Kedarnath Temple is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site in the Rudraprayag district located in Uttarakhand, India. This Hindu pilgrimage site is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the four dhams in the lap of the Himalayas. Kedarnath Dham situated at the top of the Mandakini River is situated at an altitude of 3584 meters above sea level.
Kedarnath Temple is situated amidst snow-covered Garhwal Himalayan ranges and every year lakhs of devotees come here to do the pilgrimage.
History and legends of origin
The name “Kedarnath” means “Lord of the Kshetra”: it is derived from the Sanskrit words Kedar (“Kshetra”) and Nath (“God”). The Kashi Kedar Mahatmya text states that it is called because the “harvest of salvation” grows here.
According to a religious statement, Lord Shiva agreed to stay here at the request of Nara-Narayana. After the Kurukshetra war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, all the Pandavas came here to meet Lord Shiva on the advice of the sage Vyasa, as they wanted to apologize for killing their kin during the war.
However, Lord Shiva did not want to forgive him for his crime: therefore, he transformed himself into an ox and hid among the other cattle on the hill. When the Pandavas succeeded in locating Lord Shiva, they first tried to disappear by penetrating themselves into the ground. One of the Pandavas, Bhima grabs his tail, forcing him to appear in front of them and forgive them. After this, the Pandava brothers built the first temple in Kedarnath. Shiva’s body parts later appeared in four other places; And collectively, these five places came to be known as the Five Kedars (“Panch Kedars”); The head of the bull form of Lord Shiva appeared in the Pashupatinath temple in Nepal.
The ancient temple of Kedareshwar (Kedarnath) Jyotirlinga was built by the Pandavas, which is situated at a height of 11750 feet of the mountain. According to mythological evidence, ‘Kedar’ is the last part (part) of Mahish ie buffalo. The height of the Kedarnath temple is 80 feet, which stands on a huge square platform. Brownstones have been used in the construction of this temple.
The biggest surprise is that in ancient times, how would this magnificent temple have been established by bringing those huge stones to such an inaccessible site in the absence of mechanical means? This grand temple is living proof of the devotion of the Pandavas, their strong will, and their muscle power. This temple has excellent workmanship. Above the temple, a wooden umbrella is built on the pillars, on which the copper is overlaid.
The pinnacle (Kalash) of the temple is also of copper, but it has been polished with gold. In the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is the Swayambhu Jyotirlinga of Kedarnath, which is of unblemished stone. This lingamurthy is four cubits long and one and a half thick, whose appearance resembles that of a buffalo’s back. There is a narrow circumambulation around it, in which devotees perform pradakshina. In front of this Jyotirlinga, water, flowers, bilvapatra, etc. are offered and in the second part of it, the passengers are carrying ghee. Devotees also meet God by filling this lingamurti in their arms.
How to reach?
The temple cannot be reached directly by road. To reach the temple, it can be reached by climbing 22 km from Gaurikund. Pony and manchan service are available for those who are unable to travel to the temple on foot.