Kedarnath is a Hindu holy town located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is a nagar panchayat in Rudraprayag district. The most remote of the four Char Dham sites, Kedarnath is located in the Himalayas, about 3584m above sea level near the head of river Mandakini, and is flanked by breathtaking snow-capped peaks. Kedarnath hosts one of the holiest Hindu temples, the Kedarnath Temple, and is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world, being one of the four major sites in India's Chota Char Dham pilgrimage.
Kedarnath is named in honor of King Kedar who ruled in the Satya Yuga. He had a daughter named Vrinda who was a partial incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. She performed austerities for 60000 years. In honour of her, the land is named Vrindavan. However, Kedarnath and its temple exist from the Mahabharata Era when the Pandavas are supposed to have pleased Lord Shiva by doing penance there.
During winter due to heavy snowfall, the Temple is closed and no one stays in Kedarnath. For six months (November to April) the Palki of Lord Kedarnath is transferred to a place near Guptakashi called Ukhimath. People shift their settlement too from Kedarnath to nearby villages. Around 360 families of Tirtha Purohit of 55 villages and other nearby villages are dependent on Kedarnath for livelihood.
Kedarnath Mandir is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located atop the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April to start of November. During the winters, the idols from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. Here god Shiva is worshipped as Kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of the region.
The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 14 km uphill trek from Gaurikund. The temple is believed to have been built by Adi Sankaracharya and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. The older temple existed from the times of Mahabharata, when the Pandavas are supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath. The temple is also one of the four major sites in India's Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of Northern Himalayas.