Kedarnath (Lord Shiva) Temple

Kedarnath Temple

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One of the Jyotirlinga temples of Lord Shiva. The temple is on the high Himalayas; about 12000 feet from the sea level. The shrine is open for about six months; it remains closed during the winter (normally from mid- October to first week of May). During this period pooja is performed at a place called Ukhri.

There is an interesting legend on the temple. After the Mahabharata war, Pandavas sought the blessing of Lord Shiva to atone the sin of killing near and dear ones. So they reached Himalaya for penance.

To test their devotion Lord Shiva evaded giving direct Darshan to the Pandavas. He took the foam of a bull to confuse Pandavas. Realising this, they chased the Bull. On being chased, the bull dived into underground at Kedarnath leaving behind his humps on the surface.

Finally, after playing with Pandavas for a while Lord Shiva gave darshan to the Pandavas at Kedarnath. On their request he agreed to take abode there; asked them to worship his humps instead of normal Shiva Linga. Even today, Lord Shiva is worshipped here in the form of a Bull, but without the head.

The flight of the Lord as a bull and its diving into underground had some interesting consequences. The bull’s hump remained at Kedarnath, the arms at Tunganath, face at Rudranath (according to some, at Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu, Nepal), belly at Madhmaheswar and the locks (hair) at Kapleswar. These shrines together came to be known as Panchkedar.

The present temple dates back to eighth century AD. The original temple is believed to have built by the Pandavas.

The life and legend of Sankaracharya is closely associated with this temple. He prescribed the rules of Pooja and rituals in this temple. He went into samadhi (the final rest) at Kedarnath.

To reach Kedarnath a 13 kilometers long trekking from Gaurikund is required.

Although Rishikesh is the nearest rail head more trains are operated from Haridwar, which is 13 kilometers from Rishikesh.

The nearest airport is Jolygrant at Dehradun-the state capital.

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