Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple: History, Yatra, and Travel Guide

Kedarnath Temple is among the 12 jyotirlingas in India and holds great significance in Hinduism. It is one of the Char Dham Yatra destinations. Kedarnath is a Shiva temple, and Kedar means powerful. Kedar is the synonym of lord Shiva, and the latter is the protector and destroyer of the universe. Kedarnath Dham is located on the bank of the Mandakini River at an altitude of 3584 meters above sea level. It is a sacred and renowned pilgrimage site in the Garhwal Himalayas of Northern India. Historically, Kedar Khand was the name of the Kedarnath temple.

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History of Kedarnath Temple

The history of Kedarnath Dham is directly related to the Mahabharata War. It is believed that Pandavas originally constructed it. The exact date of Kedarnath’s construction remains unknown, and it is considered to be more than 1,200 years old. Additionally, specific experiments on the temple’s exterior wall conducted by scientists have led to the hypothesis that the existence of Kedarnath predates the Ice Age. Some even believe that Hinduism visionary Adi Shankaracharya built it in the 8th century. The construction of the Kedarnath Temple is credited to the Pandavas, who are the heroes of the epic Mahabharata.

In mythology, after the Kurukshetra war, Lord Shiva, in the form of a bull (Nandi), eluded the Pandavas as they sought forgiveness for their sins. In the war, they killed their brothers. Notably, it was Bhima, the second brother of the 5 Pandavas, who recognized Shiva in Guptkashi (hidden Kashi). Bhima recognized the bull as Shiva and caught the bull from its tail and hind legs. Consequently, Shiva finally submerged into the ground in Kedarnath and appeared in a triangular jyotirlinga.

The bull-formed Shiva reappeared with the hump in Kedarnath, arms in Tungnath, face at Rudranath, navel and stomach in Madhyamaheshwar, and the hair appearing in Kalpeshwar. These collectively constitute the Panch Kedar. The Pandavas built temples at these five places to worship Shiva and free themselves from their sins. Kedarnath stands important among all Panch Kedars.

Unfolding Kedarnath Temple Yatra and Travel Guide

Explore Lord Shiva Kedarnath Temple

The Kedarnath temple’s yatra begins from the closing of the April month and goes till November. Kedarnath’s opening date generally depends on two significant auspicious Hindu days, ‘Akshay Tritya’ and ‘Maha Shiv Ratri’. However, the authorities have set the closing date for Kedarnath Temple on the auspicious Hindu festival of Bhai Dooj.

Kedarnath’s opening and closing ceremonies are celebrated with great zeal and are equally grand. Consequently, devotees can only pay a visit during these months. During winter, it is not accessible due to heavy snowfall.

Kedarnath Temple, one of Lord Shiva’s sacred shrines, requires both spiritual and physical strength for pilgrims to reach. For an enjoyable pilgrim experience, winter clothes, sturdy footwear, and preparation for high altitude and low oxygen challenges should be carried during your trek to this revered shrine located at an elevation of 3584 meters in Kedar Valley and 16 KM trek from Gaurikund advised – however some pilgrims choose ponies, palanquins or helicopters as alternative modes to reach Kedarnath Trek from Gaurikund. Regardless of which mode they travel, Kedarnath Trek offers magnificent Himalayan views and waterfalls!

Kedarnath Temple, Uttrakhand

Journeying to Kedarnath Dham shouldn’t be difficult. It is easily accessible via various transportation hubs. Here’s an easier-to-read version of the travel guide:

Accessibility:

Kedarnath Temple is easily accessible via road, rail, and air travel networks, so pilgrims and travelers have numerous means of reaching its holy site.

By Air:

When traveling by air to Kedarnath, Haridwar is recommended as its airport as it offers the closest proximity to Kedarnath temple. Alternatively, Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun provides direct access.

By Rail:

Travelers looking to reach Kedarnath Dham by rail can also do so, with the major rail heads for this journey being Haridwar and Dehradun.

By Road:

Kedarnath is about 240 kilometers away from Haridwar and can be reached by bus, private car, or taxi service. The journey offers stunning scenic views along the Ganga River as you traverse pebbled roads with panoramic mountain vistas en route.

Sonprayag:

Your journey from Haridwar takes you directly to Sonprayag, an essential stop on any pilgrimage. Here, pilgrims must undergo a permit check and obtain one from the Uttarakhand Government. Failing this will prevent them from continuing toward Kedarnath and cause problems down the line.

Gaurikund:

From Sonprayag, take a taxi ride to Gaurikund, which is only five kilometers away and acts as the base camp for trekking to Kedarnath.

Beautiful way to Kedarnath Temple

Trek to Kedarnath temple: For those completing their journey from Gaurikund, the last leg is a trek to Kedarnath. This 16- 18-kilometer trek is not just physical but an inspiring spiritual experience set against stunning mountain vistas.

This detailed account emphasizes the ease and beauty of reaching Kedarnath temple while emphasizing permit requirements, making this information even more engaging for potential pilgrims and travelers.

FAQs about Kedarnath Temple

1. How do I reach Kedarnath temple?

Pilgrims first travel to Gaurikund to reach Kedarnath temple. Subsequently, pilgrims can trek approximately 16/18 kilometers to reach the Dham. Alternatively, another option is to hire a helicopter from Phata or take a pony/horse or palanquin available along the trek.

2. Is Kedarnath Dham accessible by road?

There is no direct route or road to Kedarnath temple. Pilgrims first need to reach Gaurikund by road, and from there, the trekking route begins. Additionally, only authorized vehicles are permitted in Gaurikund.

3. Why is Kedarnath so famous and significant?

Devotees consider the Kedarnath Dham in Uttarakhand a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site. It is a Lord Shiva temple, part of the Char Dham yatra, and holds the upper hand over all Panch Kedar.

4. Where is Kedarnath located? 

Kedarnath is located in the Rudraprayag District in Uttarakhand, a state in India. It is located in the Garhwal Himalayas.

5. What is the best time to visit Kedarnath, Uttarakhand?

The temple opens in the summer (April) and closes near Diwali(November), making this the best time to plan a visit. However, due to heavy snowfall, it remains closed in the winter season.

6. What is the weather condition in Kedarnath Dham?

The weather is quite unpredictable in Kedarnath. Raincoats and Warm Jackets are advisable to carry as the temperature can drop anytime. Winters, however, are pretty cold and unfriendly.

7. Are there accommodation options in Kedarnath Dham?

One can choose to stay at lodges, hotels, and camps, as well as government and private camps. In peak pilgrimage season, prior booking is advisable.

8. Can pilgrims take photographs inside Kedarnath, Uttarakhand?

Photography is not allowed inside the Kedarnath temple. However, outside the temple, one can take pictures while preserving the religious sanctity of the site.

9. What is the history of Kedarnath temple?

The history of Kedarnath is that the Pandavas built it to eliminate their sin of Fratricide after the Kurukshetra war. Kedarnath is essential among all panch kedars.

10. How do you register for the Kedarnath Yatra?

Three ways are there for Kedarnath Dham yatra; the first is online through a web portal; another is through a mobile app (Tourist Care Uttarakhand), and the last is through WhatsApp facility( +91 8394833833); for more information, visit https://registrationandtouristcare.uk.gov.in/.

11. What is the cost of registration for the Kedarnath Yatra?

There is no fee charged for registration. It is free.

To Wind Up

To conclude, it is wise to check the latest updates and travel advisories before planning a trip. Good planning enriches the spiritual journey to heaven on earth, the holy shrine of Kedarnath.
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