Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple: Unearth the Secrets of Panch Kedar and Guptkashi

Jyotirlingas are the shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in India. Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple is the 11th Shiva Lingam, comprising the most ancient and powerful mythological stories. The Vedas, Shiva Purana, Mahabharat, and other Vedic Story describe it as the holiest Shiva temple. The shrine has built itself with the effects of five natural elements: water, air, earth, fire, and sky.

Due to facts and divine intervention, Kedarnath is the most panoramic temple situated at the altitude of 12 thousand above sea level in Uttrakhand.

Meanwhile, let’s unearth the secrets, significance, and ancient mythological tales linked to the temple.

Significance of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple

Nestled in the pearly white snow-clad hills of the Himalayas, Kedarnath is a hard-to-read temple. In this heavenly, beautiful location, several mythological events happened.

Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is a serene, remote pilgrimage site covered under white scenic snow. It is close to the origin location of the River Mandakini.

Legends of Kedarnath Jyotirlinga: Myths of Nara-Narayana

Nara and Narayana, the twin sages of Hindu mythology and the sons of Dharma and Ahimsa, are believed to be partial avatars of Lord Vishnu.

Nara and Narayana once penanced at Badrinath to Lord Shiva with complete devotion. They are immersed in prayer for years and forget everything happening the world. Witnessing such a surrender to Shiva through devotion, Mahadev was impressed and appeared before them and said.

“Nara and Narayana, I am utterly pleased with your devotion and penance. You can ask what you want as a boon. I will fulfill your desire.”.

The twin brothers responded with folded hands and surrender posture, saying, “O Lord Mahadev, if you are pleased with our unbreakable devotion, we want you to stay here at Badrikashram for eternity in Linga form.”.

Hearing such an immersive devotional plea, Lord Shiva couldn’t deny it and established himself as Kedarnath Jyotirlinga at the Kedarnath Teertha in the Himalayas. Mahadev came to be known as Kedareshwara.

Legends of Pandavas: Five Sons of Kunti

Another interesting story is interconnected with the Pandavas, the sons of Kunti and Pandu, and the princes of Hastinapur.

It is believed that, after the heinous battle of the Mahabharata in the Dwapara Yuga, the Pandavas were burdened with the guilt of having killed their blood relatives, the Kauravas, the sons of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari.

They killed their cousins but also other relatives such as MahaMahim Bhishma, Karna, and gurus like the great Guru Dronacharya and their distinct relations. Although they battled for good, the killing was colossal, and turned the Kurukshetra into a pool of blood, making its mud red till now.

The Mahabharata battle was the greatest till now, killing eighteen Akshauhini armies. One Akshauhini means a group of 1,09,350 foot soldiers, 65,610 horses, 21,870 chariots, and 21,870 elephants. Now, we can multiply these numbers by 18 to get the numbers.

The Indian force today has about 1.4 million military forces, which is equal to 14 Akshauhini. In a rough calculation, the Mahabharata had 1.8 million sena who fought and were killed by the Pandavas.

Therefore, Pandavas Dharma Yudh was initiated for a good purpose, but the crowd killings were sinful.

Search for Lord Shiva by the Pandava Brothers

The weight of the gotra hatya and brahmahatya during the Mahabharata battles was so heavy that the Pandavas wanted to perform penance and pay every price to attain forgiveness.

To help them, Sage Vyasa advised the brothers to pray to Lord Shiva. If Mahadev pardoned you for the grave sin you had committed, you would attain heaven, not hell.

Pandavas handed the kingdom to Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu and Uttara, and set out to find Mahadev for forgiveness.

At first, they traveled to Varanashi, the city of Lord Shiva and home of the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga temple. However, Mahdev was in intense resentment over the dishonesty and the cruel killing of the relatives. He decided to take a bull form and disappear.

After failing so heavily, they began traveling to the Garhwal region, and Bhima found a bull grazing close Guptakashi.

Panch Kedar: The Search for Mahadev Continues by Pandavas

Lord Shiva was unwilling to forgive the Pandavas; therefore, he assumed the form of a bull and hid amid the Himalayas. Mahadeva knew that Yudhishthir, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul, and Sahadev were the divine sons of Dharma, Vayu, Indra, and Ashwini Kumara. Thus, he disguised himself as a bull in the ground of the Himalayas; now known as the Garhwal region.

1. Kedarnath Shivling: The Hump of the Bull

    Bhima, the second son of Pandu, saw the bull and immediately realized it was the Lord Shiva. He began to run behind and maneuvered to catch the hump of the bull. Bhima tugged the tail and hind legs; however, Lord Shiva dug deeper.

    2. Tungnath Shiva Lingam: The Arms of the Bull

    Bhima saw the bull in the Tung region of the Himalayas and tugged on the arms of Lord Shiva.

    3. Madhyameshwar Shivalinga: The Navel and Stomach of the Bull

    After many miles away and the hardship of the Pandava brothers, Bhima saw the navel and stomach of the bull appear on the ground of the Himalayas.

    4. Rudranath Shivalinga: The Face of the Bull

    Then, Bhim witnessed the face of the bull and caught hold of it, but it soon disappeared on the ground.

    5. Kalpeshwar Shivalinga: The Hair of the Bull

    Lastly, Bhima saw the hair of the bull; he tried to hold it, but again, Lord Shiva escaped.

    These five regions of the Himalayas came to be known as Pancha Kedara.

    The Pandavas built five temples in each region and performed a yagna to reach heaven at Kedarnath, praying to Lord Shiva to forgive them. Eventually, with pure devotion, hardship, and great penance, Lord Shiva appeared and forgave them. Then they followed the holy path of Mahapanth, also called Swargarohini, to their ultimate destination.

    Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple Architecture

    Kedarnath Jyotirlinga temple is constructed beautifully with humongous, heavy, and evenly cut gray rock slabs. You can find a pillared hall in front of the temple complex where you can see the most beautifully curved images of Goddess Parvati and Pandavas.

    After that, you will also find the most charming images of Lord Krishna and other deities of Sanatan Dharma in the hall. As you enter the Kedarnath temple, you will find a grand statue of Nandi Maharaj.

    Kedarnath Jyotirlinga temple has an even more breathtaking Garbh Griha (sanctum sanctorum), where the rituals happen.

    You may also come across a large Mandap with decorated idols of deities and scenes from Hindu mythology.

    Interesting Facts

    • Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Shrine is disaster-proof due to the unknown secrets of why the temple is made at such an altitude surrounded by hills.
    • It has survived the 2013 Kedarnath flood disaster. Kedarnath temple is standing tall amid such a great event.
    • The temple of Kedarnath was covered under heavy snow and glaciers for 4000 years.
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    Archana Das
    Archana Das
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