The Kedarnath Temple, located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, is one of the four ancient pilgrimage sites referred to as Char Dham Yatra, which also include Yamunotri, Gangotri and Badrinath. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva to inaugurate a number of key infrastructure projects.
Built in the 8th century by Jagad Guru Adi Shankaracharya, Kedarnath Temple is located on the Garhwal Himalayan range on the banks of the Mandakini river. According to a legend, the temple was originally built by the Pandavas—Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva—the sons of Pandu, the king of Kuru kingdom, as acknowledged in the epic Mahabharata.
The temple, also known as the holiest shrine of Shiva, is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. It is open to devotees only between the months of April and November due to extreme weather conditions.
During the 2013 flash floods in Uttarakhand, the temple managed to stand erect and suffered little to no damage even as the surrounding areas bore the brunt leading to major damages. The flood, considered one of the worst natural disasters to have hit the country, was caused by a cloudburst leading to floods and landslides in the state.
The Prime Minister, during his visit on Friday, unveiled the statue of Adi Shankaracharya at the premises of the Kedarnath Temple. The samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya has been reconstructed after its destruction in the 2013 Uttarakhand floods.
Before the inauguration, the Prime Minister offered prayers and performed ‘aarti’ at the ancient temple. He paid obeisance to Lord Shiva and undertook circumambulation of the Kedarnath shrine after offering prayers.
Modi arrived at the Dehradun airport in the morning and was received by Uttarakhand Governor Lt Gen Gurmit Singh (retd), chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and his cabinet colleagues Subodh Uniyal and Ganesh Joshi, besides Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Premchand Aggarwal.
PM Modi will also lay the foundation stone of reconstruction projects worth over ₹130 crore at the Himalayan temple.