Kedarnath temple – Legend, history, timings, best time to visit

Seated in the pristine Himalayas, sitting in the lap of the Garhwal range this sacred Kedarnath temple is a hot favourite among Hindus worldwide.

Situated in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is among the 12 most important Jyotirlingas of India. These are the special pilgrimage centers related to Lord Shiva. The temple is on a tedious hill that can be reached after a strenuous trek.

The temple is so high up that there is an adverse climate for six months in a year and can not be reached.

As a result, the temple has to be shut for six months in winters. There is heavy snowfall in the region.

About Shri Kedarnath temple

Kedarnath temple is in the Rudraprayag district in the state of Uttrakhand. This temple makes it to the list of most sacred and prestigious pilgrims for the devotees of the Hindu religion.

Kedarnath Temple

At a height of 3583 meters, it is beyond the reach of many, as it is not reachable by road. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva.

Situated in the snow-clad mountains and the River Mandakini flows close by. Lakhs of devotees visit the temple yearly basis.

The temple was believed to be set up by Pandavas thousands of years ago.

It is also believed that Adi Shankaracharya restored the structure. Originally; it was built on a rectangular dias with the help of huge slabs of stone.

The temple is understood to be the doorway towards Moksha or Salvation. The pure ambiance and aura set it apart from all the other shrines.

Best time to visit Kedarnath temple

The temple is open only for six months a year. From the month of May to the Month of October.

For the rest, of the months there is extreme weather and snowfall. The severe cold weather is not advisable for anyone.

In fact, the Idol of Lord Shiva is shifted to Ukhitmath from November to May. It is worshipped there.

The temple is open from 4 am to 9 pm. It takes around 2 hours to visit. The devotees are advised to start early in the morning as there is a long trek to be undertaken before you can reach the temple.

The legend behind Kedarnath temple

Kedar is the name of Lord Shiva. He is known as the protector as well as the destroyer. One of the stories is dated back to the time of Mahabharata.

The Pandavas after the famous of Kurukshetra were feeling very guilty of having killed their own cousins. They wished to get their sins absolved by Lord Shiva.

But Lord Shiva was annoyed with them. So when they went to Kailash Lord Shiva was in the Himalayas and did not meet them. when they came to the Himalayas to see him he still did not want to meet them.

Here he disguised as a buffalo and proceeded to Guptakashi. When the Pandavas reached here they found a unique Buffalo. Bheem pulled the buffalo and turned it into pieces that fell in different directions.

The hump fell in Kedarnath and the others are known as Tungnath, Kalpeshwar, Rudranath, and Madhyamaheshwar.

After this Lord Shiva forgave them and settled in Kedarnath as a Jyotirling.

According to another myth, the Nar and Narayan were two Lord Vishnu incarnations that prayed to Lord Shiva. pleased with their prayers Lord Shiva appeared in front of them.

They requested him to Reside permanently at Kedarnath and he agreed to them and stayed there in the form of a jyotirlinga.

How to reach Kedarnath temple

The temple is not accessible by vehicles. There is a trek of 16 km from the Gaurikund.

There are sheds set up by Nehru Institue of mountaineering after every few km. though after the 2013 flash floods the glory has been reduced but the restoration work is being done.

You can take ponies or palkis to go to the temple if you can not complete the trek yourself on foot.

  • The temple can be reached from Rishikesh, Dehradun, Haridwar, and so on by road. From here cabs and buses are available till Gaurikund. Buses from Delhi and other close by cities are available.
  • For going by rail the nearest railway station is Rishikesh. It is well-connected from major cities of India. The distance from here is 216 km. this can be covered by buses or taxis.
  • If one wishes to go by air the closest Airport will be jolly Grant airport in Dehradun. From here taxis and buses are available to go to Gauri Kund. If you want there is a helicopter service available.
  • Since Kedarnath is one of the temples at the great heights in India there is a helicopter service that can be availed from Dehradun.

Festivals celebrated in Kedarnath

Badri Kedar festival

In the month of June, the Badri Kedar festival is organized by the government of Uttrakhand. Folk dance and music are witnessed. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are praised in these songs. The festival is for 8 days.

