Kedarnath, The Celestial Jyotirlingam - Kedarnath, the ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range in Rudraprayag District of the northern state of Uttaranchal. In Kedarnath lord Shiva is worshiped as one of the twelve jyotirling (linga of light). This conical protrusion about five feet by four feet or 'jyothirlingam' is worshipped as the idol in the Kedarnath temple. Other parts emerged at four other places: arms at Tungnath, face at Rudranath, belly at Madmaheswar and the locks of hair with head at Kalpeshwar. All the five shrines are worshiped as 'Panch Kedar'. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.
This thousand years old built temple is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. Ascending through the large gray steps leading to the holy sanctums we find inscriptions in Pali on the steps. The inner walls of the temple sanctum are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. The origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic - Mahabharata.The statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Shiva, stands at the entrance of the temple as a guard. Inside the temple, there are marvellous sculptures of Kedaragouri, Krishna, Pandavas, Draupadi, Karthikeyan etc.
A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form. The temple, believed to be very ancient, has been continually renovated over the centuries.Besides its affiliation with Siva, Kedarnath is also believed to be the site of Shankaracharya's samadhi (achievement of beatified afterlife). The Bhairavnath temple which is situated to the south of the main temple of Kedarnath, is dedicated to Lord Bhairav, the deity who guards the main temple in winter when it is closed. Read about Panch Kedar
The original temple (now extinct ) with 12 Jyothirlingas, was built by the Pandavas at the present site and Adi Sankaracharaya restored the present Kedarnath temple. The Samadhi of Adi Sankaracharya lies behind this temple.
What the History says
According to legend, after Mahabharat the Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva for his blessings to get rid from the sin of killing of their brothers, Kauravas.But the Lord eluded them by taking the form of a bull in Kedarnath and when followed further by the Pandavas, he went down into the earth, leaving behind the hump there.
Best time to visit
The shrine is covered by snow for 6 months in a year (closed from Oct-Nov up to Apr-May) so the best time to visit Kedarnath is May to October as at the approach of winters in the month of November, the holy statue of Lord Shiva, is carried down from Kedarnath to Ukhimath. At this time, that the doors of the temple are thrown open to pilgrims. During its closure the shrine is submerged in snow and worship is performed at Ukhimath.
|Latitude||30° 44' -1 N|
|Longitude||79° 4' 0" E|
|Altitude||3581 mts above the sea level|
|Location||Very close to the Indo-Chinese border.|
|Dedicated To||Lord Shiva|
|Built In||The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. The temple is believed to be more than 1000 years old.|
How to reach
The nearest domestic airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, about 239 km from Kedarnath and operates daily flights to Delhi. Taxis are available from Dehradun airport to Kedarnath. Nearest international airport is Delhi.
The nearest railhead is at Rishikesh, 221 km away. Pre-paid taxi services are available at the railway station which charge about Rs 3,000. One has to travel 207 km by road and the rest 14 km on foot to reach Kedarnath.
You can reach Kedarnath only after a trek of 16km through a paved road from Gaurikund. You can take horse or ponies to climb up the steep path. Gaurikund is connected by road from Haridwar, Dehradun, Rishikesh and some other regions of Uttarakhand.
Visitors can also board regular buses from Rishikesh and Kotdwar to Kedarnath. Private taxis can also be hired from these places. The National Highway from Delhi to Mana (538 km) remains open throughout the year. Kedarnath is also accessible by foot from GauriKund, which is connected by state buses to Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwara and Haridwar. The bus fares vary depending on the season.
The shrine of Gangotri is situated amidst captivating surroundings, along the right bank of Bhagirathi is 100 km from Uttarkashi in Uttarkashi District. The ritual duties are supervised by the Semwal family of pujaris. The aarti ceremony at the Gangotri is especially impressive, as is the temple, a stately affair that sits on the banks of the rushing Ganga (Ganges River). Gangotri is the source of the Ganga (Ganges) River and seat of the goddess Ganga.
The Shrine of Yamunotri at the source of river Yamuna is the western - most shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Yamunotri is famous for its temple devoted to goddess Yamuna and thermal springs at Jankichatti and glaciers. Atop is a flank of Bandar Poonch peak (3615 m). Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the goddess Yamuna.
Badrinath is situated in Himalayas on the banks of Alaknanda river in Chamoli District. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and in the shadow of Nilkantha Peak. The route to Badarinath is one of the most fascinating one due to the lofty hilly terrain, curves and cliffs amidst the most scenically beautiful place on the earth.