Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Kedarnath



Om Namah Shivaya- Kedarnath is one of the holiest hindu temples dedicated to god shiva and is located on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in kedarnath, Uttarkhand in India. Temple is located at an height of 3,583m(11,755ft). The structure is believed to have been constructed in 8th century AD.



Among the twelve JyotirLingas of Bhagwan Shankara, the one at Kedarnath is located in the snow-covered area of the Himalayas. This JyotirLinga can be visited only during six months in a year.The climatic conditions allows to open temple between the end of April( Akshay Trutiya) to Kartheeka Purnima( the autumn full moon, usually November) every year. It is also one of the four major sites in India’s Chota char dham pilgrimage of northern Himalayas.


During the month of Karthik, due to snowfall, Sri Kedareshwar idol is brought out of the temple after lighting a ghee lamp, “Nanda Deepa”. Then the temple is closed for the winter. From the month of Karthik to Chaitra Sri Kedareshwar’s abode is shifted to the Urvi Math, which is in the valley. In the month of Vaishakh, when the temple doors are opened the lamp “Nanda Deepa” still keeps burning. People come to see this glorious lamp and the Shiva devotees consider themselves blessed.



Myth

After the war of Kurukshetra, the Pandvas set out on a yatra to Varanasi in order to be blessed by Lord Shiva and be absolved from the sin of killing their own brothers-the kauravas. Lord Shiva, unwilling to give darshan to the Pandvas, fled from Kashi to Uttrakhand and lived in Guptakashi. 


             On being detected by the Pandvas, Shiva went to Kedarnath, but the Pandavas followed him. He assumed the form of a bull and started grazing amongst the cattle, but even then could not escape detection by the Pandavas, At dust, when it was time for the cattle to return home, Bhim stretched his legs across the mountains (standing on either side of the Kedarnaath Valley) in order to identify Shiva. All the cattle passed under his legs except Shiva, whom Bhim noticed. As Bhim bent down to catch hold of him, Shiva sank into the earth and only his back portion (the hump) was taken in Bhim's hand. The face portion is in Nepal known as Pasupathinath temple. Shiva being pleased with the determination of the Pandavas, exonerated them from their sin, gave them darshan and requested them to worship his hump, when a glorious Jyotirlinga appeared. It is from that date the hump of Shiva worshipped in the Temple of Sri Kedarnath-in the conical Shiva pinda form.


Around the main Kedarnath temples, there are many holy places. At the back, there is the Samadhi of Shankarachrya. A little further up, there is dangerous cliff called Bhariguptan (Bhairav Udan). One has to pass through dreadful, and life threatening circumstances. But what one gets is not Mrityu (Death) but Moksha (Salvation). On all the eight sides of the temple, there are eight shrines.
In short, it is to say that in order to visit Kedarnath, JyotirLinga, one has to go through a treacherous route. But when people are determined and dedicated, they never get tired. Every one keeps chanting Jay Kedarnath! Jay Kedarnath!!


 
Srimat Shankaracharya praised Lord Shiva thus: 

mahAdripArshve cha taTe ramantaM sampUjyamAnaM satataM munIndraiH |
surAsurairyaxa mahoragADhyaiH kedAramIshaM shivamekamIDe ||

Meaning:
Oh Lord, who resides in the great heights of Himalayas, oh Lord, thou, who art worshipped forever by saints, Hermits, Demons, Gods, Yakshas and Maha Nag (giant snakes), I bow and offer millions of Pranams. 



Science Behind

Chaujar’s findings suggest that the Kedarnath temple remained submerged in ice or in the glacier for at least 400 years. It survived due to its sturdy construction. Striations on the wall of the temple, that could have formed when the glacier moved around the structure, further support the theory. 

It is believed that large amounts of water flowed down from the Chorabari lake formed by the melt of the glacier.  This was worsened by excessive rains in Uttarakhand. Chaujar says that most of the water came down from the left channel. This put the Kedarnath settlement at risk as the river was at a higher level compared to the settlement. While photographs show the hotels and residences around the temple are destroyed and the area buried in rubble, the temple itself seems to not have incurred much damage.

The fact that the Kedarnath temple survived the period of submergence in ice for 400 years suggests that the temple would survive episodes like the present flooding, says Chaujar.

The glacier on each side has a snout from where water trickles down to form the river Mandakini. The river receives most of its water from the right snout which is at 3,865 m above sea level. The left snout at 3,835 m also feeds the Mandakini, whose main channel flows about 100 m northwest of the Kedarnath temple. 


Studies indicate that until a few years ago, the basin area of the glacier was about 38 sq km, with the glacier occupying 15 sq km. The glacier has advanced and retreated several times over centuries of climatic variation and its dimension may have been altered.


            *** OM NAMAH SHIVAYA ***

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