Kedarnath is one of the most sacred Hindu temples as it is a part of Chhota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. The temple is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva. This abode of Lord Shiva can only be reached from Gaurikund through a trek and remains closed for the six months of winters due to heavy snowfall. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector, and the destroyer, and its believed that a journey to this sacred land opens up doorways to “Moksha” or salvation.
Located on the Garhwal Himalayan Range in the Rudraprayag District, the Kedarnath Temple is situated at the height of 3,583 metres. Set amidst the snow-clad mountains near Chorabari Glacier with Mandakini River flowing in front of it, Kedarnath witnesses lakhs of devotees every year due to its religious significance.
The present Kedarnath Temple is believed to be re-constructed by Adi Shankaracharya, initially built by the Pandavas thousand years ago from enormous stone slabs over a large rectangular dais.
A lake at an altitude of 4135 meters, Vasuki Tal offers a view of the neighbouring Chaukhamba peaks. Trekkers would find this an ideal range o climb up. The Chaturangi and Vasuki glaciers can be found en-route to the lake.
It is believed that Sri Sankaracharya who propounded the Adwaita Philosophy established this holy shrine and one of his four Mathas in the 8th century and attained Nirvana at age 32 here.
Dedicated to Saint Agastya, the temple commemorates his one year Tapas (mediation) here. This ancient temple stands as an example of grand architecture and interiors with wall art adorning its walls.
Tungnath and Chandrashila Trek
Tungnath, a quaint village in Uttarakhand, is known as the starting point of the popular Chopta Chadrashila Trek. At a height of 2680m, this village is surrounded by evergreen forests of pine, deodar and rhododendron. This is one of the easier treks in the Himalayan region and hence, recommended for first timers. The trek covers a large region, starting from Haridwar and ending at Chandrashila.
The trek initiates from the holy city of Haridwar towards Devarivatal Lake; which is located at an altitude of 2440 m. Here, you get a picturesque view of the Chaukhamba ranges. As one goes further, one comes across Chopta, with a height of 3000m. Next comes Tungnath, at an elevation of 3680 m. And finally, one arrives at the beautiful Chadrashila Top at 4130 m. The Tungnath temple and Chandrashila peak award you with a 360 degree, mesmerising view of the valleys below. The peaks of Panchchuli, Nanda Devi, Nilkanth and Kedarnath are all covered during the trek.
At a distance of 4 km from Gaurikund, 18 km from Kedarnath and 70 km from Rudraprayag, Sonprayag is a small hamlet situated in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It lies at an altitude of 1829 m.
Sonprayag is a place of religious significance located enroute to Kedarnath Dham. Prayag means confluence and Sonprayag lies at the confluence of two holy rivers Basuki and Mandakini. There is a common belief among people that bathing in the river can wash away their sins.
Surrounded by the snowcapped peaks, Sonprayag attracts visitors in large numbers. The snow peaks and the streams of river add a majestic charm to this serene location. Triyuginarayan, which is supposed to be the marriage place of Lord Shiva and Parvati, is located at a distance of 10 km from Sonprayag.
The current trek route to Kedarnath starts from Sonprayag which will be changed back to original Gaurikund route.
Sonprayag situated at an elevation of 1829 m is famous a site where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were married. Flanked by nature’s bounty and glorious snow capped peaks, it is also a place where River Mandakini meets River Basuki.
It is a belief that devotees can achieve Baikunt Dham with the touch of water.
Triyuginarayan is a famous place of Hindu worship that is located in the Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand. Situated at the height of 1,980 metres above the sea level, the popular tourist attraction is perhaps the most well known for its Triyuginarayan Temple, which is a Hindu temple that is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The name of the temple “Triyugi Narayan” is made up of three different words: Tri means three; Yugi denotes Yuga and Narayan refers to Vishnu. This basically means that people have been offering woods to the holy fireplace since three Yugas at this particular site.
It is believed that Shiva and Parvati married at this particular place, and this holy union was witnessed by Lord Vishnu. This rich mythological association is what makes the temple so famous and well known all across the country. Another distinctive feature of this temple is the constant fire that burns in front of this temple. It is believed that this fire has been burning since the times of the divine marriage, and hence the temple is also known as the Akhand Dhuni Temple.
The uniqueness of the temple lies in the fact that devotees can worship Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi at a single place. Since Lord Brahma also witnessed the marriage, the temple completes the trinity of the Hindu Gods, that is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The temple also has the idols of Lord Hanuman, Lord Vinayaka, Garuda and Annapurna Devi in it. One can also find four sacred ponds or Kunds which are filled with fresh water in the temple. Complete with its rich mythological associations, scenic views and tranquil environment, the Triyuginarayan Temple is a must visit place for all devotees.
The temple town of Guptakashi is located at a distance of 47 kms from the holy town of Kedarnath. Perched at an elevation of 1319 m above the sea level, Guptakashi enjoys the mesmerising backdrop of the enchanting snow-covered peaks of Chaukhamba mountains.
It houses two ancient temples namely Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ardhnareshwar Temple. Manikarnika Kund is another popular destination in the town. In fact, Guptkashi serves as a perfect stopover for those travelling to Kedarnath. The fantastic weather, lush green forests and captivating views of Chaukhmaba Range along with its rich past and heritage, the town is a wholesome package for vacation makers.
Situated 47 kms before kedarnath, the holiest shrine of Lord Shiva, this town is bestowed with great religious significance. It is perched at an elevation of 1319 m above the sea level housing two ancient temples namely Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ardhnareshwar Temple. Manikarnik kund is another popular destination in the town. In fact Guptkashi serves as a perfect stopover for those travelling to Kedarnath. The amazing weather, lush green forests and captivating views of Chaukhmaba Range along with its rich past and heritage, the town is a wholesome package for vacation makers.
Situated at a distance of 500 m from the Kedarnath Temple on the southern side, Bhairavnath Temple is enshrined by the revered Hindu God – Lord Bhairav. It is perched on top of a hillock and offers magnificent views of the surrounding Himalayas and the entire Kedarnath valley below. Lord Bhairav is believed to be the main gana of Lord Shiva and hence the temple is all the more important. The enshrining deity of the temple is also known as Kshetrapal or the guardian of the region, has a Trishul for a weapon and a dog as his vehicle.
Located at a distance of around 3 kms from the Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand, Chorabari Lake is a quaint lake which also goes by the name of Gandhi Tal. The crystal clear gorgeous lake draws a lot of tourists from far and wide besides the regular devotees. Tucked cosily in the backdrop of the mighty Himalayas, the lake is perched at a towering altitude of 3900 m above the sea level. Chorabari Tal originates from the Chorabari Bamak Glacier and can be reached through a short trek from the Kedarnath Temple.
As per historical records, in 1948, the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were also immersed in the lake. In addition to that, it is also believed that the revered Hindu God – Lord Shiva used to impart sermons of yoga to the Saptarishis at the spot. Hence, making it is a holy destination besides an important historic one. Another popular attraction near the lake is the Bhairava Temple. Chorabari Tal is one of the most popular picnic spots in the region and is also blessed with enormous scenic panoramic views of the landscape.