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Kedarnath Dham

Kedarnath Dham is a sacred temple nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, India. It holds immense significance in Hindu mythology and spirituality, drawing pilgrims and tourists from all corners of the globe. The temple of Kedarnath is situated at an altitude of around 3,584 meters above from the sea level, surrounded by amazing and splendid mountainous landscapes.

The main or the focal point of Kedarnath is the revered temple of Kedarnath, dedicated to lord Shiva. The Kedarnath temple is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of lord Shiva, one of the most believed and celebrated gods in Hinduism. Laksh of lord Shiva’s devotees come here to visit the Kedarnath temple and to take a glimpse of Shiva and seek blessings from him.

According to the Hindu mythology, the temple of Kedarnath was built by the heroes of the epic Mahabharata when they wanted to seek blessing from lord Shiva and it stand as a symbol of their devotion towards their lord. The temple’s architecture is very simple and yet awe and inspiring, reflecting the amazing and majestic beauty of surrounding Kedarnath Dham.

Kedar which means power and it symbolizes lord Shiva who is considered as the divine guardian and the destroyer of the universe. The serene environment surrounding the Kedarnath temple resembles tranquillity which makes it a perfect for meditation. The Kedarnath temple is the main draw here and it attracts devotees from all over the world. The tourism of Kedarnath is boosted by the natural beauty, religious vibe, promising visitors truly a special experience in such a divine place.

Devotees make a very tough journey to reach at the Kedarnath, trekking up for continuous 16 kilo meters. The pilgrims embark on this tough journey to reach to the temple of Kedarnath is considered as an act of faith, devotion and penance to their god, Lord Shiva. The way to reach at Kedarnath temple is pretty hard and filled with a lot of difficulties along with the bad weather but as the faith towards Shiva give them strength to reach at the Kedarnath temple and seek blessings, En route the devotees will be greeted with the breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, dense valleys, waterfalls which enhance the spiritual journey of Kedarnath Dham.

Kedarnath Dham : About and History of Temple

About the Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple stands as a revered shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, a significant Hindu deity. Originally built in the 8th century AD by Adi Shankaracharya, it holds historical importance, with its location adjacent to an earlier temple constructed by the Pandavas of the Mahabharata epic. As one of India's oldest temples, it draws countless devotees seeking blessings from Lord Shiva.

Following the devastating 2013 Kedarnath floods, efforts to rehabilitate the temple complex have been underway. Modern amenities such as helipads and new guest houses have been added, alongside the introduction of online booking facilities for puja services. Devotees can now book pujas online without the need for physical presence, streamlining the process for worshippers near and far.

At Kedarnath Temple, rituals begin at 4:00 am with the Maha Abhishek ceremony and end around 7:00 pm with the Shyam aarti. The temple opens its doors to the general public around 6:00 am for darshan, allowing devotees to witness the divine presence of Lord Shiva.

Visitors have the opportunity to touch the sacred idol and perform Abhishek with ghee until 3:00 pm. However, after 5:00 pm, approaching the idol directly is restricted, although devotees can still receive darshan from a distance. Notably, the temple is accessible for only six months of the year, aligning with astrological conditions when the sun enters the zodiac sign of Aries and Scorpio is in full eclipse, emphasizing the significance of timing in pilgrimage to this holy site.

History of the Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath temple’s history dates back to ancient times, as old as the scrolls of history itself. According to Hindu sculptures and texts, it was Adi Shankaracharya, a wise philosopher from the 8th century, who rediscovered this sacred site. The temple, said to be over a thousand years old, is believed to be his creation, showcasing remarkable ancient architecture. But beyond its physical origins, Kedarnath holds deep roots in Hindu mythology. Legend says that after the great Mahabharata war, the Pandavas sought Lord Shiva's forgiveness here. To avoid them, Lord Shiva transformed into a bull and vanished into the earth, leaving behind his hump. This sacred hump, worshipped as the divine conical stone (Lingam), is enshrined in the Kedarnath temple, symbolizing the everlasting presence of Lord Shiva.

