Kedarnath Temple is situated near the head of Mandakani river in the Garhwal Himalayas of Tehri Garhwal at an elevation of 3584 metres above sea-level.
It is one of the important of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and hence the most important pilgrim centres of Uttarakhand. It is a part of the Char dham Yatra with around 10 lakhs of pilgrims visiting the holy Kedarnath temple every year.
The temple is built of large grey coloured rocks and is said to be approximately 1000 years old.
According to legends, the Pandavas came here to ask forgiveness from lord Shiva after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge here in the form of a bull.
On being followed, he dived into the ground leaving behind his hump on the surface. This hump is worshipped at the Kedarnath temple.
The temple door stands guard a huge statue of Nandi. The temple walls are adorned with idols of the five Pandavas, Draupadi and Lord Ganesha.
The holy Kedarnath temple opens in Vaishakh ( Apr - May ) every year. The aarti starts at around 6.30 am sharp till 1 pm and again starts at around 4 pm till 9 pm everyday.
The morning aarti consists of Shubha Prabhat, Balbhog and Shiv Puja while the evening aarti are the Shiv Namavali, Shiv Mahima, Shiv Ekanta and more.
Lakhs of devotees come from all over the world to offer their puja and prey for their well being and happiness. Sugar candy, Tulsi, and dry fruits are offered as prasad at the holy Kedarnath temple.
During winters in the month of November the Kedarnath temple closes on the first day of Kartik (Oct - Nov) on Bhai Duj. The temple is closed for six months because of heavy snowfall. During its closure the shrine is submerged in snow.
The holy statue of Lord Shiva, is carried down from here to Ukhimath and worshipped here. After the winters on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya the statue is reinstated at Kedarnath, in the first week of May.
The summer season from May to June is the ideal time to make this holy journey to the Kedarnath Temple.
The Kedarnath Temple yatra is considered incomplete without the visit to the visit Bhairon Temple which is close to Kedarnath. Lord Bhairon is worshipped at the opening and closing of Kedarnath temple.
Kedarnath Temple is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.
The Kedarnath Temple which faced the devastating deluge in 2013 is stable and its foundation was not damaged, an expert team of IIT-Madras has found. The restoration work is handed over to the ASI. ( Archaeological Survey of India)
Non-destructive testing instruments were used by the IIT-team for assessing the health of the structure, foundation and walls of the temple.
The complete restoration of the temple will be completed by October 2015.
Image courtesy: Kedarnath by Trek Earth
Kedarnath Temple from Wikipedia
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