The pilgrims are cleansed body & soul and with having achieved purity in that sense, pilgrims to Sri Kedarnath becomes most rewarding. It is also customary to worship Lord Shiva with water of Ganga, which pilgrims going from Gangotri as well take some there to Kedarnath.Lord Shiva manifested in the form of Jyotirlingam or the cosmic light. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. This ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range. This temple, over a thousand years old is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. Ascending through the large gray steps leading to the holy sanctums we find inscriptions in Pali on the steps. The present temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya.The inner walls of the temple sanctum are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. The origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic – Mahabharata.
According to legends, the Pandavas sought the blessings of lord Shiva to atone their sin after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed, he dived into ground leaving behind his hump on the surface. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form. The temple, believed to be very ancient, has been continually renovated over the centuries. It is situated at an altitude of 3,581 mt. It is a 21 km trek from Sonprayag.
At the approach of winters in the month of November, the holy statue of Lord Shiva, is carried down from Kedarnath to Ukhimath, and is reinstated at Kedarnath, in the first week of May. It is at this time, that the doors of the temple are thrown open to pilgrims, who flock from all parts of India, for a holy pilgrimage. The shrine closes on the first day of Kartik (Oct-Nov) and reopens in Vaishakh (Apr-May) every year. During its closure the shrine is submerged in snow and worship is performed at Ukhimath.
At Kedarnath there are several Kunds (pools, tanks) that are known for their religious significant – shivkund, Retkund, hanskund, Udakkund, Rudhirkund are the most important.
Nearest Attractive points
It is the temple of Lord Bhairav who is believed to shield the Kedarnath Dham during the winter season. People from various corners of the world throng this place and pay homage to the Lord. Bhairavnath is also known by different other names such as the Kaal Bhairav and Kshetrapal. The main weapon of the Lord is Trishula and his vahan is a dog.
The Kedar Massif
It is a beautiful Massif (group of mountains) formed by three peaks – Kedarnath, Kedar Dome and Bharatekuntha. The Kedarnath Mountain is nestled at an elevation of 6830 m and is a very challenging hike. It is important to note that the oxygen level is very low here and the visitors can take the route from Kedarnath Temple to Bharatekuntha to avoid breathing-related problems.
Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi
Adi Shankaracharya was a philosopher and theologian who is created with unifying and establishing the main current of thought in Hindusm. The Samadhi of Adi Guru Shankaracharya is nestled next to the Kedarnath Temple. Legends have it that he took Samadhi here at the very young age of 32 after establishing the divine Char Dham. The resting place of Shankaracharya provides a blissful and secluded location for the visitors where they can get a complete peace of mind and shrug off all their worries. The devotees can also find the hot water spring that is believed to be created by the Saint himself to minimize the stress of his followers suffering from the harsh climatic conditions.
Vashuki Tal is a high altitude glacial lake situated about 8 km from Kedarnath in Uttrakhand. This lake site at an astounding altitude of 4,135 meters above see level. The lake enveloped by the beautiful snow-capped Himalayan mountain ranges. In order to visit the lake, the tourists are required to cross the Chaturangi and Vasuki Glaciers. It is important to note that the glaciers are replete with lots of fissures and to cross them safely, the tourists must take a guide along. The best time to plan a visit to this place is between the months of June and October as the climate remains pleasant during these months.
Chorabari Tal or Gandhi Sarovar
One of the two snouts of the Chorabari glacier terminates at the tarn, Chorabari Tal. Located about 4 kilometres from the town of Kedarnath, the lake is visited by tourists in summer, though not in large numbers because of the trek involved in getting there. The lake is also known as Kanti Sarovar. According to yogiclegends, Shiva, who is considered the Adi Guru or first guru, transmitted yoga to the Saptarishis, on the bank of this lake. In 1948, some of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were immersed in the lake, after which it was renamed Gandhi Sarovar. Close to the glacier is a Bhairava temple, adjacent to which is a cliff named Bhairava Jhamp. The cliff was a place where devotees leaped off, believing that it would bring them mukti. The practice was banned by the British administration in the nineteenth century.
Gaurikund, among the famous pilgrim centres, is located en route to the Kedarnath shrine. Situated at an altitude of 1,982 m, this holy place houses an ancient temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. According to a legend, it is believed that Parvati meditated at this destination for a long time so as to win Lord Shiva as her husband.
The sacred hot water spring located at Gaurikund by the same name. It is believed that a dip in this pond makes a person pure. Additionally, after a dip, a holy darshan in the shrine would fulfil all their desires.
Mayali Pass Trek
Mayali Pass is a famous place for trekking in Uttarakhand and is followed by many trekkers every year. In ancient time this trek was used by pilgrims to travel between Gangotri and Kedarnath. The Mayali Pass trek route starts from Ghuttu and the goes along Bhilangana valley. The Mayali Pass trek from Ghuttu to Gaurikund is of moderate difficulty. The trek offers an extraordinary experience of Himalayan peaks. The remote Indian villages of Gangi, Bhilangna River Catchment, Thalay Sagar peak, and Khatling glacier are the highlights of Mayali Pass trek.
Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world and is the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tunganath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. Located at an altitude of 3,680 m and just below the peak of Chandrashila, Tungnath temple is the highest Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be 5000 years old and is the third (Tritiya Kedar) in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars. It has a rich legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of the Mahabharata epic.
Guptakashi or Guptkashi is a fairly large town located at an elevation of 1,319 metres (4,327 ft) in the Kedar-khanda in Garhwal Himalayas of Rudraprayag district in Uttrakhand, India. It is known for its ancient Vishwanath Temple dedicated to the god Shiva, which is similar to the one in Varanasi (Kashi). The other well known temple here is dedicated to Ardhanareshvara, a half man half woman form of Shiva and Parvati. The name Guptakashi has legendary significance linked to the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Its religious importance is considered next to that of Varanasi, believed to be the most pious of all Hindu pilgrimage places.
Rudraprayag is a town and a municipality in Rudraprayag district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Rudraprayag is one of the Panch Prayag (five confluences) of Alaknanda River, the point of confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. Kedarnath, a Hindu holy town is located 86 km from Rudraprayag.
Rudranath Temple Rudraprayag is named after Lord Shiva and temple of lord Rudranath is situated at the confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini. According to mythology Narada Muni worshiped god Shiva here to learn music from him. The god then taught him music in his form of Rudra (Lord of Music). There used to be a rock called Narad Shila where Narada is said to have sat in meditation.
Ukhimath is a small town and a Hindu pilgrimage site in Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand, India. It is situated at a distance of 41 km from Rudraprayag. During the winters, the idols from Kedarnath temple, and Madhyamaheshwar are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped here for six months.
Ukhimath is indeed an important pilgrimage site in Uttarakhand. It is also reckoned to be the place where the wedding of Usha (Daughter of Vanasur) and Anirudh (Grandson of Lord Krishna) was solemnized.
At a distance of 4 km from Gaurikund, 18 km from Kedarnath and 70 km from Rudraprayag, Sonprayag is a small hamlet situated in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.
Sonprayag is a place of religious significance located enroute to Kedarnath Dham. Prayag means confluence and Sonprayag lies at the confluence of two holy rivers Basuki and Mandakini. There is a common belief among people that bathing in the river can wash away their sins.The current trek route to Kedarnath starts from Sonprayag which will be changed back to original Gaurikund route.
Madhyamaheshwar or Madmaheshwar is a Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva, located in the Mansoona village of Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand, India. Situated at an elevation of 3,497 m, it is the fourth temple to be visited in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit, comprising five Shiva temples in the Garhwal region. The other temples in the circuit include: Kedarnath, Tungnath and Rudranath to be visited before Madmaheshwar and Kalpeshwar to be visited after Madmaheshwar. The middle or belly part or navel (nabhi) of the bull, considered a divine form of Shiva, is worshipped at this temple, believed to be built by the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
Triyuginarayan Temple is a Hindu temple located in the Triyuginarayan village in Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand. The ancient temple is dedicated to god Vishnu. Its fame is credited to the legend of god Shiva’s marriage to goddess Parvati witnessed by Vishnu at this venue and is thus a popular pilgrimage centre. A special feature of this temple is a perpetual fire, that burns in front of the temple. The flame is believed to burn from the times of the divine marriage. Thus, the temple is also known as Akhand Dhuni temple.
The temple courtyard is also the source of a water stream, which fills four sacred bathing ponds (kunds) nearby.
At a distance of 12 km from Helang, 27 km from Joshimath and 56 km from Gopeshwar & 215 km from Kedarnath. Kalpeshwar is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located at an elevation of 2,200 m in the picturesque Urgam valley in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand state in India. The temple’s ancient legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of epic Mahabharata eminence is the fifth temple of the Panch Kedars (five temples) of Shiva’s five anatomical divine forms; the other four temples in the order of their worship are Kedarnath, Rudranath, Tungnath and Madhyamaheshwar temples all in the Kedarnath region of Garhwal Himalayas.
Rudranath is a Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva, located in the Garhwal Himalayan mountains in Uttarakhand, India. Located at 3,600 metres above sea level, this natural rock temple is situated within a dense forest of rhododendron dwarfs and Alpine pastures. The temple is the third temple to be visited in the Panch Kedarpilgrimage circuit, comprising five Shiva temples in the Garhwal region.
Fable has it the face of Shiva materialized at Rudranath Temple after Bhim tried to stop him (in the form of bull) from disappearing into the earth. It is believed that devotees taking tough Yatra to this holy shrine never go back home with empty hands rather get a blessings from Lord Shiva, which means fulfilling every wishes.
At a distance of 1 km from Tungnath,Chandrashila is the summit of the Chandranath Parvat on which Tungnath Temple of Panch Kedar is located.It literally means “Moon Rock”. It is located at a height of about 4,000 metres above sea level. This peak provides views of the Himalayas, including Nandadevi, Trisul, Kedar Peak, Bandarpunch and Chaukhamba peaks. There are various legends associated with this place. According to one such legend, this is the place where Rama meditated after defeating the demon-King Ravana. Another legend say that moon-god Chandra spend time here in penance.