Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Kedarnath Temple Uttarakhand: History, Location, Weather, Timming & All Info

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kedarnath Temple is more than just a shrine. Rather, it is the synergy of spirituality, divinity, and bliss. You beat the inclement weather, inhospitable terrain, and other such odds to be smitten by the charm and religiosity unfolding in all its vibrancy at Kedarnath. And, the shoutout of “Har Har Mahadev” echoes in the valley, adding to the mysticism of the ambiance. It’s steeped in nature and religion—a blend that enchants and transforms your soul. Visit it once to realize its life-changing potential.

Kedarnath Temple: The Synergy of Spirituality, Divinity, and Bliss

Kedarnath is for everyone, whether you are a Shiva-bhakta or a normal peace-seeker, or an adrenaline junkie. If you have not yet done so, make it part of your bucket list. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about this holy place. Keep reading to learn more.

Kedarnath Temple: An Overview

When it comes to religious significance, nothing beats Kedarnath. The temple is a permanent fixture of the Char Dhams, Chota Char Dhams, Panch Kedar, and 12 Jyotirlingas. Kedarnath town is in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand with an idyllic location amidst lofty peaks and overlooking a gorgeous valley. Nestled at an elevation of 3584 meters, the temple is in close proximity to the Chorabari Glacier. Here, Lord Shiva is depicted as an irregular, pyramid-shaped Lingam (the divine phallus).

Kedarnath experiences heavy snowfall, making it inaccessible for six months. Though the temple stays shut, the sanctum sanctorum (linga) is brought down to Ukhimath. Post-winter, it is transported back to the temple. The procession accompanying the sanctum sanctorum during transit is known as the Doli Yatra. The Yatra is a spectacle in itself, with an unending queue of devotees navigating the hostile terrain in anticipation of deliverance from sins and unison with the supreme.

Kedarnath attracts a constant stream of devotees during the summers when the temple is open and the weather is hospitable. You have to deal with long queues for the darshan of the sanctum sanctorum. However, if you can shell out some cash, VIP Darshan Seva is for you. Just pay INR 2100 and skip the queues. The place is accessible via Rishikesh to Sitapur. From Sitapur, opt for a chopper or a pony. Better still, cover the entire 16 km on foot for an unforgettable experience.

Kedarnath Temple: Etymology

Kedarnath is a Sanskrit word that translates to “Lord of the Field.” Kedara stands for “field,” and Nath means “Lord.” The name comes from the namesake of a mythical monarch, Kedar. However, certain scriptures link the name to the “herb of liberation,” which was once cultivated here. Vrindavan is the premises within which the temple is located. The name is derived from Kedar’s daughter, Vrinda. Kedarnath, Kedar Mandir, Kedarnath Dham and Kedar Khand all refer to the same place. However, Kedarnath is not to be confused with Tungnath. The two are different places, separated by 77 km.

Location

Where is Kedarnath Temple? Well, it sits pretty in the namesake town in Uttrakhand. Kedarnath town is cradled in the Rudraprayag district, near the mouth of the river Mandakini, amidst the spectacular snow-capped Garhwal Himalayas. The idyllic location makes it all the more enigmatic.

Kedar Peak encompasses Kedarnath town and the Kedarnath Temple, creating a majestic backdrop that cannot be explained but is only experienced. The Kedarnath altitude is impressive at 11759 feet (3584 meters). The coordinates are 30.7346° N, and 79.0669° E.

Table 01: Kedarnath at a Glance

  • Kedarnath District: Rudraprayag
  • Subdivision: Ukhimath
  • State: Uttrakhand
  • Dedicated to: Lord Shiva
  • Open: Typically from May to October
  • Height: 11759 Feet (3584 M)
  • Temperature: -15 C to 17 C
  • Wind Speed: 06 Kilometre per hour
  • Humidity: 35 Percent
  • Coordinates: 30.7346° N, 79.0669° E
  • Entry Fee: Zero
  • VIP Darshan: INR 2100
  • Area: 2.75 Square Kilometre
  • Best time to visit: May and June
  • Closest Airport: Jolly Grant, Dehradun
  • Closest Railway Station: Rishikesh
  • Things to do: Pilgrimage, Trekking, Camping, and Sightseeing
  • How to Reach: Rishikesh to Sitapur and then to Kedarnath
  • Modes of transportation from Sitapur: Chopper, Mules and On-foot
  • Pin Code: 246445
  • Vehicle Registration: UK 13
  • Population: 612 (609 M & 03 F)
  • Local administration: Kedarnath Nagar Panchayat
  • Literacy Rate: 98.20 Percent

Kedarnath Weather

Nestled amidst the lofty mountains at an imposing elevation, Kedarnath faces inclement weather for the most part. Summers are cool yet sunny, while winters are simply severe.

