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Kedarnath, a peachy bantam hamlet perched amidst the snow crowned peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas close to the head of the Mandakini River at the altitude of about 3,553 meters above the sea level is one of the most sacred Hindu towns of India located in the state of Uttarakhand. An abode of Lord Shiva seated in the world famous Kedarnath Temple and aggrandized amongst the most popular and most sought after Hindu pilgrim destinations, Kedarnath happens to be one of the four sites of India’s auspicious ‘Chota Char Dham Yatra’. Christened after a pious sovereign ‘King Kedar’; the father of Devi Vrinda who ruled this terrain in Satya Yuga (the very first epoch according to Hindu mythology), the Kedarnath Temple is believed to be existing since Mahabharata era when the five Pandava brothers are said to have performed worship here. Supposed to have established by Adi Shankaracharya, Kedarnath; one of the twelve Jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva is also acclaimed as one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams; highly eulogized by the Tamil Nayanars saints. Owing to its tremendously cold climatic conditions and extremely heavy snowfalls, the Kedarnath Temple is opened for the devotees only between Akshaya Tritiya (April or May) and Bhai Duj (October or November).
The temple remains closed during the winter months when the idols of Lord Shiva are carried to Ukhimath and worshipped here for about six months. Apart from the chief Kedarnath Shrine, this home of Lord Shiva is teeming with over 200 big and small Shiva temples. Furthermore, the township and its adjoining region is also studded with several holy water tanks (kunds) worshipped by the devotees for their sin cleansing power! Aside from its religious and spiritual magnitude, what attracts the tourists and nature lovers to Kedarnath is its infinite natural splendor characterized with rolling snow-white peaks of the Himalayas, the vivid Rhododendron flowers, towering alpine forests and the unperturbed ambience exuberant with scenic panoramas. Kedarnath, nestled against the imperial backdrop of the lower Himalayas is truly an idyllic destination that would absolutely mesmerize its visitors. It is certainly the paradise personified for the admirers of nature and beauty. The undulating snow carpeted landscape of this niveous province also offers challenging treks and hikes to the adventure seekers as even reaching the Kedarnath Temple calls for a steep climb of 14 kilometers. This chocolate box locus immersed in the serene pizzazz of cosmos in its full bloom is indeed an incredible Canaan materialized straight from the imagination.