March 24, 2017: Papavimochana Ekadasi, Chaitanya Prabhu Jayanthi
March 25, 2017: Sani Trayodasi
March 26, 2017: Maasa Sivaratri
Lord Shiva’s Jyothi is said to be embodied in twelve separate Lingas that are located in different parts of the Indian sub-continent. Lord Shiva is an important deity for the Hindu mythology, is worshipped from times immemorial, and is still popular as ever. To please Lord Shiva, one simple way is to chant Shiva Panchakshri. Lord Shiva is believed to be fond of Abhisheka and hence is considered to be the god who pleases to his devotees with ease.
Jyothirlinga in simple terms mean ‘linga of light’. The twelve Jyothirlingas are Lord Somanath in Gujarat, Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy of Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Lord Mahakaleshwar of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh Lord Omkareshwar of Amaleswaram, Lord Vaidhyanath of Parli, Lord Bhima Sankar, Lord Naganath of Anuth, Lord Thrayambakeswara at the origin of river Godavari, Lord Grishneeswra adjacent to Ellora and Ajanta caves, Lord Eswara of Rameswaram, Lord Viswanath of Varanasi, and Lord Kedarnath of Kedaram in Himalayas.
Kedarnath is located in the Uttar Kashi district of the State of Uttaranchal. It is the source of the river Mandakini. The region impresses everyone with its scenic beauty of the Garhwal region of the Himalayas. It is extremely cold in the winter and heavy layer of snow will top the ground. In summer, the temperature barely crosses 20 degrees centigrade. Hence, the best time to visit the temple of Lord Shiva here is between May and October. Kedarnath is 234 kilometers away from Rishikesh and 250 kilometers from Dehradun.
Among the twelve Jyothirlings of Lord Shiva, the shrine of Kedarnath is one amongst famous holiest pilgrimage centers for the Hindus. Kedarnath presents a majestic sight, sanding in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow clad peaks. The temple is said to have been built in the 8th century by the Vedic Guru Sri Adi Sankara. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple, a large statue of the Bull Nandi stands as guard dedicated to Lord Shiva. Kedarinath temple is said to be more than 1000 years old. A conical formation of a rock inside the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple at Kedarnath is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form. The five different characteristics of Lord Shiva are signified as Bhairava, Nataraj, Dakshinamurty, Somaskandha and Bhikashadana. All these five qualities represented in one single face are called Sadashiva.
Legend says that Lord Shiva wished to elude the Pandavas who were seeking penitence for having killed their kin in the battle of Kurukshetram. He took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. Bhima, one of the Pandavas, found Lord Shiva amongst a herd of cattle. Bhima is said to have grabbed him by the hindquarters. The temple is believed to have been built by Pandavas and on a later occasion sanctified by Adi Sankara.