Kedarnath being one of the 12 Jyotirlingam is a famous pilgrim site for Hindus in India. Located at a height of 3590 meters of Garhwal Himalayas, the huge temple made of granite stone with mighty Kedar range of Himalayas in the background will make you spellbound at first sight.
Inside the temple, a stone looking like hump of an ox is Mahadev, Kedarnath. Many other idols of God are engraved on the wall of the temple inside. In front of the main gate of the temple a black statue of Nandi, the ox of Mahadev is guarding the temple.
Best time to visit Kedarnath: Plan your trip between May and October, otherwise you cannot reach, it will be a snow covered.
Apart from the temple itself, reaching Kedarnath is an adventure. Throughout your journey to the temple you will be amazed frequently by the natural beauty of the nature.
You have to reach Gourikund, the last motor able road before Kedarnath. Gourikund is 233 km from Haridwar and 200 km from Rishikesh. It will take 10 – 11 hours to reach Gourikund from these places, so You have to start your journey very early in the morning. It is very tiring too. So it is better to halt somewhere in between. The place I will suggest is Rudraprayag or, Chandrapuri.
You have to stay in Gourikund for a night before starting your journey to the temple. There are many cheap hotels in Gourikund. The best option is GMVN Tourist Rest House Ph: +91 1364 269202 DB @ INR 500 – 700 and dormitory @ INR 100 per bed.
From Gourikund it is a continuous uphill trek of 14 km to Kedarnath. The scenic beauty throughout your trek is mind-blowing. Mandakini River throughout the journey will accompany you sometimes jumping from a cliff and sometimes hiding in a gorge. The natural beauty will alleviate all your exhaustion of climbing. Walk slowly and take rest in between. Buy a walking stick and polythene sheet to cover you in case of drizzle, which is quite common. Take care of your camera and don't forget a polythene bag for it exclusively. You can buy these on the route of your trek. Stalls for snack and tea are also available at few places on the route, where you can rest a while. If you don't want to walk at a stretch there is a option to halt at Ramwara for a night at either at Kalikamli Dharmashala or GMVN rest house.
Though nature can be enjoyed most if you walk, it may not be possible for everyone to trek due to physical reasons. Pony, dandi or, doli (a chair carried by four persons), Pithhu ( a basket carried by single person mainly for kids, light weight people, and goods) are available for them. The rate depend on the weight of the person but whatever they take, I think it is less for the kind of labor they give! Please don't bargain with them. They are extremely poor and earn for few months with their hard labor and run their family throughout the year.
By the way don't throw away your walking stick while coming down, the mistake done by me! The stick is more required while coming down.
Reach Kedarnath by helicopter:
Pawan Hans conduct a helicopter service from Agyastamuni helipad 17 km from Rudraprayag
5 passengers are carried at a time. The flight starts at 6.30 am , 8.10 am, 9.40 am, and 11.10 am. It takes 20 minutes to reach Kedarnath. Time allotted to visit temple is 1 ½ hour. The fare for round trip per person at present @ INR 8500 and one way fly to Kedarnath @INR 5000 and return from there @ INR 4000. Round trip cost include the temple visit fee. Children below 2 years are charged 10% of the fare, while age over 2 has to pay the full fare.
- Agastyamuni Helipad Ph: +91 1364 256825
- Delhi Office at Safdarjang Airport Ph: +91 11 24651248, 24632273, 24610465
- Monal Resort Rudraprayag Ph: +91 1364 233901/ 02
- GMVN Dehradun Ph: +91 135 2746817
- GMVN Haridwar Ph: +91 1334 224240
- GMVN Rishikesh Ph: +91 135 2435174
Where to stay at Kedarnath:
GMVN Tourist Rest House Ph: +91 1364 263218/ 263228 DB @ INR 350 – 1000. Dormitory @ INR 100 per bed.
Dharmashala of Kedarnath Temple Committee: +91 1364 263231
Other Dharmashalas of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Madras Bhawan, Gujarat Bhawan etc.
Trekking from Kedarnath:
For the enthusiasts, there are something more in store at Kedarnath. A astonishing short trek to Chorabalital (Gandhi Sarovar) at 4275 meters is 4 km uphill trek from Kedarnath. En route you will see Mandakini Glacier, from where Mandakini river originated. More enthusiasts should walk 4 km more up to Basuki tal (4328 meters) If you plan to go up to Basuki tal carry food and take the help of a guide.
Triyugi Narayan from Gourikund: