Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple located in the town of Kedarnath in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is one of the four sacred shrines in Hinduism, collectively known as Char Dham. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level, amidst the scenic beauty of the Himalayan range.
The temple has a long and interesting history. According to legend, the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata built the temple. It is said that after the Kurukshetra war, the Pandavas wanted to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva to absolve themselves of the sins they had committed during the war. However, Lord Shiva did not want to meet them and took the form of a bull and hid in the mountains. The Pandavas were able to locate him, and after being pleased with their devotion, Lord Shiva agreed to bless them. It is believed that the temple was built at the same spot where the bull had hidden.
The temple is only accessible by foot, and visitors have to undertake a 14-kilometer trek from Gaurikund to reach the temple. The temple is open only for six months in a year, from the end of April to the beginning of November, due to the extreme weather conditions in the region.
The Kedarnath Temple is considered one of the holiest and most revered temples in Hinduism, and thousands of devotees visit the temple every year to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. The temple's scenic beauty, along with its religious significance, attracts tourists from all over the world.
History of Kedarnath Temple
The history of Kedarnath Temple is rooted in Hindu mythology and legends. According to the Puranas, the temple was originally built by the Pandavas, the heroes of the Indian epic Mahabharata, around 1000 BCE. The temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped in the form of a lingam, a symbol of the divine creative power.
It is believed that the original temple was destroyed during the Muslim invasion in the 14th century, and it was later rebuilt by the Hindu saint and philosopher Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. Shankaracharya is believed to have established four temples in the four corners of India, including Kedarnath in the north, Dwarka in the west, Puri in the east, and Rameshwaram in the south.
Over the centuries, the temple has undergone several renovations and restorations. In the early 19th century, the temple was destroyed by a massive earthquake, and it was later reconstructed by the King of Jaipur, Sawai Jai Singh II. In 2013, the temple was severely damaged by flash floods that hit the region, causing widespread devastation.
After the floods, the temple was rebuilt using traditional methods and materials, including stone and wood, by the Uttarakhand government and the Shri Kedarnath Temple Committee. The temple was reopened to the public in 2015 after extensive restoration work.
Today, Kedarnath Temple is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in India and attracts thousands of devotees every year. It is situated in a picturesque location amidst the Himalayan mountains and is considered a symbol of the power and glory of Lord Shiva.
Architecture of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in the town of Kedarnath in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The temple is known for its unique and intricate architecture, which reflects the ancient style of temple construction in India.
The main temple of Kedarnath is built in the North Indian architectural style, with a high pyramidal shikhar (tower) made of stone slabs. The temple is built on a rectangular stone platform, with a wooden mandapa (hall) in front of the sanctum sanctorum. The walls of the temple are decorated with intricate carvings of deities, flowers, and other motifs.
The sanctum sanctorum of the temple houses the lingam (phallic symbol) of Lord Shiva, which is worshipped by devotees. The inner walls of the sanctum sanctorum are adorned with silver plates and the ceiling is decorated with brass plates.
The temple also has a number of smaller shrines dedicated to various deities, including Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesh, and Goddess Parvati. These shrines are located in the courtyard of the temple, and each has its own unique architectural style and decorations.
One of the unique features of Kedarnath Temple is its location, which is situated on the banks of the Mandakini river and is surrounded by the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. The temple's location amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of the Himalayas adds to its spiritual significance and attracts thousands of devotees and tourists every year.
Overall, the architecture of Kedarnath Temple is a testament to the rich cultural heritage and architectural prowess of ancient India, and continues to inspire and awe visitors with its grandeur and beauty.
Festivals of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is a prominent Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, and several festivals are celebrated here throughout the year with great fervor and enthusiasm. Here are some of the major festivals celebrated at Kedarnath Temple:
1. Maha Shivaratri: This is one of the most important festivals celebrated at Kedarnath Temple, which falls on the 14th day of the Hindu month of Phalguna (February-March). The festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is celebrated with special poojas, offerings, and aarti at the temple.
