Thursday, 17 November 2016

Serene Kedharnath (Jyotirlina) temple, Uttarakhand

Kedarnath temple. India GK

Kedaenath temple. presiding deity. Blogs - SiliconIndia
 Kedarnath Temple, dedicated to lord Shiva (one among  the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines) is in the majestic Garhwal Himalayan range on the banks of the graceful Mandakini river, a tributary of the Ganges in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand state in India. The temple is at an height of 3,583 m (11,755 ft) from MSl and  is 223 km from Rishikesh. The temple is in a quiet place with impressive architecture that is common in the north. It is believed to be a favorite abode of lord Shiva where the  sanctified atmosphere induces you to go into meditative mood. Lots of devotees  make a beeline to this shrine that is charged with devotion and religious favor.  

Extreme weather conditions prevail in this region and located in the snow-covered area of the Himalayas,  it can be visited only during six months in a year. Pilgrims normally go on a pilgrimage to this holy abode of lord Shiva from the month of Vaisakha to Ashwin (Ashwiyaja) -  the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to Kartik Purnima. The temple remains closed for the  rest of the year as this area become snow bound and access is absolutely impossible. In the month of karthika or Kathigai, temple priest lights  the ghee lamp called Nand Deepa and the idol of Sri Kedareshwar  is reverentially taken to Ukhi Math in the valley and will be here for worship till Chaitra. In the month of Vaishakham, the temple will be opened for the public view. An interesting feature is the Nand Deep still keeps burning after a lapse of six months. Whoever sees the ghee lamp,it is said,  is blessed by the god.   


Undertaking pilgrimage to Kedarnath is a tough one and the devotees must have  robust health, patience and determination to complete the pilgrimage. Part of the route is motorable, for the rest, the devotees have to walk through tough and steep mountainous terrain. Elderly pilgrims may employ doliwallahs who use something like yoke to carry the pilgrims. Mules are also available for transporting the pilgrims and the baggage. The stretch from Gaurkund to the temple about 14 km stretch is a tough one, but the picturesque scenery will never fail to attract you.
kedarnath,Yatra.  long line of cars. tough terrain NDTV.com
The presiding deity Shiva is in Swayambu form - self-manifested  and was not consecrated as per temple Agama sastras. It is believed to have been built by Pandavas and centuries later Adi Sankarachari of Kaladi revived it. It is also one of the major centers of pilgrimage in the Himalayas called chota char dham.

Kedarnath_Temple. en.wikipedia.org
 Gaurikund -  Here Shiva cut off the head of Ganesa and replace it with Elephant head. There are other holy places like  Haridwar, Rishikesh, Devprayag, Sonprayag and Triyugi Narayan, Gaurikund.
 in this region.

Legend has it that in the great Kurushetra war, Kauravas and their cousins Pandavas, were pitted against one another and at the end Pandavas, (who were cheated) emerged victorious. But they were in grief  because that had to kill there own  cousins - Kauravas in the battle. They undertook a pilgrimage to Lord Shiva's abode to get their sins absolved. When they reached the Himalayas lord Shiva played a sort of hide and seek  with them and  playfully hid  himself in some place. Upon this, the eldest brother of Pandava - Dharmaraj pleaded the lord, Oh, Lord, You have hidden yourself from our sight because we have sinned." But, we will seek You out somehow. Only after your Darshan our sins be  would washed away. This place, where the god had hidden  is known as Guptkashi and has become a famous shrine.”

 From Guptakashi (Rudraprayag), the Pandavas  visited Gaurikund, looking for Shiva. There Nakula and Sahadeva, younger Pandava brothers,  had encountered a he-buffalo in the Himalayas. Bhema with  mace hit the Buffalo and the head went   straight to Nepal, leaving the rest of the part here. The face of the buffalo is called  Pashupatinath in Nepal.
Kedarnath temple.Tripmondo
 Lord Shiva took form of a radiant pillar of fire on the  hind part of Mahesha and  appeared before the Pandavas. Their sins, having been absolved, the Pandavas were happy and the lord informed them that he would remain here  as a triangular shaped JyotirLinga.  Near Kedarnath, some tribes  perform a dance called “Pandav Nritya”. It is believed that the Pandavas attained Mukthi here and hence this place is called “Swargarohini”- they attained Lord's feet from here. It is said that Dharmaraja established a 
small lingam in the shape of a thumb.Water and Bel leaves are
 used for worship of the lord.  Lord stayer here at Kedar and Mahesha himself stayed there as a Jyoti. Here, He is known as Kedareshwara.

kedarnath temple, Nandi (bull). vedictantra
Kedarnath Temple  has the  images  of the five Pandava brothers, Lord Krishna, Nandi,  and Virabhadra, one of the guards of Shiva and Draupadi. In the Garbagruha one will find a  medium-size conical rough stone structure which is believed to be  Sadashiva form of Lord Shiva.. Adi Shankara visited this temple and revived it, along with Badrinath and other temples of Uttarakhand;  It was here at Kedarnath  the great seer and philosopher, Adi Sankara attained  Mahasamadhi. His samādhi (tomb) is behind the temple.

It is believed that a visit to  Kedareshwar  would remove our sorrows. Pandavas got rid of their  sorrows  after their prayer to Kedareshwar . The belief has been that  Shambara (Badri-Keshwar’s darshan) will get rid of one's ties with material attachments that are a source of sorrow. Unmindful of treacherous route, a visit to this temple is a blissful experience where your mind  and soul are in unison.

Tamil saints of repute Sambandhar, and Sundharar have sung one padhikam (devotional hymn)  each on the Lord of Kedharam.

Tit-Bits; 

01. During the June, 2013 floods caused by incessant heavy rain, Kedarnath and the surrounding areas took severe beatings and lots of buildings near the Madakini river were severely damaged. The rivers over flowed the banks at many places  and  the death toll was about 150  across the state as the pilgrims were caught unawares at many places. The state government needed 1000 crores (roughly $150 million)  for the clean-up operations.

02. The temple was closed for about a year and was out of reach for the devotees.
Flood ravaged Kedarnath. .indianexpress.com
 03. Because of unprecedented flash floods triggered by monsoon rains, the temple and the adjacent areas were submerged under slush and mud. However, the temple was safe.

04. The famous temple is near the Chorabari glacier up hill.


05. Annually more than 75, 000 pilgrims go to different shrines during this season, unmindful of tough  terrain and weather conditions.

06. About 50 people died and several were  found missing in the Kedarnath area.

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kedarnath_Temple

http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/monsoon-fury-leaves-kedarnath-shrine-submerged-in-