Kedarnath

Kedarnath is a Hindu holy town located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is a nagar panchayat in Rudraprayag district. The most remote of the four Char Dham sites, Kedarnath is located in the Himalayas, about 3584m above sea level near the head of river Mandakini, and is flanked by breathtaking snow-capped peaks. Kedarnath hosts one of the holiest Hindu temples, the Kedarnath Temple, and is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world, being one of the four major sites in India's Chota Char Dham pilgrimage. Kedarnath is named in honour of King Kedar who ruled in the Satya Yuga. He had a daughter named Vrinda who was a partial incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. She performed austerities for 60000 years. In honour of her, the land is named Vrindavan. However, Kedarnath and its temple exist from the Mahabharata Era when the Pandavas are supposed to have pleased Lord Shiva by doing penance there.

There are 2 ways to reach Kedarnath: 1) By foot for a steep 14 km trek through a paved path (horses or palanquins are available for rent) from Gaurikund, which is connected by road from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and other known hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon regions in Uttarakhand 2) Through air travel. KEDAR DARSHAN is a decent helicopter service operating from Gupt Kashi in Rudra Prayag district.The fare is reasonable. The temple opens on Akshaya Tritiya (April end or first week of May) and closes on Bhai Duj (October end or 1st week of November) due to heavy snowfall and extreme cold weather during winter. Gaurikhund is 75 km from Rudraprayag. In between Rudraprayag and Kedarnath there are several places of pilgrimage such as Agastyamuni, Ukhimath, Phauli- Pasalat Devi Maa, Bamsu (Lamgoundi) Vanasur, Maa Kali at Kalimath, Trijugi Narayan (7 km from Son Prayag) (Where Lord Shankar got married to Goddess Parwati from when the fire of hawan kund is still alive) and Kashi Vishwanath at Guptakashi.

KEDAR DARSHAN: is a decent helicopter service operating from Gupt Kashi in Rudra Prayag district.The fare is reasonable. (give the other helicopter services names also) There are several guest houses in Kedarnath like Birla House, Sanjay Shukla Lodge, Maharastra Mandal, Kali Kamali Dharmasala etc. All of them have nominal charges and provide lodging as well as food. pooja /prasad (shukla pooja prasad center near birla mangal niketan).Udak Kund is also located here.

It is written in Kedar Khand of Shiv Mahapuran that the water of Udak Kund is a mixture of all the 5 Oceans and always remains fresh even when kept for many years. The holy water of Udak Kund is used for purification rituals. Hans Kund, Bharo Nath, Navdurga Mandir, Shankaracharya Samadhi, Ishaneswar Mahadev Temple, Ret Kund, Panch Ganga Sangam, Chaurwari Taal now known as Gandhi Sarowar, Bashuki Taal are also places to visit here.

Panch Kedar

  1. Kedarnath
  2. Madhmaheshwar (3289 m)
  3. Tungnath (3810 m)
  4. Rudranath (2286 m)
  5. Kalpashwar (2134 m)

Rishikesh (218 kms) Pipalkoti-(15 kms)-Helang-( 09 kms trek) Urgam-(02 kms) Kalpeshwar

EXCURSIONS

Gandhi Sarovar
Only a km trek away from Kedarnath. Floating - ice on the crystal clear waters of the lake fascinates the visitors.

Vasuki Tal
Situated at a height of 4150mt, the lake is surrounded by high mountains and offers an excellent view of Chaukhamba peaks.

Trijuginarayan
According to legend, this was the place where the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati was solemnised. In front of the Shiva Temple is an eternal flame, which is said to be a witness to the marriage. It can be reached by a 12 km drive from Sonprayag.

History

According to legend, Lord Shiva wished to elude the Pandavas, who had come to seek penitence for having killed their kin in the battle of Kurukshetra. He took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, found Shiva amongst a herd of cattle. Having identified the meanest and most arrogant of the herd as Shiva, Bhima is said to have grabbed him by the hindquarters. What remains at the shrine in Kedarnath is the rear end of the bull, with the rest of its body scattered throughout the Garhwal. Shiva dived into the ground leaving behind him a hump on the surface. This conical protrusion is worshipped as the idol. It is the main site of the Panch Kedar temples.

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