Kedarnath Dham is part of Panch Kedar which are five religious places dedicated to Lord Shiva. All these are located in the Garhwal Himalayas. Whoever travels to Panch Kedar has to first visit Kedarnath, Tungnath, then Rudranath and Madhyamaheshwar, and then finally Kalpeshwar.
Legend of Kedarnath Dham
Kedarnath is mentioned in the Mahabharata and the Pandavas are said to have built the original temple here. After the disastrous battle of Kurukshetra where their entire dynasty was destroyed, the five Pandava brothers had no desire to rule. He renounced the world and began a journey of atonement which ended in the inaccessible reaches of the Himalayas. Atonement was not going to be easy as the death and duality in Kurukshetra angered Shiva and refused to listen to his prayers. The Pandavas had to follow him from Varanasi to Kedarnath, where he finally relented. Here he built a temple and meditated and prayed to Shiva for salvation. Sahadeva, the youngest Pandava, died in Kedarnath.
Mythological Story of Kedarnath Dham
In ‘Skanda Purana’, Lord Shiva says to Mother Parvati, ‘O Praneshwari! This area is as ancient as I am. I attained Parabrahmatva in the form of Brahma for the creation of the universe at this place, and since then this place is my familiar abode. This Kedarkhand is like a land heaven because of my eternal abode.
It mentioned in Kedarkhand, ‘Akritva Darshanam Vaishvaya Kedarsyaghnashinah, Yo Gachched Badri Tasya Yatra Nishfaltam Vrajet’ which means if one travels to Badrinath region without seeing Lord Kedarnath, then his journey becomes in vain.
The Architecture of Kedarnath Dham
Kedarnath Dham is 85 feet high, 187 feet long, and 80 feet wide. Its walls 12 feet thick and made of very strong stones. The temple erected on a 6 feet high platform.
Like the rigid aspect of the Lord, the Kedarnath Dham is a simple stone structure. Lightly decorated with carvings, its true elegance comes from its classic design and use of dark brown stone. A flight of stairs leads to the arched doorway of the porch that opens into the mandapa.