Sri Kedareswarar Temple is a famous Lord Shiva temple in Keadarnath in Rudra Prayag district in Uttaranchal.
The temple is one of the 12 jyotirlingam
It is one of the most prestigious and sacred Hindu temples located on the Garhwal Himalayan Range in Uttarakhand,.
First off, let’s talk about the trek to Kedarnath. It’s a treat for trek-lovers, with mesmerizing views of the Himalayas, balmy weather, and pure ambience that will give you a feeling of ultimate euphoria. And the zeal of devotees just to get a glimpse of the lingam is worth admiring.
Now, if you’re not in the mood for a trek, there are other options for reaching the temple. You can take a pithoo (a person carrying a passenger in a basket on their back) for around INR 11,000-12,000 for a 70-75kg person, or INR 5,000-6,000 for a kid below 10 years. Alternatively, you can take a helicopter from Phata Village near Sonprayag or Agustmuni helipads. You’ll get around 1:30 hours for darshan in the temple, but if you want an overnight stay at Kedarnath, you’ll need to take the last helicopter back to Phata at 11:10 AM or book a one-way ticket for between INR 3,000 to INR 3,500 with applicable taxes.
But before you head off on your adventure, you’ll need to register. The biometric registration takes around 1-1.5 hours in the queue at Sonprayag. And be sure to set your alarm – the temple opens at 5 AM, and people start queuing up as early as 2 AM. Just remember, the temple is closed between 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, so plan accordingly.
Now let’s talk about accommodations. You can stay at either Phata or Kedarnath, and options include doli (a palanquin lifted by four people) for around INR 8,000-12,000, pony rides for INR 2,500 for the return journey from Sonprayag or INR 2,300 from Gaurikund, and hotels in Sonprayag.
And when you finally reach the Kedarnath Temple, you’ll be greeted with an impressive structure made of grey stone, surrounded by the abundant beauty of nature. Steep climb stretching to 14 km from Gauri Kund will gift you fantastic views of snowy-peaks, alpine meadows, and delightful forests of rhododendrons. There is a large stone statue of Nandi Bull guarding the shrine, sitting right opposite it.
Inside the temple, you’ll find one Garbha Griha which houses the primary idol (pyramid-shaped rock) of Lord Shiva. The idols of Lord Krishna, Pandavas, Draupadi, and Kunti also find a space in the Mandapa section of the shrine. The temple has withstood natural calamities like avalanches, earthquakes, and floods for over a thousand years and still stands strong and elegant.
It is one of the padal petra sthalam and Lord Shiva here was worshipped by Adi Shankara, Thirugnasambandar and Sundarar.