Monday, 19 November 2012

Chopper Ride To Kedar Nath, Garhwal Himalayas

Kedar Nath Temple is located in the Himalayas approx 12000ft  above sea level near the head of river Mandakini and is flanked by breathtaking snow-capped peaks.

Kedar Nath or Kedar Khand is named in honour of King Kedar, who ruled the area in  the Mahabharata Era when the Pandavas  are supposed to have pleased Lord Shiva by doing penance there.

The temple opens on Akshay Tritiya (April / May) and closes on Bhai Duj (October / November) due to heavy snowfall and extreme cold weather during winter.

The head priest (Rawal) of the Kedarnath temple belongs to the Veerashaiva community from Karnataka. However, unlike in Badrinath temple, the Rawal of Kedarnath temple does not perform the puja. The pujas are carried out by Rawal's assistants on his instructions. The Rawal moves along with the deity to Ukhimath during the winter season.

Kedarnath can be reached from Hardwar-Rishikesh-Rudraprayag -Guptkashi–Gaurikund & thereafter a tough & steep trek of approx 14 kms. Helicopter services are available from Guptkashi. 

On this route there are several places of pilgrimage such as Agastyamuni, Ukhimath, Phauli- Pasalat Devi Maa, Bamsu (Lamgoundi) Vanasur, Maa Kali at Kalimath, Trijugi Narayan- where Lord Shiva got married to Parwati,  and Kashi Vishwanath at Guptakashi.

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