the dramatic mountainscapes of the majestic Kedarnath
range stands one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Kedar
or Lord Shiva. Lying at an altitude of 3584 m on the
head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is
amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus. There
are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva
in the district itself, the most important one is
According to legend, the Pandavas
after having won over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra
war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers
and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption.
He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge
at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed
he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the
surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared
at four other places and are worshipped there as his
manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the
face at Rudranath, the belly at Madhmaheshwar and
his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath
and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as
An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide
plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The
present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya,
stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built
by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall
are decorated with figures of various deities and
scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door, a
large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. Dedicated
to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath
temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old.
Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray
slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these
heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days.
The temple has a "Garbha Griha" for worship and a
Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors.
A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped
as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.