Kedarnath Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand state in India. It is one of the four holy shrines in the Himalayas known as the Char Dham Yatra. The temple is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level, near the head of river Mandakini, and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and dense forests. The temple is known for its unique architecture and is considered to be one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Hindus.
History of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple has a long and rich history that dates back to the ancient times. According to Hindu mythology, the temple was built by the Pandavas after the Kurukshetra war, as a way to seek forgiveness from Lord Shiva for the sins they had committed during the war.
Legend has it that the temple was first built by the Pandavas, but it was later rebuilt by the Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. The temple has undergone several renovations over the centuries, with the latest one being carried out in the 19th century by the Queen of Indore, Ahilyabai Holkar.
The temple has withstood several natural calamities, including earthquakes and floods. In 2013, the temple was severely damaged in the Uttarakhand floods, but it was later rebuilt and restored to its former glory.
Signification of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is one of the four pilgrimage sites in the Hindu religion's Char Dham Yatra. It is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, one of the most revered deities in Hinduism. The temple is located in the Himalayan range of Uttarakhand in northern India, at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level. The temple is considered to be one of the most sacred places for Hindus and is believed to be established by the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. It is said that the temple was built in the 8th century AD by Adi Shankara, the great Hindu philosopher and theologian, and has been a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus ever since. The temple is also associated with the Kedarnath mountain, which is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of all Shiva shrines in India.
Architecture of Kedarnath Temple
The Kedarnath Temple is a fine example of ancient Indian architecture. The temple's exteriors are made of stone masonry and the interiors are made of wood. The temple is built in the traditional North Indian style and has a mandapa, an ardha mandapa, and the garbha griha or sanctum sanctorum. The mandapa is a pillared hall that is used for religious gatherings and ceremonies. The ardha mandapa is a smaller version of the mandapa and serves as a transition from the mandapa to the garbha griha.
The garbha griha is the most sacred part of the temple and houses the lingam or the representation of Lord Shiva. The temple has a sloping roof made of wooden planks that are covered with layers of stone. The walls of the temple are adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures of gods and goddesses. The temple has a unique design with a conical shape that resembles a Himalayan peak.
Festivals of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus and attracts a large number of devotees during various festivals. Some of the festivals celebrated at Kedarnath Temple are:
- Maha Shivaratri - It is the most important festival celebrated at Kedarnath Temple. Devotees from across the country visit the temple to offer their prayers and seek blessings from Lord Shiva. It is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (February-March).
- Char Dham Yatra - Kedarnath Temple is a part of the Char Dham Yatra which is an important pilgrimage circuit in the Hindu religion. The yatra starts in April and continues till November.
- Kartik Purnima - This festival is celebrated in the month of Kartik (October-November) and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Devotees take a dip in the holy waters of the Mandakini river and offer prayers to Lord Shiva.
- Shravan Month - The month of Shravan (July-August) is considered auspicious for Lord Shiva and is celebrated with great fervor at Kedarnath Temple. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself visits Kedarnath during this month.
- Rudra Abhishek - It is a special puja that is performed at Kedarnath Temple to seek blessings from Lord Shiva. It is performed throughout the year and is especially popular during the Shravan month.
Visiting hours of Kedarnath Temple
The Kedarnath Temple is open for darshan for a limited period of six months from the end of April to the beginning of November. The temple is open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and devotees can visit the temple during this time. However, the temple timings can vary during festivals and special occasions. It is advisable to check the temple timings before planning a visit.
Dress code of Kedarnath Temple
The dress code of Kedarnath Temple is quite strict and traditional. It is important to dress modestly and respectfully when visiting this holy site. The following dress code is expected to be followed by both men and women:
- Men should wear a dhoti or a pant with a shirt or kurta. It is mandatory for men to cover their heads with a cap or a cloth.
- Women should wear a saree or a salwar kameez with a dupatta. The dress should cover the entire body and should not be revealing.
- Avoid wearing western attire such as shorts, skirts, and sleeveless tops.
- Footwear is not allowed inside the temple, so it is advised to wear comfortable shoes or sandals that can be easily removed.
- It is recommended to wear warm clothes as the weather in Kedarnath can be cold and unpredictable.
- It is advised to avoid wearing expensive jewelry or carrying valuable items as they are not allowed inside the temple.
It is important to respect the religious sentiments of the locals and follow the dress code while visiting Kedarnath Temple.
