Karna’s family – Vrushali and Vrishketu

Karna was the eldest son of Kunti and Lord Surya. There is not much available about his family, but following briefly tells about the family of this great archer, the rashmirathi.

Karna and Kunti
Karna and Kunti

In some texts, Vrushali has been names as the wife of the great warrior Karna, but there is not much material available on her. The son of Karna, Vrishketu is mentioned more frequently and it is also known that Pandavas developed good liking towards him, especially Arjuna.

Karna had two wives- Vrushali- from whom he had seven sons – and Supriya- a friend of Bhanumati. Bhanumati was the wife of Duryodhana. Vrushali committed sati on Karna’s funeral pyre.

Vrishketu and other sons

Vrishketu was Karna’s only son to survive the horror of the Kurukshetra war. He later came under the patronage of the Pandavas.  Vrishketu accompanied both Bhima- to acquire the sacrificial horse and Arjuna, where he famously fought – (and was killed by) Babruvahana.

Shri Krishna’s first response was to  revive  Vrishketu with the magical Nagmani and only then turn his attention to Arjuna. During that campaign, Vrishketu married the daughter of king Yavanaath, probably a King in the west. It is recorded that Arjuna developed a great affection for his nephew Vrishketu and trained him to be one of the best archers in the world.

Mahabharata  mentions the names of Karna’s seven sons – Vrishasen, Sushen, Bhanusen, Satyasen, Prasenjit and Satyasandh, and Vrishketu.

Out of these, four of them were killed by Pandavas. Vrishasen was killed by Arjun, who contrasted the situation with Abhimanyu and told Karna that just as he killed Abhimanyu when Arjun wasn’t there to protect him, Arjun would kill Vrishasena despite Karna’s presence, and went on to do just that.  The next day, Nakula was involved in a battle with Bhanusen, Sushen and Satyasen, and killed them.

In some texts, this is mentioned that one of Karna’s son was killed during the chaos, which was followed after Draupadi’s swayamvar.

Draupadi swayamvara story
Draupadi swayamvara story

This can also be noted that Karna was not allowed to participate in Draupadi Swayamvar.

The complete story of Parshurama avatar – Vishnu dashavatara

 Parshurama Avatar ( Dashavatara of Lord Vishnu)

Parshurama is the sixth incarnation (one of the dashavatara) of Lord Vsihnu. He is said to be one of the chiranjeevis. Chiranjeevi means one who doesn’t die.

Birth

Parshurama is born to Sage Jamdagni and Renuka. Parshurama was very obedient to his father, and once when asked by his father, he did not hesitate and beheaded his own mother. Jamdagni and Renuka meditated before the birth of Parshurama and with the blessing of Shiva, Vishnu agreed to take incarnation as their son which became sixth of the ten dashavataras. He was the fifth son of his parents.

Childhood

In his childhood, he did severe penance and pleased Lord Shiva. Lord presented him with the weapon parshu, thus the boy was called as Parshurama.

Killing of king Kartavirya

At that point of time, a king named Kartavirya Arjuna became very strong. He also defeated Ravana. One day, he came to the hermitage of sage Jamdagni and was welcomed by the sage. Jamdagni had a cow, Kamdhenu, presented by Indra, which allowed him to serve his guests. Impressed, kartavirya wanted the cow, which Jamdagni denied. The king stole the calf.

Kamdhenu , Jamdagni

Kamdhenu , Jamdagni

Parshurama was not at home at this point of time. When he returned back, he went to the palace of King Kartavirya and killed him. Then he retrieved Kamdhenu and came back to his home.

Killing of Sage Jamdagni

Soon, sons of Kartavirya discovered their father at the palace and knew that only Parashurama could have killed him. In revenge, they traveled to the hermitage and murdered Jamadagni, surrounding the rishi and shooting him to death with arrows like a stag. Afterwards, they decapitated his body and took his head with them.

Parshurama’s vow

When Parshurama discovered his mother weeping over the body of his father, he vowed to avenge the death of his father. He hunted down the sons of Kartavirya at the palace. He killed them all and returned with the head of his father to conduct the cremation. Parashurama then vowed to enact a genocide on the war-mongering Kshatriyas twenty-one times over.

Parshurama

Parshurama

Parshurama is also the guru or teacher of Bhishma, Drona and Karna. Parshurama’s famous curse is on Karna which rendered the Brahmastra useless for Karna.

