Kedarnath-Badrinath yatra restarts today
About four months after floods ravaged Uttarakhand, the yatra to Kedarnath and Badrinath temples restarted on Saturday.
The first group of pilgrims left Sonprayag for Kedarnath at 9 am on Saturday.
On Sept 11, the Kedarnath temple reopened after about three months and performed its first puja as a symbolic gesture.
The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva opened for offering prayers at 7.30 am and the rituals continued till 11 am.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, however, could not the prayers due to inclement weather.
Kedarnath was the worst affected area during the flash floods in North India.
The temple complex, surrounding areas and Kedarnath town suffered extensive damage, but the temple remained unharmed to a large extent.
The temple, located at an height of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), 223 km from Rishikesh, on the shores of Mandakini river, a tributary of Ganges, is an impressive stone edifice of unknown date.
The structure is believed to have been constructed in 8th Century AD, when Adi Shankara visited this place and the present structure is on a site adjacent to the site where Pandavas are believed to have built the temple.
The temple has on Garbhagruha and a Mantapa and stands on a plateau surrounded by snow clad mountain and glaciers. In front of the temple, directly opposite to inner shrine, is a Nandi statue carved out of rock.
Badrinath temple, sometimes called Badrinarayan Temple, is situated along the Alaknanda river, in the hill town of Badrinath in Uttarakhand.
It is widely considered to be one of the holiest Hindu temples, and is dedicated to godVishnu. The temple and town are one of the four Char Dham and Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites.
It is also one of the 108 Divya Desams, holy shrines for Vaishnavites.
The temple is open only six months every year (between the end of April and the beginning of November), due to extreme weather conditions in the Himalayan region.
The main deity worshipped in the temple is a one meter tall statue of Vishnu as Lord Badrinarayan, made of black stone.
The statue is considered by many Hindus to be one of eight swayam vyakta kshetras, or self-manifested statues of Vishnu.
The murti depicts Vishnu sitting in meditative posture, rather than his far more typical reclining pose.
(Posted on 05-10-2013)