Named after Lord Shiva (Rudra), Rudraprayag is situated at the holy confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakani rivers, at a distance of 34 km from Srinagar (Garhwal). The presence of two separate routes for Badrinath and Kedarnath Dham from Rudraprayag render great importance to the place. The entire region is blessed with immense natural beauty, places of religious importance, lakes and glaciers.
PILGRIMAGE IN RUDRAPRAYAG
KedarNath- Amidst the dramatic mountains capes of the majestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Kedar or Lord Shiva. Lying at an altitude of 3584 m on the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus. There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the district itself, the most important one is Kedarnath.
According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface.
The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at
Madhmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.
An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door, a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old.
Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a Garbha Griha for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.
Air : Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 239 km.
Rail : Nearest railway station is Rishikesh, 221 km.
Road : Kedarnath is approachable on foot, 14 km from Gaurikund,
which is connected by road with Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon hills.
Local Transport :
Horses, dandies and ponies are available at Gaurikund for going and carrying luggage to Kedarnath.
The Samadhi of Adi Guru Shankaracharya is located just behind the Kedarnath temple. It is said that after establishing four sacred dhams in India, he went into samadhi at an early age of 32 years.
It’s the trekking base to Kedarnath. The village has hot water springs and a temple dedicated to Goddess Gauri.
At an elevation of 1829 m and on the main Kedarnath route, Son Prayag lies at the confluence of river Basuki and Mandakani. The holy site of Son Prayag is of immense religious significance. It is said that a mere touch of the holy water of Son Prayag helps one to attain the Baikunth Dham.
Madhmaheshwar, Tungnath, Rudranath and Kalpnath with Kedarnath form the Panch Kedar, the five most important temples of Lord Shiva in Garhwal Himalayas.
One of Panch Kedars, the temple of Madhmaheshwar is located at an altitude of 3,289 m above sea level, on the slope of a ridge, 25 km northeast of Guptkashi. There is a motor able road from Guptkashi to Kalimath. The best statue of Har Gauri in India measuring over a metre high is found in the Kali temple.
The trek from Kalimath to Madhmaheshwar is distinguished by wild unparalleled scenic beauty and engulfed by Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Neelkanth peaks. Gaundar at the confluence of Madhmaheshwar Ganga and Markanga Ganga, is the last settlement before one reaches Madhmaheshwar, the place where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of belly.
The arms of Lord Shiva came out as per the Kedarnath myth at Tungnath. He is worshipped here as one of the Panch Kedars. Tungnath Temple at an altitude of 3,680 m, is the highest Shiva shrine among the Panch Kedars but the easiest to reach from Chopta, the nearest road head.
At a distance of 3 km from Rudraprayag and on the holy bank of river Alaknanda is situated the Koteshwar temple. The Koteshwar temple is in the form of cave temple. There are many idols, which have been formed naturally. It is believed that before going to Kedernath, Lord Shiva meditated here. During the months of August and September, thousands of devotees come here to worship Lord Shiva.
Guptkashi has a great importance quite like of Kashi. The ancient Vishwanath temple, Ardhnareshwar temple and Manikarnik Kund, where the two streams of Ganga and Yamuna are believed to meet, are the main places of attraction in Guptkashi.
It is believed that after the battle of Mahabharata, the Pandavas wanted to meet Lord Shiva and seek his blessings. But Lord Shiva evaded from Guptkashi to Kedarnath as He did not want to meet the Pandavas, the reason being that although they had fought for the right cause, they were also responsible for destroying their own dynasty.
Guptkashi is situated at an elevation of 1319 mts. The one Stupa is situated in Nala which is quite close to Ukhimath. Some local people call it the grave of Rana Nal. 3 kms. from Guptkashi, the remains of ramgarh (in Ronitpur) still seem to echo the love between Lord Krishna’s son Anniruddha and Vanasur’s daughter Usha.
Accommodation, Food, Market, Hospital, Telephone, and other facilities are available at Guptkashi.