Parshurama and Rama ( dashavatara’s of Lord Vishnu)

During Sita swayamvar, Rama broke the bow of Lord Shiva. Hearing the sound of breaking of the bow, Parshurama came there and challenged Rama to string the bow with an arrow. Rama, being an avatar of Lord Vishnu, easily mounted the arrow and asked Parshurama, where should I fire this arrow now? Parshurama realized that Rama was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and his own role has completed now.

Sita Swyamvar

Sita Swyamvar

Shri Krishna and Hercules – indian and greek mythology

A comparison of Shri Krishna and Hercules – Gods from indian and greek mythology

Greek mythology and Indian mythology have some similarities. Earlier we saw that Shri Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu(god) had one weakness, that was in his heel. That was also the case with Achilles, one of the greatest warriors from Greek mythology.

If we follow the events of Hercules life, we come across similarity between him and Shri Krishna.

Birth of Hercules

When Hercules was born, he was not liked by his step-mother goddess Hera, wife of zeus. Hercules was born to Alcmene, who was deceived by Zeus in having believing him as her husband, Amphitryon. We again see a similarity between Greek and Indian mythology as Indra, the king of gods deceived Ahalya in the same way. Later, he was cursed by her husband, sage Gautam.

Hera - wife of Zeus

Hera – wife of Zeus

Hera wanted Hercules to be dead and she sent two serpents to kill him as he lay in his cot. Heracles throttled a single snake in each hand and was found by his nurse playing with their limp bodies as if they were a child’s toys.

Baby Hercules and Snakes

Baby Hercules and Snakes

Interesting birth stories in Indian mythology

 

Shri Krishna and Putna

Above incident is quite similar to the infancy of Krishna when his uncle Kansa sent a number of demons to kill him. The famous incident was with Putna, who came to feed young Krishna, but lost her life.

Krishna and Putna

Krishna and Putna

There is also another story of Hera feeding Hercules. Zeus had tricked Hera into nursing the infant Heracles: discovering who he was, she pulled him from her breast, and a spurt of her milk formed the smear across the sky that can be seen to
this day. This led to the origin of the Milky Way.

Milky way and Hercules

Milky way and Hercules

If we look at the above two images, we would realize that how similar Greek and Indian mythologies are. Krishna being a common factor.

(Read : Shri Krishna and Achilles)

Hercules went on to become the great warrior and is known for his many adventures, which took him to the far reaches of the Greco-Roman world. One cycle of these adventures became canonical as the “Twelve Labours. Shri Krishna’s whole life has been filled with adventures, with the greatest of them is the winning the Mahabharata for Pandavas.

Hercules’s twelve labours are listed as below:

Slay the Nemean Lion.
Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis.
Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
Slay the Stymphalian Birds.
Capture the Cretan Bull.
Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
Capture and bring back Cerberus.

Shri Krishna’s exploits can be found here.

Clever Ganesha and Narada’s mango – Indian mythology

Ganesha, Kartikeya and Narada

Once, Narada took a mango to Lord Shiva and Parvati where the two sons of Lord were also present. He presented the mango to Parvati  and said that this mango is special and requested her  to accept the mango. Parvati intended to distribute the fruit between her two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya equally, but sage Narada intervened and said that this fruit cannot be cut into two and can be consumed by a single person only.

Narada suggested to have a competition between the two brothers, and the winner of the contest will be awarded the mango. Kartikeya enquired about the competition and after much thought, Narada suggested – ‘Whoever goes around the world three times first will win the mango’. Both brothers agreed to the condition put forth by Narada.

Mango by Sage Narada

Mango by Sage Narada

 

Hearing this, Kartikeya got on to the peacock and went to go around the world. Ganesha did not have a peacock or anything else he could ride so he thought for a while. He then went around Shiva and Parvathi three times and went to claim his prize saying. ‘ My Parents are the world for me. I have won the competition.

The competition between two brothers

The competition between two brothers – Kartikeya and Ganesha

Ganesha further said that Lord Shiva and Parvati are the first couple and whole universe is created with them. When he circled them three times, it was equivalent to circling the world three times. Thus he claimed his prize and started to eat the mango. When Kartikeya came back duly circling the earth three times, he found clever Ganesha eating the mango.

When he learnt that his elder brother had got the fruit by his fast thinking instead of running around, he accepted his defeat. On the other hand, Ganesha had won the contest by virtue of using his superior intellect and Kartikeya had to accept defeat in his favour.

