Kedarnath is a major Hindu shrine. On the banks of the Mandakini River near the Chorabari Glacier in Uttarakhand, it is located at an elevation of 3583 metres above sea level.
The temple of Kedarnath is one of India’s 12 Jyotirlingas, and its significance dates back to the epic Mahabharata. Kedarnath is one of the four major pilgrimage destinations in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage in Uttarakhand’s Northern Himalayas. Kedarnath is significant not only in Hinduism, but it also has some legends related with it. Continue reading to learn more interesting facts about Kedarnath.
The Creation of Kedarnath
Legend has it that when Lord Vishnu’s two avatars, Nar and Narayana, did a rigorous act of austerity in the Badrikashraya of Bharat Khand, they worshipped a Shivalingam that miraculously sprang from the Earth. This pleased Lord Shiva, who appeared before Nar and Narayana and requested that they seek a present. Nar and Narayana then begged that Lord Shiva take up permanent residence as a Jyotirlingam at Kedarnath, so that all who come to worship Lord Shiva here will no longer be trapped by their daily struggles.
Legends of Kedarnath Creation
The Pandavas travelled to Kedarnath to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva to absolve themselves of the guilt of killing their cousins, according to the Mahabharata. Lord Shiva hid himself in Kashi, then known as Guptkashi, disguised as a humped buffalo. Lord Shiva was impressed when the Pandavas discovered him hidden beneath the ground with his hump in the ground.
Goddess Parvati worshipped Kedareshwar to join with Shiva as Ardhanareshwar, according to another Kedar temple tradition.
The Derivation of the Name of Kedarnath Temple
According to legend, the gods previously worshipped Lord Shiva for protection from demons. Lord Shiva arrived as a bull and addressed the ‘Kodarum’ (whom to rip and whom to tear apart). Lord Shiva smashed the demons with his horns and hooves and flung them into the Mandakini River. As a result, the name Kedarnath comes from the word ‘Kodarum.’
One of the lesser known facts about Kedarnath is that the Bhairo Nath Temple, which is only a short distance from the Kedarnath Temple, is the Kedarnathji’s guardian. Bhaironathji is said to protect the Kedarnath Shrine by keeping evil at bay while the temple remains close. As a result, the Bhiaronath Temple is ceremoniously visited at the beginning and end of Kedarnath.
Significance of the Kedarnath Jyotirlingam
The Lingam at Kedarnath is one of Lord Shiva’s 12 Jyotilings. It is claimed to have blessed the Himalayas and to keep them steeped in Lord Shiva’s divinity. Its history dates back to when Lord Shiva was impressed by Nar and Narayana, two incarnations of Lord Vishnu who committed an act of austerity, and they persuaded Lord Shiva to stay as a Jyotilingam so that worshippers seeking Shiva’s blessing may find redemption here.
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The Kedarnath Temple, which is at least 1000 years old, has been benefiting the Himalayas and the people who visit it each year for centuries. According to legend, the entire town of Kedarnath was wrecked during the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, but the temple was spared because a big boulder behind the temple diverted the immense flood water pouring towards the shrine.
Inside the Kedarnath Temple
The Veerashaiva community in Karnataka, commonly known as Raval, is represented by the head priest of the temple. The Raval, however, do not perform the puja at the temple. Other priests carry out the pujas according to the Raval’s instructions. During the winter season, the Raval travels to Ukimath with the goddess.
The Persuasion of The Pandavas
According to legend, the Pandavas sought to atone for their sin of killing their cousins, so they embarked on a journey to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva, who had gone to Kedar and disguised himself as a bull and hid with other animals in the Himalayas. Although Bheema was able to discern Lord Shiva by his hump when he ripped apart two mountains with his magnificent might, Lord Shiva, who was drowning beneath the ground, had his hump on the ground. Lord Shiva blessed them after Bheema got her hands on it.
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