New Delhi ,
Kedarnath is a town located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, India. It is one of the four sacred pilgrimage sites in Hinduism, collectively known as Chota Char Dham. The other three sites are Yamunotri, Gangotri, and Badrinath. Kedarnath Dham holds immense significance in Hinduism and attracts millions of devotees every year. Let’s delve deeper into the importance, travel, legend, and history of Kedarnath Tirath Dham.
Importance of Kedarnath Tirath Dham
Kedarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. The Jyotirlingas are believed to be the supreme abode of Lord Shiva and are considered extremely auspicious in Hinduism. The Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is believed to grant liberation from all sins, and it is said that seeing the Jyotirlinga in Kedarnath can bestow great spiritual benefits. The town of Kedarnath is also considered to be the gateway to the Himalayas, and many trekkers use it as a starting point for their journeys.
Travel to Kedarnath Tirath Dham
Kedarnath is a remote town, located at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level. The town can only be reached by foot or on horseback, as there are no roads leading to it. The trek to Kedarnath can be challenging, but the journey is incredibly rewarding. The trek is approximately 16 km long and can take up to 8-9 hours, depending on one’s pace. The trek passes through beautiful landscapes, and the views of the Himalayas are breathtaking. It is advisable to carry warm clothes, comfortable shoes, and a first aid kit while trekking to Kedarnath.
Legend of Kedarnath Tirath Dham
According to Hindu mythology, the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata, visited Kedarnath to seek forgiveness for the sins they committed during the Kurukshetra war. They were advised by Lord Shiva to worship him in the form of a bull, which they did by creating a lingam out of snow. The lingam at Kedarnath is believed to be the same lingam worshipped by the Pandavas. Another legend states that Kedarnath was named after King Kedar, who ruled in Satyuga.
History of Kedarnath Tirath Dham
The exact date of the construction of the Kedarnath Temple is not known, but it is believed to be between the 8th and 9th centuries. The temple has undergone several renovations over the years, and the present-day structure is believed to date back to the 12th century. Historians also believe that Shaivites have been visiting Kedarnath since before Adiguru Shankaracharya. The temple has been destroyed several times by natural calamities, including a massive flood in 2013, but it has always been rebuilt by devotees.
Accommodation and Facilities
Kedarnath has limited accommodation options, and most pilgrims prefer to stay in nearby towns such as Gaurikund and Guptkashi. There are several guesthouses and lodges in these towns that provide basic amenities such as food, water, and electricity. The Kedarnath Temple Committee also provides free accommodation to pilgrims in the form of dharamshalas.