What is the history of the Kedarnath yatra?

Author : Manchala Musafir | Published On : 13 May 2022

Kedarnath Yatra is one of the four pilgrimages of the Chota Char Dham Pilgrimage. The Kedarnath Temple is located in the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand, where worshippers flock to seek Lord Shiva's blessings. The temple is also the most important of the Panch Kedar. The Kedarnath Yatra is among hypnotic vistas, the nearby flowing Mandakini river, and the spectacular scenery in the shape of snow-clad mountains, rhododendron forests, and a healthy climate make Kedarnath a quiet and picturesque destination.

According to tales and mythology, there are numerous stories associated with the Kedarnath temple, the main attraction of the Kedarnath yatra. The Kedarnath Temple has a long history dating back to the Kurukshetra war. Following the Kurukshetra War, the Pandavas travelled to Kedarnath to visit Lord Shiva because they wanted Lord Shiva to forgive them for slaughtering their blood relations during the Kurukshetra war. Shiva transformed into a bull and hid among the livestock on the hill because he refused to pardon them. But the famous Pandava brother discovered him, and Lord Shiva escaped underground. But Bhima, one of the legendary Pandava brothers, grabbed his tail and dragged him outside to apologize. They discovered the other parts of the bull throughout the Himalayas, such as – the hump and two forelegs of the bull at Kedarnath, navel and stomach in Madhya-Maheswar, arms at Tungnath, face of the bull at Rudranath, and the hair near Kalpeshwar. All of the locations where the body of Shiva was discovered are known as 'Panch Kedar.' The Legendary Pandava Brothers built the temple of Lord Shiva in all these five locations. They first built the Kedarnath Temple. Later, Adi Shankaracharya took samadhi at Kedarnath, but before he died in the 8th century A.D, he rebuilt the temple and kept the Hindu religion alive, and made the Kedarnath history.

Another story about Kedarnath involves Nar Narayan, who went to Badrika Village to worship Parthiva. Legend Nar Narayan self-punished in front of the Jyotirlinga that emerged from the soil. Lord Shiva is impressed by Legend Nar Narayan and asks them for a Vardaan. Nar Narayan requested that Shiva stays in his original form at Kedarnath temple because other individuals seeking forgiveness, such as the famous Pandava brothers, should be cleansed of their misdeeds. Lord Shiva granted their wish and settled in the area that is now known as Kedar.