Poojas and rituals of Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is one of the four shrines in the famous Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata era and is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level. The poojas and rituals of Kedarnath Temple are as follows:
- Mangala Aarti: The first ritual of the day is the Mangala Aarti, which takes place early in the morning, usually around 4:00 AM. This is the first darshan of Lord Shiva, and devotees can participate in the aarti by offering flowers, incense sticks, and lamps.
- Rudrabhishek: This pooja is performed to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva for prosperity, good health, and happiness. The pooja involves chanting of mantras and offering various items like milk, honey, curd, and flowers to the Shiva Linga.
- Maha Abhishek: This pooja is performed on special occasions and involves the offering of various items like honey, milk, ghee, and other sacred substances to Lord Shiva. The pooja is accompanied by the chanting of Vedic mantras and is believed to bestow immense blessings on the devotees.
- Shringar Darshan: This is the time when the Lord is decorated with various ornaments and clothing. Devotees can witness the Lord in all His glory during this time.
- Sandhya Aarti: This aarti takes place in the evening and is the last darshan of the day. Devotees can participate in the aarti by offering lamps, flowers, and incense sticks.
- Abhishekam: This pooja involves the ritualistic bathing of the Shiva Linga with various substances like milk, honey, and water. This pooja is believed to remove all sins and negative energies from the devotee's life.
- Bhog Aarti: This is the time when the Lord is offered food, fruits, and sweets as a sign of devotion and gratitude.
Apart from these rituals, Kedarnath Temple also celebrates various festivals like Mahashivratri, Navratri, and Diwali with great fervor and enthusiasm. During these festivals, the temple is decorated with lights, flowers, and other decorations, and devotees from all over the world come to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Accommodation Near Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand in the Himalayan Mountains. The temple is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters (11,755 feet) above sea level, and is surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the mountains.
There are several accommodation options available near Kedarnath Temple, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious hotels. Some popular options include:
- GMVN Tourist Bungalow: This is a government-run accommodation option located near the temple. It offers basic amenities like comfortable beds, hot water, and electricity.
- Kedarnath Bhawan: This is a budget-friendly guesthouse located just a few minutes' walk from the temple. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
- Himalayan Comforts: This is a luxurious hotel located in the nearby town of Guptkashi. It offers spacious rooms with modern amenities like Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and flat-screen TVs.
- Hotel Bikaner House: This is another popular hotel located in Guptkashi. It offers comfortable rooms with mountain views, as well as a restaurant serving Indian and continental cuisine.
- Hotel Mandakini: This hotel is located in the town of Sonprayag, which is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the temple. It offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities like Wi-Fi, and a restaurant serving Indian and Chinese cuisine.
It is advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak season (May to June and September to November) when Kedarnath Temple sees a high number of pilgrims.
Attraction Near Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple, located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India. The temple is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, and there are several other attractions in the area that are worth visiting. Some of the top attractions near Kedarnath Temple include:
- Vasuki Tal: Located about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from Kedarnath Temple, Vasuki Tal is a beautiful high-altitude lake surrounded by the snow-capped Himalayan mountains. The lake is named after the serpent king Vasuki, who is believed to have served as a rope for Lord Shiva.
- Gandhi Sarovar: Located at an altitude of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level, Gandhi Sarovar is a glacial lake that is named after Mahatma Gandhi. The lake offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is located about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from Kedarnath Temple.
- Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary: Spread over an area of 975 square kilometers (376 square miles), the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, and more. The sanctuary is located about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Kedarnath Temple.
- Triyuginarayan Temple: Located about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from Kedarnath Temple, Triyuginarayan Temple is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. According to legend, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were married at this temple.
- Sonprayag: Located about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from Kedarnath Temple, Sonprayag is a picturesque town located at the confluence of two rivers. It is a popular starting point for trekking and other outdoor activities in the region.
These are just a few of the many attractions near Kedarnath Temple. Visitors can also enjoy trekking, camping, and other outdoor activities in Near By Area.
Things To Do In Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is a holy shrine situated in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Hindus, and it attracts thousands of devotees every year. Here are some of the things you can do in Kedarnath Temple:
- Offer prayers: The main purpose of visiting the Kedarnath Temple is to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. You can offer flowers, fruits, and sweets to the deity and seek blessings.
- Attend the morning and evening Aarti: The morning and evening Aarti is a beautiful and sacred ritual that takes place in the temple. You can attend these Aartis and experience the divine atmosphere.
