Kedarnath, the sacred world-famous pilgrimage centre for Hindus lies amidst the scenery beauty of Himalayas on the Garhwal Himalayan Range in Uttarakhand. Its aesthetic scenery makes the pilgrims and tourists spell bound. The green pastures and snow-capped peaks make it a pleasant tourist attraction besides centre for worship. It is about 223 km from Rishikesh and situated near the banks of river Mandakini, a tributary of National river Ganga.
Kedarnath Temple is among the 12 Jyotirlingas besides being one of the four major sites in Chota Char Dham pilgrimage. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is not known who actually built the temple, but around 1200 years ago, it was built by Adi Shankaracharya. Many legends are associated with it, but the legend associated with Mahabharata that Pandavas after the battle at Kurukshetra came to meet Lord Shiva here is worth mentioning, but the very first mention of Kedarnath temple is quoted in Skanda Purana.
The Kedarnath temple cannot be reached directly by road. The nearest road head is at Gaurikund. The Gaurikund is about 16 kms away and from here and one needs 22 km uphill trek to reach the temple. The temple is open for the people who come to worship between the months of April and November and then closed during winter months due to snow and bone chilling cold
There are various other places of interest in Kedarnath besides the temple. There is a temple of Bhairava.The legend goes that the deity of the temple protects the place during the winter. Chorbari Tal, a lake cum glacier about 6 km from the town is worth mentioning due to must watch tourist attraction.
Pashupatinath Temple located in Nepal on the banks of river Bagmati is a well-known sacred Hindu temple complex. Its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites has made it more admired and glorified by National and International Pilgrims and Tourists.
As per the Historical evidence, Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest Hindu Temple in Kathmandu and was re-constructed by the Licchavi King Prachanda Dev as the preceding building of the temple was devoured by termites. Several Legends are associated with this esteemed temple. The more accepted legends include – The Cow Legend, The Licchavi legend and The Devalaya Legend besides the other.
The main idol is a stone Mukhalinga.It has silver yoni base and bounded with the silver serpent. The lingam is one metre high. Its most outstanding feature includes faces in four directions. Various characteristics of Lord Shiva is represented by the faces and represents five primary elements namely earth, water, air, light and ether. The Shiva lingam is always dressed in Golden attire.
Unlike the worship of Lord Shiva Lingam elsewhere, here in Pashupatinath showing reverence to Lord Shiva is quite different. Two sets of priests perform the daily rituals and only four priests are authorized to touch the idol.
Pagoda style of architecture is followed in the construction of the Pashupatinath temple. A Pogada is a general term used for the Tower that is tiered with multiple eaves. The two-level roofs are made up of Copper and covered with gold. The temple rests on a square base and has a height of 23m and 7cm.The temple complex has over 500 structures that includes temples and monuments
Amarnath Temple is considered as one of the abodes of Lord Shiva. It is about 141 Km from Srinagar and can be reached through Pahalgam.The Shiv Lingam is considered as one of the holiest shrines. It is worldwide celebrated for the natural formation of Shiva Lingam from the snow. Snow covered mountains surrounds the Amarnath cave. Its aesthetic scenery makes the pilgrims and tourists spell bound.
Amarnath cave attracts the pilgrims during July and August (better known as Shravani Mela) as the Snow Lingam of Lord Shiva reaches its maximum around this time only. The Snow lingam is formed as the water drops freezes that fall from the roof of the cave on to the ground. The Snow Lingam thus formed grows up vertically from the cave floor.
The Legend of Amarnath states that in order to acquaint Goddess Parvati about the secrets of Life and Death, Lord Shiva selected this place where none other than Devine Being can think to survive. It was such a secret mission that his ride, Nandi was left at Pahalgam, The Moon atop his head at Chandanwari and snake around his neck at Lake Sheshnag.
There are two routes to reach Amarnath Cave, one is shorter and other being longer. The shorter route generally called as Northern route is 14 km long whereas the longer route’s distance varies from 36 km to 48 km. The Amarnath route is more comfortable while returning back after worshipping the Holy Snow lingam of Snow as while going up there is steep slope that may cause various Health related issue as the pilgrims are not habitual to the said topography.
Lord Shiva Temple, Combodia
Baphuon the world-famous Lord Shiva Temple at Angkor Thom complex of Cambodia built in 11th century was re-opened on July 2011, after about 50 years of renovation. Angkor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site besides being the vital archaeological sites in South-East Asia.
The architectural excellence of the temple can be attributed to the arch type of Baphuon style with intricate carving on the entire surface that can be carved. Magnificence and décor of the temple always had a positive reverence approach and provided the adequate peace for worship. It had Lord Shiva Lingam besides the depiction of scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Various Legendary personalities and Mythological Characters were also depicted.
The temple adjoined the Southern enclosure of the Royal Palace and measured 120 metres by 100 metres at its base and its height measured 34 metres without tower. During 15th century, the temple was converted to a Buddhist Temple. A statue of reclining Buddha was built whose dimension is 9 metres tall and 70 metres long. By 20th Century much of the temple had collapsed and refurbishment work started. Later due to various other factors and civil war, the project’s renovation work was withheld and second project was launched in 1996.The architect was Pascal Royere. The revamping work of temple started, but it again took about 16 years to get it completed and came to be known as “largest 3D jigsaw puzzle in the world”.