Kedarnath Temple

Pilgrims traditionally first visit Yamunotri and Gangotri and bring with them the holy waters from the sources of the rivers Yamuna and Ganga and offer abhishekams to Kedareshwara. The traditional pilgrim route is Haridwar - Rishikesh - Devaprayag -Tehri - Dharasu - Yamunotri - Uttar Kashi - Gangotri - Triyugnarayan - Gowrikund and Kedarnath. Alternatively, the route to Kedar from Rishikesh is via Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag and Ukhimath. Near Kedarnath is the source of the river Mandakini. Mandakini joins Alakananda at Rudraprayag. Kedarnath is situated set amidst in the stunning mountainscape of the Gharwal Himalayas at the head of the Mandakini River,of Uttar Kashi district of the northern state of Uttaranchal. Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindu. Kedarnath is a shrine, dedicated to Lord Shiva, the protector & the destroyer, situated 92 kms from Rudraprayag, at an altitude of 3,581 m above sea level. The shrine of Kedarnath is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and also is one of the 4 sacred dhams of Uttaranchal. It is a scenic spot set against a backdrop of the Kedarnath range of mountains. The temple is more than 1000 years old.
According to one such legend Goddess Parvati worshipped Kedareswar to unite with Lord Shiva as Ardhanareshwar. Another such legend has it that Nar and Narayan, the two incarnations of Lord Vishnu practised severe penances at Badrikashram in front of a Shivalingam. When Lord shiva gave them the divine appearance, they requested him to make Kedareshwar his permanent abode. Lord Shiva thus manifessted himself in the form of Jyotirlingam. Myths and legends coupled with the enehanting beauty of the Rudra Himalaya range gives this place a pristine beauty. It is believed that Arjuna, one of the Panch Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva to attain the divineKedarnath Temple weapon, Pasupataastra. After winning the Kurukshetra war, The pandavas after having won over the kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers & sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. In order to seek salvation from the sins of war, they sought the advice of their mentor, Krishna. Krishna advised them to worship Shiva. Pandavas searched for Lord Shiva in the Shivalik mountains in the Tehri - Garhwal region.
Shiva led them to this site and here, assumed the form of Bull and started grazing amongst the cattle. The Pandavas devised a ruse, to seek Shiva, who had hidden himself amidst a flock of cattle. At dusk, when the cattle were taken back to their shelters, Bhim ? gigantic in stature , strongest and courageous of Pandavas stretched his legs across the mountains so that cattle could pass through his legs. As suspected, Shiva, in bull form refused to do so and instead sank himself into the earth. Realising quickly that this was the play of Shiva, Bhim bent downwards and could catch hold of the hump (back portion of the bull). Shiva, pleased with the determination of Pandavas, blessed them and granted them salvation from their sins. The hump, in conical form, is worshipped as Shiva (in the form of a Shivalingam).

Sightseeing at Kedarnath Temple : Shankaracharya Samadhi : Located behind the Kedarnath Temple is the Samadhi or the final resting place where the saint gave up his life.
Gaurikund (14 kms.) : The trekking base to Kedarnath. A temple dedicated to Gauri and thermal springs of medicinal value are noteworthy.
Gandhi Sarovar : Gandhi Sarobar is a lake 1 kms from Kedarnath. The lake has crystal clear water with ice floating on its surface. Vasuki Tal is another lake situated at an altitude of 4,150 m, offering an excellent view of the Chaukhamba peaks and other peaks nearby.
The Bhairavnath temple : Situated to the south of the main temple of Kedarnath, is dedicated to Lord Bhairav, the deity who guards the main temple in winter when it is closed. The trekking base to Kedarnath is at a distance of 15 km and is named Gauri Kund, where there is temple dedicated to Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva. One can also find thermal springs of medicinal value here. At the confluence of the Son Ganga and Mandakani rivers is Son Prayag, at a distance of 20 km from Kedarnath. During the winters, the statue is carried to Ukhimath, and is reinstated in Kedarnath in the month of May. The breathtaking view of the Kedardome peak behind the temple is a major attraction.

Reaching Kedarnath -
By Air : Nearest Airport Dehradun.
By Rail : Nearest railhead is Rishikesh.
By Road : Well connected.

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