K E D A R N A T H T E M P L E

Kedarnath Temple

Description of the Diety

Lord Shiva :
The Jyotirlinga at Kedarnatha, Lord Kedarnatha is unlike in its usual form, is pyramidal regarded as one of the most revered 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The Shivalinga is self-manifest and not installed by anyone. It is said that this is hind part of Mahisha (the-buffalo). Lord Shiva in form of Buffalo tried to escape himself from Pandavas who were in his quest to seek his blessings for all the karma for slaying all their relatives etc., so Lord Shiva incarnated himself as bull and entered the earth here and only the hind portion is left behind and the face is supposed to have emerged in Nepal as Lord Pashupathinath in Kathmandu.

Kedarnatha is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. This ancient and magnificent temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range. This temple is estimated to have been built over thousand years old with massive stone slabs over large rectangular platform.

Historical information

Kedarnatha Mandir (Kedarnatha Temple) is Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini River in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. Due to extreme weather conditions, this temple is open only between end of April (Akshaya Tritiya) to Kartika Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped here for six months. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of this region.

The original year or period of construction of the Kedarnath Temple is unknown but it is believed that the Temple has origin towards the end of Mahabharata epic. The Temple and the surroundings have been mentioned in the epic as well as in several Puranas. It is believed that Pandavas who performed penance here to be forgiven for their sins for the karma they had inherited during Mahabharata war for killing their kin’s had built the initial structure of this Temple. The present structure of Kedarnath Temple is believed to have been built by Great saint Sri Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century.

The Kedarnath town’s control handed over to several dynasties like the Katyuri dynasty, Panwar dynasty and to the Mughals. In the 1640’s, the Mughals attacked this area. They retreated when Karnavati, then queen of Garhwal defeated them and actually chopped the noses of the enemies. She was awarded the name of Naak-Katni Rani. Eventually, the Mughals took control of this town with help from King Raja Jaisingh in 1659.In the period of 1814 to 1816; the control was handed over to the British monarchy. In year 2000 Kedarnath was included in new state formed that as Uttarakhand.

There are Four Other Kadar’s :

  1. Madhya Maheshwar
  2. Tunganath
  3. Kalpeshwara
  4. Rudranath
  5. Three of these (barring Kalpeshwara) are in mountain meadows at higher altitudes than Kedarnath. The climb to Rudranath is the most strenuous though worth the trouble, as this meadow is one of the finest in Garhwal.

Significance Of Diety

The tradition is while embarking on pilgrimage to Kedarnath people are expected to first visit origins of Rivers (Yamuna) Yamunotri and (Ganges) Gangotri fetch the holy water from these places to be offered at Kedarnath. People believe offering prayers at this temple expects that devotees have their desires fulfilled.

During the month of Kartika there is heavy snowfall hence Lord Sri Kedareshwar idol is brought out of this temple after lighting ghee lamp, “Nanda Deepa”. Then temple is closed for the winter. From the month of Karthik to Chaitra Lord Sri Kedareshwar abode is shifted to the Urvi Math, which is in the valley. In month of Vaishakha, when the temple doors are opened the lamp “Nanda Deepa” is still keeps burning. People come to visit the glorious lamp and the Shiva devotees consider themselves blessed.

There are chowltries/Halls and resting places available for devotees between their tired journeys. At Gaurikund, the pilgrims would have bath in the hot springs there. After completion would have Darshan of the head-less Lord Ganesha. It is here in Gaurikund, which Lord Shiva supposed to have cut off Lord Ganesha’s head with his trident and later was replaced with the head of an elephant.

The pilgrims have privilege to touch this idol and perform Abhishekam to the holy Jyotirlinga of Lord Kedarnatha.

Shtala Purama

Purana of Kedarnath :

During the war between the Kauravas and Pandavas, their own kith and kin were killed. Pandavas In order to absolve themselves of these sins they inherited during the Mahabharata war the Pandavas went on pilgrimage. Lord Vishweshwara was away in Kailasha in the Himalayas. On knowledge about Pandavas in pursuit of Lord Shiva they visited Kashi. Then reached the Himalayas via Hardwar. They saw the Lord Shankara from distance. However Lord Shankara went hiding from them Then King Dharmaraya said: “Oh, Lord, You have hidden yourself from our sight because we have sinned. However we will seek you Lord Shiva out somehow. Only after we have your Darshan we would be purging our sins to be washed away. The place where you have hidden yourself from us will be known as Guptkashi and thus became famous Temple Lord Siva.

