The majestic temple of Kedarnath stands at a total elevation of 3,583 m. It is very difficult to imagine the circumstances under which a temple of such proportions was built at such an elevation. The worship rites of the KedarNath temple stand same from the 10th Century rites performed at the Jyotirlingas.
The temple is built on a massive base platform that is 6 feet in height. There is a worship revolutionary path which encircles the area Graham and the Mushy Mandan. There is a courtyard outside which has a huge statue of Nandi the Bull. There is no strong evidence of the fact about who actually built the temple but most erudite believe that Adi Shankaracharya was the one who built the temple. The temple rites are the same as were established by Adi Shabkaracharya as this site is believed to be one of the ten JyotirLingas. In the wee hours of the morning the Shiva Pind is bathed in a natural way and Ghee is poured on it. After this lamps and incense sticks are lit and a long Aarti is performed before the idol is decorated with flowers and ornaments and Chandan. There are many artistic ways in which the idol is decorated but the devotees are only allowed to see the beauty and grandeur from a distance.
Kedarnath temple main priests are all Jangam Branhims who confirm to the highest order of Hindu priesthood. Kedarnath Lord is also worshipped as an image engraved on the back of Shankar the Holy Bull.
Legend has it that Lord Shankar transformed his Holy self into the form of a bull and visited the earth. The upper part of his divine torso appeared in Kathmandu where now the temple of Pashupathinath stands. The arms of Lord Shiva are in Tunganath, the face is in Rudranath and the head knot is in Kalpeshwar. Along with these four places Kedarnath is also included in the Pancha Kedar list. There are huge holy temples of Shiva erected over here.
Time of Darshan
- The gates of Kedarnath open for the public every morning at 7.00 A.M.
- THE Main ceremonies are performed between 1.00 P.M to 2.00 P.M and post that the temple is closed for some time.
- The temple is again to opened to the public at 5.00 P.M again
- The idol of Kedarnath has 5 faces and it is decorated in a beautiful way and put on display between 7.30 P.M to 8.30 p.m
- The temple doors of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is closed post 8.30 P.M.
In the winters the Kedarnath clime is hidden by heavy snow. There are predictions involved in finalizing the exact time in which the temple gates are opened and closed but usually all worship activities are over by 15th November and after 6 month the temple doors are opened in the month of Baisakh.
In winters the 5 faced holy Idol of Baba Kedarnath is brought to Ukhimath which is at a much lower elevation. Rawal Ji the head Brahmin performs daily worship here.
Devotees and Pilgrims offer money at Kedarnath temple and post the procurement of receipt they perform worship rites and get the Prasad.
The Pooja Order
The sequence of Pooja is as follows; Prathah Kalik Pooja, Maha Abhishek Pooja, Abhishek, Laghu Rudrabhishek, Shodashopachara Pooja, Asthopachar Pooja, whole Aarti, Pandav Pooja, Ganesh Pooja, Bhairav Pooja, Parvati Ji Pooja, Shiva Sahasranama Pooja etc. The public is asked to contribute Dakshina for Kedarnath Pooja and changes in the system are changed from time to time.
The Tales of Kedarnath
The Jyotirlinga was established back in time when Mahapataswi Nar who was one of the avatars of Vishnu used to reside on the peaks of Kedar Shringa along with Narayana Rishi. In fulfillment of their Sadhana Lord Shiva appeared and subsequently granted the boon of always residing in the Jyotirlinga of Kedarnath. This place of Kedarnath is situated on the hill of Kedar in Himalaya.
According to Pancha Kedar katha the Pandavas wanted to seek relief from the sin of killing their brothers in Mahabharata Yuddh (Battle). They wanted to obtain the blessings of Lord Shiva but Shiva was annoyed at them. Pandavas travelled to Kashi but were unable to meet Lord Shiva there. Lord Shiva came to Kedar because he wanted to avoid the Pandavas. But the valiant Pandavas showed their willpower in conquering the rocky climes of Kedarnath in quest of Shiva.
Lord Shiva then took on the avatar of a Bull and mingled with the other animals. Pandavas grew suspicious and finally Bhima grew to his gigantic form and placed both of his feet on two neighboring mountains. The other animals passed through but Lord Shiva in the form of the bull did not pass. Bhima tried to conquer the Bull but he then started to delve underground. Bhima then grappled the triangle shaped body part of the bull. Shiva was finally impressed by the valiant efforts of the Pandavas and granted them freedom from their sins. This is the time when the image of Shiva became imprinted on the bull and the Kedarnath Ji figure is worshipped since then.