Gauri Kund is an important Hindu pilgrimage site on the way to Kedarnath, which is another nine miles uphill from there. It is situated at an altitude of more than 6000 feet in the Garhwal Himalayas. Kedarnath is one of the most sacred sites in Hinduism and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is venerated as a Paadal Petra Sthalam by the 6th-7th century Nayanars saints. Gauri Kund is connected with Shiva's wife Parvati, also known as Gauri in various parts of India. In Hindu folklore, Gauri committed Herself to penance involving many ascetic and yogic practices to win over Shiva's affections. Local tradition claims that Gauri Kund is the spot where Gauri lived while carrying out these practices and it was here that Shiva finally admitted His love for Her. They were finally married at Triyugi Narayan, which is not too far away. This pilgrimage site boasts of a natural hot spring and this is one of the reasons that supposedly prompted Gauri to pick this as a place to indulge in hard penance. A portion of the tank or kund has been covered to serve as the bathing place for ladies.
This place is also associated with the legend of how Ganesha acquired his elephant head. While bathing in the kund, Goddess Parvati fashioned Ganesha from the soap suds on Her body, breathed life into Him and placed Him at the entrance as Her guard. Lord Shiva happened to arrive at the spot suddenly and He was stopped by Ganesha. Indignant at this affront, Shiva cut off Ganesha's head and Parvati was inconsolable. She insisted that the boy be brought back to life and Shiva took the head of a wandering elephant and placed it on Ganesha's body. Parvati had Her son back and Ganesha acquired the persona by which He is known all over the Hindu world since then.