This temple is one of 12 Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva, known as 'Swayambhu' or self-manifested lingas. Kedarnath temple is located at the highest altitude of all the 12 Jyotirlinga's.
According to legend, Nara-Narayana, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu's twin brother, performed penance and requested Lord Shiva to manifest himself in the region for eternity. His wish was granted when Lord Shiva appeared there as a Jyotirlinga.
It is believed the Kedarnath temple was built by Pandavas and buried in snow for over 400 years. However, there is no proof or historical records to confirm this.
The temple became a famous pilgrimage site in the 20th century, when many devotees started taking up the tough yatra to get the blessings of Shiva.
Ways To Travel:
Kedarnath Mandir is located at Uttarakhand, near the Mandakini river. While getting there from Kuala Lumpur is quite easy, devotees also have to do a 16km trek to reach the temple.
From Kuala Lumpur, catch a flight to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. Once you have reached Delhi, there are a few options to travel to Uttrakhand.
The nearest airport to the location is Jolly Grant Aiport, Dehradun. From Dehradun, catch a taxi to Gaurikund.
If you prefer taking the train instead, Rishikesh is the closest station to the destination. From Rishikesh, it is quite easy to get a taxi to Gaurikund.
If you're traveling via bus, travel to Rishikesh, then to Guptkashi and then hire a shared jeep or taxi to reach Gaurikund.
If budget is not an issue, you can also hire a helicopter from Dehradun, which is quite pricey.
Once you're at Gaurikund, you need to travel 16 km to reach the temple. If you choose to not trek on foot, you have the option of palanquins, ponies and even helicopters.
Things To Note:
Since the Kedarnath temple is located in the Himalayas, it is only open for 6 months in a year and will be closed during heavy snowfall.
So the best time to visit would be from the end of April or early May, June, and October. The place will experience heavy rainfall from July to September, with possibilities of landslides and floods. The temple is open from 4am to 11pm (India time).
The temple is closed for 6 months, beginning November, due to winter.
Before you visit the temple, ensure you have registered yourself. To do so, visit Uttrakhand's official tourism website. You can also opt for biometric registration at registration centres in Haridwar, Rishikesh and so on.
Before you travel, make sure you are fit as you need to produce your medical fitness certificate from a licensed practitioner. Your permission to visit the temple might be denied if you fail to provide the certificate.
Also, ensure you are properly dressed in a thick winter jacket and trekking shoe. Do take a few days to acclimatise, in order to avoid altitude sickness.
Image credit: CondeNastTravellerIndia and WayToIndia