Shiv Jee | Shiv Temples
Kedaareshwar or Kedaarnaath Jee's temple is the 11th Jyotirling from among the 12 Jyotirling and one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiv and is located atop the Garhwaal Himaalayan range near the Mandaakinee river in Kedaarnaath, Uttaraakhand in India. It is at the height of 11,753 feet. The snow on the peaks behind never melts. Kedaareshwar is the highest point where Mahaadev's presence is indeed felt in the sign of a famed Kedaareswar Jyotirling as spread out as a fairly large expanse of black stone with an inclined elevation in the middle portion. Being inaccessible excepting by a difficult 14 km trek by foot, or horse back or ‘Dolee’ (palanquins) carried by two or four humans from Gauree Kund and due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April to start of November. Here god Shiv is worshipped as Kedaarnaath, the 'Lord of Kedaar Khand', the historical name of the region.
Built in 8th Century AD, The Kedaarnaath shrine, one of the 12 Jyotirling of Lord Shiv, is a scenic spot situated, against the backdrop of the majestic Kedaarnaath range. There are more than hundred shrines dedicated to Lord Shiv in this region, but the most important one is Kedaarnaath. According to a legend, the Paandav after having won over the Kaurav in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own relative and sought the blessings of Lord Shiv for Moksh.
At the end of their life, the Paandav decided to give up their kingdom and go to the Himaalaya and meditate on their favorite deity, Lord Shiv. So they set out accompanied by their wife, Draupadee. When they reached the place called Rudra Prayaag, they thought they had a glimpse of Lord Shiv. They tried to chase him but he took on the form of a buffalo and dashed off towards the North. They followed him in hot pursuit and eventually caught up with him at the place that is now known as Kedaarnaath. The Lord now dived into the earth and only the hind portion of the buffalo was sticking out. This was caught by Bheem. But as hard he pulled as he might, he could not get the rest of the buffalo out of the ground. The hump turned into a Shiv Lingam and remained at this place. Each of the other parts appeared at four other places and came to be collectively known as the Panch Kedaar or the five Kedaar. All these lie in the Garhwal Himaalayas in the modern state known as Uttraanchal.
As a matter of fact, as one enters the main temple, the first hall contains statues of the five Paandav brothers, Lord Krishn, Nandee, the vehicle of Shiv and Veerabhadra, one of the greatest guards of Shiv. An unusual feature of the temple is the head of a man carved in the triangular stone fascia of the temple. Such a head is seen carved in another temple nearby constructed on the site where the the marriage of Shiv and Paarvatee was held. The spire of the Kedaarnaath Temple is with the Kedaarnaath Mountain in the background.
It is believed that Nar and Naaraayan also did severe penance here in Kedaar Kshetra and had a glimpse of Shiv to get blessed
Gauree Kund to Kedaarnaath Trail :
Beautiful Trek Towards Kedaarnaath
Panch Kedaar Temples
Kedaarnaath - the 1st Panch Kedaar
The opening date of Kedaarnaath Temple is fixed and depends on the Shiv Raatri and decided by priests in Ukhee Math. Normally Kedaarnaath Temple opens in Mid May. The closing date of Kedaarnaath is fixed on Yam Dwitiyaa (second day after Divaalee, November). Kedaarnaath Temple is open for devotees from 6 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm. Shringaar Darshan is from 5 pm onwards and Aaratee is performed at 6:45 pm. Shraavanee Annakoot Melaa is celebrated on the day before Rakshaa Bandhan during August. Special Samaadhi Poojaa is held on the closing day of Kedaarnaath. The Kedarnath Temple committee office organizes booking for special Poojaa which is performed before the general Darshan in the morning. THis year, in 2011 it will be opened on 8th May.