1. Summers:

The summers are fleeting, stretching across May and June. Summers are ideal for exploring the sights, sounds, and smells of the town, with temperatures hovering around 18 degrees Celsius. Trekking and camping are safe at this time of year.

2. Rains:

Early July marks the start of the rainy season. It lasts until August. The temperature stays at 12 degrees Celsius throughout the rainy season. It’s a sight to behold to see the lush greenery lining the trek route. On the downside, the risk of landslides is high due to excessive rain. Despite this, the place remains accessible.

3. Autumn:

The autumn months (September and October) are sunny but mildly cold. The ambiance is soothing and vibrant, thanks to the just-concluded rains. The crowds are relatively less, meaning you can skip the endless queues for the Darshan. The weather is stable, which translates to less risk. Also, expect the best deals on hotel accommodation.

4. Winters:

The winters are too harsh, with the mercury plummeting to sub-zero levels. Heavy snowfall is the norm, which renders the town uninhabitable. The temple shuts down, and the locals flee to the lower reaches of the Garhwal hills. Deserted, the town presents a ghostly look blanketed with snow. It’s a sight to behold, but inaccessible.

Table 2: Kedarnath Weather

Months Average Temperature Weather
January -14 Degree Celsius (-20 to -06) Severe (Heavy snowfall)
February -14 Degree Celsius (-18 to -04) Severe (Heavy snowfall)
March -06 Degree Celsius (-12 to 01) Severe and Snowy
April 05 Degree Celsius (-03 to 08) Chilly with mild snowfall
May 03 Degree Celsius (00 to 06) Pleasant and Sunny
June 08 Degree Celsius (04 to 12) Pleasant and Sunny
July 10 Degree Celsius (06 to 16) Overcast with rains
August 11 Degree Celsius (08 to 14) Overcast with rains
September 09 Degree Celsius (03 to 12) Pleasant and Sunny
October 04 Degree Celsius (01 to 05) Cold but Sunny
November -05 Degree Celsius (-09 to 04) Snowfall anticipated
December -09 Degree Celsius (-16 to -02) Severe (Heavy snowfall)

Kedarnath Temple Opening and Closing Dates 2022

Inclement weather forces the Kedarnath temple to shut down in the winter. At this time of the year, the mercury plummets to zero degrees or lower, and the area is blanketed by snow. On behalf of the Badrinath-Kedarnath Samiti, the Omkareshwar priests decide and make these dates public on Mahashivratri each year. Kedarnath’s opening date coincides with the Akshaya Tritiya.

In 2022, the temple will open its gates to the general public on Saturday, May 7, 2022, and shut down on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. As such, plan your Kedarnath trip accordingly. Both the opening and closing ceremonies are marked by celebrations. A celebration of undiluted traditions, it creates a spectacle cherished for a lifetime.

You are better off checking the Kedarnath closing date before planning your trip to be on the safe side. Though the schedule has been made public, a calamity could force changes. The region has been prone to flash floods, taking a toll on people and property.

Table 3: Kedarnath Temple and Char Dham Opening and Closing Dates 2022

 Temple Kedarnath Opening Date 2022 Kedarnath Closing Date 2022
Kedarnath Temple 07 May 2022 26 October 2022
Badrinath Temple 08 May 2022 26 October 2022
Yamunotri Temple 03 May 2022 26 October 2022
Gangotri Temple 03 May 2022 26 October 2022

What to do in Kedarnath?

Kedarnath Dham is a delight for everyone-Siva-bhakts, peace-seekers, nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, and even group travelers and backpackers. You have four options to indulge in here. Yes, you guessed it right! The prime one has to be the pilgrimage.