Lord Vishnu’s eleventh avatar

 Lord Vishnu’s eleventh avatar

The dashavatara’s for Lord Vishnu are widely written and discussed, but there is one more aspect of Lord Vishnu, which has helped the gods. Perhaps, this is the reason, this aspect is not treated as an incarnation, because the dashavatars have helped human beings and this particular aspect has helped gods (or Devtaas).

You must be wondering what is being talked about. Time to do away with suspense. The name is Mohini. Yes, Indeed, the female form which Lord Vishnu have resorted a few times to save gods.

Churning of Ocean / Samudra Manthan

The first incident is during the churning of ocean. Many a things have been received from the ocean as a result of churning. Finally, Dhanvantari appeared with a pot of amrit, the heavenly nectar of immortality. This caused a great fight between Devas and Asuras.   To protect the nectar from Asuras, the divine Garuda took the pot, and flew away from the battle-scene.

While Garuda was in his flight over planet Earth, it is believed that four drops of nectar fell at four places – Prayag (Allahabad),Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. This legend is the basis for the belief that these places acquired a certain mystical power and spirituality. A Kumbh Mela is celebrated at the four places every twelve years for this reason. People believe that after bathing there during the Kumbh mela, one can get the primeval heaven and moksha(sanskrit:mokṣha).

churning of ocean - Mohini

churning of ocean – Mohini

Lord Vishnu appeared as a beautiful woman mohini and enchanted the asuras. She got hold of the nectar and started to distribute to Devas while keeping the asuras emchanted. This was noticed by Rahu and he also got hold of the nectar. This was duly notified to Lord Vishnu by Sun and Moon, and Lord ensured that Rahu’s head was cut by his discus. Read the full story of Rahu and Ketu here.

Bhasmasura, Lord Shiva and Mohini

Bhasmasura was an asura, who was driven by ambition to be the most powerful Asura ever. He saw the other Asuras and decided that he would perform severe penance to win the favour of Lord Shiva and become powerful.
So Bhasmasura prayed for a long time. Shiva became pleased and asked him to ask for a boon. Bhasmasur asked for immortality, but Shiva said that he did not have the power to grant him immortality. He then asked – [quote]My Lord if I touch anybody’s head, they should be reduced to ashes[/quote]
Lord Shiva granted this wish and realized the mistake immediately, when Bhasmasura wanted to test the powers on lord itself. This resulted in Lord Shiva fleeing from the spot while Bhasmasura on his heels.

Bhasmasura and Mohini

Bhasmasura and Mohini

Eventually, Mohini came to rescue. She appeared as a beautiful woman and the demon could not take his eyes off her. Mohini invited him for a dance competition and surely enough, she put a hand on her head as a dance move. Bhasmasura follows, and turned to ashes immediately.

Other legends

Mohini is also known to have helped in killing of Virochana.  The wise asura king Virochana is rewarded a magical crown by the sun-god Surya. The crown shields him against all harm. Mohini enchants Virochana and steals his crown. The demon, thus unprotected, is killed by Vishnu.

Another legend about the demon Araka associates Mohini with Krishna rather than the god himself. The demon Araka had become virtually invincible because of extreme chastity. Krishna takes the form of the beautiful Mohini and marries him. After three days of marriage, Araka’s bonds of chastity are broken, and Krishna kills him in battle.

in Thai version of the Ramayana, the demon Nontok is charmed and killed by Mohini. Nontok misuses a divine weapon given to him by Shiva. Mohini mesmerized Nontok and then attacks him. In his dying moments, the demon Nontok accused Vishnu of foul play saying that Vishnu first seduced him and then attacked him. Vishnu decrees that in his next birth, Nontok will be born as the ten-armed demon Ravana and Vishnu will be a mortal man called Rama. He will then fight him and defeat him.

Jyotirlinga – Mallikarjuna at Srisailam

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga temple

 

Sri Mallikarjuna is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva which is a very important pilgrim site for Hindu devotees. This Jyotirlinga is situated on hills at a place called Srisailam and has got an interesting legend. This temple has the looks of a fort and has got sculptures on walls which sometimes gives illusion of an art gallery.

Legend

Once Lord Shiva and Parvati decided to find suitable bride for their sons. Ganesha and Kartikeya argued as to who is to get wedded first.

Lord Shiva decided that one who complete his journey round the world first will will get married first. By the time lord Kartikeya could go round the world on his vahana, Lord Ganesha went round his parents seven times. In shastra going round one’s parent is equivalent to going round the world .

