Kedarnath is one of the famous pilgrim spots in the northern part of India. It is located at an altitude of 3,584 m above sea level in Rudraprayag district of Uttaranchal state in India. Kedarnath is one of the major Joytirlings and is nestled in the green hills of Himalayas. This place is one of the four pilgrim spots in India, which every Hindu must visit to attain salvation. The other famous spots nearby this spot are Chamoli district near Rudraprayag district, Rishikesh (234 km) and Dehradun (250 km).
Kedarnath has a turbulent history which dates back to the period of Mahabharata. In Kurukshetra war, the Panch Pandavas killed their brothers. To expiate their sin, they needed the blessings of Lord Shiva. However, Lord Shiva constantly eluded them. He took the form of a bull and hid among the cattle herd. When Pandavas spotted him among the cattle herd, he dived towards the ground and left his hump there. This conical protrusion is worshipped as the Shiva idol in this temple. The other parts of the bull’s body were scattered all over Kedarnath. These parts are also worshipped in various places, arms at Tungnath, mouth at Rudranath, navel at Madmaheshwar and hair at Kapleshwar. Along with Kedarnath, these places are mentioned as Panch Kedar.
The Kedarnath temple is believed to be 1000 years old and was built by Adi Guru Sankaracharya in the 8th century. The architecture of the temple is of unusual delicacy and craftsmanship. Large grey stone slabs form the temple’s walls and are decorated with scenes from mythological stories and the images of deities. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple houses the ling in conical shape. It also has a Garbha Griha and a pavilion for gatherings.
The samadhi or eternal resting place of Adi Guru Sankaracharya can be seen just behind this temple. It is believed that Adi Guru Sankaracharya, after establishing the four pilgrimage centres took samadhi at the age of 32 years. Chorbari, the beautiful lake is just two km away from Kedarnath temple. Tourists can enjoy watching the ice floating on the surface of this lake. Six km away from this temple, tourists can have a picturesque view of the Vasuki Tal lake. This lake contains clear water and is surrounded by majestic hills on all sides.
Trekkers can have fun while trekking the 14 km from Gaurikund to Kedarnath. On the way one can worship Goddess Gauri in the temple dedicated to her. Adjoining this area one can see lots of thermal springs which are believed to have medicinal qualities. At about 20 km away from Kedarnath, one can have a panoramic view of the meeting point of two rivers namely river Son Ganga and river Mandakini.
Triyuginarayan is located 25 km away from Kedarnath. In this revered place, one can see an eternal flame burning even now, which is the witness to Lord Shiva marrying Goddess Parvati. Winters are cold and also this spot experiences heavy rainfall in the monsoons. The best time to visit would be from May till October.
Nearest airport is at Jolly Grant, Dehradun which is 251 km away from Kedarnath. The nearest railway stations are in Rishikesh (234 km) and Kotdwar (260 km).
This spot is easily accessible by road from all other cities such as Rishikesh, Haridwar, Badrinath etc.