Holy Abode of Lord Shiva
INTRODUCTION: Kedarnath is one of the most predominant places for worshipers of Lord Shiva and is very famous as one of the revered Jyothirlinga amongst the 12 Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva in India. It is in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. The holy town of Kedarnath is the origin of the Mandakini River. The temple is said to be 1200 years old.
HISTORY: According to sacred texts, Pandavas, after killing their cousins in the Great War at Kurukshetra, built the original temple of Kedarnath. They feel guilty of their deeds and thus remain incompetent to enter heaven. Seeking forgiveness, they went in search of Lord Shiva. However, there was no mention of this temple in Mahabharatha. Bhagavan Aadi Shankaracharya restored the glory of the shrine in the 8th century A.D., and that is the present temple.
SCENIC AND ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY OF KEDARNATH: Standing tall in the Rudra Himalayan range, the temple is standing over a large rectangular platform. The temple adorns the beautiful figurines of deities and scenes from mythology on the inner walls. Nestled amidst the imposing peaks of the Himalayas; it is not just temples and shrines that Kedarnath is famed for, this enchanting land on the majestic backdrop of the lower Himalayas, is naturally bestowed with some of the incredible vistas of nature.
IMPORTANCE OF KEDARNATH TEMPLE: Nestled among the serene heights of the great Himalayas are four pilgrim-destinations namely- Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath, collectively known as Char Dham. This Char Dham yatra draws the maximum number of pilgrims each year, thus becoming the most visited religious places in Northern India.
Traditionally, the Yatra of Char Dham begins from the West and ends in the East. Thus, the Yatra commences from Yamunotri, then proceeding to Gangotri, and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath.
KEDARNATH YATRA: The temple of Kedarnath is always covered with snow, and due to bad weather, the gates of the temple will remain closed for six months during the winter season every year. The closing date of the gates of Kedarnath is fixed and is on the day of Bhai Dooj (after Diwali). The gates will be closed after Pooja, Archana in the morning.
The opening date and time of the gates of Kedarnath Dham, will be decided on Mahaa Shiva Ratri, after the calculation of Panchaang. It happens on the eve of Akshaya Tritiya every year, which usually falls in April or May.
Hence, the best time to visit this holy shrine is usually between April to June of every year.