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Hemkund Sahib Kedarnath
|Situated at a height of 3,581 metres above sea level within the Garhwal Himalayas is Kedarnath, one of the holiest pilgrimages for Hindus from all over the world. Often referred to as the abode of Lord Shiva, the temple here is believed by some to be around 800 years old. The place also assumes significance because of it being the resting place of the renowned saint-philosopher Adi Shankaracharya.
Legend has it that after the great battle at Kurukshetra, the Pandavas went
|to Lord Shiva to seek penitence for having killed their kin in the battle. Lord Shiva wishing to elude the Pandavas took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. The Pandavas followed him there and, upon being discovered, Shiva dived into the ground leaving behind him a hump on the surface. The conical protrusion is worshipped as the idol in the shrine.
The winters at Kedarnath are very cold with the ground being covered with snow most of the time. In the summers, the mercury barely reaches 20°C. The place experiences about 150 cm of rainfall during the monsoons.
A visit to Kedarnath combines both the adventure and spirituality commonly associated with the Himalayas. The folding and erosion of hills, luxuriant forests, green valleys, gushing rivers, beautiful waterfalls and deep ravines and passes add splendour to the trek. The temples en route give the feeling of the divine presence and you begin to realise why the region is called the land of gods. A visit to the ancient temple of Kedarnath, set among the stunning mountainscape and renovated a number of times over the centuries, marks a spiritual fulfilment and an excellent trekking experience. The not so religious minded can opt for trekking experience only. The region has eight trekking routes that take you through some picturesque landscapes. However, there is no organized trekking here and so you will have to make your own arrangements.
A visit to the areas around Kedarnath can turn out to be an interesting experience. Kedarnath is surrounded by beautiful villages and lakes which add to the serenity and divinity of the place. The are picturesque lakes like Gandhi Sarovar and Vasuki Tal and villages like Gauri Kund, Sonprayag, Guptakashi and Ukhimath are not only interesting places to visit but also act as stages to various legends.
||The ancient temple of Kedarnath is the main source of attraction here. It is a 14-km trek from Gaurikund. The lingam at Kedarnath is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of India. An irregular three-faced lingam, it represents the hump of Lord Shiva when he took the form of a bull. It is about 9 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 4 feet high. Pilgrims are allowed to touch the lingam, perform worship, abhishika (bath), and massage the lingam with ghee.
The temple at Kedarnath faces south, which is a unique feature, as most of the temples face east. The temple opens during the first week of May and closes either during the last week of October or the first week of November.
Excursions for Kedarnath
This scenic site is situated about 73 km away from Kedarnath. A beautiful temple dedicated to the sage Agastya is the main attraction here.
• Area 78.60 sq. km
• Population 6,66,279
• Altitude 230 metres above sea level
• Languages Marwari, Rajasthani and Hindi
• STD Code 0291
• Best time to visit November to March