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Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Nestled in the majestic Garhwal Himalayas, alongside the Mandakini river, Kedarnath Temple is the most revered site dedicated to Lord Shiva. This holiest shrine is one of the twelve jyotirlingas and also one of the four major shrines of “Chota Char Dham”. Also, it is the most important site among the Panch Kedar Circuit. Kedarnath is seen as a single manifestation of Shiva, the ‘Lord of Kedar Khand,’ as the region’s historical name suggests.

Lord Kedarnath Temple
Lord Kedarnath Temple

Additional to its religious significance, this temple will leave you enchanted with its serene surrounding and mesmerizing view. Located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, this temple witnesses lakhs of devotees every year. The stunning vistas of the Himalayas all around you, the mild temperature, and the pure atmosphere fill you with joy.

To reach Kedarnath, you need to do a trek of about 22km from its base camp Gaurikund. The facility to avail pony or machans is also available. Once you reach this abode of Lord Shiva and get a glimpse of lingam located inside the premises, the tiredness after trek will vanish that very moment.

After a short description of Kedarnath, you must be curious to know about the mythological legend behind this shrine. Let’s find it out.

MYTHOLOGICAL LEGEND BEHIND KEDARNATH

The most popular legend about the Garhwal region, Lord Shiva, and the construction of the Panch Kedar temples, relate to Pandavas from the Mahabharata era. 

According to the legend, In the l Kurukshetra war, the Pandavas conquered and killed their cousins, the Kauravas. During the fight, they wanted to atone for the sins of fratricide (Gotra hatya) and Brahmanahatya (Killing of Brahmins). As a result, they entrusted the reins of their kingdom to their cousins and set out in pursuit of Lord Shiva and his blessings. They began their journey in the holy city of Varanasi (Kashi), which is thought to be Shiva’s favorite city.

Shiva, on the other hand, desired to avoid them since he was enraged by the murder and dishonesty at the Kurukshetra war and, as a result, was unresponsive to Pandavas’ petitions. As a result, he disguised himself as a bull (Nandi) and fled to the Garhwal region.

The Pandavas proceeded to the Garhwal Himalayas after failing to find Shiva in Varanasi. Standing astride two mountains, Bhima, the second of the five Pandava brothers, began his search for Shiva. He came to a bull grazing near Guptakashi. Bhima identified the bull as Shiva right away.

The bull’s tail and hind legs were caught by Bhima. The hump raising in Kedarnath, the arms appearing in Tungnath, the face appearing at Rudranath, the Nabhi (navel) and stomach surfacing in Madhyamaheshwar, and the hair appearing in Kalpeshwar, the bull-formed Shiva vanished into the ground and reappeared in pieces. The Pandavas, who were overjoyed with Shiva’s rebirth in five various forms, constructed temples in each of the five locations to honor and worship him.

This temple was revived by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century A.D and it is also believed that he took Mahasamadhi in Kedarnath. Recently a statue of Adi Shankaracharya was unveiled by PM Shri Narendra Modi.

Adi Sankaracharya Statue Unveiled by PM Narendra Modi
Adi Sankaracharya Statue Unveiled by PM Narendra Modi

INSIDE THE KEDARNATH TEMPLE

As you get a glimpse of lingam the Garbagriha, you’ll find pillared hall in front of it. This hall contains images of Parvati and the five Pandavas. The first hall inside the premises has beautiful idols of the Pandavas brother, Lord Krishna, Nandi (Lord shiva’s vehicle), Virbhadra, Draupadi, and other deities. The striking feature of the temple consists of a man carved out in triangular stone lingam. Similar craftsmanship is visible in the temple nearby, which is believed to be the place where the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati took place.

Shri Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Darshan
Shri Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Darshan

THE PUROHITS AND RAVAL OF KEDARNATH

It is said that King Janmejay, grandson of the Pandavas gave the worshipping rights to Kedarnath teerth Purohits. These purohits are the ancient Brahmins of this region whose ancestors have been worshipping here since the time of Nara- Narayana. There are five main priests who become Raval after one year in the rotation,

The head priest of Kedarnath is called Raval. Raval is there to assist pujaris and it is under his guidance that all rituals are performed at the shrine. Raval belongs to the Veerashaiva community of Karnataka. Presently, Bheem Shanker Ling is the Raval of this shrine.