Plenary Indulgence

Kedarnath’s stature in Hinduism is simply unparalleled. Why? Well, it’s a part of the holy ensemble of four pilgrimage sites (Char Dham) and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. Many scriptures even suggest that it was Lord Shiva’s favorite place. No devout Hindu can afford to miss the “Param Anand,” or bliss, the temple, and its environs have on offer.

A sizable number of devotees from across the globe take time from their busy schedules to converge on this sacred place each year. They beat all the odds to partake in a plenary indulgence and pay their obeisance to their beloved deity. You too can be a part of this divine experience and go home refreshed, cleansed, and transformed.

Trekking

So, you have an adventurous instinct. Even in that case, Kedarnath can exceed your expectations. The temple is nestled at an elevation of 3500 meters, at a trekkable distance of 19 kilometers from Gauri Kund. Just get to Gauri Kund via a bus or cab and trek for the next 19 km. The terrain is rough but treats you to some breathtaking locales. Also, feel free to trek to Vasuki Tal, Rudra Cave, and other attractions in the vicinity.

The ordeal is worth it, given the rewards the Kedarnath trek has to offer. You cannot express the feeling of getting up close and personal with nature and accomplishing an arduous trek in words. Rather, it has to be experienced. The temple site is a vantage point for some soul-satisfying views of the valley. Plus, the breeze is revitalizing and the tranquillity is worth exploring for anyone keen on ditching the cacophony of the city.

Camping

Different people have different reasons for camping. Some do it as a part of a family tradition, some to strengthen their familial bonds, some to celebrate the wilderness, some to simply stargaze, and some to reconnect with nature. Whatever your reason, Kedarnath caters to your camping aspirations head-on. In fact, it’s a necessity here.

Kedarnath lacks sufficient hotels. It’s just too small a town to accommodate an influx of devotees. As such, camping in the nearby meadows is the best option to spend a night under the starry sky with the lofty Kedarnath peak as the backdrop. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that no nature lover or adventure seeker can afford to pass up.

Sightseeing

If a family vacation or a solo getaway is a priority, Kedarnath could be the place to visit. The sightseeing options galore make for an unforgettable experience. Triyuginarayan, Deoria Tal, Vasuki Tal, Rudra Caves, Ukhimath, Chopta, and Guptkashi, you name it.

So, get your act together and embark on a soul-cleansing journey into the valleys where spirituality comes alive and mysticism resonates all throughout. The serenity is simply breathtaking, forcing you to look inwards. It could well be a journey to self-realization.

Kedarnath Temple: History and Significance

The religious significance of the Kedarnath temple cannot be overemphasized. Among the 200 odd Shiva temples in the region, it sticks out for its magnificence, illustrious history, impressive location, and other factors. Your Chota Char Dham Yatras are incomplete without a visit to Kedarnath. The temple is perhaps the most prominent among the twelve Jyotirlingas and the five Kedar (Panch Kedar).

Chota Char Dham:

  1. Kedarnath
  2. Yamunotri
  3. Gangotri
  4. Badrinath

Jyotirlingas:

  1. Somnath (Gujarat)
  2. Mallikarjuna (Andhra Pradesh)
  3. Mahakaleshwar (Madhya Pradesh)
  4. Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh)
  5. Kedarnath (Uttrakhand)
  6. Bhimashankar (Maharashtra)
  7. Viswanath (Uttar Pradesh)
  8. Trimbakeshwar (Maharashtra)
  9. Vaijnath (Jharkhand)
  10. Aundha Nagnath (Maharashtra)
  11. Rameshwar (Tamil Nadu)
  12. Grushneshwar (Maharashtra)

Panch Kedars:

  1. Kedarnath
  2. Madmaheshwar
  3. Tungnath
  4. Rudranath
  5. Kalpnath

The sheer love for their deity and the anticipation of salvation drive lakhs of devotees to Kedarnath each year. If certain scriptures are anything to go by, visiting the temple frees you from the endless cycle of birth and death. It’s your entryway to Moksha, the ultimate state of bliss representing the synchronization of Atma (soul) and Paramatma (God). Add to that the temple’s status as the permanent fixture of Chota Char Dham Yatra, Jyotirlingas, and Panch Kedars, and it is one of the most frequented shrines in India.