- Trek to Kedarnath Temple: The trek to Kedarnath Temple is one of the most challenging and scenic treks in India. The trek starts from Gaurikund, and it takes about 14 km to reach the temple.
- Explore the surrounding areas: The Kedarnath Temple is located in a beautiful and scenic location. You can explore the surrounding areas and enjoy the natural beauty.
- Visit nearby tourist attractions: There are several tourist attractions near the Kedarnath Temple, such as the Gandhi Sarovar, Vasuki Tal, and Gaurikund. You can visit these places and enjoy the scenic beauty.
- Attend the annual Kedarnath Yatra: The Kedarnath Yatra is a major annual pilgrimage that takes place in the temple. Thousands of devotees visit the temple during this time to seek blessings.
- Experience the local culture: You can experience the local culture of the region by interacting with the locals, tasting local cuisine, and participating in local festivals.
Overall, visiting the Kedarnath Temple is a spiritual and enriching experience that you must undertake if you are interested in Hindu mythology and culture.
Best Time To Visit Kedarnath Temple
The best time to visit Kedarnath Temple is between the months of May to June and September to October.
During May to June, the weather is pleasant and the temple is open for visitors after the winter break. The surrounding mountains are covered with snow and the scenic beauty is at its best. However, this is also the peak tourist season and the temple can get crowded.
September to October is also a good time to visit Kedarnath as the monsoon season is over and the weather is pleasant. The crowds are also thinner during this time, which makes it a good time to visit if you prefer a quieter atmosphere.
It's important to note that Kedarnath Temple is located at an altitude of over 11,000 feet and experiences heavy snowfall during the winter months, so it is closed from November to April. Therefore, it is not recommended to visit the temple during these months.
How To Reach Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple is located in the state of Uttarakhand, India, and is situated at an altitude of over 11,000 feet in the Himalayas. Here are the various ways to reach Kedarnath Temple:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Kedarnath Temple is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 239 km away. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach the town of Gaurikund, which is the starting point of the trek to Kedarnath.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to Kedarnath is in Rishikesh, which is about 216 km away. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Gaurikund.
- By Road: Gaurikund is the starting point of the trek to Kedarnath and is well-connected by road to major cities in Uttarakhand. You can take a bus or a taxi from cities like Dehradun, Haridwar, or Rishikesh to reach Gaurikund.
From Gaurikund, you need to trek for about 16 km to reach Kedarnath Temple. Alternatively, you can also hire a pony or a palanquin to reach the temple. Helicopter services are also available from Phata and Guptkashi to Kedarnath during the pilgrimage season.
Q: What is the significance of Kedarnath Temple?
A: Kedarnath Temple is one of the four sacred shrines in Hinduism known as the Char Dham. It is believed to be the seat of Lord Shiva, and the temple is visited by millions of pilgrims every year.
Q: How old is Kedarnath Temple?
A: The exact age of Kedarnath Temple is not known, but it is believed to have been built by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata era.
Q: What is the best time to visit Kedarnath Temple?
A: The best time to visit Kedarnath Temple is between the months of May to June and September to October when the weather is pleasant and the temple is open for visitors.
Q: How to reach Kedarnath Temple?
A: Kedarnath Temple can be reached by air, train, and road. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, the nearest railway station is in Rishikesh, and Gaurikund is the starting point of the trek to Kedarnath.
Q: How long is the trek to Kedarnath Temple?
A: The trek to Kedarnath Temple is approximately 16 km from Gaurikund and takes about 6-7 hours. The trek is moderate to difficult and involves steep climbs and rough terrain.
Q: What is the dress code for visiting Kedarnath Temple?
A: There is no specific dress code for visiting Kedarnath Temple, but it is recommended to dress conservatively and avoid wearing shorts, skirts, or sleeveless tops. It is also advisable to carry warm clothing as the temperature can drop significantly at night.
Q: Is there any accommodation available near Kedarnath Temple?
A: Yes, there are a few accommodation options available near Kedarnath Temple such as lodges, guesthouses, and campsites. However, it is advisable to book in advance during the pilgrimage season as the demand is high.
Q: Can senior citizens and children visit Kedarnath Temple?
A: Yes, senior citizens and children can visit Kedarnath Temple, but they need to be physically fit to undertake the trek. It is advisable to consult a doctor before planning the trip.