Kedarnath Temple

The winter is here and the plains and the snow-clad Himalayan mountains will stand entirely wrapped in the elegance of nature. However, these alterations are sings of the sacred temple of Kedarnath to lock its doors. The ancient temple of Kedarnath is located in Rudraprayag, Garhwal in the state of Uttarakhand. It stays closed for around 5-6 months during the cold months of winter. And this year, the doors will be closed from November 16, on the prestigious occasion of Bhai-Dooj.

The ancient temple of Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the temple is well-known for its spiritual vibes and its mythical sagas. But at the same time, it is also famous for its pleasant weather and natural beauty. During winters, it rolls into a paradise, but it gets entirely closed due to safety reasons. According to the Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification System, the climate of Kedarnath is a monsoon-influenced climate, with bordering rainfall, the 2013 Calamity was enough to understand the rainy climate fluctuations in North India. It similarly has mild, rainy summers and cold, snowy winters. These cold winters start in November and last till April. With sub-zero temperatures, Kedarnath temple gets covered with snow making it unreachable for a while.

In this duration, the sacred lingam of Lord Shiva at Kedarnath is moved from Kedarnath to Ukimath, and again installed in Kedarnath after Gudi Padwa, the Hindu new year and Akshay Tritiya festival. And all the rituals are carried on in the Ukimath temple during the winter period. And when the spring arrives, the holy temple of Kedarnath unlocks its doors after a grand worship ceremony. The opening is announced by the priests of the Ukhimath's Omkareshwar Temple, after considering the Hindu Panchang. In 2020, it was opened on April 29 at 6:10 AM amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the temple committee did not allow any visitors to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. Afterward, the ‘Char Dham Yatra’ began from 1 July and devotees within the state were allowed to visit the temples. And from 25 July, the temple opened for devotees from outside Uttarakhand with e-pass bookings, and now the temple is all set to be closed again from November 16.

The territory of Kedarnath is historically known as ‘Kedar Khand’. And the name of Kedarnath temple arrived from the Sanskrit words, ‘The Lord of the Field’. ‘Kedar’ means field and ‘Nath’ means Lord in the Sanskrit language. The sanctum or Garbha-Griha of Kedarnath homes a great Shiva Lingam and the hall area consist of statues of five Pandava Brothers, Yudhishthir, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Sehdeva with their wife Draupadi. According to the legends, Pandavas visited this place after the Battle of Kurukshetra to clean their sins. The Pandavas built a temple close to the present-day Kedarnath Temple, and the present-day Kedarnath Temple is believed to have constructed by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century AD. However, there are multiple stories about the origin of Kedarnath.

Source: Hill Post

The Kedarnath temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples in India. Besides, it is one of the Char Dham and the Panch Kedar sites in Uttarakhand. Other than the ancient temple of Kedarnath, on the eastern side of the town is Bhairava Temple. The deity of this temple, Bhairava, is believed to be the guardian of the Kedarnath town during the cold months of winter. There is a lake cum glacier named Chorabari Tal about 6 km from the temple, and the lake is also called Gandhi Sarovar. Near Kedarnath, there is a stunning cliff named Bhairav Jhamp.

Kedarnath is adjoined by stunning and gigantic mountains, and thus it is a difficult trek. May to October is considered the best months to visit this place. It is a 16 km-long trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath Temple, and it takes around six hours for a fit adult to complete it. Palkhis and ponies are available from Gauri Kund to those who can't complete the trek by themselves. Because it takes a reasonable fitness level to complete the yatra on foot. Helicopter services are also available for the pilgrims. While palkhis and ponies may charge from 5000-10,000, the helicopter services charge around 7,000 per person. One of the best options to begin the trek from Gaurikund instead of Sonparayag in the morning. Because by dark, the risk of wild animals in the region increases.

There are many hotel services available at Gaurikund, Sonprayag, Guptkashi, Rampur, Sitapur, and Phata in the town of Kedarnath. Every year thousands of devotees visit this place to experience the charisma of Kedarnath. However, the Kedarnath temple is going to get locked on 16 November 2020. The reopening date will be announced on the next Mahashivratri festival according to the Hindu panchang. Till then, the devotees of Lord Shiva will have to wait to confront the ultimate divinity at Kedarnath temple.