One of the holiest pilgrimages in north India, Kedarnath is situated in Uttarakhand. It is located at an altitude of 3,584 m above sea level, near the head of river Mandakini. A popular destination for Hindu pilgrims, Kedarnath is one of the four major sites in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage that also includes Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
It is the most remote of the four Char Dham sites and is flanked by breathtaking snow-clad peaks. Known for the ancient Shiva Temple, a trip to Kedarnath is an exhilarating experience. Like the other sites, Kedarnath closes on the first day of the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November) and reopens in Vaishakh (April-May) every year.
The shrine is submerged in snow for about half a year when the Lord is shifted to Ukhimath. According to a legend, the temple came into existence as a result of the Pandavas’ search for Lord Shiva to atone for their sins for killing their brethren during the Kurukshetra war. Lord Shiva avoided all attempts to meet the brothers and stopped at Kedarnath and took the form of a bull and started to force himself into the ground, leaving only his hump visible. The willpower and determination of the Pandavas impressed Lord Shiva and he forgave their sins, blessed them and allowed them to worship him at Kedarnath.