The Kedarnath Temple is one of the prime pilgrim centres in the country. Set at a high altitude in the state of Uttarakhand, the temple is visited by lakhs of Hindus every year. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as lord shiva in ‘Sadashiva’ form. The grand and impressive structure of Lord Shiva’s shrine is made of grey stone. Steep climb stretching to 14 km from Gauri Kund brims with abundant beauty of nature. The paved and steep path gifts the pilgrims the fantastic views of snowy-peaks, alpine meadows and delightful forests of rhododendrons. A large stone statue of Nandi Bull stares at the shrine, guarding it, sitting right opposite it.
The historical name of this place is “Kedar Khand” and legend says that, the Pandavas with the guilt of killing their blood relatives, Pandavas sought Lord Shiva to absolve themselves of their sins. Shiva didn’t want to release them from their wrongdoings so easily and disguised himself as a bull to roam in Garhwal Himalayas. On being discovered by Pandavas, Shiva dived into the ground. Bhim tried to catch him and could only get hold of the hump. Other body parts of Shiva (in the form of bull), came up at different places.
Hump of the bull was found in Kedarnath, navel emerged at Madhya-Maheshwar, two forelegs appeared at Tunganath, face in Rudranath, and hair came up at Kalpeshwar. Together these five sacred places are called Panch Kedar. It is believed that originally Pandavas built the temple of Kedarnath; the present temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya who restored and revived the glory of the shrine.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Kedarnath temple is from April/May to June and September to October/November. Monsoon brings the threat of landslides and floods while winters bring heavy snowfall and below zero temperatures.
How to reach
By Air: Jolly Grant airport on Rishikesh-Dehradun road is the nearest airport to Kedarnath. Hire a taxi to Gaurikund or till Haridwar/Rishikesh.
By Train: Regular trains from Delhi to Haridwar and Dehradun are available at all times of the year. Hire a cab or get a bus from here.
By Bus: Gaurikund is connected with motorable roads, and buses and taxis from important destinations like Rishikesh, Dehradun, Uttarkashi and Tehri, Pauri and Chamoli are easily available.