Situated at around 221 km from Rishikesh, the Kedarnath temple lies against the backdrop of the picturesque Kedarnath ranges at an elevation of 3,580 mts. The stunning Kedarnath shrine is concealed by the snow hung crests. The temple was built by AdiShankaracharya in the 8th century A.D. The view of the flowing Mandakiniriver and the snow covered Himalayan peaks make Kedarnath a haven for peace seekers.
A moderately tough trek to this sacred spot revives the faith and trust of thousands of pilgrims in the Almighty. It is unmistakably one of the most sought after pilgrimage destinations amongst the Hindus. The temple opens for the dharshan in the first week of May on the eve of AkshayaTritiya and closes down in the month of October-November.
The hypnotizing views and awe-inspiring landscapes of the snow-nourished mountains, rhododendron woods, and salubrious environment make the spot really enchanting.
Mythological Background of Kedarnath Dham
There are more than two hundred temples devoted to Lord Shiva in Chamoli region itself, the most imperative one is Kedarnath. As per legend, the Pandavas in the wake of having won over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt remorseful of having executed their own Kith and Kin and looked for the endowments of Lord Shiva for reclamation. Lord Shiva himself in the form of a bull was found here by the Pandavas. The hind part of the bull manifested as a triangular sharped Shiva Ling in this place.
The present structure of the temple was built in 8th century A.D. by AdiShankaracharyaand stands adjoining the site of the old structure assembled by the Pandavas. The lobby and passage have several statues and sculptures of different deities depicting tales from the Hindu mythology. Outside the shrine entryway, a huge statue of the Nandi Bull remains as gatekeeper.
The architecture of Kedarnath dates back to around 1000 years.The temple has a "GarbhaGriha" for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.
Architecture Style of Kedarnath Temple
Researchers assert that Kedarnath temple was under snow for very nearly 400 years and say that the majority of the individuals are unconscious of this. As per researchers of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, Kedarnath sanctuary survived being covered under the snow for very nearly 400 years which is why its endurance to monstrous stormy rains is relatively good.
Even after all these years, one can find yellowish lines inside the temple on the walls and the stones which are an indication that the place was under thick masses of ice. Actually glaciers move very slowly and are not only made up of snow and ice but also have rocks and mud. The temple not only survived being under the snow for 400 years but also escaped any serious danger due to glacial movement even though its impact can be seen in the form of yellow lines on the stones used in constructing the Kedarnath shrine. Scientists say that even the inside of the temple shows signs of glacial movement and the stones are more polished.
They point out that the period between 1300-1900 AD is known as Little Ice Age when the earth was extensively covered by snow. It is believed that during the period Kedarnath temple and neighbouring area was covered by snow and became a part of glaciers. Although there is no narrative confirmation regarding the age of Kedarnath temple and by whom it was built, but there are several myths about its construction.
Some says Raja Bhoj of Malwa, who ruled between 1076 to 1099 AD, built the temple while another theory is that the temple was built in the eight century by AdiShankracharya. There is also a legend that Pandavas built a temple behind the Kedarnath shrine in the Hindu Dwapar era. But the temple could not survive the vagaries of times.
As indicated by the GarhwalVikas Nigam the temple was built by AdiShankaracharya in the eight century and thus existed when the Little Ice Age of 1300-1900 AD came.
The thoughtful construction style and unique orientation of the shrine has made it strong enough to survive in disasters and withstand the tests of time.
Puja and Abhishek
7 a.m. – Darshan of the Lord Shiva incorporeal followed by Balbhog, Mahaabishek, Rudraabishek and Ashotar.
8 p.m. – Shiv Ashotatram, Sahasranamam and EkanthaSeva&Aarthi.
Yearly celebrations comprise of incorporate Badri-Kedar Utsav and Doli Yatraof Kedarnath.
Places to Visit
Chorabari Tal :
The Chorabari Tal is an old lake also known as Gandhi Tal. As per Hindu mythology, this lake was the spot where Lord Shiva the first master conferred the knowledge of Yoga to the Saptrishi. The lake is additionally popular just like one of the spots where some of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes were inundated in 1948. There's a precipice close to the Bhairava Temple from which the aficionados used to jump to death trusting it to bring salvation. This practice in any case, was banned and abrogated by the British in the 19th century.
Vasuki Tal :
Vasuki Tal refers to a glacial lake located in the mountains and also a moderately easy trek trail. The crystalline lake located among the Himalayas is one of the most amazing destinations you will ever visit. The trek usually starts at Gauri Kund where one can find the hot sulphur springs and ends at the amazing glacial lake. The location offers an amazing spot for camping and some of the most picturesque views of the surrounding mountains.
Shankaracharya Samadhi :
Adi Shankaracharya, was an ancient Hindu scholar who lived during the Chera kingdom between 788- 820 AD and is known to be one of most important Hindu scholars responsible for various important Hindu temples across the country and the spread of Brahmanism in India. He is believed to have received Moksha at the town of Kedarnath and his Samadhi or Tomb is located near the Kedarnath temple and is considered to be an important pilgrim spot in Uttarakhand. The holy town of Kedarnath has been revered as an important pilgrim spot since the ancient times. The spread of Hinduism and Hindu monastic culture owing to the scholar and pilgrim Adi Shankaracharya has made the town a major tourist and religious attraction.
Son Prayag :
Situated at the juncture of the Mandakini and the Sone-Ganga, this town is known for its pleasant natural beauty.
An old temple dedicated to the Goddess Gauri or Parvati, the Gaurikund houses the metallic icons of Gauri and Shiva. As indicated by legend, Parvatimeditated here for quite a while, to win Shiva as her partner. Eventually, she succeeded, and the couple were married at Trijuginarayan.