Lord Ganesha got married to shiddhi and Buddhi. When Kartikeya came back from his journey and heard about Ganesha’s married this angered him and despite being consoled by his parents and other Gods he left for Krounch mountain.

Lord shiva and Parvati decided to goto krounch mountain, but when kartikeya came to know that his parents are coming he went further away .

Lord Shiva and Kartikeya

Lord Shiva and Kartikeya

Eventually, Lord Shiva assumed his the form on linga and resided there in a quest to be close to Kartikeya. Mallika means Parvati and Arjun is another name of Shiva.

It is believed that Shiva and Parvati visit this palce on Amavasya (No moon day) and (full Moon day) Poornima, respectively. Visiting this Jyotirlinga not only blesses one with innumerable wealth, but also name and fame and fulfils all the desires.

Temple of Mallikarjuna

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga

 

Mallikarjuna Shivlinga

Mallikarjuna Shivlinga

 

Bhramaramba Shrine

Located adjacent to the Mallikarjun Temple is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Jagdamba who is known as Bhramaramba here. The Bhramaramba shrine is considered to be of great significance. Legend has it that Durga is said to have assumed the shape of a bee and worshipped Shiva here, and chose this place as her abode. One can hear the buzzing of a bee through a tiny hole in the Brahmaramba temple, where Parvati, in the form of a bee, slayed the demon Mahisasura.

How to reach

Nearest airport is located at Hyderabad (175 km).

Nearest Railway stations: Markapur road, Ongole, Nandyal.

Hyderabad – Mahbubnagar (NH 7)- Srisailam temple / Ongole – Markapur – Srisailam temple / Gooty – Nandyal – Atmakur – Srisailam temple.

 

Clever Ganesha and Sage Gautam

Ganesha – The Rescuer

When Bhagiratha brought Ganga from Lord Shiva’s hair, some part of Ganga remained with him. Parvati, being the consort of Shiva, didn’t like this. Parvati resolved that a way had to be found to remove Ganga from Shiva’s hair. She tried persuasion, but Shiva refused to listen.

 There was a drought on earth at this time which lasted for fourteen years. Sage Goutam hermitage was spared with this drought. Other people also gathered in the hermitage to save themselves from the drought and Gautam welcomed them all. Ganesha thought that he might be able to devise a way to please his mother Parvati and Ganga may leave Shiva.

Lord Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha

Lord Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha

 Ganesha started to live in Sage Gautam’s hermitage and became friendly with everyone. One of the Parvati’s companion, Jaya was also with him. Ganesha told Jaya that she was to adopt the form of a cow and eat up the grain in Gautam’s fields. And the moment she was struck,

she was to lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead.

 Soon, Sage Gautam noticed that a cow was eating the grain. He struck the cow with a blade of grass and the cow fell down. Everyone thought that the cow was killed and it was a capital sin. Nobody wanted to stay in the hermitage. Lord Ganesha proposed a solution to the sage. “You will have to bring down Ganga from Shiva’s hair,” replied Ganesh. When Ganga water touches the body of the cow, then you are free of your sin.

 Ganesha was so friendly with the other sages that they all accepted his solution. Gautam also agreed to do the needful. Sage Gautam went to Mount Kailash and began to pray to Shiva. Shiva was pleased at Gautam’s penance and offered to grant a boon.

Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva

 Gautam wished that Ganga might be brought down to earth. Shiva agreed. It was thus that Ganga was brought down to earth by the sage Gautam. Ganga has four tributaries in heaven, seven on earth and four in the underworld. Since it was Gautam who brought Ganga down to earth, the river is also known as Gautami Ganga.

 Thus, wise Ganesha found a solution to the problem of his mother. This story is from the Brahma Purana.

Bali and Sugriva – Ramayana Katha

In the Ramayana, two monkey brothers are mentioned with importance. In fact, a complete chapter is devoted with the name of Kishkindha kand on them. The interesting story of these two brothers is as following.

Birth of Sugriva and Bali 

Once Brahma threw smear from his eyes and a monkey Riksharaj appeared from the smear. He was instructed to wander in the forests and kill demons. Soon he got into a well and transformed into a beautiful lady.

When Lord Indra and Lord Surya saw the lady, they became attracted to her and thus Bali and Sugriva were born. These two brothers were very powerful and were asked to live in Kishkindha mountain by Lord Brahma.

