केदारनाथ मंदिर 16-17 जून 2013 की प्राकृतिक आपदा के बाद
इस मन्दिर की आयु के बारे में कोई ऐतिहासिक प्रमाण नहीं है, पर एक हजार वर्ष से केदारनाथ किसी न किसी रूप से महत्वपूर्ण तीर्थ रहा है। राहुल सांकृत्यायन के अनुसार यह मंदिर 12-13वीं शताब्दी का है। ग्वालियर से मिली राजा भोज की एक स्तुति के अनुसार उनका बनवाया हुआ है जो 1076-99 काल के थे।
एक मान्यतानुसार वर्तमान मंदिर 8वीं शताब्दी में आदि शंकराचार्य द्वारा बनवाया गया जो पांडवों द्वारा द्वापर युग में बनाए गए मंदिर के बगल में है। मंदिर की बड़े धूसर रंग की सीढि़यों पर पाली या ब्राह्मी लिपि में कुछ खुदा है, जिसे स्पष्ट जानना मुश्किल है। फिर भी इतिहासकार डॉ शिव प्रसाद डबराल मानते है कि शैव लोग आदि शंकराचार्य से पहले से ही केदारनाथ जाते रहे हैं। 1882 के इतिहास के अनुसार साफ अग्रभाग के साथ मंदिर एक भव्य भवन था जिसके दोनों ओर मूर्तियां हैं। पीछे भूरे पत्थर से निर्मित एक टॉवर है इसके गर्भगृह की अटारी पर सोने का मुलम्मा चढ़ा है। मंदिर के सामने तीर्थयात्रियों के आवास और पण्डों के पक्के मकान है। जबकि पूजारी या पुरोहित भवन के दक्षिणी ओर रहते हैं।
Lord Shiva manifested in the form of Jyotirlingam or the cosmic light. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. This ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range. This temple, over a thousand years old is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. Ascending through the large gray steps leading to the holy sanctums we find inscriptions in Pali on the steps. The present temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya.The inner walls of the temple sanctum are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. The origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic - Mahabharata. According to legends, the Pandavas sought the blessings of lord Shiva to atone their sin after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed, he dived into ground leaving behind his hump on the surface. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form. The temple, believed to be very ancient, has been continually renovated over the centuries. It is situated at an altitude of 3,581 mt. It is a 14 km trek from Gaurikund.
At the approach of winters in the month of November, the holy statue of Lord Shiva, is carried down from Kedarnath to Ukhimath, and is reinstated at Kedarnath, in the first week of May. It is at this time, that the doors of the temple are thrown open to pilgrims, who flock from all parts of India, for a holy pilgrimage. The shrine closes on the first day of Kartik (Oct-Nov) and reopens in Vaishakh (Apr-May) every year. During its closure the shrine is submerged in snow and worship is performed at Ukhimath.
There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in Chamoli 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 Kith and Kin 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 Madmaheshwar 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.