The Pilgrim's Salvation
For any pilgrim or a tourist with a spiritual bent of mind the significance of Kedarnath as one of the most revered pilgrim spots of north India deeply engrossed in the Hindu philosophy is beyond any notion of qualm. I still remember my visit to Kedarnath fresh, the solemn environment and also the Vedic chanting in and around the temple had reminded me of our glorious Vedic past. But there is also another aspect of Kedarnath for which people from all corners of the globe come to this place, and that reason is there are several people who possess an innate desire or fascination to conquer the rough terrain of Garhwal. In respect of the scenic beauty through the green hills of the Himalayas, serene atmosphere and the presence of cool and gentle breeze this place is certainly a tourist's delight. Its strategic location is in the Uttar Kashi district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. It is also quite near to the Indo-Chinese border and is the source of the Mandakini River. The nearest places of the Kedarnath are the Rishikesh at a distance of 234 km and Dehradun at a distance of 250 km. While talking to the local men I had learnt that the place was a religious abode from time immemorial. According to them, even the environment chants in praise of Lord Shiva, one of the most venerated figures of the Hindu trinity.
The greatest attraction of Kedarnath is the Kedarnath Temple, believed to be built by the Pandavas and is at least 1000 years old. In the 8th century AD, it was refurbished by Adiguru Shankaracharya and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is unique in shape and consists of the idol is in the form of a pyramidal lingam and is considered to be one of the exceedingly revered 12 jyotirlingas in the country. There are also other places of attractions. They include the Samadhi of Adiguru Shankaracharya which is located just behind the temple. There is also the Bhairavnath temple dedicated to Lord Bhairav.
It is futile to say since there is much to say and even more to feel. The location of Kedarnath is perhaps the best and is linked by road from all important places of the Garhwal hills-Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, Haridwar, Badrinath and Gangotri. In respect of accommodation there are plenty of dharamshalas, ashrams, and tourist bungalows of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN). But keep it in mind that non-vegetarian food and liquor are strictly prohibited.