The Kedarnath Temple is part of the holy auspicious and revered Char Dham Yatra. This sacred temple is devoted to Lord Shiva, and witness hundreds and thousands of pilgrims every year from the moment it opens its gates to the moment it closes for the treacherous winters.
This awe-inspiring temple is perched at an altitude of 3,583 m above sea level and has the most stunning views from up here. The scenic surroundings make this temple look even more magnificent and divine.
During the winter season, this entire region gets covered in a blanket of snow, and Lord Kedar is shifted to another temple located at a lower elevation(Ukhimath). The temple opens up again when the sun slowly shows up from behind the clouds and melts all the snow away revealing the ash green fields and the rocky terrain on which the temple stands. You will still find specks of snow here and there, but it all just comes together to make this place look magical.
This is also the time when pilgrims and devotees come together in thousands and silently pay their respects. It is beautiful to witness the throngs of devotees and pilgrims, all devoted to Lord Shiva, singing and chanting his hymns as they approach the temple. This makes the trek more interesting and mystical. It is a strong belief in the Hindu religion, that visiting or embarking on the Kedarnath Dham Yatra will free one from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Kedarnath Temple is currently closed due to the winter season. During this time, the main deity is brought to a different temple, and pilgrims are welcome to pray there.
The dates for opening and closing of the temple are decided by the priests on auspicious days. The date for opening and closing of Kedarnath for 2020, will be decided on the day of Mahashivratri 2020.
According to speculations, Kedarnath Dham might open its gates after 28th April 2020. The final announcement is yet to be made.
Once the temple is shut down, the Lord is taken to his winter abode which is located in Rudraprayag.
Once you reach the temple after trekking for a few days, you will be touched by the pristine divinity that this site radiates. There is something so holy in the air. The breathtaking mountains engulf the entire region, as the grand shrine is located right at the centre. The scene is truly majestic. There is nothing more impressive and relieving than seeing the Kedarnath Temple right in front of your eyes once you reach the top.
The main shrine which houses Lord Shiva is built of grey stone, giving it a rustic and ancient look.
There is a sculpture of Nandi Bull, made of stone which sits right at the opposite of the temple. The positioning of the statue is such that, it feels like the Nandi Bull is always staring at the shrine and guarding it with all its loyalty.
The main idol of Lord Shiva is located at the sanctum sanctorum, which is as holy as a place can get. This idol is shaped like a pyramid and represents the hump of Lord Shiva in the guise of a bull.
Apart from the sanctum sanctorum, there are other halls inside the temple, namely the mandapa. Here you will find gorgeous and almost life-like idols of Lord Krishna, Draupadi, the Pandavas, and Kunti. This place is a great ode to the five brothers and the story of Mahabharata.
The trek from Gauri Kund to Kedarnath is also mesmerizing, as you will cross acres and acres of trees, shimmering lakes and a plethora of natural beauty in the form of colorful flowers and little rivulets. The air is always filled with a lovely aroma, which will keep you refreshed and motivated.
The most popular route to Kedarnath is as follows:
Haridwar - Rishikesh - Devprayag - Rudraprayag - Agastamuni - Kund - Guptkashi - Phata - Rampur - Sonprayag - Gaurikund - Trek to Kedarnath. The trek to Kedarnath starts from Gaurikund.
The trek starts from Gaurikund, to reach Gaurikund you can use your vehicle, or public transports, which are all readily available. The trek from Gaurikund is truly enjoyable. Some staunch devotees start their trek from Haridwar itself.