Saturday, July 26, 2014

Kedara Ghat, Varanasi

Kedara Ghat is one of the most important ghats of Kashi. 

Kedara is mentioned in the older Puranas and is therefore considered to be older than the more popular Vishweshara. The Gauri Kund (small water pool) at Kedara is called 'Adi Manikarnika', thus signifying that it is the original and greatest of Varanasi's tirthas.

The Kedareswara Temple here is a 'jyotirlinga'; that is, one of the 12 places where Shiva is manifested in the form of light. Also the Kedareshwara temple at Kedar Ghat was not destroyed during Aurangazeb's rule, so the temple here remains one of the oldest major ones in the city. 

Just as Kashi is the essence or microcosm of the entire sacred universe, it is believed that the Kedara Kshetra (area) is the essence or microcosm of Kashi. 

Typically the people who worship here are South Indians, and also Bengalis. 

The Sringeri Shankara Math is situated here. For people from the south one of the most important aspects of Kedara is that Adi Shankaracharya lived here and composed important works here, including the Manisha Panchakam and the Kashi Panchakam. In 1346, the 13th Shankaracharya of Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham established the Sringeri Math in Kedara, near the Kedareswara Temple.

Adi Shankaracharya
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Navaratri-utsav at Sri Sringeri Shankar Math
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Kedareshwara Temple is right by the river, and is easily recognised by its colourful Dravidian temple architecture as well as the vertical striped walls.
The word Kedara means meadow or field. According to the Kashi Kedara Mahatmya, Lord Shiva is supposed to have said: “It is known as the ‘field’ (Kedara) where the crop of liberation grows. Therefore, that place became famous as Kedara, both in Kashi and in the mountains”.

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