Pandas of Kedarnath (6th Jan 2016): The Pandas of Kedarnath live in the villages near Guptakashi and Ukhimath. They are responsible for all the ritualistic and religious ceremonies which are held in the temple. Some of the Pandas practice astrology and perform worship rituals and they are well versed in Sanskrit. It is believed that a group of Brahmins had come to Keadrnath with Adi guru Shankracharya from South, who belonged to Shaiva sect and remained with Shankracharya. The Adi Guru left his mortal remains at Kedarnath, and the entourage of Brahmins remained here for the purpose which the Adi Guru had come. The legacy of the Pandas continues since then. They are very helpful to the devotees and their yajmans and always show the right path of worshipping and following the rituals.
The tradition of opening of the temple has a long history which starts on the day of Akshaya Tritiya when Sri Kedarnath Bhagwan’s doli (carrier )leaves its winter seat from Ukhimath and reaches Kedarnath Dham on the third afternoon. On the fourth morning, the temple is opened for pilgrims and the local residents. Normally, this occurs 2 or 3 days prior to the opening of Badrinath Dham. This date normally falls during the last week of the April or first week of the May, which is decided by the priests of the temple at Ukhimath on the day of Mahashivratri.
The closing date is next day after Deepawali. The closing ceremony is very simple and brief. All the priests, workers and pilgrims leave Kedar Bhagwan at the hands of Bhairon nath ji. The temple is closed during whole winter until next summer. The opening date again follows the same traditional method and the same process continues every year which has been there for last many centuries.
Many people also visit the winter seat of Lord Shiva, which is Onkareshwar temple at Ukhimath. During the winter season one can take the blessing of Onkareshwar temple and also visit the beautiful local places like Chopta, Deoria tal & Chandrashila.
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