KEDARNATH » The Kedarnath shrine, one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is a scenic spot situated, against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range. At an altitude of 3,581 mt it is a 14 km trek from Gaurikund.
Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions – love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms.
There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in Chamoli district itself, the most important one is Kedarnath. According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the from of a bull.
On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations.
The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.
How to reach :
Air : Jolly grant (Dehradun) – 239 km away from Kedarnath of which 225 km is by road and rest 14 km is on foot.
Rail : Railhead at Rishikesh, 221 km away of which 207 km is by road and the rest 14 km is on foot.
Railhead at Kotdwara, 250 km away, of which 236 km is by road and rest 14 km is on foot.
Road : Kedarnath is approachable on foot from Gaurikund, which is connected by road with Rishikesh, Kotdwara, Dehradun, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon Hills.
Bus : This service is available at Rishikesh, Haridwar and Kotdwara for Gaurikund. During yatra season, some special Yatra services are also arranged to Gaurikund.
Distance from Rishikesh to Kedarnath 223 km, via Deoprayag 70 km, Shrinagar 35 km, Rudraprayag 34 km, Tilwara 9 km, Agastyamuni 0 km, Kund 15 km, Guptkashi 5 km, Fata 11 km, Rampur 9 km, Sonprayag 3 km Gaurikund 5 km, Rambara 7 km, Garurchatti 4 km, Sri Kedarnath 3 km.
Transport : Buses, private taxies and other light vehicles also ply between Rishikesh and Gaurikund-Badrinath and back. The charges are not fixed.
Horses, Dandies and Ponies are available at Gaurikund for going and carrying luggage to Kedarnath.
Kedarnath Temple : An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard.
Dedicate to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut grey slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a “Garbha Griha” for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.