The Uttarakhand major pilgrimage site “The Ancient Vridh Kedar, Shiva Temple” is located in Masi, Chaukhutiya, which is in Almora District of Uttarakhand. The temple is at a distance of 65 Km from famous hill station Ranikhet and 100 Km from Ramnagar.
In the Vridh Kedar Shiv temple, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Shiva Linga.
Tourist and devotees from worldwide visit this prominent pilgrimage site, as people also come here for rituals like sacred thread ceremonies (janeu sanskar) and weddings.
The days of Mondays in the month of Shravan and Mahashivaratri witness huge crowds of devotees here. The day of Kartik Purnima holds great significance, as a fair called “Kedara Kautik” is organized on this day. On this day, devotees arrive early in the morning and take a dip in the Ramganga with devotion and offer water to Lord Shiva.
Nestled amidst lush green beautiful valleys, this temple is a picturesque place.
The Vridh Kedar (वृद्ध केदार) temple is also recognized as the deity Kedarnath.
This temple is famous as Old Kedar in Kumaon.
The description of this temple is mentioned in the Manas Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
In this blog we will take you to Vridh Kedar and if you are shiva Bhakt you must read our other blogs on Panch Kedar and Panch Kailash which are in Uttarakhand and also known as Devbhoomi means “Lands of God.”
Table of Contents
History of Vridh Kedar Uttarakhand
The ancient Vridh Kedar (Old Kedar) Shiv temple is an ancient pilgrimage site which is located on the banks, the confluence of the Ramganga and Vinod rivers in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
According to the ancient records which is also known as Tampatra (ताम्रपत्र) this temple was established by the chand dynasty Kings of Kumaon, specifically by King Rudra Chand in the year 1391 of the Samvat calendar, the Shak year 1490 (1568 AD), the evidence of the existence is mentioned in Tampatra (ताम्रपत्र).
It is said that King Rudra Chand once stayed at this place overnight, where he had a vision of Lord Shiva in his dreams, instructing him to build a temple at this location. After the temple’s construction, the king’s defeated army achieved victory over their enemies. Since then, this temple has been deeply revered by devotees.
The Vrida Kedar Temple is also recognized as a form of Lord Kedarnath. It is believed since kalantar that pilgrims visiting the Badrinath Temple used to take their first bath in vridh Kedar and start their religious journey and those pilgrims who traveled from Haridwar to Badrinath would perform their final bath here before returning.
It is also believed and mandatory for devotees who are planning their pilgrimage to Badrinath, where it starts by taking dip from here and completes upon returning when they take final dip as at that time the Yatra specilly Char Dham were done only by walking.
Temporary shelters were constructed around 1391 for pilgrims to stay and worship.
This temple is mentioned in several ancient scriptures, In the fifth step of the Manas Khanda (स्कन्द महापुराण) of the Skanda Purana (मानस खंड), it is mentioned:
Shri Ved Vyas said:
वित्रताथवाहिनयोर्मध्ये वै ऋषिसततमाः वृद्धकेदारसंग वै देव सम्पूज्य मानवः॥
शिवलोकमवाप्नीति यज्ञकोटीफल लभेत । काश्यपीवामभागे वै वृद्धकेदारसंज्ञकम ॥
श्री वेदव्यास जी ने कहा, हे ऋषिश्रेष्ठी! विनिता और रथवाहनी के बीच में तथा काश्यपी नदी के बांये भाग में बद्ध कदारसज्ञक महादेव जी हैं, उनका पूजन करने से मनुष्य कोटियज्ञ का फल प्राप्त कर शिवलोक को प्राप्त होता है।
“Between the two rivers Vinata and Ratha, and on the left side of the Kasyapi River, there is a Mahadev named Vriddha Kedar. By worshiping them, a person attains the fruit of millions of Yagnas and achieves Shivaloka.”