From Guptkashi and visiting (Rudra Prayaga), the Pandavas went ahead they reached Gaurikund in the Himalayas valleys. They wandered there in search of Lord Shankara. While doing so Nakul and Sahadev found the-buffalo. It was unique in its appearance. Then King Bhīma went in pursuit of this buffalo with his mace. The buffalo was so clever and king Bhīma was not able to catch. However king Bhīma managed to hit the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo had its face hidden in crevice-in the earth. Bheema started to pull it by its tail. In this tug-of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Kathmandu in Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar. The face of this buffalo of Lord Shiva is known as Lord Pashupathinath in Nepal.

On this hind part of Mahisha, or Lord Shiva glorious Jyotirlinga appeared. Lord Shankara appeared from this great light. He appeared before the Pandavas. By obtaining the Darshan of Lord Shankar, the Pandavas were absolved of their sins. The Lord blessed the Pandavas, “From now on, I will remain here as triangular shaped Jyotirlinga. By having the Darshan of Kedarnath, devotees would attain piety”. Near Kedarnath, there are many symbols of the Pandavas Raja Pandu died here, when he tried to make love to Madri. This place is famous as Pandukeshwar. The tribals here perform dance known as “Pandava Nritya”. The mountain top where the Pandavas went to Swarga is known as “Swargarohini”. When Dharmaraya was leaving for Swarga, one of his fingers fell on the earth. At this place, King Dharmaraya installed Shiva Linga, which is in the size of the thumb.

To incarnate Mashisharupa, Lord Shankara and King Bhīma fought with maces. King Bhīma was struck with remorse. He started to massage Lord Shankar’s body with ghee. In memory of this event, even today, this triangular Shiva Jyotirlinga is anointed with ghee. Shankara is worshipped here in this manner. Water and Bel leaves are also offered for worshipping Lord Shankara.

When Nar-Narayan went to Badrika ashram village and started the worship of Lord Parthiv, Lord Shiva appeared before them; few days later immensely pleased Lord Shiva granted them with boons. Nar-Narayan wished that for the welfare of the humanity, Lord Shiva should remain there in his original form. Granting their wish, in the snow-clad Himalayas, in the place called Kedar, Lord Mahesh himself stayed there as Jyotirlinga. Here, Hence now known as Lord Kedareshwar.

Significance

The Kedarnath Temple is the highest situated Jyotirlinga at an elevation of 3581 meters above MSL among the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. The Jyotirlinga which means Linga of Lord Shiva is self-manifested and Lord Shiva himself incarnated into Linga instead of This Linga being installed by Mankind.

The Kedarnath Temple is also part of the Panch Kedar Yatra in Uttarakhand. It is believed that when Lord Shiva was in the form of Bull split into six separate parts following the tussle with King Bhīma. The front portion of the Bull has appeared in Doleshwar Mahadev Temple in Kathmandu in Nepal as Lord Pashupathinath, The other five parts of the bull have appeared near Kedarnath. They are – Tunganath for the arms, Rudranath for the face, and Madhya Maheshwar for the stomach, Kedarnath for the hump and Kalpeshwara for the hair. This Pilgrim is also the part of Short Char Dham pilgrimage of Uttarakhand, other three being Lord Badrinath, the Origin of River Ganges -Gangotri, and River Yamuna- Yamunotri.

According to the Skanda Puran, the pilgrimage is incomplete without visiting both Lord Badrinath and Lord Kedarnath at the same time. Visiting both God Vishnu and God Shiva will provide the devotee /pilgrim salvation and relief from all their sins.

Traditional Practice

The tradition is that while embarking on pilgrimage to Kedarnath people are expected to first visit famous Origins of Rivers (Yamuna) Yamunotri and River (Ganges) Gangotri fetch these holy waters from here to offer at Lord Kedarnath Temple.

