Kedarnath Temple of Shiva National Highway No.109, Kedarnath-246445

It is one of the 12 JyotirLinga temple. The Shiva Lingam at Kedarnath, unlike its usual form, is pyramidal in shape. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.

Temple Etiquette

  • Footwear not allowed inside

    Footwear not allowed inside
    Footwear to be left outside the temple. In summer be careful of the hot paving stones.

  • Prasad and donation

    Prasad and donation
    Use your right hand to accept prasad and give donations. The left hand is considered unclean in India.

  • Dress conservatively

    Dress conservatively
    Avoid shorts, skirts, tanktops and do not expose legs.

  • Restricted entry

    Restricted entry
    Entry is normally restricted to temple priests in the sanctum sanctorum. Some temples restrict the entry of non-Hindus

  • Avoid cellphones

    Avoid cellphones
    Use of cell phones is restricted normally. Photography is restricted in some temples.

  • Circumambulation or pradakshina

    Circumambulation or pradakshina
    Devotees are to walk around the sanctum sanctorum in a clockwise direction

About Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to November (Kartik Purnima). During the winter season, the Vigrahas (Idols) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Shri Ukhimath and worshiped there for six months. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Shri Kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of the region.

According to Hindu mythology, during the Mahabharatha war, the Pandavas killed their relatives, to absolve themselves of this sin, the Pandavas undertook a pilgrimage. But Lord Shiva was away in Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas. On learning this, the Pandavas left from Kashi. They reached the Himalayas via Haridwar. They saw Lord Shiva from a distance. But Lord Shiva hid from them. So Dharma, said to Lord that only after getting the dharshan of the Lord Shiva their sins would be washed away. The place where the Lord hid himself is known as Guptakashi and become a famous shrine. From Guptakashi (Rudraprayag), the Pandavas went ahead till they reached Gaurikund in the Himalayas valleys. They wandered there in search of Lord Shiva. While doing so Nakul and Sahadev found a buffalo which was unique at look. Then Bheema went after the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo was clever and Bheema could not able to catch him. But Bheema managed to hit the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo had its face hidden in a crevice-in the earth. Bheema started to pull it by its tail. In this tug-of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar. The face is Doleshwar Mahadev in Sipadol, Bhaktapur, Nepal.

The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four different places and are worshipped there as his manifestations.

The places are as follows:

The arms appeared at Tungnath, The face at Rudranath, The belly at Madmaheshwar and The locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar.

Kedarnath and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.

The present Kedarnath temple, built in 8th century A.D. by The Great Saint Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi (the Bull) stands as guard.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut grey slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a Garbha Griha (Sanctum Sancoturm) for worship and a Mandap(Hall), apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form. 

On this hind part of Mahesha, a Jyotir Linga appeared and Lord Shiva appeared from this light. By getting a Darshan of Lord Shiva, the Pandavas were absolved of their sins. The Lord told the Pandavas, that from then he would remain there as a triangular shaped Jyotir Linga. By taking a Darshan (Visit) of Kedarnath, devotees would attain piety. A triangular shaped rock is worshiped in Garbhagriha (Sanctum Sanctorum) of the temple. Surrounding Kedarnath, there are many symbols of the Pandavas. King Pandu died at Pandukeshwar. The tribals here perform a dance called “Pandav Nritya”. The mountain top where the Pandavas went to Swarga (Heaven), is known as “Swargarohini”, which is located off Badrinath. When Dharma was leaving for Swarga (Heaven), one of his fingers fell on the earth. At that place, Dharma installed a Shiva Linga, which is the size of the thumb. To gain Mashisharupa, Lord Shiva and Bheema fought with maces. Bheema was struck with remorse. He started to massage Lord Shiva’s body with ghee. In memory of this event, even today, this triangular Shiva Jyotir Linga is massaged with ghee. Water and Bel leaves are used for worship.

Nara-Narayan wished that, for the welfare of the humanity, Lord Shiva should remain there in his original form. Granting their wish, in the snow-clad Himalayas, in a place called Kedar, Mahesha(Lord Shiva) himself stayed there as a Jyoti. Here, He is known as Kedar Eshwara.


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