Portals of Rudranath temple open for devotees
The portals of Rudranath temple, situated at 2,286 metres above sea level in Chamoli district, opened on Saturday morning amid religious fervour and chanting of Vedic mantras.
The procession carrying Utsav Doli (palanquin) of Rudranath started from Gopinath temple — the winter sojourn of the deity at Gopeshwar — on Thursday and had reached Rudranath on Friday evening. Harish Bhatt, the head priest, led the procession, which was attended by hundreds of local devotees from Gopeshwar, Gangol, Sagar and Gwar villages.
Rudranath is the Chaturth (fourth) Kedar in the pecking order of the Panch (five) Kedars in Uttarakhand and the face of Lord Shiva is worshipped at the temple.
The back side of Lord Shiva is worshipped at Kedarnath, while His Tresses are worshipped at Kalpeshwar. The Navel and Arms are worshipped at Madmaheshwar and Tungnath respectively.
The 20-km long trek from Sagar village near Gopeshwar to Rudranath is considered to be one of the toughest treks, but it is rich in scenic beauty, as it meanders through the thick alpine forest and dwarf rhododendrons. Rudranath temple, situated in the lush green pastures, is amply blessed with the picturesque beauty of nature. The backdrop of the snow-clad peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Neelkanth and Hathighori present a breathtaking view from this place.
In the four-km periphery of the temple, Narad Kund, Sarasvati Kund, Vaitarni Kund and Surya-Chandra Kund (natural lakes) look lustrous, beset like gems in the vast greenery of bugyals (pastures). This area is rich in medicinal plants and it is believed that in Bhagwan ki kyari, an area of about 8,000 sq ft near the temple, has every kind of medicinal plant that grow in Himalayas.
Harish Bhatt, the head priest, said that since the trek of Rudranath is very tough, only around 3,500 pilgrims make it to the temple in the entire season. The portals of Madmaheshwar, situated at 3,265 metre above sea level, the last Panch Kedar would open on May 21.
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