History of Kedarnath – Origin and Interesting Facts
Kedarnath temple in the district of Rudraprayag in Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is one of the most celebrated and sacred Dhams of the holy Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand. Set against the backdrop of the panoramic views of the Kedarnath dome and against the bank of the holy Mandakini River this highest Jyotirlinga in the world has a very ancient historical account and represents the peak of Hindu culture. The presiding deity here of Lord Shiva is worshipped as the king of Kedar region or Kedarnath. The temple is only reachable after covering a challenging journey of 16 kms which is surrounded by the pristine and untouched naturally scenic beauty of the Garhwal Himalayas.
This temple has seen a very vibrant and happening historical and mythological account with its mention being found in various historical books and texts as well:
Origin of Kedarnath Temple
Located on an elevation of 3,583 metres above sea level and approachable through the holy twin towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh, this temple has a lot of rich history and mythology related to it. 2 of the most prominent accounts mentioned in the holy books:
- According to 1 legend, Nar and Narayan requested lord Shiva to reside forever in Kedarnath as the king of this region. Ever since the lord agreed as a result of the strict penance performed by the twin sages, he has been ever since living in the triangular Shiv Linga which is worshipped by the devotees from all over the world.
- Another legend tells us the story that dates back to the Satyug when the gods used to walk on earth. When Badrinath was snatched away from Shiva and Parvati by the child incarnation of lord Vishnu. Later on the lord and his holy consort decided to stay in Kedarnath which makes this place even more pious than any other place India.
- This origin account of Kedarnath Dham temple is among one of the most accepted stories. It dates back to the post Mahabharata era when the Pandavas had defeated the Kauravas in the war of Kurukshetra. Accepting the advice of sage Vyas the 5 brothers made their way to Kedarnath and established a small Shivling and a temple structure to offer their penance to Lord Shiva asking for forgiveness. Till present day, the Pandava brothers are credited with establishing the foundation of this holy site.
History of Kedarnath
The temple of Kedarnath was buried under snow during as mini ice age that had encapsulated the entire district of Rudraprayag. However nature did not win in this case and the entire temple structure survived this rough period of 400 years and it now stands strong as ever. Adi Shankaracharya made his way to Kedarnath from Kerala during the 7th and 8th century and re- established this pilgrimage with an aim of re igniting the feeling of Hinduism and devotion to one’s lord, culture and traditions. This later on proved to be one of the most successful venture among the Hindu community.
Interesting Facts about Kedarnath:
- The creator of numerous pilgrimages, Matths and sacred shrines all over India, Adi Shankaracharya had attained Mahaparinirvana in Kedarnath and marking this is a Samadhi which is located right behind the temple.
- There is no head present in the idol of the presiding deity at Kedarnath. According to legends it is believed that the head is worshipped in the temple of Doleshwar Mahadev located in Bhaktapur Nepal.
- Did you know that the entire exterior of the temple is constructed using white marble as raw material which is symbolic for peace and harmony.
- The lingam presiding in the Garbhagriha of the temple is of a very unique shape i.e. triangular formation. No other lingam in the world is of this shape which makes this temple extremely sacred and pious for all shiv Bhakts and Hindus in general.