Sri Kedarnath temple is the most significant Hindu place of pilgrimage in Himalayas, and among the major Shiva temples, of the country India. Kedarnath temple is situated on the bank of the river holy Mandakini, Kedarnath is also known as one of the 12 Jyothirlingas, of Lord Shiva, and one of the Panch Kedars. Sri Kedarnath Dham is one of the most important pilgrimage tourist destination in Char Dham Yatra and also famous as "Tapobhumi", the land of meditation and penance, and "Bhubaikunth", heaven on earth. Sri Kedarnath Dham is located on either side, by two mountain ranges known as Nar and Narayan, with the Neelkanth peak, offering magnificent surroundings. In front of the Badrinath temple there is a hot water spring, recognized as "Tapt Kund". Here some other famous springs, are the Narad Kund and the Surya Kund. Starting of winter’s season in the month of November, the holy statue of Lord Shiva, is taken down from Garhwal (Kedarkhand) to Ukhimath, and is return at Kedarnath, in the first week of May every year. In the month of May every year, the doors of the Sri Kedarnath temple are open for the pilgrims, who gather from all parts of India, for a holy pilgrimage. The sight of the temple and the peak with its everlasting snows is, simply, an enchanting sight.
Kedarnath is the seat of Lord Shiva. It is one of the twelve "Jyotirlingas" of Lord Shiva. Lying at an altitude of 3584 m at the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimage for the Hindus. It is no wonder that Adi Guru Shankaracharya - a great scholar & saint, chose to enshrine Lord Shiva in this land, where the unholy becomes oly and the holy becomes holier. It is the place where Lord Shiva absolved Pandavas from the sin of killing their own cousins Kauravas in the battle of Kurukshetra. The origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic Mahabharat.
At Kedarnath there are several Kunds (pools, tanks) that are known for their religious significans - shivkund, Retkund, hanskund, Udakkund, Rudhirkund are the most important. A little away from Kedarnath is a temple dedicated to Bhaironathji who is ceremoniously worshipped at the opening & closing of Kedarnath. The belief is that Bhairavnathji protects this land from evil during the time when temple of Kedarnath is closed. Besides its affiliation with Shiva, Kedarnath is also believed to be the site of Shankaracharya's samadhi (achievement of beatified afterlife). The actual temple is an impressive stone edifice of unknown date. No specific family of pujaris supervises rituals at Kedarnath, which focus around veneration of the stone lingam that rests in the inner sanctum of the temple.
Kedarnath Temple :
An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. 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 Bull stands as guard.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architecture Kedarnath temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a "Garbha Griha" 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.
Place to visit at Kedarnath
Shankaracharya Samadhi :
The Samadhi of Adi Guru Shankaracharya is located just behind the Kedarnath temple. It is said that after establishing four sacred Dhams in India, he went into his samadhi at an early age of 32 years.
Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar) :
Only 1 km trek away from Kedarnath. Floating-ice on the crystal clear waters of the lake fascinates the visitors.
It is the base for a trek to Kedarnath and serves as a roadhead. The village has a temple dedicated to Gauri and hot water springs.
According to legend, this was the place where the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati was solemnized. In front of the Shiva Temple is an eternal flame, which is said to be a witness to the marriage. It can be reached by a 12 km drive from Sonprayag.
Winter home of the deity at Kedarnath temple and the seat of the Rawal of Kedarnath. Connected by bus services to Rudraprayag and other major centres.
The temple of sage Agastya is the main attraction here.
General Information :
Altitude : 3581 M
Climate : Winter - Sept. to Nov. cold during the day & chilly at night. Dec. to march snow bound. Summer - May - Aug. Cool during the day & cold at night. Temp. Max. 17.9C & Min. 5.9 C.
Best Season : May - October, except Monsoon.
Clothing : Light Woollens in summer & Heavy Woollens in winter.
Language : Hindi, English, Garhwali.
Air : Nearest Airport, Jollygrant, 239 Kms.
Rail : Nearest Railway station, Rishikesh, 221 Kms.
Road : Kedarnath is approachable on foot from Gaurikund, which is connected by road with Rishikesh.