The gates of the sacred Kedarnath temple will open for devotees at 6:25 am on May 6. After a religious ceremony at Omkareshwar temple on the occasion of Mahashivaratri, the auspicious date and timing of the opening of the Himalayan temple was announced.
The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was shut on November 6 for six months during the winter months due to heavy snowfall in the region.
According to Harish Gaud, Badri-Kedar temple committee official, the temple gates will be thrown open in Vrishchik Lagna, PTI reported. He added that the panchmukhi (five faced) idol of Lord Shiva will be moved out of his winter abode at Ukhtimath’s Omkareshwar temple in a palanquin decked with flowers on May 2.
After departing from Vishwanath Temple Guptkashi on May 3 and Phata on May 4, it will be taken to Gaurikund via Sonprayag, where it will stay overnight. Finally, it will leave on May 5 to reach Kedarnath via Junglechatti, Lincholi, Rudra Point.
Nestled in the serene heights of the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is one of the ‘Char Dhams’ along with Yamunotri, Gangotri and Badrinath, that many Hindu devotees wish to visit at least once during their lifetimes. This Shiva temple finds immense reverence due to the historical significance attached to it.
According to a legend, the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata, after having defeated the Kauravas, felt guilty for having killed so many people and sought redemption in Lord Shiva. It is believed that the Lord eluded them repeatedly and took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. He dived into the ground, leaving his lump on the surface at Kedarnath.
The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations — arms at Tungnath, face at Rudranath, belly at Madmaheshwar and hair at Kalpeshwar. Together, these five shrines from the revered Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit.
Best time to visit
During the winter months, as mentioned earlier, the temple remains closed due to heavy snowfall. It opens its gate in early May, making summer the best time to visit the holy site. The monsoon is unreliable in the region as it can vary from scanty rainfall to heavy flooding, as has happened several times in the past.