(Recitation by Pt. Nageshwara Rao of Hyderabad.
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Kedareshwar is a Shiva temple in Himalayas which is one of the twelve jyotirlingas. According to Kashi Khand, one gentleman performed the upnayanam ceremony of his son named Vashisht at Ujjain. The boy, Vashisht, was very religious and performed all poojas including Linga pooja etc. He used to visit Kedareshwar Temple in Himalayas alongwith his Guru regularly and perform pooja of Lord Kedareshwar.
Once, on the way to Kedareshwar, the Guru died unfortunately and since he had all along done only good deeds, he found a place for himself at Mount Kailas. Vashisht who was 12 at that time, got an enlightenment that those who go for having darshan of Kedareshwar are blessed with all punyas. He then went and settled down at Kashi.
But on all Chaitra Month Poornima days (March 20-April 21), Vashisht (who remained a Brahmachari) used to visit Kedareshwar Ling at Himalayas and this went on for 61 years. But due to old age, he could not move out and he started praying to Lord Shiva at Kashi. Lord Shiva blessed him with a wish and Vashisht requested that Lord Shiva should kindly appear at Kashi itself as Kedareshwar.
Lord Shiva was overwhelmed with the sincerity and devotion of Vashisht and granted accordingly. He appeared as Kedareshwar at Kashi and told Vashisht that performing pooja at Kedareshwar at Kashi will yield seven times greater punya as compared to performing pooja at Kedareshwar at Himalayas (Kashi Khand, Chapter 77).
Gauri Kund, Hans teerth and Manasarovar teerth find mention in Kashi Khand in reference to Kedareshwar but now only Gauri Kund remains. Manasarovar and Hans Teerth have dried up.
People observe vrath (fast) on Chaitra Month (March 20-April 20) Shukla Paksha Chaturdasi and break their fast on Poornima day, the next day, after performing pooja of Kedareshwar. This is as stated in Kashi Khand where Vashisht used to pray Lord Kedareshwar on Chaitra Poornima days (as mentioned in para above).
Kashi is divided into three Khands, Omkar Khand, Vishweshwar Khand and Kedar Khand. It is believed that a person who dies in Kashi attains Mukti. Going a step further, if the person dies in the area governed by Kedar Khand, he obtains immediate mukti while in other two Khands, there are some sort of hardships to be faced.
On all India basis there are twelve Jyotirlings and there are twelve important Shiv Lings in Kashi which represent the aforesaid twelve Jyotirlings. Kedareshwar (Varanasi) is worshipped as Kedareshwar Jyotirling (Uttarakhand).
LOCATION OF THE TEMPLE
Kedareshwar temple is located at B-6/102, Kedar Ghat which is a famous locality. It is approachable by cycle rickshaw. Alternatively, people can travel upto a locality called Sonarpura by Car or Auto rickshaw and travel on foot. People may also travel by boat to Kedar Ghat and walk up the steps directly into the temple.
TYPES OF POOJAS
The temple is open for worship 03.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. Mangala Aarti is performed at 03.15 a.m., 2nd Aarti at 10.00 a.m., 3rd Aarti at 05.30 p.m. and Shayan Aarti at 10.30 p.m. Timings may change depending upon the season.
Important days are Ekadasi, Pradosham and Poornima days. Anna Abhishek is performed once in a year. In this ritual, the Shiv Ling is covered with cooked rice.
Taking bath in Ganges on every Monday and performing pooja/abhishek of Lord Kedareshwar is very auspicious. Much importance to attached to poojas on Mondays during Shravan month (July 23 to August 20) and most importantly on last Monday of that month. It is believed that performing Shraaddh ceremony on Amavasya which falls on Tuesday at Kedar Ghat is very auspicious.
The poojas at the temple are performed by Kumaraswamy Mutt of Tamil Nadu. For doing special pooja etc., it is advisable to consult the Poojari before hand.
POOJARIS OF THE TEMPLE
For performing any pooja at the temple, devotees may contact The Agent, Kumaraswamy Mutt, Kedar Ghat, Varanasi. The telephone number of Kumaraswamy Mutt is 0542-2454064. E-mail id is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kumaraswamy Mutt is a well managed Trust and offers rooms of various types for stay also. Devotees wishing to stay in Varanasi may contact the Agent at the above address.