic views are very attractive in rains.
Madmaheshwar in Winters (December to March): are chilly days with average minimum touching near 4°C. Minimum can touch sub zero levels.
How To Reach Madmaheshwar
MadMaheshwar by Road (trek): Madhyamaheshwar Temple is on the Kedarnath road linked by a 13 km road to Kalimath from Guptakashi. Further approach from Guptakashi to the temple is only by a 21 km trek after 6 km by road journey.
From Rishikesh to Kalimath the road distance is 196 km. Alternatively, Madhmaheshwar shrine could be reached from Uniyana, via Ukhimath. Guptakashi is on the state highway from Rishikesh via Devprayag, Rudraprayag and Kund. Rishikesh is the entry point to the pilgrim centres of Garhwal Himalayas and is connected by train to the rest of the country.
By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant at a distance of 18 km from Rishikesh. Madhmaheshwar temple is at a distance of 244 km from the airport and 227 km from Rishikesh.