How Old is Kedarnath Temple?

The Kedarnath history of the town dates back to antiquity. There’s no evidence as to who founded it. All we have is a legend that links the origin to King Kedara. Likewise, the origin of the Kedarnath temple is shrouded in mystery. From a historical standpoint, Jagad Guru Adi Shankracharya is credited with building the shrine around the eighth century AD. Many believe it to be already there and only restored by Adi Shankracharya. However, a legend links the temple’s construction to the Pandavas of the Mahabharata.

Legend Associated with Kedarnath

In the post-Mahabharata mayhem, the guilt-stricken Pandavas sought a let-off for the fratricide they committed. Upon relinquishing their empire and all things worldly, they headed straight to Varanasi to look for Lord Shiva. It was an act of penance on their part.

However, Lord Shiva was in no mood to atone for the Pandavas’ unethical approach and actions in the war. What he did next was unprecedented. He transformed himself into a bull and sought refuge in the Kedarnath valley. Pandavas followed their supreme deity into the hilly hinterland of the Garhwal region due to their desperation.

Bhima stood astride two peaks, only to spot the divine bull (Lord Shiva) amidst the meadows. The very place was christened Guptkashi as a mark of Shiva’s hiding ploy. For starters, Gupt stands for secret, and Kashi is another name for Varanasi, Lord Shiva’s favorite place. As such, the term “Guptakashi” translates to “Secret Kashi.”

Lord Shiva’s hiding ploy failed, as Bhima recognized him. In desperation, Lord Shiva dove into the earth and simultaneously resurfaced in parts at different locations. The hump stayed above ground, exactly where the modern-day Kedarnath temple is nestled. The Pandavas came up with shrines to commemorate places where the body parts surfaced.

Known as Panch Kedars, the locations include

  1. Kedarnath: Hump
  2. Tungnath: Arms
  3. Rudranath: Face
  4. Madhyamaheshwar: Navel and abdomen
  5. Kalpeshwar: Hair

Another version of the legend involves Brahma. He intervened to stop the bull’s sudden disappearance but failed to prevent it from being torn asunder as Bhima clung to the bull’s hind leg with all his might. After the construction of Panch Kedars, the Pandavas lodged at Kedarnath to pursue their penance, which involved (Dhyana) meditation and Yagna (ritual sacrifice). And, they achieved their objective and proceeded to heaven.

Kedarnath: Mentions in scriptures

The protagonists of the Mahabharata, the Pandavas, are credited with building the Kedarnath temple. However, the Mahabharata skips the mention of the Garhwal region, let alone the temple. It took Skanda Purana to mainstream Kedarnath. The scripture, written between the seventh and eighth centuries, links the place to the Ganga’s origin. It hosted the first stream of water (Ganga River) plummeting from Shiva’s Jatta (hair).

Perhaps the most revered philosopher and proponent of the Advaitwad, Jagad Guru Adi Shankara, had a strong association with the temple and the region. He not only had this shrine constructed but is believed to have breathed his last in the region, as per the Sankshepa Shankara Vijaya. The place houses the ruins of an ancient structure that was supposed to mark Shankracharya’s death site. However, certain hagiographies suggest otherwise.

If Kritya Kalpataru is to be believed, Kedarnath was a frequently-visited religious site in the twelfth century. The scripture was penned by Bhatta Lakshmidhara. The temple has retained its appeal and status as the prime pilgrimage place in the Garhwal hills. The kin of the Pandavas granted the local purohits the right to worship the sanctum sanctorum. Their successors have inherited the rights, and the tradition continues unabated.

According to a Briton, Eric Shipton, a single purohit catered to both Kedarnath and Badrinath temples. But how could he, as the two places are 218 km apart? Well, that’s one of the best-kept “secrets.” Per tradition, visiting the Badrinath temple marks the end of the Panch Kedar yatra. Only then will Lord Shiva’s blessings materialize.

Places to visit in and around Kedarnath

Apart from the holy Kedarnath temple, Kedarnath has a lot more to offer. Let’s have a look at some places you can visit on your trip to Uttarakhand Kedarnath.

