Dimple Arora reports on the sacred sanctuaries of Hindus, Kedarnath Temple.
Kedarnath Temple, located in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district, is one of Lord Shiva’s most beloved sanctuaries. It is supposed to be one of Lord Shiva’s twelve Jyotirlingas and is part of the Char Dham Yatra. It is located at an elevation of 3,583 meters.
The temple is surrounded by snow-capped Himalayan peaks and is situated near the Mandakini River. The trek to Kedarnath is a challenging one, and it is advised that people who have respiratory or cardiac problems should avoid visiting the temple. The journey to Kedarnath Temple is considered a spiritual journey, and the views on the way are mesmerizing.
The history of Kedarnath Temple dates back to the ancient Hindu epic, Mahabharata. According to legend, the Pandavas sought the blessings of Lord Shiva to atone for the sins they committed during the Kurukshetra War. However, Lord Shiva was not ready to meet them, and he disguised himself as a bull to evade them. The Pandavas, with the help of Draupadi, managed to recognize Lord Shiva, and he granted them his blessings. It is believed that the temple was built at the same spot where Lord Shiva appeared in front of the Pandavas.
The temple was initially built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century, but it was destroyed several times by natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes. The present structure of the temple was built in the 18th century by the Gorkha king, Amar Singh Thapa. The temple is built of large stone slabs, and the walls are adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures.
The main deity of the temple is Lord Kedarnath, who is represented in the form of a lingam. The temple also houses the idols of other deities such as Lord Ganesha, Goddess Parvati, and Lord Kartikeya. The temple is open only for six months a year, from April to November, as it remains snow-bound during the winter months.
The temple attracts a large number of devotees every year, and it is believed that a visit to Kedarnath Temple can wash away one’s sins and grant them salvation. The temple is also an important pilgrimage site for Hindus, and it is believed that a visit to the temple is incomplete without a dip in the nearby Tapt Kund, which is a natural hot water spring.
In recent years, Kedarnath Temple has faced several challenges due to natural calamities. In 2013, a flash flood caused extensive damage to the temple and the surrounding areas. However, the temple was soon restored, and the government has taken several measures to ensure the safety and security of the pilgrims.
Also, Kedarnath Temple is a spiritual journey that is not only a test of physical endurance but also a test of one’s faith. The temple’s history, architecture, and location make it a unique pilgrimage site that attracts millions of devotees every year. A visit to Kedarnath Temple is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.