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Kedarnath

Situated at a height of 3,581 metres above sea level within the Garhwal Himalayas is Kedarnath, one of the holiest pilgrimages for Hindus from all over the world. Often referred to as the abode of Lord Shiva, the temple here is believed by some to be around 800 years old. The place also assumes significance because of it being the resting place of the renowned saint-philosopher Adi Shankaracharya.

Legend has it that after the great battle at Kurukshetra, the Pandavas went to Lord Shiva to seek penitence for having killed their kin in the battle. Lord Shiva wishing to elude the Pandavas took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. The Pandavas followed him there and, upon being discovered, Shiva dived into the ground leaving behind him a hump on the surface. The conical protrusion is worshipped as the idol in the shrine.

The winters at Kedarnath are very cold with the ground being covered with snow most of the time. In the summers, the mercury barely reaches 20°C. The place experiences about 150 cm of rainfall during the monsoons.

Sightseeing:

Lingam

The ancient temple of Kedarnath is the main source of attraction here. It is a 14-km trek from Gaurikund. The lingam at Kedarnath is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of India. An irregular three-faced lingam, it represents the hump of Lord Shiva when he took the form of a bull. It is about 9 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 4 feet high. Pilgrims are allowed to touch the lingam, perform worship, abhishika (bath), and massage the lingam with ghee.

The temple at Kedarnath faces south, which is a unique feature, as most of the temples face east. The temple opens during the first week of May and closes.

Excursions From Kedarnath:

Agastamuni:
This scenic site is situated about 73 km away from Kedarnath. A beautiful temple dedicated to the sage Agastya is the main attraction here.

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