Image by Shikhar Sharma

Shri Kedarnath Dham

Temple

Kedarnath temple is one of the sacred pilgrimage centre in Northern India, located on the bank of Mandakini river at an altitude of 3584 meters above sea level. The historical name of this region is "Kedar Khand". Kedarnath temple is a part of Char Dhams and Panch Kedar in Uttarakhand and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in India. 

Famous for

Kedarnath Temple, Char Dham Yatra, Trekking, Himalayas, Pilgrimage, Panch Kedar

Overview

Best time to visit Kedarnath

May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov

Located in

Rudraprayag, Garhwal

Recommended stay

1 days

Nearest Railway Station

Rishikesh, 228 kms

Nearest Airport

Jolly Grant Airport, 248 kms

In Hindu tradition, it is believed that Lord Shiva manifested in form of Jyotirlingam or the cosmic light. There are 12 such Jyotirlingas and Kedarnath is highest among them. This magnificent temple is ancient and constructed over a thousand years ago by Jagad Guru Adi Shankaracharya. It is located in the Rudra Himalaya range of Uttarakhand State. It is situated at an altitude of 3,581 mt & it is a 16 km trek from the nearest place of Gaurikund.

The Kedarnath temple is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. The temple is ascended through large grey Steps which leads to the Holy Sanctums. We can find inscriptions in Pali language on the steps. The inner walls of the temple sanctum are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology.

The origin of Kedarnath temple can be traced to the great epic - Mahabharata. According to legends, after winning the battle of Mahabharata against the Gauravas, the Pandavas sought blessings of Lord Shiva to atone their sins of Killing men during the war. Lord Shiva eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing from them took refuge at Kedarnath in form of a bafellow. On being followed by the Pandavas, he dived into ground at the exact place where the Holy Sanctum is now present, leaving behind his hump on the floor surface, which is now visible. This Hump inside the temple is in the form of a conical rock formation and is worshipped as Lord Shiva manifested in his Sadashiva form. The Pujas and Archanas are performed on this manifestation by priests and piligrims. There is also a Holy Statue of Lod Shiva inside the temple, which is the portable manifestation (Utsavar) of the Lord.

Outside the temple door, a large statue of Nandi stands as guard. The temple, has been continually renovated over the centuries.

Kedarnath experiences very heavy Snowfall in Winter (upto several metres) and the temple itself is blanketed with snow from Novemner to April. So, at the onset of Winter every year, which is normally in the First week of November and on an auspicious date which is announced in advance by the holy symbolic statue of Lord Shiva is carried down from Kedarnath temple to a place called Ukhimath, where it is worshipped as Lord Shiva. The pujas and archanas are done at Ukhimath from November till May of next year. In the first week of May and on an auspicious date which is announced in advance by BKTC-UK the symbolic statue of Lord Shiva is carried back from Ukhimath to Kedarnath and reinstated in the original place. It is at this time, that the doors of the temple are thrown open to pilgrims, who flock from all parts of India, for a holy pilgrimage. The shrine generally closes on the first day of Kartik (Oct-Nov) and reopens in Vaishakh (Apr-May) every year.