2. Char Dham Yatra: This is an annual pilgrimage that takes place in the months of May-June and September-November, and includes a visit to Kedarnath Temple along with the other three prominent Hindu shrines in Uttarakhand - Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri.
3. Krishna Janmashtami: This festival, celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada (August-September), marks the birth of Lord Krishna and is celebrated with special poojas and offerings at Kedarnath Temple.
4. Navratri: This nine-day festival is celebrated twice a year in the months of Chaitra (March-April) and Ashwin (September-October), and is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga. During Navratri, special poojas and offerings are made to the goddess at Kedarnath Temple.
5. Diwali: This festival of lights is celebrated in the month of Kartik (October-November) and is dedicated to the victory of good over evil. The temple is decorated with lights and diyas, and special poojas and aarti are performed to celebrate the occasion.
These festivals are celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm by the devotees of Lord Shiva, and add to the spiritual significance of Kedarnath Temple.
Visiting hours of Kedarnath Temple
The visiting hours of Kedarnath Temple vary depending on the time of year, as the temple is open only during the six months of the year when the region is accessible due to favorable weather conditions. The temple usually opens around the end of April or early May and closes by the end of October or early November.
During the peak pilgrimage season, the temple is open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. However, the visiting hours may be subject to change due to various factors such as weather conditions, special occasions, and festivals.
It is advisable to check the current visiting hours of Kedarnath Temple before planning a visit, as they may be subject to change. Visitors are also advised to arrive early in the morning to avoid long queues and to ensure that they have ample time to complete the darshan (worship) and other rituals at the temple.
Dress code of Kedarnath Temple
There is a strict dress code that all visitors to Kedarnath Temple must follow. The dress code is intended to show respect to the deity and maintain the sanctity of the temple. Here are some of the guidelines for the dress code:
1. Men should wear dhoti-kurta or pyjama-kurta, with a shawl or scarf over their shoulders.
2. Women should wear a saree or salwar-kameez, with a shawl or dupatta over their heads and shoulders.
3. Shorts, skirts, and revealing clothing are not allowed.
4. Leather items, including belts, wallets, and footwear, are not allowed inside the temple premises.
5. Visitors should remove their footwear before entering the temple.
It is important to note that these guidelines may be subject to change, and visitors should always check the current dress code before visiting Kedarnath Temple. Failure to comply with the dress code may result in denial of entry into the temple premises.
Poojas and rituals of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is one of the most revered Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, and several poojas and rituals are performed here throughout the day to honor the deity. Here are some of the main poojas and rituals performed at Kedarnath Temple:
1. Rudrabhishek: This is a special pooja performed to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva. During this pooja, the priest offers flowers, milk, honey, and other offerings to the deity, while reciting Vedic mantras.
2. Abhishek: This is another important pooja performed at Kedarnath Temple, during which the deity is bathed with milk, yogurt, honey, ghee, and other sacred substances.
3. Maha Aarti: This is a daily ritual that takes place in the evening, during which the deity is worshiped with aarti (a ritual of waving lamps) and devotional songs are sung.
4. Bhog Aarti: This is a special aarti performed during the afternoon, during which the deity is offered food, sweets, and other delicacies.
5. Ukhimath Winter Pooja: During the winter months, when Kedarnath Temple remains closed due to heavy snowfall, the idol of Lord Kedarnath is taken to the Ukhimath Temple in Rudraprayag district. Here, the idol is worshiped for six months until the temple reopens in the summer.
These poojas and rituals are performed with great devotion and reverence by the priests and devotees of Kedarnath Temple, and are an integral part of the spiritual experience of visiting the temple.
Accommodation Near Kedarnath Temple
There are several accommodation options available near Kedarnath Temple, ranging from budget-friendly lodges to luxury hotels. Here are some of the popular options:
1. GMVN Tourist Bungalow: This is a budget-friendly accommodation option located near the temple, offering basic amenities such as clean rooms, hot water, and room service.
