Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (May 3) visited the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand and offered his prayers to Lord Shiva, after the doors of the temple reopened for devotees after remaining closed for six months during winter.
Here are 10 interesting facts to know about the Kedarnath temple:
1. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located at an height of 1,755 ft on the Garhwal Himalayan range near Ganga’s tributary Mandakini river in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand.
2. It is believed that the Kedarnath temple was constructed by the Pandavas, which was revived and reconstructed in the 8th century CE by theologian Adi Shankara.
3. The white marble exterior of the Kedarnath temple symbolizes peace and harmony.
4. The conical idol of Kedarnath Ji is kept in the Garbha Griha (sanctum sanatorium), while the presiding deity is kept at the Mandapa (assembly hall).
The Kedarnath temple also has statues of Parvati, five Pandavas, their queen Draupadi, Lord Krishna, Nandi, Virabhadra, among other deities, along with the vehicle of Lord Shiva.
5. The Kedarnath temple opens as early as 4 am and closes by 9 pm every day. There is a short afternoon recess from 3 -5 pm. Devotees are allowed to touch the Kedarnath Ji lingam and even take part in the Abhishekam but till 3 pm.
6. Due to extreme weather conditions, the Kedarnath temple takes a six-month winter break from Bhai Dooj and reopens post Akshaya Tritiya in late April or early May.
7. During that time, the idol is taken to Ukhimath at Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand and worshipped there for six months
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8. As per tradition, the Raval (head priest) of Kedarnath temple always belongs to Veerashaiva community from Karnataka. At the temple, he himself does not conduct puja rituals himself but his assistants do so as per his instruction.
However, it is the Raval’s duty to carry the deity of Baba Kedarnath to Ukhimath during winter.
9. The mantras are chanted in Kannada language.
The series of puja rituals include Maha Abhishek, Rudrabhishek, Laghu Rudrabhishek and Shodashopachar Puja during day and Shiva Sahasranamam path, Shiv Mahimna stotra path and Shiva Tandav Stotra path in the evening. Maha Abhishekam puja is performed between 4-7 am.
10. The temple is managed by the Kedarnath Temple Committee formed under Shri Kedarnath Mandir Act of the Uttar Pradesh government.
Pic credit: Uttarakhand Tourism
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.