Amidst the dramatic mountains capes of the majestic Kedarnath range
stands one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas' of Kedar or Lord Shiva, the
protector and the destroyer. Lying at an altitude of 3584 metres (11,760
feet) on the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst
the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus.
The origin of the revered temple can be found in the
great epic - Mahabharata. According to legend, the Pandavas after
having won over the Kaurava in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of
having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord
Shiva for redemption. He repeatedly eluded them and while fleeing
took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed
he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. This conical
protrusion is worshipped as the idol in the shrine.
The remaining portions of Lord Shiva are worshipped
at four other places - the arms (bahu) at Tungnath, mouth (mukh) at
Rudranath, navel (nabhi) at Madmaheshwar and hair (jata) at Kalpeshwar.
Together with Kedarnath, these places are known as the Panch Kedar.
An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded
by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in 8th century
A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier
temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall
are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology.
Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as
The Samadhi of Adi Guru Shankaracharya is located just behind the
Kedarnath temple. It is said that after establishing four sacred Dhams
in India, he went into his samadhi at an early age of 32 years.
Best time to visit this area is in the summer when
one should wear light woolen clothing.