Kedarnath Dham is one of the most revered pilgrimage centres of Northern India. Located at an altitude of 3,584 meters, amidst the snow-clad Himalayan peaks and on the banks of river Mandakini, this shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. This shrine is visited by millions of tourists from all over who come to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and also to revel in the picturesque and enchanting scenery in and around Kedarnath. Thus for the tourists, Kedarnath offers a unique amalgam of spirituality and adventure. The temple has a Garbhagriha for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. The inside walls of the temple are adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures. There is an imposing statue of Nandi (carved out of a rock) that stands at the entrance of the temple, directly opposite the inner shrine.
the Kedar Dome peak that stands at 6,940 meters. This lofty peak can be sighted from a great distance and the view of the temple with this imposing snow peak in the backdrop is a sight to behold. To reach the temple one has to take a trek of about 21 kms from Gaurikund (the nearest road head). However, helicopter services are also available. History and Mythology The original temple is believed to have been constructed by the Pandavas. It was later renovated in the 8th century when Adi Shankaracharya visited this shrine. Popularly-narrated legend holds that subsequent to the Kurukshetra war (final battle of the epic Mahabharata) the Pandavas were advised by Lord Krishna to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and atone for the sins committed by them during the battle . So, before seeking salvation, the Pandavas went to Kashi to meet Lord Shiva.
that Lord Shiva was not willing to meet the Pandavas since he was annoyed with them for the massive bloodshed in the Kurukshetra battle. Shiva, therefore, avoided meeting Pandavas at Kashi and took the form of a bull (Nandi) and went away to the Himalayas. However, the Pandavas pursued him and recognized him. Upon seeing the Pandavas, the bull dived into the ground. Bhim, the second Pandava brother ,tried to hold the bull by its tail and hind legs but the bull disappeared leaving behind his hump on the surface at Kedarnath. Other body parts of the bull appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations – the arms at Tungnath, face at Rudranath, belly at Madhyamaheshwar, locks and head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and these four other shrines are referred to as Panch Kedar. Another legend also says that while the hump of the bull remained at Kedarnath, the head appeared at Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu.
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