Curse on Bali and Rishyamooka mountain

Soon, in course of time, Bali killed Dundubhi. Sage Matang had his hermitage at Rishiyamooka Mountain. When the stream of blood fell on his hermitage which resulted from killing of Dundabhi, he wondered about the reason. Suddenly a Yaksha came and revealed the secret behind the stream of blood. Indignant, sage Matang cursed Bali that he would die if he ever ventured on Rishiyamooka Mountain. That is the reason Bali could not visit Rishiyamooka mountain.

Bali and Dundubhi - Monkey and Demoin
Bali and Dundubhi – Monkey and Demon

Boon on Bali

Brahma had given a boon to Bali which made him virtually impossible to defeat and kill. Whenever facing an enemy in a combat, Bali would get half of the strength of his opponent. He was killed when he was involved in a fight with his brother, Sugriva. (This episode is detailed in Kishkindha kand – The Ramayana)

Bali defeats Ravana

The might of Bali was such that he defeated and moved around while holding Ravana under his armpit. Ravana, the demon king of lanka and the main antagonist of the Ramayana, was a mighty ruler, but even he was helpless before Bali. So Ravana was weak before monkey (Bali) and Rama (human).

Bali ties Ravana in his tail
Bali ties Ravana in his tail

Bali’s end

Once, Bali chased a demon Mayavi after killing his brother Dundabhi. Mayavi entered into a cave where Bali followed him. Bali too followed him into the cave. But before entering he cave, he instructed Sugriva to wait outside for a fortnight. He also said that if he did not come out of the cave after fifteen days, Sugriva would understand that Bali had been killed. After a month, He saw blood coming out of the cave and assumed that Bali was dead. Sugriva returned to the kingdom as  a king. But Bali was alive. When he came back and saw Sugriva running the kingdom of Pampapuri,

he became furious. He drove Sugriva out and enslaved his wife as well.  Sugriva was hiding in Rishiyamooka mountain, because of curse of Sage Matang, this place was safe.

Lord Rama assured Sugriva that he will help him here. He also cut the seven palm trees with one shot of his arrow convincing Sugriva of his strength. Rama also believed that Bali’s crime was unpardonable as he has taken his brother’s wife. He asked Sugriva to invite Bali for a duel. Bali beat him badly as Rama could not differentiate one from another as both brothers looked alike.

Bali and Sugriva fighting

Rama asks Sugriva again to invite Bali for a duel and this time to wear a garland. During the battle, Rama kills Bali with an arrow passing through his heart.

Post Bali’ death

After the death of Bali, Sugriva became the ruler of Kishkindha. Bali’s son Angad, given important duties in the war against Ravana. Sugriva married Tara. Initially Sugriva forgot his promise made to Rama, but Laxman came as a messenger and asked him for help. Tara, one of the panchkanyas, coaxed Sugriva to help Rama.

Kedarnath – Jyotirlinga

Kedarnath temple

One of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to the Lord Shiva and is located on the near Mandakini river. Here, Shiva lingam is pyramid shaped and hence is unique among Shiva temples. Pandavas are believed to have built this temple.

Due to harsh weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshay tritya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November) every year. During winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months.

Kedarnath is located on a ridge which juts out at right angles from below the 23000 feet high snowy peak of Mahapanth. Kedarnath is located on the Rudra Himalaya range. The Rudra Himalaya range is also known as the Pancha Parvata; its five peaks are Rudra Himalaya, Vishnupuri, Bhramapuri, Udgari-Kanth and Swargarohini. It is believed that four of the Pandavas died on the last of these peaks.

 

Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple

Legend behind Kedarnath Jyotirlinga

Two incarnations of Lord Vishnu by the names of Nara and Vishnu did penance at Badrikasharama. Both of them used to worship the idol of Shiva daily. Lord Shiva used to arrive in his subtle form and accept their offerings without being noticed by them.
One day Lord Shiva appeared before them. Nara and Narayana eulogized him and requested to remain at that place forever. Lord Shiva accepted their request and established himself as ‘Kedareshwar jyotirlinga’.

There is another legend related to Pandavas. After the culmination of Mahabharata war, Pandavas wanted to be absolved of their sins which was due to killing of their own relatives in the war of Mahabharata.

Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas and Draupadi , accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas in search of Lord Shiva .
Meanwhile at Kedarnath a very healthy and good looking bull joined them.  Shiva has taken the form of the bull, as he was unhappy with the Pandavas for their deceit during the war, and hence loathe to give them darshan.
The Pandavas sort of had the gut feeling that the buffalo was Shiva in disguise.  Bhima as usual jumped the gun and tried to catch the buffalo by its tail.  Lord Shiva just disappeared into the ground.

