Kedarnath is located near Mandakini river in the Garhwal Himalaya range. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is one among the Char Dham. Kedarnath temple was built by Pandavas and Bhagavan Adi Shankaracharya revived it. Behind the temple, there is samadhi of Bhagavan Adi Shankaracharya. This is one of the most sacred temples for Shavaitis. The head priest, Raval, belongs to the veershaiva community from Karnataka.
As per legend during the Mahabharata war Pandavas killed their relatives. To wash their papa, they undertook a pilgrimage. They wish to have darshan of Lord Shiva, but Lord Shiva hid from them because of their papa. The place where Shiva hid is known as Guptakashi.
Pandavas keep searching Lord Shiva, and they reached Gaurikunda in the Himalayan Valleys. Lord Shiva took the form of buffalo to hid from Pandava, but Nakula and Sahadeva found that buffalo unique from others. When they told this to other Pandavas, Bhima went after the buffalo with his mace. Bhima could not catch Lord Shiva, who was in the form of buffalo. When Buffalo start entering into the earth to run away from Pandavas, then Bhima managed to hold the back side of Buffalo. Bhima started to pull the tail of Buffalo. In this effort of Bhima face of the buffalo emerged in Nepal where the rear part remained there in Kedarnath.
On this backside of Buffalo, a Linga appeared, and Pandavas get the darshan of Lord Shiva.
As per Shiva Purana Lord Vishnu incarnation Nara-Narayana went to Badrika Village and worshiped Lord Shiva for a long time. When Lord Shiva appeared before them, they asked toLord Shiva remain there for the welfare of Humanity. Granting the boon Lord Shiva himself stayed there in the form of Jyotirlinga. Kedarnath is on of the 12 jyotirlingas where Shiva himself stay and accept the offering of devotees.
Weather conditions are extreme in this Himalaya region, so the temple remains open about six months and closes for the winter on Kartika Purnima, usually November month. After closing the door, Chal Vigrah of Kedarnath is brought to Omkarshavar temple of Ukimatha and worshiped there for six months.
On the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya, end of the April month, the temple is reopened, and thousands of pilgrims gather to have Darshana of Lord Shiva, who get worshiped here as Kedarnath “The Lord of the Kedar Khand.”
The major pujas performed here are Mahabhisheka, Rudra Abhishek, Laghu Rudra Abhishek and Arati. Other than this Shiv Sahasranamam Path, Shiv Mahimastrotra, and Shiv Thandavastrotra also practiced.