Nestled in the lap of the majestic Himalayas, Kedarnath is a town in the state of Uttarakhand, India, renowned for its spiritual significance and breathtaking natural beauty. It is home to the famous Kedarnath Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Beyond its religious significance, Kedarnath holds a treasure trove of astonishing facts that fascinate both pilgrims and travelers alike.
In this article, we unravel some of the most astonishing facts about Kedarnath, shedding light on its unique attributes and captivating mysteries.
Kedarnath Temple, believed to have been built by the Pandavas of the Mahabharata, is over a thousand years old, making it one of the oldest surviving structures in India. The temple’s architecture and intricate stone carvings stand as a testament to the advanced skills of ancient Indian craftsmen.
Kedarnath is located at an altitude of 3,583 meters (11,755 feet) amidst the Garhwal Himalayan range, surrounded by stunning snow-capped peaks. The town is enveloped by glacial valleys and offers breathtaking panoramic views, captivating the hearts of all who visit.
The Disappearing River:
The Saraswati River, originating from the Vasuki Tal glacier near Kedarnath, flows underground for most of its course, appearing only for a short distance near the temple. Witnessing the rare sight of a river disappearing and reappearing is truly mesmerizing.
Remnants of the Flood:
In 2013, Kedarnath was struck by a devastating flood, resulting in the loss of many lives and significant damage to the town and its surroundings. The remnants of that calamity, including uprooted trees and boulders, serve as a reminder of the resilience and enduring spirit of the people of Kedarnath.
Kedarnath has emerged as a major helicopter hub for pilgrims, offering an easier mode of transport to the temple. The helipad in Kedarnath is located at an astonishing height of 3,800 meters (12,470 feet), making it one of the highest helipads in the world.
Winter Abode of Lord Shiva:
During the winter months, when heavy snowfall renders Kedarnath inaccessible, the presiding god, Lord Shiva, is transferred to Ukhimath, a nearby town. The idols are worshipped there with equal devotion until the temple reopens in the following summer.
One of the lesser-known mysteries of Kedarnath is the presence of magnetic rocks in the region. These rocks possess a strong magnetic field that can disrupt compasses and other magnetic instruments, baffling scientists and visitors alike.
The Legend of Bhim Shila:
Bhim Shila, a massive rock near the temple, is believed to have been placed there by Bhim, one of the Pandava brothers. According to local legends, the rock bears the imprint of Bhim’s elbow and is considered sacred, invoking a sense of awe among devotees. It also protected the temple when floods caused massive destruction in 2013.
Kedarnath serves as a gateway to several renowned trekking routes, including the popular Kedarnath-Badrinath trek and the Valley of Flowers trek. These treks offer an enchanting experience, showcasing the region’s diverse flora, fauna, and awe-inspiring landscapes.
In the vicinity of Kedarnath, there are certain stones that produce musical sounds when struck with another stone or a stick. This intriguing phenomenon has fascinated visitors and locals alike, creating an ethereal atmosphere amidst the serene surroundings.
Samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya:
Near the Kedarnath Temple, there is a samadhi (final resting place) dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya, the renowned philosopher and theologian who revitalized Hinduism in the 8th century. It is believed that he attained Mahasamadhi (ultimate liberation) at this sacred spot.
Rudra Himalaya Cave:
Deep within the mountains of Kedarnath lies the Rudra Himalaya Cave, a sacred cave associated with Lord Shiva. It is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva meditated, and devotees often visit to seek spiritual solace and enlightenment.
Char Dham Yatra:
Kedarnath is one of the four pilgrimage sites included in the famous Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand, along with Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Undertaking this arduous journey is considered highly auspicious and spiritually fulfilling for devout Hindus.
A Haven for Flora and Fauna:
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the vicinity, is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. It provides a habitat for rare and endangered species like the Himalayan musk deer, snow leopard, and various species of birds, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.
Meditation at Chorabari Tal:
Chorabari Tal, also known as Gandhi Sarovar, is a pristine lake situated en route to Kedarnath. It is believed to be the spot where Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were immersed. The serene ambiance of the lake offers a tranquil setting for meditation and self-reflection.
Medicinal Herbs and Plants:
The region surrounding Kedarnath is abundant in medicinal herbs and plants, known for their therapeutic properties. Traditional healers and Ayurvedic practitioners often gather these herbs to prepare medicines and remedies for various ailments.
A Spiritual Abode:
Beyond its natural beauty, Kedarnath holds a unique spiritual energy that draws seekers from all over the world. Many visitors claim to have experienced profound spiritual awakenings and a deep sense of inner peace while in the sacred environs of Kedarnath.
Kedarnath continues to awe and inspire with its astonishing facts and hidden wonders. From ancient temples to mystical legends, from breathtaking landscapes to spiritual revelations, this land of Shiva nestled amidst the mighty Himalayas invites us to explore its mysteries and embrace its profound beauty.