Kedarnath Temple located in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand State of India is one of the most popular temples associated with Hindu religion. Lord Shiva is worshipped here in the form of a Bull but without the head. Bhim Shankarling Shivacharya, the 54-year-old head of Kedarpeeth, in Uttarakhand indicates that the idol (murti) worshipped at Jangam math in Bhaktapur in Nepal is the missing Head of the idol worshipped in Kedarnath.
Legend has it that Pandavas reached the Kedarnath region to seek forgiveness from Lord Shiva for the loss of lives during the 18-day Mahabharata war. But Lord Shiva was not ready to forgive them and he took the form of a bull. The Pandavas soon realized that the Bull was Lord Shiva and tried to stop it by pulling the tail. Suddenly the head got separated from the body of the bull and the Pandavas could not locate it.
The body of the bull is presently worshipped in the Kedarnath Temple. People have been searching for the head of the bull since the period of the Mahabharata as they believed that it was hidden in the Himalayas. But so far all search proved futile and now Bhim Shankarling Shivacharya who was on a visit to Nepal happened to visit Jangam math in Bhaktapur in Nepal and was surprised by the striking resemblance of rituals followed in Kedarnath and Bhaktapur.
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“For 4,000 years, people have been searching for the head of (Hindu deity) Kedarnath who assumed the shape of a bull to avoid the five Pandava brothers, the heroes of the Mahabharata,” says Bhim Shankarling Shivacharya, the 54-year-old head of Kedarpeeth in India’s Uttarakhand state who is currently in Nepal.
“While the body of the bull lies in Kedarnath, one of the holiest pilgrim destinations in India, now the head has been discovered in Kathmandu Valley’s Bhaktapur city.”
As proof, the holy man points out the amazing similarity in the traditions of the monasteries in two different countries.
The priests in both shrines are selected from India’s southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Both priests affix the word ‘ling’ after their names to convey their proximity to the god as his worshipper and both temples have a cluster of five Shiva shrines.
The Kedarpeeth seer, who has arrived in Nepal for a month’s rituals during monsoon, says the main deity of both priests is Birbhadra, a companion of Shiva, according to Hindu scriptures.
On Aug 22, 2009, the seer will formally install a two-foot image of Shiva, also called Doleshwar, at the Bhaktapur shrine. It would be regarded as Kedar math’s official recognition of the Mahabharata relic in Nepal.
Kedarnath Temple along with Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, forms part of the annual Chardham Yatra undertaken by Hindus to the Himalayas.