Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, shrines which are said to be the most sacred abodes of Shiva. The temple is located in the Kedarnath town of Uttarakhand, India. The temple is situated at an elevation of 3,583 meters (11,755 feet) in the Himalayas, near the Mandakini River. The temple is also known for its scenic beauty and spiritual significance, as it was once a place where the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata sought forgiveness from Shiva for their sins.
Location of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple
The Kedarnath temple is about 223 km (139 mi) from Rishikesh city, which is well connected by flights, trains and buses from various cities in India. The temple can also be reached by road from nearby towns such as Rudraprayag, Guptkashi and Gaurikund. The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 22 km (14 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund. Pony, mule and palanquin service is available to reach the temple. Alternatively, helicopter service is also available from Phata, Sersi and Guptkashi to Kedarnath.
Timing of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple
The Kedarnath temple is open for darshan (viewing) from 4 am to 9 pm every day. The temple has four aartis (rituals) daily: at 4 am, 10 am, 5 pm and 7:30 pm. The temple also has a special aarti called Shayan Aarti, which is performed at 8:30 pm using lamps and incense. This aarti is considered to be very sacred and serene, as it symbolizes the resting of Shiva and Parvati. The temple charges a nominal fee for entry and photography.
Rituals of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple
The Kedarnath temple has various rituals and ceremonies that are performed by the priests and devotees throughout the year. Some of the main rituals are:
- Abhishek: This is the ritual of bathing the idol of Shiva with water, milk, honey, curd, ghee and other substances. This is done to express devotion and gratitude to Shiva and to seek his blessings. Devotees can perform abhishek by themselves or by booking online through the temple website.
- Rudrabhishek: This is a special abhishek that involves chanting the Rudram, a hymn from the Vedas that praises Shiva as the destroyer of evil and the source of all creation. This is done to invoke Shiva’s grace and protection from all kinds of troubles and calamities. Devotees can perform rudrabhishek by themselves or by booking online through the temple website.
- Mahapuja: This is a grand puja (worship) that involves offering various items such as flowers, fruits, sweets, clothes and ornaments to Shiva. This is done to express love and reverence to Shiva and to seek his fulfillment of all desires. Devotees can perform mahapuja by themselves or by booking online through the temple website.
- Pradakshina: This is the ritual of circumambulating (walking around) the temple in a clockwise direction. This is done to show respect and devotion to Shiva and to imbibe his positive energy and vibrations. Devotees can do pradakshina as many times as they wish.
Importance of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple
The Kedarnath temple is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus, especially for Shaivites (followers of Shiva). The temple has a long and rich history, with evidence of its existence dating back to the 8th century AD. The temple has been visited and praised by many saints, poets and kings, such as Adi Shankara, Kalidasa, Raja Bhoj and Raja Man Singh I.
The Kedarnath temple is believed to be the place where Shiva manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga, a pillar of light, to prove his supremacy over other gods. The temple is also believed to be the place where Shiva absolved the sins of the Pandavas, who sought his forgiveness after killing their cousins in the Kurukshetra war. The temple is also believed to be the place where Shiva blessed his devotee Nara-Narayana, an incarnation of Vishnu, with a vision of his cosmic form. The temple is also believed to be the place where Shiva granted his devotee Upamanyu, a sage, with the boon of eternal youth and immortality.
The Kedarnath temple is a symbol of faith, power and devotion for millions of Hindus across the world. The temple attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year, who come to seek the blessings of Shiva and to witness the beauty and magnificence of the temple.
Significance of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple
The Kedarnath temple has a great significance for Hindus, as it represents one of the aspects of Shiva, the supreme god of Hinduism. Shiva is known by many names and forms, such as Mahadev (the great god), Nataraj (the lord of dance), Rudra (the fierce one), Neelkanth (the blue-throated one), Bholenath (the simple one) and many more. Shiva is also known as Kedarnath, which means “the lord of Kedar” or “the lord of the field”.
Kedarnath is the aspect of Shiva that symbolizes austerity and detachment. He is the ascetic who meditates in the Himalayas, away from the worldly pleasures and distractions. He is the master of yoga and tantra, who teaches his devotees the secrets of spiritual liberation. He is the lord of the mountains, glaciers and rivers, where he resides with his consort Parvati and his sons Ganesha and Kartikeya.
The Kedarnath temple is dedicated to Shiva as Kedarnath, who is worshipped as the giver of salvation, wisdom and prosperity. The temple is also dedicated to Shiva as Jyotirlinga, which means “the linga (symbol) of light”. A Jyotirlinga is a representation of Shiva’s infinite power and presence, which can be seen and felt by his devotees. A Jyotirlinga is also a manifestation of Shiva’s grace and compassion, which can heal and transform his devotees.
The Kedarnath temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India, which are considered to be the most sacred shrines of Shiva. Each Jyotirlinga has a different name and story associated with it, which reveals a different aspect of Shiva’s personality and attributes. By visiting and worshipping these Jyotirlingas, devotees can experience the various facets of Shiva’s glory and benevolence.
How to reach Kedarnath temple?
The Kedarnath temple can be reached by road, rail or air. The nearest airport is Dehradun airport, which is about 238 km (148 mi) away from the temple. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh railway station, which is about 223 km (139 mi) away from the temple. The temple can also be reached by road from nearby towns such as Rudraprayag, Guptkashi and Gaurikund. The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 22 km (14 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund. Pony, mule and palanquin service is available to reach the temple. Alternatively, helicopter service is also available from Phata, Sersi and Guptkashi to Kedarnath.
When is the best time to visit Kedarnath temple?
The best time to visit Kedarnath temple is from May to October, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable. The temple can also be visited during festivals such as Mahashivaratri, Akshaya Tritiya, Basant Panchami and Diwali, when the temple is decorated and celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm.
What are the other attractions near Kedarnath temple?
There are many other attractions near Kedarnath temple that can be explored by the visitors. Some of them are:
Chorabari Lake: This is a glacial lake that lies about 3 km (1.9 mi) from Kedarnath town. It offers a stunning view of the snow-capped peaks and the reflection of the Kedarnath temple in its waters.
Vasuki Tal: This is another glacial lake that lies about 8 km (5 mi) from Kedarnath town. It is surrounded by lush green meadows and wildflowers.
Gandhi Sarovar: This is a small lake that lies about 2 km (1.2 mi) from Kedarnath town. It is named after Mahatma Gandhi, whose ashes were immersed here in 1948.
The Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is a divine and majestic temple that showcases the power and devotion of Hinduism. The temple is a testimony of the faith and courage of the Hindus, who have preserved and maintained the temple despite several challenges and calamities. The temple is a source of inspiration and solace for millions of pilgrims and tourists, who come to seek the blessings of Shiva and to witness the beauty and magnificence of the temple. The Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is not just a temple, but a living legend that embodies the spirit and essence of Hinduism.