It is also believed that the Goddess Parvati prayed here to Kedareshwar to unite with lord Shiva as Ardhnareeshwar. The Bhairon ji which is dedicated to lord Bhairav who is being worshipped here at the opening and closing day of Kedarnath Dham, it is believed that lord Bhairav protect this divine land from evils during the kedarnath Dham remains closed. The temple of Kedarnath is more than 1000 years old.

Kedarnath Weather

Kedarnath temple is located in the Uttarakhand state, India. The temple is situated in the Garhwal Himalayas region. The weather here at Kedarnath Dham varies markedly throughout the year due to its high altitude and the surrounding mountains.

Summer: May – June months are considered the summer season here at Kedarnath and during summer the weather remain pretty pleasant with the temperature ranging from around 4 – 20. The summer season is considered as the best time to visit the Kedarnath temple.

Monsson: July – Mid September are the monsoon season here and during this time span the valley of Kedarnath faces heavy rainfall and landslides, so the monsoon season is not a very good time to visit the Kedarnath temple.

Autumn: The months of Mid-September - early-November are considered as autumn season and it is also a very good time to visit the Kedarnath temple, as the weather during this season remain very calm and pleasant. The temperature ranges from 0 to 14.

Winter: Mid-November - April are the winter season here and during this time span the temple remain close because of heavy snowfall. The temperature ranges below 0.

Opening and the Closing of Kedarnath temple

The Kedarnath temple is closed for now and will re-open for the season of 2024 in early May month, the exact date for opening gets announced on “Maha Shiv Ratri”. And the temple closes two days after Diwali.

The opening date of Kedarnath temple depend upon the auspicious day of “Maha Shiv Ratri” and “Akshay Tritiya”, and also on the priests of Omkareshwar temple priests.

Additionally, the opening date of Kedarnath temple has been announced of “Maha Shiv Ratri” and the closing date has also been sent which is going to be the day of Bhai dooj which celebrated after Diwali morning. The opening day of Kedarnath Dham is considered as a very auspicious day and devotees from across the globe visit the temple to take a glimpse of lord Shiva. The Kedarnath temple will be closed after performing morning pooja and other rituals and will re-open next year. After closing the Kedarnath temple the Baba Kedar doli is taken at the omkareshwar temple, the winter abode of Kedarnath.

Pooja Bookings at Kedarnath temple

The devotees can now conveniently book Puja, Bhog, Paath, or Aarti online at Chardham Temples like Kedarnath and Badrinath. Through the Badri-Kedar website, registration and login are the initial steps. Then, select the desired service and provide necessary details. Payment is made online for the chosen ritual. This simple process enables devotees to schedule these sacred rituals from the comfort of their homes. With just a few clicks, one can ensure their prayers are conducted at these revered temples, making the booking experience easy and accessible.

Other Sightseeing places nearby Kedarnath Dham

Kedarnath Dham is located at a very serene place and it is surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty, several significant pilgrimages and tourist hotspots. Here are some nearby sightseeing places the tourists might consider to explore:

Chopta: Chopta is known as the “Mini Switzerland” of India, it is situated around 85 kilo meters away from the Kedarnath. It is a pretty popular hill station known for the scenic greenery, majestic view of the Himalayas.

Tungnath temple: The Tungnath temple is the highest situated Shiva temple, located in Chopta. This revered pilgrimage site is also visited by many lord Shiva devotees each year.

Triyuginarayan temple: The ancient temple, believed that lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married here. It is just 25 kilo meters away from Kedarnath temple.

Deoria Taal: It is a picturesque alpine lake in Chopta. The trek starts from saari village of chopta to reach Deoria Taal.

Rudraprayag: The confluence of two rivers (Alaknanda and Mandakini) is also a place the devotees might consider to explore.

How to reach Kedarnath Dham

To reach at Kedarnath Dham, devotees need to travel to Haridwar/Rishkesh first both of the cities are well connected by many cities of India by road and rail, after reaching at Haridwar/Rishikesh take a cab/bus to reach Sonprayag which is very important point for the pilgrimage. The next log of the journey involves a 16 kms long trek from Sonprayag to Kedarnath, which can be done on foot, pony, mule or helicopter. The route offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas and passes through several picturesque landscapes. Ensure you are well prepared to varying weather conditions and high-altitude challenges.