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Kedarnath is one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited. It is located on the bank of the Mandakini River between Gangotri and Badrinath about 3600 m above sea level. This place can be visited between May and October because during the winter due to heavy snowfall the Temple is closed and no one stays in Kedarnath.

A journey to Kedarnath begins at Gaurikund. From there, you have to walk about 14 km up a steep incline to get to Kedarnath. The trek is slow and tiresome. If you cannot walk, you can rent a horse or you can be carried by four people up the hill. As the walk is very tought, it is advised to carry as little as possible things with you.

On the half of the way there is a place called Rambara (about 7 km from Gaurikund) which has a few simple eating places where you can take a rest. Once you reach Kedarnath, there you can find several Ashrams and Tourist Bungalows where you can spend the night.

The main reason why milions of pilgrimage visit this place every year is the Kedarnath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is said to have been built by the Pandavas to atone for their sins after the Kurukshetra war and that the present temple was reconstructed by Shankaracharya in the 8th century.

The temple faces south, which is an unique future, as most temples face east. Inside there is an irregular three-faced lingam, representing the hump of Lord Shiva when he took the form of a bull. Another unique future is that pilgrims are allowed to touch the lingam, perform worship, abhishek and puja.

In front of the Temple there is a Nandi statue and behind the temple there is a marble staff to commemorate Shankaracarya. By some schools, it is believed that he left his body here.

There is a story connected to the Kedarnath Temple. It is said that after Kurukshetra war, Pandavas decided to ask Lord Shiva for his blessings to relieve them from the sinful reactions  from killing so many people during the war. They first went to Kashi (Varanasi) to find Shiva but he fled to Uttaranchal (Guptakashi) and lived there incognito. Eventually the Pandavas found him there so Shiva turned himself into the bull to hide. But Bhima recognized him and grabbed the bull by the tail. Then the bull sank into the ground and Shiva appeared before them. He instructed them to worship the remaining hump of the bull (which is now present in the Kedarnath Temple). So the Temple  was constructed  and worship has been going on here ever since.

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One thought on “Kedarnath

  1. It was nice to read the story behind Kedarnath again. I didn’t know quite a few details of the place, which I just learned thanks to your post. I saw a map at Kedarnath of the different sights/points of interests there, such as caves, treks, and such associated with the Pandavas, etc. Have you explored these by any chance or know about these as well? If you do, it would be lovely to read a post by you about these nearby places in Kedarnath.

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