Lord Shiva wished to elude the Pandavas, and took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed, He dived into the ground, leaving behind His hump of the surface. The hump is worshipped in the temple of Kedarnath in the conical Shiva pinda form.
The remaining parts of the body are worshipped at four other places – the arms (Bahu) at Tungnath, face (mukh) at Rudranath, navel (nabhi) at Madmaheshwar and hair (jata) at Kalpeshwar. Together with Kedarnath, these places are known as the Panch Kedar.
The term Kedara for the Lord denotes The Lord who holds the holy Ganges in his matted locks & allows it to flow evenly to the world. It could also mean the mark that is left on the Lord’s head from the time when Arjuna got the Paasupathastram. This shrine is located at an elevation of 11,735 feet above sea level.
The region of the Himlayas, where the shrine is located is known by several names such as Gandhamadana parvatham, Sumera parvatham, Pancha parvatham, etc. (Pancha parvatham, for this is the spot of five sacred peaks namely Rudra Himalayas, Vishnupuri, Brahmapuri, Udayagiri & Swargarohini.
It is believed that the jyotirlingam is actually the rump of the bull, which was the form that Lord Shiva assumed, when the Pandavas tried to reach him to atone the sins of the Kurukshetra war. Since it was not time designated for humans to worship the Lord here, Lord Shiva tried to go away in the form of a bull. It is believed that temple structure that exists till date was actually the one constructed by the Pandavas.
The pilgrimage or Yatra to Kedarnath is one of the Yatra in Chardham Yatra. Kedarnath Temple opens on Akshaya Tritiya and closes during Diwali festival. The temple remains closed during winter season.