Kedarnath at an altitude of about 3584 metres is one of the famous twelve Jyotirlingas of Kedar or Lord Shiva and is considered to be one of the holiest pilgrimage site for Hindus. It is also one of the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand.Kedar is the other word for Lord Shiva which means highly powerful.Kedarnath is situated at the head of the Mandakini River with amazing mountainscape of the Garhwal Himalayas in its backdrop and the Keadardome peak at a far of distance. The Kedarnath shrine situated amidst the snow clad mountains is stunning with its beauty and simply captivating. There are number of shrines in and around Kedarnath along with a pictorial ambiance which attracts a lot of tourist crowd.
HISTORYHistory says the story behind Kedarnath is that Lord Shiva killed the family members of Pandavas during the Kurukshetra war. But Lord Shiva regretted for his wrongdoing and wanted to elude from the Pandavas.So he took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull but however he was identified by Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers who aggressively captured him by the hindquarters. Shiva dived into the ground leaving behind him a hump on the surface which is now worshipped as the idol. It is also said that the shrine in Kedarnath is supposed to be the hind part of the bull and the rest of the body is distributed in different directions.
Kedarnath is situated very close to the Indo-Chinese border in the Uttar Kashi district.
It is oriented more towards the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
IDEAL TIME TO VISTThe ideal time to visit Kedarnath is between May to October.
The imposing shrine stands near the head of the Mandakini valley on a level ground against fascinating backdrop of magnificent snow.
The present temple built by Adi Shankaracharya is next to the site of an earlier temple that legend says was built by the Pandavas of the Mahabharata.
At the entrance is a huge bull, the mount of Shiva. The walls inside are exquisitely carved with images.
The temple is made out of gigantic, evenly cut grey slabs of stone.
It also said that Adi Guru Shankaracharya at the age of 32 attained nirvana in Kedarnath.Now this samadhi has become as one of the most visited holy places in Kedarnath.
CHORABARIChorabari lake otherwise known as Gandhi Sarovar is situated at a distance of about 2kms from the temple. According to legends this place is related to Mahabharata or it is from here he concerted toward an end and preceded his heavenly voyage. This place attracts a lot of tourists visiting Kedarnath with ice perched on the surface of this lovely lake and hold spellbound.
There is a famous temple here whose presiding deity is goddess Parvathi/Gauri, wife of Shiva.
It is believed that Goddess Gauri meditated here and hence the name Gaurikund. Gaurikund is situated at a distance of about 14kms from Kedarnath if you are planning for a trek.
In Gaurikund there is a hot spring which is believed to have lot of medicinal values and clear away from sins and in fulfilling our wishes.
VASUKI TALVasuki Tal is a very beautiful lake at an altitude of 4135 meters high and about 6kms from Kedarnath. Set in a picturesque setting, the clear waters of the lake are surrounded by lofty hills from all sides. One can also get the breathtaking view of the neighboring Chaukhamba peaks from here.
SONPRAYAGSonprayag at an altitude of about 1829 meters is situated 20kms away from Kedarnath. The most important significance of this place is that it is the meeting point of the majestic Himalayan rivers, Mandakini and Basuki and is flanked by snow clad peaks on all sides. It gives you a contented mind and unruffled spirit. Now it is become one of the popular tourist attractions. A dip in the holy river here is supposed to be very effective.
TRIYUGINARAYANTwenty five kilometres from Kedarnath is this revered place which was witness to Lord Shiva tying knot with Goddess Parvati. The eternal Flame which burns here even today is said to have been the witness to their marriage.It resembles more of the Kedarnath shrine because of its architecture and is fully bounded by foliage thus expressing the ethicinity and customs of the country.
The Deoria Tal is one more treasure of the Kedarnath at an altitude of about 3200 meters captivating tourist with its magnetic appeal.
The history behind Deoria Tal is that it is from here that Pandavas were asked queries by Yaksha.
Deoria Tal's crystalline water offers a spell bound images of its beautiful surroundings.
AGASTYAMUNIAugustyamuni is one of the oldest temples in this area dedicated to the sage Agastya who meditated here for a period of at least one year. The temple is noted for its excellent architecture and structural grandeur. The other features of this temple are the carved images and the soothing environment which attracts lot of tourists visiting Kedarnath.
BAIRAVANATH TEMPLEThis religious significant temple is situated very close to the main temple complex housing the deity of Bhairavnath and guarding the main temple. According to legends the deity in Bhairav Nath Temple is the guardian deity of the Kedarnath.The temple is blessed with Vaishno Devi and whoever visits her holy abode will also pay their respect to Bairavnath.
GUPTKASHIFamed for the Ardhanareeshwar and Viswanath temples, Gupt Kashi is closely associated with Hindu mythology which states that Lord Shiva makes himself hidden here for some time. The temple premises reflect the architectural style of the bygone eras.Arthanareeshwar deity takes up the form of half man and half woman. The temple has two streams of water, which symbolizes the holy rivers, Ganga and Yamuna. The entrance of the temple is guarded by the image of Nandi bull.
UKSHIMATHIt is here in Ukshimath the daily poojas and adoration is performed at the Omkareshwar Temple when the Kedarnath temple remains closed during winter. It is a small temple painted in blue and red and is set in the backdrop of lush fields and majestic peaks. The temple is named after Usha, the daughter of Banasur. The winding heap road to Ukshimath through forests flanked by lofty mountains itself is very enthralling, which reverberate every visitor with a rejuvenating freshness.
SHOPPINGShopping is not really very interesting in Kedarnath apart from the souvenirs sold in all small shops. Apart from this one can buy photographs of the Kedarnath and Badrinath temples or of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The shopping list includes the Rudraksh Mala made from Rudraksh, which is very important to the Hindus.The other shopping items includes various crystals, saligrams, herbs, Shilajit, natural vitalizers, precious stones, tulsi beads, etc. Brass work is quite famous in Kedarnath which also sell woolens and beautiful and intricately designed local handicrafts.