1. Kedarnath Temple

Among 200 Shiva temples in the region, Kedarnath Temple is the most famous. It was constructed of giant stone blocks over a massive rectangular base. The Holy Sanctums are accessible after climbing the temple’s massive grey stairway. The stairs feature engravings in the Pali language. Inside the temple courtyard, figures of several deities and scenes from mythology adorn the walls.

The temple is accessible from the first day of Vaishakh (April or May) up to the first day of Kartik (October to November). As winter sets in, the palki of Kedar Dev is brought down to Ukhimath, where the puja is continued. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the temple during the Kedarnath Yatra in anticipation of peace, prosperity,, and salvation.

Here, the deity is depicted as the Jyotirlinga, a vertical beam of light. The term consists of two words, “Jyoti” and “Lingam.” The former stands for luminosity, while the latter is the divine phallus. As such, Jyotirlinga stands for the “luminous mark” of the supreme There are 12 Jyotirlingas scattered across India, with Kedarnath having the highest elevation.

The Kedarnath location is idyllic, nestled at an elevation of 11759 feet (3584 M) in the least explored wilderness of Garhwal. The height of Kedarnath makes it a trekkers’ delight, while the ambiance steeped in tranquillity and spirituality attracts nature lovers and peace seekers. Even if you aren’t a believer, the place has something for you too. But before embarking on the trip, determine whether the Kedarnath temple is open or not.

2. Vasuki Tal Lake

Vasuki Tal lake is a high glacier lake, just 8 km from Kedarnath, sitting at an astonishing elevation of 14,000 feet. Around the lake, Brahama Kamal and other Himalayan blooms grow, giving the place a heavenly vibe. The sizable and calm lake is a sight to behold, offering stunning views of the nearby peaks and tranquil valleys. The full-day trek to the lake involves a long, winding track with a steep ascent that can be hard to navigate for starters. For safety and convenience’s sake, you are better off having a guide by your side.

  • Elevation: 14000 feet
  • Distance from Kedarnath: 08 Kilometres
  • Trek Level: Difficult
  • Exploration Time: One full day

3. Bhairav Temple

The Bhairavnath Temple is located on the eastern slope of the Himalayan ranges, towards the southern end of Kedarnath. Located a stone’s throw away from the town, it is devoted to Bhairav, Lord Shiva’s ferocious embodiment of wrath and destruction. In terms of religious significance, it is second only to the Kedarnath temple. Bhairavnath is the protector of this quaint town and its prime attraction, the Kedarnath temple. You need to climb the hillock to get here, but the view from up here is just mesmerizing.

  • Dedicated to: Bhairavnath (A companion of Lord Shiva)
  • Distance from Kedarnath: 500 meters
  • Exploration Time: A couple of hours (including travel)
  • Trek Level: Moderate
  • Time to Visit: 06 AM to 08 PM

4. Rudra Cave Kedarnath

When in Kedarnath, you can’t pass up the opportunity to experience the Rudra Cave. It is an underground meditation cave located just a few kilometers left of the Kedarnath Temple. The guest houses are located on the opposite bank of the Mandakini River, providing accommodations for solitude and contemplative spiritual practice.

The first of the three caves came to light in May 2018 but shot into the limelight only when images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meditation flashed across international media. The state government opened the doors of the other two in November 2021.

The caves feature every amenity you require for a comfortable and safe stay in the lap of nature. Think beds, bathrooms, electronic surveillance, and telephones. Expect to be served tea and gourmet food when you lodge here. Also, a dedicated attendant is at your beck and call round the clock. Made of Himalayan stone, the caves feature conventional Garhwali architecture that exudes elegance in simplicity.

  • Alternate Name: Dhyan Gufa
  • Elevation: 12,250 Feet
  • Dimensions: 5 Metres (L) X 2 Metres (B)
  • Distance from Kedarnath: 02 Kilometres
  • Trek level: Moderate
  • Price: INR 990 per person per day

5. Gaurikund Temple

If you prefer trekking to Kedarnath Mandir, this sleepy hamlet is likely to be your base camp. It is home to a magnificent temple honoring Goddess Parvati, also known as Gauri. Legend has it, the site marks the penance (combining spiritual and yogic disciplines) that Parvati performed to win over Lord Kedar. It is jam-packed with devotees during the Kedarnath Yatra. