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 epic war of Kurukshetra, felt guilty of having killed their own kith and kin. They sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption but Shiva eluded them repeatedly. He 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 and 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 - Deo Prayag - Tehri - Dharasu - Yamunotri - Uttar Kashi - Gangotri - Triyugnarayan - Gaurikund and Kedarnath. Alternatively, the route to Kedarnath from Rishikesh is via Deo Prayag, Srinagar, Rudra Prayag, Agastmuni, Gupt Kashi and Gaurikund. Near Kedarnath is the source of the river Mandakini. Mandakini joins Alakananda at Rudra Prayag.