Kalpeshwar Mahadev Temple is located in the Chamoli district of Garhwal, Uttarakhand. Situated at an altitude of 2,134 meters above sea level. This temple, though small in size and located in Kalpaganga valley, holds fifth place among the Panch Kedars. It is believed that the hair of Lord Shiva appeared here. The word Jata means ‘hair’. That is why the hair of Lord Shiva is worshiped in this temple. Lord Shiva is also known as Jatadhar or Jateshwar.
Kalpaganga was called by the name Hiranyavati in ancient times. The land situated on its right is called Durbasa Bhoomi, at this place there is a temple of Dhyan Badri. There is an ancient cave in Kalpeshwar where a Shivaling is seated. The Shivaling is dedicated to Lord Shiva and here the hair of Lord Shankar is worshipped.
This temple is also famous as Anadinath Kalpeshwar Mahadev. There is a Kalwar Kund near this temple, the water of this pool is always clean and travellers take water from here. Devotees get rid of many diseases by drinking this holy water, it is claimed. Sages use this holy water as offering to Lord Shiva.
The road to Kalpeshwar passes through a cave. To reach the temple, one has to walk about a km inside the cave, where pilgrims can worship the hair of Lord Shiva. Devotees come from far and wide to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.
It is believed that this temple was built by the Pandavas. This is the place where, after Mahabharata war, the Pandavas, suffering from the guilt of killing their relatives, set out on a journey to see Lord Shiva to get rid of the sin. The Pandavas first reached Kashi and sought Shiva’s blessings, but Lord Shiva was not willing to give his darshan to them.
The Pandavas then turned to Kedar. Seeing the arrival of the Pandavas, Lord Shiva disappeared in Guptkashi. After covering some distance, Mahadev took the form of a bull, wishing not to appear before the Pandavas and got along with other animals. Bhima, then took a huge form, spread his feet on two mountains, from under which other animals came out, but the bull-like Shiva was not ready to go from under his feet. Bhima pounced on the bull-like Shiva, but he vanished in the marshy land.
Then Bhima caught hold of the bull’s back. The bull-back figure of Lord Shiva is worshiped in Kedarnath. It is said that when Lord Shiva disappeared in the form of a bull, the upper part of his torso appeared in Kathmandu, where the Pashupatinath temple is located. The arms of Shiva appeared in Tungnath, the navel in Madmaheshwar, the face in Rudranath and the Jata in Kalpeshwar. These five places are known as Panch Kedar.
The Kalpeshwar Mahadev Temple can be reached via two routes, first one goes beyond Anusuya Devi via Rudranath and the second route can be taken from Helang, near the Urgam forest area by foot or by traveling through the narrow normal slope path.