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Unknown Interesting Facts About Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range of Uttarakhand State. The Kedarnath Temple deity is Lord Shiva. In Sanatan Dharma, the Himalayas have a special place. Himalaya itself is made of two Sanskrit words. One of those is ‘Him’, which means ‘Snow’ and the other is ‘Alaya’, which means ‘Abode’. So, ‘Himalaya‘ means ‘Abode of Snow‘.

The Kedarnath Temple is situated at an altitude of 3,581 metres. It is a 16 km trek from the nearest road route in Gaurikund. The Himalayan range of mountains includes the world’s highest peaks like Everest, K2 Kanchenjunga, Nanga Parbat and Dhaulagiri.

Himalaya Temple

Abodes of Lord Shiva in Himalayas

We know that Lord Shiva is present in every atom of the universe but he has a special preference and has numerous abodes in his beloved mountains, the Himalayas. The Himalaya Shiva temples are here. The first and foremost is Mount Kailash. From Amarnath in Kashmir to Pashupatinath in Nepal, Lord Shiva has a sting of Abodes. Kedarnath Dham in the Garhwal region is also one of them. Because Kedarnath is one of the Jyotirlingas, its significance has increased.

History of Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple

Origin of Kedarnath

It is said that, during the days of creation, Lord Vishnu prayed to Lord Shiva in Badrinath. As a result, Lord Shiva agreed to stay in these mountains in various forms and bless devotees. Shiva stayed here in the form of different shivlinga.

Importance of the Panch Kedar

After that, in the Dwapar Yuga, the Pandavas felt they had committed many sins by killing their own brothers and Gurus during the Mahabharata War. So, Rishi Ved Vyas advised them to seek forgiveness from Lord Shiva. The Pandavas went in search of Mahadev, who was dissatisfied with them and was hiding in the form of a bull in Guptkashi.

On being followed, Lord Shiva dove into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface at Kedarnath. The other remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four different places and are worshipped there as his manifestations.

The arms of Lord Shiva appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madmaheshwar and his hair and head at Kalpeshwar. The Kedarnath and the four above-mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.

Somehow the Pandavas located him, but Lord Shiva dived into the ground to escape. Before Lord Shiva could get away, Bhima caught him by the tail and tried to pull him out of the ground. Then the bull disintegrated into five parts, which landed in different parts of Garhwal.

The Pandavas decided to build temples in ‘Panch-Kedar’ places to pacify Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva then absolved the Pandavas of any sin committed and blessed them.

Kedarnath Lord Shiva Temple

The hump of the bull had landed in Kedarnath, which manifested into a Shivling. The Shivling seen in the Kedarnath Temple is in the shape of a hump. Shivling represents a pillar of light with no beginning and no end.

Kedarnath Place Name

The word Kedarnath is made up of two Sanskrit words: ‘Kedar’, which means ‘field’ and ‘Nath’, which means ‘Lord’. This translates to the ‘Lord of the Field’ or the one who ploughs the field. But this is no ordinary field; here, the ploughing of the field results in a crop, which is Moksha – liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Importance of Kedarnath Yatra and Darshan

Kedarnath is one of the holiest 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The significance attached to a Kedarnath Yatra and Darshan is written in several Puranas and other ancient religious texts. There are specific benefits mentioned in detail in these texts. The essence of them all is that a devotee with true faith and love for the Lord will reap a harvest that cannot be calculated in terms of wealth.

About the Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple

As mentioned earlier, the first temple here was built by the Pandavas. This takes us back to the Mahabharata Era. In later years, it was no doubt renovated and rebuilt numerous times. In the 8th century CE, Adi Shankaracharya renovated the temple. It is believed he achieved Samadhi at this place.

The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door, a large statue of the Nandi stands as a guard.

The present temple is a stone structure, 66 feet high, with a wooden canopy and golden kalash on top. The hump-shaped Shivling is enshrined in the Sanctum of the temple. In a hall outside are sculptures of the five Pandavas, Mata Parvati, Lakshmi Narayan and Lord Krishna. Nandi, Lord Shiva’s beloved bull, is seen just outside. Besides these, there are sculptures of Draupadi and Virbhadra.

The temple stands at 11700 feet above sea level, near the sacred Mandakini River. The puja and rituals of the temple are traditionally performed by the assistants of the head priest, known as Rawal. The head priest and his assistants are from the Sringeri Mutt of the Veerashaiva community of Karnataka.

Kedarnath is snowbound for nearly six months in the winter. During that time, the deity and puja are shifted to a lower altitude in Ukhimath and the Kedarnath temple remains closed.

Baba Bhairavnath, whose temple is a short distance away, is considered the guardian of the temple during these months. The closing and opening ceremonies of the temple are conducted with high fervour, great pomp and festivities.

Places to Visit in Kedarnath

Bhairav Temple

A short distance from the Kedarnath temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Bhairavnath, who is the guardian deity of Kedarnath town during the winter months when the town is covered with snow.

Vasuki Tal

A sacred lake where Lord Vishnu is believed to have bathed in the days of yore. The lake is 8 km from Kedarnath and can be reached by a challenging trek.

Rudra Meditation Cave

This is a facility run by the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and offers caves to stay in and meditate in. The cave room has all the modern comforts of a good hotel.

Shankaracharya Samadhi

This is the structure built on the spot where Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have achieved the ultimate eternal position.

How to Reach Kedarnath?

You can reach Kedarnath by road, train and air. There are various places where these facilities are available but you have to trek to Kedarnath from Gaurikund.

By Road

By Road

The nearest city where all facilities are available is Haridwar or Rishikesh. From Haridwar and Rishikesh, you can get direct buses or hire a car to reach Gaurikund.

There are GMOU buses, UPSRTC buses and other private buses available. From Gaurikund, you have to trek to Kedarnath. One can drive a car to Gaurikund as well.

By Train

By Train

To reach Kedarnath temple by train, the nearest station is Rishikesh or Haridwar (255km). One has to reach Rishikesh by train and from there, you will get a bus or hire a car to Gaurikund.

You can book your train on the IRCTC website.

By Air

By Air

The Kedarnath route has the nearest airport at Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun. From Rishikesh, it is 21.7 km. You can reach Dehradun airport from any city by taking a flight or connecting flight. After that, you can take a bus or car to reach Gaurikund.

By Helicopter

You can book a seat in a helicopter to reach the destination. So, you can take a helicopter from Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Guptakashi & Phata Kedarnath.

Kedarnath Helicopter Booking

From Dehradun

You can travel from Dehradun to the Shastradhara Helipad in Dehradun. Within 40 minutes, the helicopter will deliver you to your destination.

From Haridwar/Rishikesh

Take a cab from Haridwar/Rishikesh to Phata, which is around 200 km and 195 km away from the two cities, respectively, if you intend to fly to Kedarnath from Rishikesh/Haridwar.

Ponies and palanquins are available in Gaurikund.

Also, Check

Where to Stay while travelling to Kedarnath?

There are several stay options all along the route. Some Dharamshalas and hotels are also available. It is advisable to book your stays all along the route and plan your journey for a hassle-free journey.

Are you planning to visit Kedarnath and looking for options to stay with family? Then don’t wait! Travel with our detailed information and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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