History of Kedarnath – The Story Behind This Ancient Temple
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Origin of the Temple:
Popular for being one of the crucial pillars of the Char Dham Yatra of Devbhoomi, Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is an iconic jyotirlinga in the entire Indian subcontinent. Sitting at a whopping height it is also one of the highest Char Dham destinations as compared to the other three destinations of Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. One of the most unique facts about the temple is its time of construction which is undefined and to present day remains a mystery for all scholars as well as historians. However the rebirth of the temple is credited to Adi Shankaracharya who, back in 7th century AD, had built the Char Dham Yatra of India as well as of Uttarakhand. He did so in order to re-ignite the flame of religion and bind the Indian population together in the name of the lord. Adi Shankaracharya is also believed to have attained his Mahasamadhi here and a Samadhi has been erected at the other side of the main temple shrine, as a way of paying respect to the great sage and philosopher. There is also a commonly accepted belief that Pandavas had built this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva during their journey to the heaven.
Primarily there are two of the most widely accepted history regarding the creation of the temple which are:
- After the great war of Kurukshetra or popularly known as Mahabharat, the Pandavas were advised by their great sage and seer Vyas to go to Kedarnath and ask for forgiveness from the almighty Lord Shiva. This was advised since they had killed their kin, the Kauravas and committed a crime and this was the only way of absolving their sins. In order to achieve this, first of all they had headed for Kashi where they came to know that the lord resides in the mighty Himalayas. Finally, the Pandava brothers along with Draupadi made their pilgrimage to Kedarnath. However, the Lord was in no mood of granting their wishes so he turned himself into a bull and hid among a huge group of bulls in Guptkashi. While looking for the lord Nakul and Sachdev witnessed a unique looking buffalo. Having recognized the lord in his bull form, the animal immediately began digging himself into the ground where he was standing. Bhim, the strongest of all the Pandavs, grabbed a hold of the bull’s tail and started to pull it outwards. The Lord then finally emerged in front of the Pandavas and granted them their wish and absolved them of their sins. Later on during their journey to heaven, the Pandava brothers constructed the 5 temples on their route as a way of paying homage to the lord which later on became the Panch Kedar Circuit and includes – Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, Kalpeshwar and Kedarnath.
- Another legend revolves around the two incarnations of Lord Vishnu Nar and Narayan. These two twins performed rigorous penance to Lord Shiv in front of a lingam which they had fashioned out of some mud at Bharat Khand in Badrikashram. Lord Shiv became extremely pleased with their hard penance and appeared before them. He gave them a boon and gave them an opportunity to ask for anything which the Lord will fulfill. The two devotees then asked the Lord to stay in Kedarnath forever in the form of a Jyotirlingam. The lord then granted this wish and transformed himself into a linga on top of which the temple was built. Ever since then the temple has been a hotspot for spiritual and religious activities.
Scientific Theories about Kedarnath:
If the scientists are to be believed the current temple of Kedarnath was buried safely inside ice for almost 400 long years. This had happened between the 13th and 17th century when the entire region of Kedarnath was covered in snow during a mini ice age. As per researchers, this holy temple was completely buried inside snow yet it managed to survive the brutal climatic changes. As per the Himalayan geological scientist of Wadia Institute, explained that the temple was deeply buried for 400 years under a thick blanket of ice, but once the snowfall had stopped and the ice started to recede and melt away it had left marks of its departure on the walls of the temple. The widely accepted theory about the origin of the temple is that of Adi Shankaracharya since before the mini ice age the temple had already been constructed in the 8th century. The researchers and scientists who studied the temple structure came to a conclusion that whoever had gotten this temple constructed built it in an extremely safe manner and made sure that it could stand the test of time since the entire temple is built using extremely strong pieces of mountain rock.
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