Kedarnath Temple Historical Significance
Jyotirlingas are Lord Shiva’s holy temples; it is said that Lord Shiva himself visited these sites, so they hold a notable place in the hearts of worshippers. In India, there are 12 of them. Jyotirlinga is Sanskrit for ‘light column or pillar.’ The ‘Stambha’ sign denotes the absence of beginning and end.
The Jyotirlingas represent limitlessness in Shiva’s form, whose majesty has lured followers from the beginning of time. Devotees travel from all over the world to visit Lord Shiva’s sacred shrines and discover spiritual peace.
The 12 Jyotirlingas are:
- Somnath Temple, Gujarat
- Mallikarjuna Temple, Andhra Pradesh
- Mahakaleshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh
- Omkareshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh
- Baidyanath Dham, Jharkhand
- Bhimashankar Temple, Maharashtra
- Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram
- Nageshwar Temple, Gujarat
- Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttar Pradesh
- Trimbakeshwar Temple, Maharashtra
- Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
- Grishneshwar Temple, Maharashtra
The ancient name of the region is Kedar Khand, which means “Lord of the Field.” The Kedarnath temple, set amid magnificent snowy mountains and valleys filled with lush meadows is a must-see for tourists from all over the world, not just devotees. The Skanda Purana, written in the 7th and 8th centuries AD, contains one of the first mentions of Kedarnath.
The Kedarnath Temple, one of India’s sacred religious destinations, is located at a height of 12000 feet atop a mountain named Kedar in the Rudra Himalaya Range. Kedarnath is the Jyotirlinga that is nearest to Shiva’s true residence on Kailash Mountain. From Haridwar, it’s around 150 kilometers. This shrine is also a destination on the Hindus’ famed Char Dham yatra.
The temple is closed for 6 months throughout the winter due to brutally cold temperatures and snowfall and is only accessible from May to June. Lord Shiva’s idol is carried down to ‘Ukhimath,’ where he is worshipped throughout the wintertime. During the Hindu month of Vaisakh, when the temple is accessible to worshippers, the idol is reinstalled at the Kedarnath Temple.
Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devaprayag – Tehri – Dharasu – Yamunotri – Uttar Kashi – Gangotri – Triyugnarayan – Gowrikund and then Kedarnath is the traditional pilgrimage path. The pilgrimage to Kedarnath is traditionally preceded by a visit to Yamunotri and Gangotri, where holy water is brought to offer at Kedarnath.
The trek to Kedarnath is quite challenging, and most tourists need walking sticks or mules or dolis to get there.
The massive stone slabs that make up this 1,000-year-old temple are set in a rectangular foundation. On the steps that lead to the sanctuary, there are markings in Pali. Statues of Hindu Gods and scenarios from Hindu mythology adorn the inside walls.
Because the Pandavas, together with Kunti, Draupadi, and Shree Krishna, were said to build the Kedarnath Jyotirlinga temple themselves, the Sabha Mandap has their idols. Nandi Bull is accompanied by Vishnu and Laxmi.
In the 2013 floods, while adjacent areas were severely damaged, the Kedarnath temple itself was not affected.
- At Badrikashramam, two avatars of Vishnu, Nara, and Narayana, performed rigorous atonement in front of an earthen Shivalingam. When Shiva emerged across them, they begged that he take up permanent residence at Kedarnath as a Jyotirlinga.
- According to mythology, after the Mahabharata conflict, the Pandavas did massive repentance here to Lord Shiva to atone for their misdeeds. Lord Shiva manifested as a triangle Jyotirlinga, pleased with the Pandavas. The Pandavas constructed the temple, which was later restored by Adi Shankaracharya, a Hindu Guru.
- This holy site has fascinating mythology attached to it. After waging the epic Mahabharata war, Lord Shiva is claimed to have transformed himself into a bull to elude the Pandavas who were seeking for him to seek penance for their sins. When the Pandavas discovered Lord Shiva, he hid beneath the earth’s surface, with just the hump exposed.
- As Shiva assumed the shape of a wild pig to plunge into the soil at Kedarnath and resurface at Doleshwor in Kathmandu, Nepal, pure ghee is smeared on the wild boar. The administration of desi ghee is performed since the boar is believed to be hurt.
Rudraprayag, the closest town to Kedarnath Temple, is 75 kilometers away. Rishikesh is 213 kilometers away, Haridwar is 232 kilometers away, Dehradun is 255 kilometers away, Delhi is 450 kilometers away, Rishikesh railway station is 216 kilometers away, and the nearest airport is 238 kilometers away. To prevent a major rush, try to arrive and start about 4-5 AM.
Travelers may register for the Kedarnath Jyotirlinga darshan online for 100 INR and pick up a biometric registration permit at the Rishikesh bus station. To escape the huge lines, visitors can purchase a VIP ticket for 2100 INR per person. The Guptkashi Helicopter Service is accessible, and the excursion begins from the Helicopter. The Dham will take roughly 8-10 minutes to reach.
- Kedarnath Temple is open from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
There are a few options for lodging in and near Gaurikund. Gaurikund has government guest houses, tents, and budget private hotels.
- April/May through June and September to October/November are the best months to visit to escape the wet season (Jul – Aug)
- Rain jacket, woolen sweater, trekking shoes, camera, dry foods, and necessary medications are all items to take.
- Badrinath Temple – Badrinath, located near Kedarnath, is a popular pilgrimage destination for Lord Shiva worshippers. Like Mount Kailash, the Neelkant mountain behind the Badrinath temple is a residence of Lord Shiva. It’s known as Indra Neel Parvat.
- Gandhi Sarovar is a tiny lake where Yudhishthir, the Pandavas’ eldest son, is claimed to have died and gone to paradise. Floating ice on the crystal pure waterways, a mile hike from Kedarnath.
- Gauri Kund is 15 kilometers away. This town, which serves as both a starting point for treks to Kedarnath and a road-head, contains a Gauri shrine and medicinal hot springs.
- Triyuginarayan, a mythical site where Lord Shiva and Parvati were married, is 25 kilometers away. It’s about a 5-kilometer hike from Son Prayag. Even today, an eternal flame, which is supposed to have witnessed the marriage, shines in front of the temple.
- Bhairav Temple is an open-air temple a couple of miles from the main temple and is dedicated to Bhairav, a fiery avatar of Lord Shiva. Lord Bhairav is said to be the defender of the area.
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