Sharavani Annkoot

Sharavani Annkoot: there is a mela organized for this celebration just before Rakshabandhan. The jyotirlinga is covered with cooked rice as a ritual. This is later distributed as prasadam.

Places near Kedarnath Temple

  • Vasuki Tal: this is a lake at the altitude of 4135m. you can see the Chaukhamba peaks in the backdrop. This is an ideal trek.
  • Chandrashila: this is a trekking range and skiing point. In the months of December and January, there is too much snow else it is good to go.
  • Sonprayag: this is a confluence of two rivers Mandakini and Basuki. Devotees come here for a holy dip. It is a height of 1892 m.
  • Agastymuni temple: this temple is dedicated to Saint Agastya as it is believed that he had done a one-year long meditation here.

Helicoptor Service to Kedarnath

Helicoptor service is also available for Kedarnath and people who cannot travel can avail this service if they can.

Helicoptor charges may vary as it is fixe by the tourism department and is updated every season. Below are helipads and approx charges.

Sirsi Helipad ( Apprx 2400 per person)

  • Heritage aviation pvt ltd
  • Crystal Aviation
  • Himalayan Heli Services pvt ltd

Phata Helipad ( apprx 2400 / person )

  • Pawan Hans
  • UTair India Pvt Ltd
  • Thumby Aviation Pvt Ltd
  • Indocoptor Pvt Ltd

GuptKashi Helipad ( apprx 3900 / person )

  • Aryan aviation
  • Aero Aviation Ltd

Summary

Kedarnath Temple is the most sacred temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated at a very high altitude in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas.

Due to extremely cold conditions, the temple has to be closed for six months. It is thronged by millions of devotees every year.

Kedarnath is one of the most important pilgrimage centers in India and hence there are many packages which are offered by travel & tour operators across the country. You can search over the internet and book. It is actually helpful as everything is then planned by your tour operator.

But of-course you can go by your own. This will definitely be less costly and you can also plant your day as per you convenience. It might look a bit challenging to do it by own but it is not that difficult.

So freinds hope you liked this information and if you have already visited do share your experience!

Kedarnath Temple FAQ

Where is Kedarnath Temple Located?

Shri Kedarnath Temple is located in Kedarnath in the Indian state of Uttrakhand.

Which god Shri Kedarnath temple is dedicated to?

Kedarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva

Why Kedarnath so important for Hindus?

Kedarnath is one of the most important pilgrimage centers for Hindus. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

At what height Shri Kedarnath is located ?

Kedarnath is located at a height of around 3583 meters above sea level ( located in Himalayas)

What is the best time to visit Shri Kedarnath ji ?

The best time to visit Shri Kedarnath ji is summers. Winters are quite tough here and the place becomes quite inaccessible. And hence the temple is open only for six months in a year.

What time of the year Kedarnath Ji is open for Darshan?

Kedarnath is open only six months in a year and hence you can visit Kedarnath only between May and October each year. After that temple is closed due to harsh weather conditions.

How long is Kedarnath trek?

Kedarnath trek is around 16 Kms and the trek starts from Gaurikund. It is a quite difficult trek. Nehru Institue of mountaineering has setup resting areas on the way for devotees. In case you are not in a position to walk you can also take Ponies or Palkies which are available on rent.

What is the nearest Railway Station to Kedarnath?

The nearest railway station to Kedarnath is Rishikesh. From there you need to take Cab or Public transport. It is around 215 Kms from Kedarnath.

Which is the nearest Airport to Kedarnath?

Jolly grant Airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport and then you can take taxi or public transport from there.

Are there any Helicoptor service to Kedrnath?

Yes, there are Helicoptor service to Kedarnath from Dehradun and various other locations.

What are festivals celebrated in Kedarnath?

Badri Kedar Festival and Shravanu Annakot are the two major festivals celebrated here at Kedarnath.

What are the other places to see around Kedarnath Temple?

Vasuki Tal, ChandraShila, Sonprayag and Agastyamuni Temple are must visit places if you are visiting Shri Kedarnath Ji Temple.


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