Kedarnath is part of the Chardham Yatra in Uttaranchal and an important Hindu pilgrimage destination. With 1000 years old architecture, Kedarnath is the pilgrim center serving the faith of devotees in lord Shiva. The area is prone to heavy snowfall in winters and therefore time between May to October are considered ideal to visit the shrine. For the rest of the year, the temple remains close. But the pilgrims also visit the place when the temple is shutdown. Dates to visit the place are confirmed via Hindu calendar.
|Snow clad Kedarnath Temple|
According to the mythological belief, it is said that when the Pandavas came in search of lord Shiva to seek penance for the huge war of Mahabharata. Shiva evolved himself into a bull. Bhim, being the strongest amidst the Pandavas followed Shiva, who leaped deep into the ground. The spot at which only the tail of Shiva was left in Bhim’s hand is known to be Kedarnath. The submerged body of Shiva emerged at different places in Garhwal and became popular as Tunganath, Madhyamaheshwar, Kalpeshwar and Rudranath. These pilgrim centers long with Kedarnath are worshipped as Panch Kedars.
Attractions in Kedarnath
The construction of the Kedarnath Temple dates back to 8th century A.D. The temple was built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya, just next to an ancient temple made by the Pandavas. The architecture of the temple is superlative as the figures of the deities are finely embellished. Some of the mythological scenes are also depicted on the walls. The elements of the temple include the main idol (conical lingam), the celestial bull (statue of Nandi), ‘garbha griha’ and 'mandap'.
Kedarnath is a part of the Chardham Yatra and yet another important pilgrimage is the Amarnath Yatra in Kashmir.
Shankaracharya Samadhi is also amongst the popular attractions of the place. This place is marked as the final resting place of Adi Guru Shankaracharya, who constructed the Kedarnath temple. According to the beliefs, he attained Samadhi at an age of 32 years just after establishing the four dhams in India. Apart from Mausoleum of Adi Guru Shankaracharya, attractions like Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar), Vasuki Tal, Gaurikund, Sonprayag, Triyuginarayan, Guptkashi, Ukshimath, Agastyamuni, Chandrashila, and Deoria Tal have also attracted tourists from all across India and abroad.
How to reach Kedarnath
To reach Kedarnath, one has to go through 14km long trek from Gaurikund that is connected by roads from Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun, and other regions of Garhwal and Kumaon. During winters, no one lives in the Kedarnath region as the local people depend on Kedarnath for their living. Therefore, for devotees and tourists, there are small lodges and hotels for providing accommodation during the stay. Kedarnath becomes a buzzing place every year when the Chardham Yatra commences.