November 15, 2023 – On the auspicious occasion of Bhai Dooj, the sacred festival, the gates of the Kedarnath Dham, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, were closed at 8:30 AM on Sunday. The closing ceremony took place in accordance with rituals and traditions, with the Vrishchik Lagna (Scorpio Ascendant) and Jyeshtha Nakshatra.
Approximately, more than 2500 devotees gathered amidst half a foot of accumulated snow at the shrine to seek the blessings of Lord Kedarnath after the gates were closed.
Following the closure of the gates, the ceremonial idol of Baba Kedarnath embarked on a journey from its abode to the winter seat of Onkareshwar Temple in Ukhimath, Ramnagar, as part of the first-night sojourn. The ceremonial idol of Baba Kedarnath for the procession was prepared for the six-month winter worship at Panch Kedar Gaddi Sthan Onkareshwar Temple, where all the necessary arrangements have been completed.
The special puja and rituals for Baba Kedarnath commenced at 4 AM on Wednesday. The main priest performed the adornment of the self-manifested lingam of Lord Kedarnath in the sanctum sanctorum, offering dry flowers, Brahmakamal, Kumkum, and ashes in meditative form. Other religious traditions were also observed.
Senior officials from BKTC (Badri-Kedar Temple Committee) and spiritual leaders were present at this event. After the completion of the meditation worship in the temple’s sanctum sanctorum at 6:30 AM, other smaller temples in the temple complex were closed. Subsequently, the southern and eastern gates of the Kedarnath Temple were closed in the Scorpio Ascendant and Jyeshtha Nakshatra.
On this occasion, the resonating cheers of the devotees and the jubilation of Baba Kedarpuri echoed with the praises of Lord Kedarnath. Simultaneously, while circumambulating the Kedarnath Temple, the five-faced doli (palanquin) of Lord Kedarnath left the temple for its winter seat, Panch Kedar Gaddi Sthan Onkareshwar Temple.
Accompanied by the spirited tunes of the army band and the cheers of devotees, Baba Kedarnath’s procession reached Gaurikund via Rudraprayag, Lincholi, Rambada, Bhimbali, and Jungle Chatti. Here, the devotees welcomed the grand doli with enthusiasm. From here, the doli will reach Rudraprayag on its first night’s halt.
BKTSC (Badri-Kedar Temple Service Committee) media coordinator, Dr. Harish Chandra Gaur, informed that on November 16, the doli would travel to Vishwanath Temple in Guptkashi. On November 17, as part of the six-month winter worship, the ceremonial idol of Lord Kedarnath will be placed at Panch Kedar Gaddi Sthan Onkareshwar Temple in Ukhimath, as all preparations have been completed.