WHEN TO VISIT KEDARNATH

Situated at an altitude of 3583 m amidst the Himalayan ranges, the region experiences extreme climatic conditions during winter. So, the doors (Kapaat) of Kedarnath remain open for the devotees from April to November. To know about the exact date and timing, kindly visit the official site of the Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee.

During winter the vigraha (deity) is taken to his winter residence Ukhimath, where he is worshipped for the next six months. Also, the Raval moves with the deity to Ukhimath. The holy pilgrimage site Ukhimath is situated just 37 km away from Kedarnath.

HELICOPTER SERVICE TO KEDARNATH

Every devotee of Lord Shiva wishes to eye witness the sanctity of this holy shrine. But due to its high altitude and road access only till Gaurikund, the trek seem difficult to people with spoke medical complications and old age. To make this journey feasible and darshan accessible to everyone, DGCA has come up with helicopter service to Kedarnath. Presently these Heli services are available from three helipads- Sirsi, Phata, and Guptkashi by seven aviation companies.

Fare Kedarnath Heli Services

To get complete Information and book your tickets, visit:https://heliservices.uk.gov.in/

STAY AT KEDARNATH

After the darshan at Kedarnath, you must be wondering where to stay? We’ll help you out

It has a limited number of lodging options, ranging from budget hotels, campers to guest houses, from which you can select based on your needs and preferences. Regardless of where you choose to stay, the accommodations in this magnificent location guarantee a pleasant stay. So, let’s take a brief look at some of the most highly regarded hotels in Kedarnath Dham.

1.Punjab Sindh Awaas

2. Himachal House

3. Bahel Ashram

4. Gayatri Nivas

5. Bikaner House

6. Bikaner House

7. BKTC-UK Guest Houses at Sonprayag & Guptkashi

You can also book state government guest houses maintained and authorised by GMVN i.e. Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited link is given below

Link: https://gmvnonline.com/Accommodation_Book_New?acc=44&dist=Rudraprayag

HOW TO REACH KEDARNATH

By Flight: Situated at a distance of 235kms, Jolly Grant Airport (35 kms from Dehradun) is the nearest airport to Kedarnath.  Daily flights are available from Delhi to Jolly Grant Airport. Taxis are available from Jolly Grant Airport to Gaurikund. From Gaurikund the trek of 22 km, to the shrine begins.

By Train: Rishikesh railway station is situated 243kms away from Gaurikund. You can find trains from major cities across the country to Rishikesh Railway Station. After stepping out of the station, taxis and buses are available from Rishikesh to Gaurikund.

By Road: Major destinations of Uttarakhand state, connects to Gaurikund. Buses to Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Srinagar are available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate New Delhi. Buses and Taxis to Gaurikund are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand state like Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Tehri, etc.

LATEST GUIDELINES TO BE FOLLOWED FOR CHAR DHAM YATRA

  • As per new Govt SOP for Chardham Yatra, No limit on number of Chardham Yatra pilgrims
  • Chardham Yatra ePass is not mandatory now
  • Only Registration in Smart City Portal is needed which can be done online at www.smartcitydehradun.uk.gov.in
  • For Commercial / Private vehicle, Green Card/ Trip Chart Permit from Transport department Uttarakhand is compulsory. (https://greencard.uk.gov.in)

FOR ALL THE OFFICIAL DETAILS, VISIT: https://uttarakhandtourism.gov.in/activity/char-dham

WHAT IS KEDARNATH FAMOUS FOR?

Kedarnath Temple During Winters
Kedarnath Temple During Winters

Kedarnath is famous for being a part of Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. it is the most important site among the Panch Kedar Circuit and also one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

It is also famous for its 22 km uphill trek from Gaurikund.

PLACES TO SEE IN KEDARNATH

  1. Gaurikund
  2. Rudra Cave
  3. Gandhi Sarovar
  4. Sonprayag
  5. Phata
  6. Vasuki Tal Lake
  7. Shankaracharya Samadhi
  8. Triyugininarayan Temple
  9. Bhairav Temple

Gauri Kund at Kedarnath

Gauri Kund at Base Camp

Rudranath Cave

Gandhi Sarovar

Sonprayag

Phata Village

Vasuki Tal

Bhairov Nath Temple

Triyuginarayan Temple

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