Kedarnath is one of the places of Char Dham Yatra in Hinduism. It is one of the sacred places where Lord Shiva resides. The devotees come to Kedarnath to worship the form of Lord Shiva as “Kedar Baba”. The place is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttrakhand. This place is the highest among the “12 Jyotirlingas” of Lord Shiva.
The popularity of this religious place has grown in a few years. It is surrounded by lush green and scenic views of the place. The people living in this place are all religious and are very grounded in their heritage. The folklore and traditional song and culture are well preserved in the area. And can be seen in their festivals, myths, and legends:
Haryali Devi Mela
This festival is held by the locals in the month of September to October during Navaratri, one of the most celebrated festivals in India. The goddess worshipped in the festival is “Haryali Devi” but her forms are also worshipped. It is named, Vaishno Devi and Bala Devi. The festival takes place on the route connecting Rudraprayag with Karnaprayag.
This festival is celebrated during winter which marks the beginning of the goddess going to her winter home, Omkareshwar Temple. The Madhyamaheshwar Temple is closed for the winter season. And the idol of the goddess is being transferred to Omkareshwar Temple where she stays for the whole season.
The festival is also known as “Pandav Lila” and the festival is all about the play of Pandav Brothers being played on the stage in Kedarnath. The play is acted from the epic tale of India named, “Mahabharta” through singing, acting, or recitation.
This day is celebrated all across the country by the people who follow Hinduism and Kedarnath is not an exception for this festival. This festival is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Rama on Earth. It takes place on the ninth day of Chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar. The festival is celebrated by the locals by singing folklore and bhajans singing.
The Kedarnath is a known place where Lord Shiva resides and the Naga is very dear to him. This day is celebrated by the locals of Kedarnath who thank the Nagas. The Nagas are offered milk and snake figures are made from clay.
Opening and Closing Ceremony of Kedarnath Temple
One can visit Kedarnath whenever they wish but they should also experience the opening and closing ceremonies of the Kedarnath Temple. The whole valley is filled with positivity as folklore is sung at every place and musical performances are held. The Doli is carried during this time when the idol of Lord Shiva is kept while moving.
The Kedarnath is best if you want to meditate as it offers one of the most peaceful surroundings on Earth which is suitable for meditation. The place in Kedarnath is the Kedarnath Gufa in which India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi stayed for a night. The Gufa consists of one bedroom set up and has an entire view of Kedar Valley and Kedarnath Temple.
Bhairav Holy Spot
This Bhairav Holy Spot in Kedarnath is a 1 km trek from behind the Kedarnath Temple. The Lord Bhairav is known to protect the temple from harsh climate conditions. It arises sometimes during winter and rainy seasons. The locals also know that Lord Bhairav is the one who protects the temple. When Lord Shiva is not there and the temple is closed for 6 months.
Winter Adobe of Lord Kedar
In the winter month, the shrine of Lord Shiva is moved from Kedarnath Temple to Ukhimath. Which is residing home for the deity for six months. The devotee of Lord Shiva can offer their prayer to him at Ukhimath. The Kedarnath Temple is closed for six months.
Legends surrounding Kedarnath Temple
There are many legends surrounding the construction of the Kedarnath Temple. The two legends are that the construction of the temple was done by the Pandav brothers or Adi Sankaracharya. The Pandav brothers are expected to build the temple when they wanted Lord Shiva to forgive them for killing their cousin Kaurwas. On their way to the Himalayas, they stopped here and offered their prayers to him. At this time, it is said that they have laid down the foundation of the temple. Adi Sankaracharya built this temple to ignite the feeling of unity in the people following Hinduism. The Shivaling was found by him at the bank of the Mandakini river.