Then Bhima went after the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo was clever and Bheema could not catch it. But Bheema managed to hit the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo had its face hidden in a crevice-in the earth. Bheema started to pull it by its tail. In this tug-of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar, a  hump above the ground as a Lingam,  and a blazing fiery column of light sprouted. This is why only the Kedarnath Shiva Lingam is a sort of a  hump.

The face of the buffalo is Doleshwar Mahadev located in Sipatol, Bhaktapur, Nepal.

It is also believed that Arjuna, one of the Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva to attain the divine weapon, Pashupatastra.

Some important and famous places close to Kedarnath mandir

Badrinath – Badrinath which is near the Kedarnath is also a significant pilgrimage spot for the devotees of Lord shiva. The Neelkant peak behind the Badrinath temple is an abode of Lord shiva – like how the Mount Kailash is. It is called Indra Neel Parvat.

Gaurikund – Base for a trek to Kedarnath & serves as a roadhead, the village has hot springs & a temple dedicated to Gauri.

Gandhi Sarovar – A small lake from where Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavas, is said to have departed to heaven. A km trek from Kedarnath, floating ice on the crystal clear waters.

Vasuki Tal – 6 km. At 4135 mtr. above sea level, this lake is extraordinary, surrounded by high mountains and offering an excellent view of the Chaukhamba peaks.

Gauri Kund – 15 km. The trekking base to Kedarnath and the road head, this village has a temple dedicated to Gauri and also thermal springs of medicinal value.

Gupt Kashi – 49 km. Famous for the temples of Ardhnarishwar and Vishwanathji.

Ukhimath – 60 km. Winter home of Lord Kedarnath temple, and the seat of the Rawal of Kedarnath during winter months.

Agastmuni – 73 km., Has a temple dedicated to the sage Agastya.

How to reach

By Air : The nearest convenient Air port is Jolly grant at Dehradun (121 Kms).

By Road : Kedarnath is connected by road with Badrinath (242 KM), Dehradun (268 KM), Delhi (450 KM), Haridwar (250 KM), Kotdwar (256 KM), and Rishikesh (226 KM).

Route : Rishikesh to Kedarnath vai Rudraprayag :- Rishikesh -> Rudraprayaga -> Agastamuni -> Kund -> Gupta kashi -> Phata -> Soneprayag -> Gauri Kund.

Gauri Kund to Kedarnath is 14 KM. This distance has to be covered by foot, ponies, palkies.

By Rail : The nearest convenient railway station are Dehradun and Haridwar. These are well connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and rest of India through Rail network.

The Monkey faced sage – Narada

Sage Narada – how he became monkey faced

Once Sage Narada observed a severe penance to please gods. As usual, Lord Indra became restless thinking that Narada had plans to take Indra’s kingdom. He requested  Kaam deva to go and obstruct Narada’s penance.

Duly Kaam reached there alongwith Rati and Spring and tried to break his penance. They were unsuccessful because of the fact that Lord Shiva once burned Kaam’s body and that place was had no effect of Kaam deva and his antics.

When Indra came to know that Kaam has failed, he was impressed and personally met Sage Narada and congratulated him. Narada became very happy and he started boasting that he had conquered Kaam.

Proud Narada

Proud Narada

He told this to Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma and advised by both gods to keep this to himself. But Narada was not satisfied. He wanted to give the news of his achievement to Lord Vishnu. So, he went to Lord Vishnu’s abode and boasted about his feat of defeating Kaam deva.

Lord Vishnu decided to teach him a lesson.

While returning from Lord Vishnu’s abode, he saw that a beautiful princess was looking for a groom and swayamvar was being organized. As advised by gods, Kaam deva entered Narada’s heart and he was completely in Kaam Deva’s control. Narada was fascinated by the beauty of the princess and he requested Lord Vishnu to make him beautiful like the lord himself.

Narada and Lord Vishnu

Narada and Lord Vishnu

Lord Vishnu made Narada’s whole body very beautiful except his face, which he made like a monkey. This caused amusement amongst the courtiers and the girl herself. When Sage Narada saw his reflection in the water, he realized what happened.

Out of rage, he cursed Lord Vishnu that he would suffer from separation of his wife and he will need help of monkeys. Lord Vishnu accepted this without hesitation. This curse became true in Vishnu’s incarnation as Lord Rama.

Meanwhile the illusionary powers were removed after which the sage realized his mistake and learn his lesson.