सपूज्य मानवः सम्यक कुलेस्तु दशभिः पुनः ।
शिवलोकमवाप्नोति रुद्रकन्यानिषेवितः ॥
मनुष्य अच्छी प्रकार से वृद्ध केदासंज्ञक शिवजी का पूजन कर दुस कुली के साथ रुद्रकन्याओं से सेवित शिवलोक को प्राप्त होता है।
It is believed that worshipping Vriddha Kedar Mahadev, who is served by Rudrakanya, brings one to Shivaloka.This temple, which formed on its own, is said to have a stone shaped like Rock which appeared on its own, It is also said that Its upper part (head) is in the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal, and its lower part (feet) is in the Shri Kedarnath Dham.
Over time, worship and rituals have been performed at this site. At present the body is worshiped here.
Why only the Body is Worshipped Here?
According to legends, a cow used to come daily from the Salt (सल्ट) area of Kumaon to bathe Shiva’s linga with milk. When the cow’s owner didn’t get milk one day, he followed the cow and found it pouring milk on a rock. In anger, he hit the rock with an axe, causing the upper part (head) to break off and establish itself as Pashupatinath Nath in Nepal, while the lower part (feet) got established in the Shri Kedarnath Dham.
After the temple’s establishment, Baba King Rudra Chand appointed Brahmins of the Dungriyal caste from as priests for the Shiva temple, as recorded ancient scriptures Tampatra (ताम्रपत्र). The administration of the temple was entrusted to the Manral dynasty. According to these ancient records, the British rulers also formed a temple committee, which is still supervised periodically by selected district officers and assistant commissioners, maintaining the tradition till today.
Festivals in Vridh Kedar
A fair is held at the Vridh Kedar Shiv temple on Baikunth Chaturdashi. In the evening and on the following day devotees take a dip in the Ramganga River and then perform the Jalabhishek (offering of water) and puja of Lord Shiva.
It is beleived On the day of Baikunth Chaturdashi, if a childless woman desires to obtain the boon of a child, she comes to the Vridh Kedar Shiv temple with a lighted lamp in her hand and chants “Om Namah Shivay” at night. On the next day, at sunrise she releases the lamp into the Ramganga River and views the floating lamp five times. Undoubtedly, she receives the blessing of Lord Shiva for the birth of a child.
Vridh Kedar During Shravan
During the month of Shravan, there is a considerable crowd of devotees for darshan at the Vridh Kedar temple. On Mondays of Shravan, devotees who are devotees of Lord Shiva offer 108 pitchers of water, bel leaves, sesame seeds, barley, and rice on the Shiva Lingam, and Lord Shiva fulfills all their desires.
Every year during the month of Shravan, a recitation of the Mahapurana (great epic) is organized at the Vridh Kedara Shiv temple. A large number of devotees gather to hear the recitation.
Jagran In Vridh Kedar
Occasionally for 11 or 22 days, a festival (Jagaran) of deities is organized in Vridh Kedar. On the last day of the festival, the deities are taken to the pilgrimage site for bathing.
During the Jagran, the souls of ancestors are brought to the Vridh Kedara Shiv temple for bathing for their peace.
Due to being a great pilgrimage site, the Vridh Kedara Shiv temple also hosts sacred thread ceremonies and weddings.
We request you to please Uttarakhand Government Official Website for any announcement or updates on Uttarakhand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the old Kedar?
Vridh Kedar which is an ancient Old Shiva temple also known as “Old Kedar” is the oldest which was eastablished in 1391 AD.
Where is Vridh Kedar temple located?
The Vridh Kedar temple which is one of the oldest Shiva temple is located in Masi, Chaukhutiya which is in Almora district of Uttarakhand and which is at a distance of 65Km from famous hill station Ranikhet.
Who constructed the Vridh Kedar Temple?
The king Rudra Chand of Chand dynasty constructed the temple as he had a vision of Lord Shiva in his dreams instructing him to build a temple at this location.
What is the distance of Vridh Kedar from Delhi?
The Vridh Kedar Temple is at a distance of around 350 Km from Delhi.
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