2. Kedar Camp Resorts: This is a luxury camping site located about 2 km from Kedarnath Temple, offering deluxe tents with attached bathrooms, comfortable beds, and 24-hour room service.
3. Hotel Mandakini: This is a mid-range hotel located near the temple, offering clean and comfortable rooms with basic amenities such as hot water and room service.
4. Hotel Punjab Sindh Awas: This is a budget-friendly hotel located about 1 km from the temple, offering clean and comfortable rooms with basic amenities such as hot water and room service.
5. Birla Guest House: This is a budget-friendly guest house located about 2 km from the temple, offering clean and comfortable rooms with basic amenities such as hot water and room service.
It is advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak pilgrimage season, as Kedarnath Temple attracts a large number of visitors every year.
Attraction Near Kedarnath Temple
There are several attractions near Kedarnath Temple that visitors can explore during their visit. Here are some of the popular ones:
1. Vasuki Tal: Vasuki Tal is a high altitude lake situated at an altitude of 4,135 meters above sea level. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offers a breathtaking view. It is a popular trekking destination and is about 8 kilometers from Kedarnath Temple.
2. Gandhi Sarovar: Gandhi Sarovar is a glacial lake situated at an altitude of 3,900 meters above sea level. It is named after Mahatma Gandhi and is located on the trekking route to Kedarnath Temple. The lake offers a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
3. Triyuginarayan Temple: Triyuginarayan Temple is located about 25 kilometers from Kedarnath Temple and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married. The temple is situated at an altitude of 1,980 meters above sea level and offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas.
4. Sonprayag: Sonprayag is a picturesque town situated at the confluence of the Mandakini and Basuki rivers. It is located about 20 kilometers from Kedarnath Temple and is a popular stopover for pilgrims. The town offers a tranquil environment and a stunning view of the surrounding mountains.
5. Chandrashila: Chandrashila is a mountain peak situated at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level. It is located about 70 kilometers from Kedarnath Temple and is a popular trekking destination. The peak offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas and is considered to be one of the most beautiful spots in the region.
These attractions near Kedarnath Temple offer visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty, culture, and spirituality of the region.
Things To Do In Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple, located amidst the picturesque Himalayan ranges, offers visitors a unique blend of spiritual, cultural, and natural experiences. Here are some of the things to do in Kedarnath Temple:
1. Visit the Kedarnath Temple: The main attraction of Kedarnath is the ancient Kedarnath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus and is believed to have been built by the Pandavas around 1000 BCE. Visitors can witness the temple's intricate architecture and ancient stone carvings.
2. Trek to Kedarnath Temple: Kedarnath Temple is accessible only by foot, and the 14-kilometer trek from Gaurikund offers visitors stunning views of the Himalayas. The trek takes about 6-7 hours, and visitors can stop at various tea stalls and rest houses along the way.
3. Explore the scenic beauty of the region: Kedarnath is situated amidst the Himalayan ranges and offers visitors breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, and blooming flowers. Visitors can take a leisurely walk around the region or undertake a trek to nearby locations, such as Vasuki Tal, Gandhi Sarovar, and Sonprayag.
4. Participate in the evening aarti: The evening aarti (ritual of worship) at Kedarnath Temple is a must-see experience for visitors. The aarti is a spiritual and cultural event that involves the chanting of mantras, lighting of lamps, and ringing of bells.
5. Learn about the legends and mythology: Kedarnath has a rich cultural and mythological history, and visitors can learn about the legends and folklore associated with the region. The temple priests and locals are always willing to share their knowledge and stories with visitors.
6. Taste local cuisine: Visitors can savor the local cuisine of the region, which includes delicacies such as kachori, aloo-puri, and rajma-chawal. The region is also famous for its herbal tea, which is said to have medicinal properties.
Overall, Kedarnath Temple offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience, combining spirituality, culture, and natural beauty.
