Kedarnath Temple: A Must-Visit Hindu Pilgrimage Site
The Kedarnath temple, located in Uttarakhand, India, is one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites. It is situated at an altitude of 3580 meters above sea level on the bank of the Mandakini River. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is part of the Char Dhams and Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit. According to legend, it can only be reached if Lord Shiva himself calls you.
The Kedarnath temple is said to have been built by the Pandavas from Mahabharata to seek forgiveness for their sins. It is believed that Lord Shiva took the form of Nandi and appeared at Guptakashi. Bheema caught him by his tail, but the rest of his body disappeared into the ground via a sacred cave. At five different locations, Lord Shiva reappeared in five different avatars, one of them being the hump at Kedarnath.
Adi Shankaracharya, who restored the temple’s glory in the 8th century, built the present-day temple. The temple is more than 1200 years old and is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India. It is constructed from a gray hunk of stones, and the architecture style is similar to most ancient temples of its period. The ashlar style of construction was used, wherein stone slabs were interlocked into each other without the use of any mortar or cement.
Best Time to Visit :
Due to its elevation and geographical position, the Kedarnath temple is open to tourists for six months of the year. It opens at the end of April or the beginning of May and closes after Diwali. The best time to visit the temple is between April and November, with April to mid-June and October to mid-November being the most ideal. The daily pooja rituals start at 4am with Maha Abhishek and end at 7pm with the Shyan aarti. The temple opens for darshan for the general public around 6am and there is an afternoon recess between 3-5pm. The public timing for darshan at Kedarnath temple ends at 7pm.
How to Reach:
Reaching Kedarnath Temple is not difficult, though the trek leading up to the temple can be exhausting and challenging. The nearest civil airhead is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, located around 250 km from Kedarnath. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh Railway Station, around 210 kilometres from Gaurikund. From Haridwar, buses are available to Gaurikund, the last motorable road from Kedarnath. From here, it’s a 16-18-kilometer trek across the Himalayas. Visitors can either walk or hire a pony or pittu to reach the temple. Helicopter service is also available, depending on the weather.
Activities Around Kedarnath Temple :
The surroundings of Kedarnath temple have spectacular attractions to offer. These include taking a holy dip at Gaurikund, trekking to Vasuki Tal, witnessing the beauty of Gandhi Sarovar, visiting the Samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya, trekking to Chorabari Tal, and praying at Anusuya Devi Temple.
Things to Remember :
1. Kedarnath temple has the longest trek route amongst all four Dhams. So be prepared for it.
2. Carry appropriate medicines for altitude sickness along with the basic medicines.
3. Bring plenty of warm clothing as the climate is very frigid throughout the year.
4. Bring a raincoat and waterproof shoes if visiting during the monsoon.
5. Keep your extra bags in the hotel’s locker room in Sonprayag.
6. Registration: The biometric registration is required for the yatra that happens in Sonprayag and takes about 1-1.5 hours in the queue.
7. Helicopter ticket for Kedarnath Temple will be booked only through https://heliservices.uk.gov.in/.
The Kedarnath temple is a must-visit pilgrimage site for Hindus. It is home to divine energy and has many fascinating attractions to offer. Make sure to keep the things mentioned above in mind while visiting this sacred temple.
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