Badrinath and Kedarnath
As per the Bhagavata Purana, Lord Vishnu has incarnated himself as sages Nara and Narayana and has been in deep meditation at Badrinath since time immemorial. Close to Badrinath, is the wonderful Shiva temple at Kedarnath.
During the Dwapura Yoga, after the Kurukshetra war, Rishi Vyasa told the Pandavas to pray to Lord Shiva and beg for forgiveness for killing the Kauravas in the unavoidable war. The Pandavas went in search of Lord Shiva, but Shiva was not willing to forgive them and hence went into hiding underground at Guptakashi (which came from the name - Gupt meaning secret and Kashi – abode of Shiva). The Pandavas still managed to find him but Shiva then rematerialized himself in the form of the bull’s body parts at 5 different locations – namely Panch Kedar – the places being Kedarnath (hump), Tungnath (bull’s hands), Rudranath (head), MadhyaMaheshwar (navel) and Kalpeshwar (hair) – all in different parts of current day Uttarakhand.
The first hall inside the Kedarnath temple has statues of the five Pandava brothers, Lord Krishna, Nandi and Virabhadra. The statue of Draupadi and other deities are placed in the main hall.
The mountains around the Badrinath and Kedarnath regions are mentioned in the great epic Mahabharatha. The cave in which Rishi Vyasa (Vyasa Gufa) wrote the Mahabharatha is located 4km north of Badrinath. During their last journey to the Himalayas, the Pandavas
shed their bodies one after another when ascending the slopes of a peak in this western Garhwal region - the Swargarohini (meaning - the 'Ascent to Heaven').
The Badrinath and Kedarnath temples were revived by Sri Adi Sankaracharya – who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, in the 5th
century BCE. At the age of 32, Sri Sankara attained Maha Samadhi at Kedarnath and merged into the land near Kedarnath temple.
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