- UTTAR PRADESH
is the most important Hindu shrine in Himalayas, and among
the major Shiva temples, of the country. Located at the source
of the river Mandakini, Kedarnath is one of the twelve Jyothirlingas,
of Lord Shiva, and one of the Panch Kedars.Mythology identifies
the deity at Kedarnath temple, with the rump of a bull, a
form assumed by Lord Shiva, when eluding the Pandavas, who
had come for repentance for killing their kith and kin, in
the great battle of Kurukshetra. When the Pandavas followed
him to the site, he dived into the ground leaving behind a
hump on the surface. This conical projection is worshipped
as the idol in the shrine.
The remaining parts of the body are worshipped at four other
sites-the arms (Bahu) at Tungnath, mouth (mukh) at Rudranath,
navel (nabhi) at Madmaheshwar and hair (jata) at Kalpeshwar.
These five shrines collectively are known as the Panch Kedar.
It is believed that the temple of Kedarnath, was constructed
by the Pandavas. At the entrance of the temple, is the statue
of Nandi, the divine bull of Shiva. The wall inside the temple,
is exquisitely carved with images, and the temple houses a
shiva lingam, which is worshipped by hordes of pilgrims. The
lingam, here, unlike its usual form, is pyramidal.
At the approach of winters in the month of November, the holy
statue of Lord Shiva, is carried down from Garhwal (Kedarkhand)
to Ukhimath, and is reinstated at Kedarnath, in the first
week of May. It is at this time, that the doors of the temple
are thrown open to pilgrims, who flock from all parts of India,
for a holy pilgrimage. Legends notwithstanding, the shrine
of Kedarnath is very scenically placed, and is surrounded
by lofty, snow - covered mountains, and grassy meadows covering
the valleys. Immediately behind the temple, is the high Keadardome
peak, which can be sighted from great distances. The sight
of the temple and the peak with its perpetual snows is, simply,
an enthralling sight.
Vasuki Tal: Situated at an altitude
of 14, 200 ft, and 6 kms away from Kedarnath, Vasuki Tal is
situated on the right side of the valley. The crystal clear
lake with stupendous scenic surroundings, offers a splendid
view for the nature buff.
Son Prayag: Located at the confluence
of the Mandakini and the Sone-Ganga, this quaint village is
known for its picturesque beauty.
An ancient temple dedicated to the Goddess Gauri or Parvati,
the Gaurikund houses the metallic idols of Gauri and Shiva.
According to legend, Parvati meditated here for a long time,
to win Shiva as her consort. Ultimately, she succeeded, and
the cosmic couple were wed at Trijuginarayan.