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Kedarnath is ancient and magnificent temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range, is over a thousand years old, 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. 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.. 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.
Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindu. It is set amidst the stunning mountainscape of the Garhwal Himalayas at the head of the Mandakini River. Kedar is another name of lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. The shrine of Kedarnath is very scenically placed, and is surrounded by lofty, snow – covered mountains, and during summer grassy meadows covering the valleys. Immediately behind the temple, is the high Keadardome peak, which can be sighted from great distances. The sight of the temple and the peak with its perpetual snows is simply enthralling.
The grand and impressive structure of Lord Shiva's shrine is made of grey stone. Steep climb stretching to 14 km from Gauri Kund brims with abundant beauty of nature. The paved and steep path gifts the pilgrims the fantastic views of snowy-peaks, alpine meadows and delightful forests of rhododendrons. A large stone statue of Nandi Bull stares at the shrine, guarding it, sitting right opposite it.
There is one Garbha Griha which houses the primary idol (pyramid shaped rock) of Lord Shiva. The idols of Lord Krishna, Pandavas, Draupadi and Kunti find a space in the Mandapa section of the shrine. The temple has withstood natural calamities like avalanches, earthquakes and floods for over thousand years and still stands as strong and elegant as it must have originally been.
With the onset of winters, the portals of the temple are closed on the 1st day of Karthik (Oct/Nov) amid elaborate rituals, and a moveable idol of Shiva is shifted to Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath (Rudraprayag district). The Shiva idol is welcomed back and the temple is opened again after 6 months in the Vaisakh (Apr/May) period of Hindu calendar.
Best Time to Visit
Featuring a cold climate mostly round the year, Kedarnath can best be visited in summers. May to June and September to October offers an ideal weather for visitors to explore this place. During this period, the climate of Kedarnath remains a lot pleasing and cool. Winters here are harsh, with sub-zero temperatures and heavy rainfall. Monsoon season characterizes heavy downpour, so one must carry few essentials while journeying to this pilgrimage place in the monsoons.
Summers of Kedarnath beginning from May and lasting till June, are pleasing with the temperature hovering around 17°C. It is the perfect weather to pay visit to the Kedarnath shrine and also to indulge in some sightseeing of famous spots in and around Kedarnath. The weather remains moderate during this time and hence, this season is the ideal time to travel to this place.
Places To Visit
It is base to the Kedarnath trek. The village has hot water springs and a temple dedicated to Goddess Gauri.
Sonprayag is a place of religious significance located in-route to Kedarnath Dham. It is situated at an elevation of 1829 mtrs above sea level and offers a scintillating view of snow covered mountains and lush green Sonprayag valley.
Triyuginarayan is a well-known Hindu pilgrimage located in the Rudraprayag district.This picturesque village is perched at an elevation of 1,980 and offers panoramic views of snow covered mountains of the beauteous Garhwal region. The architecture of this temple resembles to that of Badrinath shrine
Vasuki tal is a glacial lake situated at an impressive altitude of 14,200 feet above sea level in Kedarnath Dham. It can be reached by a 7km moderate trek from Kedarnath. The lake is located at an altitude of 4,150 mts above sea level surrounded by Himalayan peaks.
Chorbari Bamak Glacier
Chorbari Bamak Glacier is situtated in district Rudraprayag. The glacier is 6 km long and originates from the southern slope of Kedar-dome, Bhartekhunta and Kirti Stambh and this hill range is the water divide which separates the Gangotri group of glaciers and the Chorbari glacier. Several hanging glaciers and avalanche chutes feed the glacier. The lower part of the glacier is covered by thick debris and bounded by huge deposits of lateral moraines. The glacier starts from its accumulation zone (600 m) and terminates at an elevation of 3800 m, from where a snow - melt stream originates, called Mandakini and merges into the Alaknanda at Rudraprayag.The glacier is approachable by road up to Gaurikund via Rudraprayag, Guptkashi and Son Prayag. From Gaurikund, a trek runs over the hilly slopes up to Kedarnath temple. From Kedarnath temple, there is a 3 km footpath to the glacier snout. Between the rock face and right lateral moraine of the glacier, there is a lake formed by glacier melted water called Gandhi-Sarovar.
How To Reach
Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Kedarnath situated at a distance of 238kms. Jolly Grant Airport is well connected to Delhi with daily flights. Gaurikund is well connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant Airport. Taxis are available from Jolly Grant Airport to Gaurikund.
The nearest railway station to Kedarnath is Rishikesh. Rishikesh railway station is situated 216kms before Kedarnath on NH58. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India. Trains to Rishikesh are frequent. Gaurikund is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. Taxis and buses are easily available from Rishikesh to Gaurikund.
Gaurikund is the point where road to Kedarnath ends and an easy trek of 14km commence. Gaurikund is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand and northern states of India. Buses to Rishikesh and Srinagar are available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Buses and Taxis to Gaurikund are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand like Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Srinagar, Chamoli etc. Gaurikund lies on National Highway 109 which connects Rudraprayag with Kedarnath.
Best place I have ever visited in my life. Superb weather, high energy level of devotees, simple and tasty food, fabulous scenes, amazing glacier view. Guest house are available near temple.
It's a very powerful place.. This is a temple, which is known as Lord Shiva, it is a great center of faith of Hindus. This is a very beautiful place in the lap of nature... Here, the mind gets very positive energy.. The weather here is very cold and splendid...