Kedarnath – Temple info

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Kedareshwara Jyotirling

Inside temple

The first hall inside Kedarnath Temple contains statues of the five Pandava brothers, Lord Krishna, Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva and Virabhadra, one of the guards of Shiva. Statue of Draupadi and other deities are also installed in the main hall. A medium-size conical rough stone formation is worshiped in the Garbagruha and considered as Sadashiva form of Lord Shiva. An unusual feature of the temple is the head of a man carved in the triangular stone fascia. Such a head is seen carved in another temple nearby constructed on the site where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati was held. Adi Shankara revived this temple, along with Badrinath and other temples of Uttarakhand; he attained Mahasamadhi at Kedaranath. Behind the temple is the samādhi mandir of Adi Sankara.

The head priest (Raval) of the Kedarnath temple belongs to the Veerashaiva community from Karnataka. However, unlike in Badrinath temple, the Raval of Kedarnath temple does not perform the pujas. The pujas are carried out by Raval’s assistants on his instructions. The Raval moves with the deity to Ukhimath during the winter season. There are five main priests for the temple, and they become head priests for one year by rotation. During Pooja of Lord Shiva at Kedaranath the mantras will be pronounced in the Kannada language. This has been a custom from hundreds of years.

At the approach of winters in the month of November, the holy statue of Lord Shiva, is carried down from Kedarnath to Ukhimath, and is reinstated at Kedarnath, in the first week of May. It is at this time, that the doors of the temple are thrown open to pilgrims, who flock from all parts of India, for a holy pilgrimage. The shrine closes on the first day of Kartik (Oct-Nov) and reopens in Vaishakh (Apr-May) every year. During its closure the shrine is submerged in snow and worship is performed at Ukhimath.

The temple has a Garbha Griha for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors.

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