Tungnath - the 2nd Panch Kedar, 12,400 ft (On the way to Tungnath Temple)
The mythology has it that Lord Shiv was enraged at the act of homicide enacted by the Paandav by killing their brothers in the grand battle of Mahaabhaarat. Aware of Shiv's annoyance, the Paandav built the temple to please Lord Shiv and for their own salvation. Others claim that the Aadi Shankaraachaarya, during his historic visit to the region, had got it built. They cite the presence of Aadi Shankaaraachaarya' s image in the Garbh Grih or the sanctum of the temple. However, it also houses images of the Paandav. Besides, the Asht-dhaatu (of eight metals) images of Kaal Bhairav and Ved Vyaas are also among the multitude of images there. A dark left-tilting one-foot high Ling is the centre of attraction. The locals describe it as an arm of Lord Shiv. This arm of Lord Shiv is also associated with a legend.
Other Temples - Built of stone, this temple is a fine model of ancient architecture. Facing the gate of the temple is Nandee, the Divine Bull and Shiv's vehicle. There are two smaller temples dedicated to Paarvatee and Vyaas in a small courtyard. The Temple of Tungnaath, at a little over 12,000 feet, is the highest shrine on the inner Himalayan range. It lies just below the Chandrashilaa peak.
Rudranaath - The 3rd Panch Kedaar, 7,500 ft
There are numbers of holy Kund (Tanks) near Rudranaath Temple namely Sooryakund, Chandrakund, Taaraakund etc. The Vaitaranee River, the Divine River flows pass behind the temple. Anasooyaa Devee temple is located on the trek to Rudranaath involving an additional trek of 2 m (3km).
Rudranaath Shrine : This is the only temple in India where the image of Shiv is worshipped as a symbol of his face, a sublime, tender aspect of Shiv, unusual, serene and beautiful indeed to behold. Devotees come to Rudranaath to offer ritual obeisance to their ancestors, for it is here, at Vaitaranee River (the water of salvation), that the souls of the dead cross when changing world.
Gupt-kaashee Temple : Kaashee is the old name for Vaaraanasee and Gupt means secret or hidden. Gupt-kaashee has an ancient temple of Shiv and derives its name from the fact that this is the place where Shiv is supposed to have hidden himself when the Paandav chased him. At this place he disappeared and hid himself in a cave. Hence this place is known as Gupt-kaashee or the hidden Kaashee.
Kaaleemath : Kaaleemath is situated close to Ukheemath, and Gupt-kaashee. It is one of the Siddh Peeth of the region and is held in high religious esteem. The temple of Goddess Kaalee located here is visited by a large number of devotees round the year and specially during the Nava Raatri.
Chandee Devee Temple : Legend goes that the Goddess Chandee Devee was sitting on a rock, combing her hair when two demons that were the servitors of the two brothers Shumbh and Nishumbh saw her and were totally captivated by her intoxicating beauty. They ran back to their masters and reported the matter to them. The whole story is narrated in the Devi Mahaatmya. The rock on which she was sitting is close to this temple.
Madhyamaheshwar - The 4th Panch Kedaar Temple, 11,500 ft
Located at the base of Chaukhambaa peak at an altitude of 11,500 ft the classic temple architecture belongs to the North-Indian style. So sanctified is the water here that even a few drops are considered sufficient for ablution. The natural scenery is dramatically wild, with deep gorges and valleys, mountain sides flung upwards towards the skies, the forests where the snow lies thick in winter, only to be replaced by a carpet of greenery in the summer. Kedaarnaath and Neelkanth peaks are visible from here, the entire ring of mountains is associated with the life and times of Shiv. The confluence of Madmaheshwar Gangaa just short of the temple, is one of the prettiest spots in the region.
Kalpeshwar Temple : The 5th Panch Kedaar, 7,200 ft
It is a favorite location of meditating sages. Legend has it that the sage Arghya had performed austerities here and created the nymph, Urvashee. Rishi Durvaasaa is also believed to have meditated here under the wish-fulfilling tree, Kalp Vriksh. The sage had given Kuntee the boon that she could invoke any of the forces of nature and they would appear before her and grant whatever she desired. Known for his quick temper, Rishi Durvaasaa is often recalled in context of the incident when, along with several disciples, he visited Kuntee's sons, while they were in exile. He indicated that he and his disciples would have their food at their place. There was not a grain to cook. Lord Krishn appeared at the same time and miraculously solved the problem answering an anxious Draupadee's prayers
Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on February 12, 2013