KedarNath Temple
  


Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Mandir is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located atop the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only (April end or first week of May) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon or October end or 1st week of November). During the winters, the murtis (idols) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. In this region Lord Shiva is worshipped as kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of the region. This temple is a Paadal Petra Sthalam, praised by the Tamil Nayanars saints in 6th-9th century CE.

The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 14 km uphill trek from Gaurikund. The temple is believed to have been built by Adi Sankaracharya and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. The older temple existed from the times of Mahabharata, when the Pandavas are supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath. The temple is also one of the four major cities in India's Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of Northern Himalayas.

Jyotirlinga

As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (The Hindu God of saving) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity. The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyotirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyotirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyotirlinga sites takes the name of presiding deity each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is 'lingam' representing the beginingless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.

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