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Kedarnath, one of the Char Dham’s and 12 Jyotirlingas, is located 11,755 feet above sea level in the stunning Himalayas near the source of the Mandakini River. The name "Kedarnath" comes from the Sanskrit words "kedara" (field) and "Nath" (God), meaning "God of the field." Kedarnath is famous for its temple and the mysterious aura around it. The Kedarnath Temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, known as the most powerful temples of Bhagawan Shiva. It is also one of the Panch Kedars and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.


Story Behind Kedarnath Temple:

The Kedarnath Temple is built with gray stone slabs held together by iron clamps, without any mortar. This unique construction has made the temple strong and long-lasting. The story of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is told in Chapter 19 of the Kotirudra Samhita in the Shiva Purana. According to the legend, Nara-Narayana, divine incarnations of Bhagawan Vishnu, were doing intense penance at Badrikashrama Khanda in Bharatavarsha. Bhagawan Shiva would appear daily as a Parthiva-Linga to accept their worship. At their request, Shiva decided to stay there permanently and manifested as the Jyotirlinga on the snowy Kedara mountain. Bhagawan Shiva, in the form of Kedaresvara, fulfills the wishes of all who visit or worship the linga.


History of Kedarnath Temple:

There are different theories about who built the Kedarnath Temple. Some believe Raja Bhoj of Malwa built it, others say Adi Shankaracharya in the eighth century. There is also a legend that the Pandavas from the Mahabharata built it, but the Mahabharata does not mention Kedarnath. Scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun say the Kedarnath Temple survived being buried under snow for four hundred years. This happened during the Little Ice Age, from 1300 to 1900 AD, when many parts of the Earth had extensive snow. During this time, the temple and its surroundings were covered by snow and became part of the glaciers. The Kedarnath region is surrounded by the Chorabari glacier and mountains on three sides. Legend says five rivers—Mandakini, Madhuganga, Chhirganga, Saraswati, and Swarndari—once flowed here, though not all exist today. Archaeologists say the temple is at least 3,000 years old. Inscriptions from 650 to 850 AD describe the temple's beauty but do not mention snow or glaciers. This suggests three possibilities:

(a) The glacier was further away,

(b) The temple was built when there was no glacier, or

(c) The temple was built by cutting through the snow.


The temple's structure has yellow lines, formed by the glacier moving over the stones. This shows that the temple survived being buried under snow for four hundred years and avoided major damage from the glacier. Some may see this as a miracle or the power of devotion. 


Two unique features of the Kedarnath Temple are:

1. Interior Beauty: The temple's interior displays scenes from Indian epics. A small hall in front of the main shrine has intricate images of Parvati, Shiva's consort, and the five Pandavas from the Mahabharata. The entrance hall features statues of Krishna, the Pandavas, Draupadi, Nandi (Shiva's bull), and Virabhadra (a fierce form of Shiva).

2. Rituals by the Rawal Community: All ceremonies at the temple are performed by the Rawal community from Karnataka. Since the 10th century AD, these priests have conducted rituals in the Kannada language, following the same traditions for centuries. This long-standing practice adds cultural significance to the temple's rituals.


Several places near Kedarnath add to its beauty and spiritual importance:

1. Bhairav Temple: Dedicated to Bhaironath, a fierce form of Bhagawan Shiva, this temple is important for ceremonies during the opening and closing of the Kedarnath Temple. It enhances the region's religious fervour.

2. Agastya Muni: Believed to be the home of the sage Agastya Rishi, this area has the Agasteshwar Mahadev Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Devotees come here to seek blessings.

3. Chorabhari Tal: At 3,900 meters, this picturesque lake offers stunning views of the Himalayan peaks and is a favourite spot for nature lovers and trekkers.

Our View:

According to the Puranas, there is a belief that in the future, the current Badrinath Dham and Kedarnath Temple will vanish, and a new divine place called Bhavishya Badri will appear. It is said that two nearby mountains are moving closer, and when they meet, this change will happen. This belief adds spiritual significance and curiosity for devotees and pilgrims.

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