Best Time To Visit Kedarnath Temple
The best time to visit Kedarnath Temple is during the summer months, from April to June, and the autumn months, from September to November. During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the temperature ranges from 12°C to 20°C, making it ideal for trekking and sightseeing.
The monsoon season, from July to August, is not recommended for visiting Kedarnath Temple as the region receives heavy rainfall, and the trekking route becomes slippery and dangerous due to landslides and flash floods. The winter months, from December to March, are also not recommended as the region experiences heavy snowfall, and the temple is closed due to extreme weather conditions.
During the summer months, the region is covered with blooming flowers, and the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas offer a breathtaking view. The autumn months are also an ideal time to visit as the monsoon season has just ended, and the landscape is lush and green.
It is important to note that Kedarnath Temple is situated at a high altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level, and visitors may experience altitude sickness. It is recommended to acclimatize oneself for a few days before undertaking the trek and to carry warm clothing as the temperature drops drastically at night. Additionally, visitors should also carry a first-aid kit and stay hydrated during the trek.
How To Reach Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is situated in the town of Kedarnath in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, in the northern part of India. It is located in the Himalayan range and is only accessible by foot or helicopter. Here are the different ways to reach Kedarnath Temple:
1. Trekking: The most popular way to reach Kedarnath is by undertaking a 14-kilometer trek from Gaurikund. Gaurikund is well-connected by road to major cities in Uttarakhand, such as Rishikesh and Haridwar. The trek takes about 6-7 hours and is quite challenging, but the stunning views of the Himalayas make it worth it.
2. Helicopter: Helicopter services are available from Phata, Guptkashi, and Sersi to Kedarnath. The helicopter ride is a convenient option for those who cannot undertake the trek or have time constraints. The helicopter ride takes about 10-15 minutes, and the cost of the ticket varies depending on the season.
3. Pony/Doli: For those who cannot trek, ponies and dolis (palanquins) are available for hire from Gaurikund. The ride takes about 4-5 hours and is a popular option for the elderly and those with physical disabilities.
4. Road: The nearest major city to Kedarnath is Rishikesh, which is well-connected by road to major cities in India, such as Delhi, Haridwar, and Dehradun. From Rishikesh, one can take a bus or taxi to Gaurikund and then undertake the trek to Kedarnath.
It is important to note that the temple is only open for six months in a year, from the end of April to the beginning of November, due to the extreme weather conditions in the region. It is also recommended to check the weather conditions before planning a trip to Kedarnath, as the region is prone to landslides and flash floods during the monsoon season.
What is Kedarnath Temple?
Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the state of Uttarakhand in India. It is one of the four sacred shrines (Char Dham) in Hinduism and is considered to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus.
What is the history of Kedarnath Temple?
Kedarnath Temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas around 1000 BCE. The temple has undergone several renovations over the years and was extensively damaged in the 2013 Uttarakhand floods. It has since been rebuilt and restored.
How to reach Kedarnath Temple?
Kedarnath Temple is accessible only by foot, and the 14-kilometer trek from Gaurikund is the only way to reach the temple. Visitors can take a shared jeep or bus from Haridwar or Rishikesh to reach Gaurikund.
What is the best time to visit Kedarnath Temple?
The best time to visit Kedarnath Temple is from May to June and from September to November. The temple remains closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall.
What are the things to do in Kedarnath Temple?
Visitors can visit the Kedarnath Temple, undertake the trek to the temple, explore the scenic beauty of the region, participate in the evening aarti, learn about the legends and mythology associated with the region, and taste the local cuisine.
What are the attractions near Kedarnath Temple?
Attractions near Kedarnath Temple include Vasuki Tal, Gandhi Sarovar, Triyuginarayan Temple, Sonprayag, and Chandrashila.
Is there any accommodation near Kedarnath Temple?
Yes, there are several accommodation options near Kedarnath Temple, including guesthouses, lodges, and campsites. However, visitors are advised to book their accommodation in advance, especially during the peak pilgrimage season.