Temple Timings

  • 4 AM to 3 PM, 5 PM to 9 PM

Darshan Timings

  • 4 AM to 3 PM, 5 PM to 9 PM

Seva Timings

  1. Morning Puja(4 AM to 7 AM) :
    Maha Abhishek
    Rudra Abhishek Puja
    Laghu Rudra Abhishek Puja
    Sodasopachar
    Entire Pujas of a day
    Morning Puja
    Balbhog
  2. Evening Archana & Path (6 PM to 7:30 PM) :
    Shiv Sahasranamam Paath
    Shiv Mahimastrotra Paath
    Shiv Thandavastrotra Paath
    Sampurna Aarti

Location

Shri Kedarnath Temple
Post Ukhimath / Kedarnath
District: Rudraprayag, UTTARAKHAND
Pin Code: 246 469 INDIA"

Directions

The temple is not directly accessible by road can only be reached by 18 kilometres (11 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund. Pony and manchan service which are available to reach this Temple or By Helicopter rides operated regularly by various operators.

Travel Mode

By Road :
Well connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Delhi.
By Rail :
Nearest railhead is at Rishikesh, 243 kms.
By Air :
Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, 260 kms. There are several Heliports near Guptkashi.

Package

Available

Nearby Temples

  • Lord Bhairava temple
  • The Omkareshwar Temple, Ukhimath
  • The Panch Kedar Temples
  • Agasthya Muni Temple
  • Kalimath Temple

Surrounding Places to Visit

  • Saint Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi
  • Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar)
  • Vasuki Tal

Private Accomodation

Available

Sevas

SL.No Sevas / Poojas Amount
  Morning Puja (4 AM to 7 AM)  
1 Mahabhishek(1 Person) 1700/-
2 Rudrabhishek(1 Person) 1300/-
3 Laghurudrabhishek(1Person) 1100/-
4 Shodasopachar Pooja(1 Person) 5200/-
5 Baal Bhog 900/-
6 Entire Pujas of a day 5200
7 Morning Puja 170
     
  Evening Archana & Path (6 PM to 7:30 PM)  
1 Shiv Sahasranamam Paath (1 Person) 360
2 Shiv Mahimastrotra Paath (1 Person) 360
3 Shiv Thandavastrotra Paath (1 Person) 340
4 Sampurna Aarti (1 Person) 1500
     
  Daily Bhog & other services at Kedarnath  
1 Dainik Yagya Havan 1800
2 Akhand Jyothi Daily 3500
     
  Long Term (for 10 years) Puja & Bhog of Shri Kedarnathji  
1 Shri Bhagwan Mahabhog 12600
2 Shri Bhagwan Maha Abhishek Puja 21000
3 Shri Bhagwan Abhishek Puja 11000
4 Shiv Sahasranam Stotra 1700
     
  Puja on Special Occasions in Kedarnath  
1 Shrawani Purnima Annakut 7550
2 Akhand Jyoti Yearly 26000
     
  Other offerings  
1 Donation for Renovation work 1001.00 or above
     
  Note:- During May & June Mahabhishek, Rudrabhishek & Laghu Rudrabhishek pujas are not performed at the Kedarnath temple  
     
     
     
  Shiva Sahasranamam Path – The 1008 names of Lord Shiva are recited in front of the Linga and proper Pooja and Abhishekam are done.

Shiva Mahimastotra Path – The Stotram is a Sanskrit composition originally composed by Pushpadanta in praise of Lord Shiva.

Shiva Thandavastotra Path – There are stotrams containing 16 syllables per stotra. They describe Lord Shiva’s power and beauty to the common man.

Daily Bhog Sevas – Several Bhogs (Food spread) can be offered to the Lord. They are Uttam Bhog, Vishesha Bhog, Nitya Bhog and Sonvarav Sankranti.
 

Annual Uthsavas

  1. Badri – Kedar Utsav :
    The festival is usually organized in month of June. Artists from all over Uttaranchal come together to showcase their musical talent dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated over 8 days.
  2. Shravani Annakoot Mela :
    The Mela is celebrated on this day before the Raksha Bandhan festival. The entire Jyotirlinga is covered with cooked rice. Several Poojas are performed on this day. The rice is then distributed as Prasad to devotees. This Prasad is believed to be special as it is considered as blessing from Lord Shiva himself.
  3. Samadhi Pooja :
    Grand Pooja is held every year on Samadhi of the Saint Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The event is held on this day the Kedarnath Temple closes. The day is observed with much reverence and respect.