The Kedarnath temple in the Himalayas is a thousand-year-old temple and an important shrine in the Hindu region. It is one of the important 12 Jyotirlingas in India.
It is located at an altitude of 3583 m above the sea level and on the banks of River Mandakini near the Chorabari Glacier in Uttarakhand. Kedarnath is one of the Char Dham Yatra. It is considered the most pious abode of Lord Shiva. It is created by the Pandavas of Mahabharata, the present temple is designed by Adi Guru Shankaracharya.
Kedarnath Temple Architecture: A classic example of Engineering
The temple was founded in the 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya. The first hall inside the temple is decorated with 5 statues. The five Pandava brothers, Lord Krishna, Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva and Virabhadra, one of the guards of Shiva. It contains a statue of Draupadi and other deities in the main hall. The Kedar temple has 16 “Garbha Griha” inside which a conical rock formation is worshipped. A Mandap, suitable for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors is also present.
Interesting Facts about Kedarnath Temple
1. Under Snow till 400 years
The district of Rudraprayag was under snow for 400 years (Little Ice Age). As per the research, the stray yellow lines on the temple wall and even inside the temple show signs of glacial movement. The temple had not only withstood these hostile and extreme weather changes but also escaped any serious damage.
2. The creation of Kedarnath
When Nara-Narayan went to Badrika village and started to worship shiva. A pleased Shiva appeared and asked them for a wish. Nara-Narayan requested Shiva to remain there in the Shiva lingam for the welfare of humanity. Granting their wish, in a place called Kedar in the Himalayas, Shiva himself stayed there as a Jyotirlingam, which is known as Kedareshwara.
3. Protection of Kedarnath
Kedarnath is protected by Bhairo Nath Temple which is located close to the main temple. According to the stories, Bhairon Nath Ji drives away evil spirits and keeps the temple free from any kind of damage.
4. Shiva statue without head
As per mythology, Pandavas travels to Kashi in search of Lord Shiva’s forgiveness. Lord Shiva left Kashi and hid in the guise of a bull. When Bheem identified him he began to sink within the earth. The idol of Lord Shiva inside the temple is without a head.
5. Eternally protected by the divine
The unpredictable extreme weather makes it difficult for anyone to reach Kedarnath easily. During the 2013 floods which left nothing, whereas the temple surprisingly remained undamaged. According to the camera, a massive rock somehow holds on to the rear portion of the massive temple. This saved the temple from complete demolition.
6. A part of Panch Kedar
Kedarnath is in fact, five temples put together into one. Hence the name Panch Kedar. Each of these 5 holy places has a special significance attached to Lord Shiva.
7. The highest of 12 Jyotirlingas
The Kedarnath Temple is the highest of all Jyotirlingas in India and built from huge stone slabs on a rectangular platform 6ft high. The height of the temple is 1348m and constructed 1000 years ago.
Best Time to Visit Kedarnath Temple:
The Kedarnath temple is open for 6 months of the year. The best time to visit Kedarnath is from April to September. Also, the weather conditions are important to consider before you plan a trip. Many visit Kedarnath specially during the month of September.