Kedarnath Temple (Sanskrit: Kedarnath Mandir, IAST: Kedarnath Mandir, literally ‘temple of the lord of the region’) is a Hindu temple (temple) dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. This temple is located on the Garhwal Himalaya ranges near the Mandakini river in the state of Uttarakhand, India.
Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple remains open to the general public only between the months of April (Akshaya Tritiya) and November (Karthik Purnima, Sharad Purnima). During winters, the deity (deity) from the Kedarnath temple is taken to Ukhimath and where the deity is worshiped for the next six months. Kedarnath is seen as the equivalent of Shiva, the historical name of the region, ‘Lord of Kedarkhand’.
The temple cannot be reached directly by road and can be reached on a 22-kilometer (14 mi) climb from Gaurikund. Pony and Manchan service is available to reach the structure.
According to Hindu legends, the temple was initially built by the Pandavas and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, one of the holiest Hindu temples of Shiva. The Pandavas are believed to have worshiped Shiva by doing penance at Kedarnath. had pleased. The temple is one of the four major sites in the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage in the northern Himalayas of India and the first of the Panch Kedar pilgrimage sites. This temple is the tallest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.
Kedarnath was the most affected area in northern India during the flash floods of 2013. There was extensive damage to the temple complex, surrounding areas, and the city of Kedarnath, but no “major” damage to the temple structure, apart from some cracks on one side of the four walls that were caused by debris flowing from the high mountains. . A large rock amidst the rubble acted as a barrier to protect the temple from flooding. The surrounding campus and other buildings in the market area have suffered extensive damage.
It is one of the 275 Padal Petra Sthalams, a sacred Tamil Shaivite text described in Theevaram, written by 63 sages named Nayanars during the 6th and 7th centuries AD. This temple is sung by Thiruganasambandar and Sundarar in their Thevaram texts.
LEGEND BEHIND THE KEDARNATH TEMPLE
Plagued by the guilt of killing their relatives, the Pandavas sought Lord Shiva to be absolved of their sins. Shiva did not want to free them from their sins so easily and disguised himself as a bull to roam the Garhwal Himalayas. On being discovered by the Pandavas, Shiva took a dip in the ground.
Bhima tried to catch him and could only catch the hump. Other parts of Shiva’s body (in the form of a bull) came out at different places. The hump of the bull was found in Kedarnath, the navel emerged in Madhya-Maheshwar, two forearms in Tungnath, the face in Rudranath, and the hair in Kalpeshwar. These five holy places together are called Panch Kedar. It is believed that originally the Pandavas built the temple of Kedarnath; The present temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya who restored and revived the glory of the temple.
The temple was incorporated in the Uttar Pradesh State Government Act No. 30/1948 as Act No. 16,1939, which came to be known as Shri Badrinath and Shri Kedarnath Temple Act. A committee nominated by the state government administers both the temples. The act was amended in 2002 by the Uttarakhand state government, with a provision to add government officials and additional committee members, including a vice-chairman.
The Board has a total of seventeen members; Three elected by the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly, one member each by the District Councils of Chamoli, Pauri Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, and Uttarkashi districts, and ten members nominated by the Government of Uttarakhand. On the religious side, there is a Rawal (Chief Priest) and three other priests: the Naib Rawal, the Acharya/Dharmadhikari, and the Vedapati.
The administrative structure of the temple consists of a chief executive officer who carries out the orders of the state government. A Deputy Chief Executive Officer, two OSDs, an Executive Officer, an Accounts Officer, a Temple Officer, and a Publicity Officer assist the Chief Executive Officer.
The presiding image of Kedarnath in the form of a lingam is irregularly shaped with a circumference of 3.6 m (12 ft) and a height of 3.6 m (12 ft). There is a small pillared hall in front of the temple, which houses the images of Parvati and the five Pandava princes. There are five temples around Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar which make up the Panch Kedar pilgrimage site.
The first hall inside the Kedarnath temple houses the idols of the five Pandava brothers, Krishna, Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva, and Virabhadra, one of Shiva’s protectors. The idols of Draupadi and other deities are also installed in the main hall. An unusual feature of the temple is the head of a man carved into a triangular stone lingam. Such a head is seen inscribed in another temple built at the site of the marriage of Shiva and Parvati.
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Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have revived this temple along with other temples of Badrinath and Uttarakhand; He is believed to have attained Mahasamadhi at Kedarnath. Behind the temple is the Samadhi Temple of Adi Shankara.
The chief priest (Raval) of the Kedarnath temple belongs to the Veerashaiva community of Karnataka. However, unlike the Badrinath temple, the Rawals of the Kedarnath temple do not perform the puja. Worship is performed by Rawal’s assistants on his instructions. During the winter season, Rawal goes to Ukhimath with the deity. There are five chief priests for the temple, and they in turn become the head priest for a year.
The current (2013) Rawal of Kedarnath Temple is Shri Vagisha Lingacharya. Sri Vagish Lingacharya hails from Banuvalli village, Taluka Harihar in Davanagere district in Karnataka. The triangular-shaped lingam is worshiped in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
There are many symbols of Pandavas around Kedarnath. King Pandu died at Pandukeshwar. The tribals here perform a dance called “Pandava Leela”. When Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas, was leaving for heaven, one of his fingers fell on the earth.
At that Place Yudhishthira installed a Shiva Linga, which is the size of a thumb. Lord Shiva and Bhima fought with maces to get Mashisroop. Bhima repented. He started massaging Shiva’s body with ghee. In the memory of this incident, even today this triangular Shivling is massaged with ghee. Water and bilvapatra leaves are used for worship.
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