Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, India. This ancient temple is nestled amidst the snow-clad peaks of the majestic Himalayan range and is considered to be one of the most revered and significant pilgrimage destinations in the country. Every year, millions of devotees from all over the world visit this holy shrine to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and experience the mystical beauty of the surrounding mountains. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history, significance, and beauty of Kedarnath Temple.
History of Kedarnath Temple
The origin of Kedarnath Temple dates back to the ancient Hindu epic, Mahabharata. According to legend, the Pandavas, the five brothers, had come to the Himalayas to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva to atone for their sins. However, Lord Shiva was not pleased with them and decided to evade them by taking the form of a bull. The Pandavas chased the bull and finally caught up with him near the present-day site of Kedarnath. Lord Shiva then disappeared into the ground, leaving behind his hump. The Pandavas built the Kedarnath Temple over this hump, which is believed to be the sacred abode of Lord Shiva.
The temple was later rebuilt by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century, who established it as one of the four main pilgrimage sites for Hindus, known as Char Dham. The temple has since undergone several renovations and restorations over the centuries, with the most recent one being after the devastating floods of 2013.
Significance of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, which are believed to be the sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. The temple is also one of the Panch Kedar, which are the five temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Garhwal Himalayas. The temple is situated at an altitude of 3584 meters above sea level, amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of the Himalayan range. The temple is also believed to be the site where Lord Shiva granted salvation to the Pandavas.
Architecture of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is a fine example of ancient Indian temple architecture. The temple is built using large, grey slabs of stones and features intricate carvings and sculptures of Hindu deities. The temple has a conical-shaped shikhara or spire, which is adorned with a golden flag. The sanctum sanctorum houses the lingam or the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva, which is considered to be the main deity of the temple.
The Kedarnath Trek
The journey to Kedarnath Temple is not an easy one. Devotees have to trek for about 22 kilometers from the nearest roadhead, Gaurikund, to reach the temple. The trek is steep and arduous, but it is also a spiritual and transformative experience. The trek takes you through picturesque valleys, gurgling rivers, and dense forests of pine and deodar trees. The trek also offers stunning views of the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas.
Best Time to Visit Kedarnath Temple
The best time to visit Kedarnath Temple is from May to June and from September to November. During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the trekking conditions are ideal.
Kedarnath Temple: A Holy Abode in the Lap of the Himalayas
Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the town of Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, India. It is one of the four pilgrimage sites (Chota Char Dham) for Hindus and is situated at an elevation of 3,583 meters above sea level. The temple is surrounded by the majestic Himalayan range, making it a serene and peaceful place to visit. In this article, we will explore the history, significance, and tourist attractions of the Kedarnath Temple.
History of Kedarnath Temple
According to Hindu mythology, Kedarnath Temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata era. It is said that after the battle of Kurukshetra, the Pandavas went to Kashi (present-day Varanasi) to seek blessings from Lord Shiva. However, Lord Shiva was not pleased with them and decided to hide from them. He took the form of a bull and went to Kedarnath. The Pandavas followed him, and upon recognizing him, built the Kedarnath Temple.
Significance of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is one of the most revered and sacred places for Hindus. It is believed that visiting the temple and taking a dip in the holy water of the nearby Mandakini River can wash away all sins and grant salvation. The temple is also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, which are considered to be the holiest shrines of Lord Shiva. It is said that worshipping Lord Shiva at Kedarnath can fulfill all desires of the devotees.
Tourist Attractions of Kedarnath Temple
Apart from its religious significance, Kedarnath Temple is also a popular tourist destination. The picturesque surroundings, snow-capped mountains, and the tranquil atmosphere make it an ideal place for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Some of the tourist attractions in and around the Kedarnath Temple are:
The trek to Kedarnath is a popular activity among adventure seekers. The trek passes through beautiful valleys, steep ascents, and dense forests, making it a challenging yet rewarding experience. The trek is also dotted with several small temples and shrines, adding to the spiritual significance of the journey.
Vasuki Tal is a high-altitude lake located near Kedarnath. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offers stunning views of the surroundings. It is a popular spot for camping and trekking and is also considered to be a sacred place by the locals.
Gandhi Sarovar is a glacial lake located at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level. The lake is named after Mahatma Gandhi, who visited the place during his travels. The lake offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and is a popular spot for camping and trekking.
How to Reach Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is located in the town of Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, India. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 238 kilometers away. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, which is about 216 kilometers away. From there, one can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach Kedarnath. The final leg of the journey involves a trek of about 14 kilometers from Gaurikund to Kedarnath.
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