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Kedarnath is situated about 77 kms. from Rudraparayg. Kedarnath is situated amidst the background of snow covered mountain peaks of the majestic Kedarnath range, at an altitude of 3584 meters on the head of the Mandakiniriver. The Kedarnath temple is one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas' of Lord Shiva and one of the holiest pilgrimage shrine for the Hindus. The Kedarnath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and visited by many pilgrims every year.
The main idol in the temple is the linga of Lord Shiva, in pyramidal shape. In summers, the temperature is very cool during the day and cold at night and in winters, it is very cold during the day and chilly at night and below zero. During the winters, the shrine is submerged in the snow and closed. The ideal time to visit this place is between May and October. Hindi, Garhwali and English are the main languages which are spoken here.
History of Kedarnath
The origin of the Kedarnath temple can be found in the great epic, Mahabharata. According to legend, the Pandavas sought the blessings of the Lord Shiva to atone their sins after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed, he dived into the ground, leaving behind his hump on the surface. This conical form is worshipped as the idol in the shrine. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva are worshipped at four places-the arms (bahu) at Tungnath, mouth (mukha) at Rudranath, naval (nabhi) at Madmaheshwar and hair (jata) at Kalpeshwar. Together with Kedarnath, these places are known as the PanchKedar.
Tourist Attractions in Kedarnath
The main tourist attraction in Kedarnath is the Kedarnath Temple. Besides this temple, the Shankaracharya Samadhi and Gandhi Sarovar are the other worth visiting places.
TheKedarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is believed to be about more than 1000 years old and more impressive than the Badrinath temple. The temple was built in the 8th century AD by Adi Guru Shankaracharya and lies adjacent to the site of an ancient temple built by Pandavas. This temple is built of large, heavy and evenly cut grey slabs of stones and unpainted. The walls of the temple are embellished with the figures of deities and scenes from mythology. This temple comprises of a simple, squat, curved tower, a garbhagriha with the pyramidal lingam and a wooden roofed mandapa (hall) for seating of pilgrims and visitors.
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, about 251 kms. fromKedarnath.
The nearest railway station is located in Rishikesh, about 234 kms. toKausani.
Kedarnath is well approachable by foot or ponies from Gaurikund, which is situated about 14 kms. Gaurikund is connected by road to Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwar, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon.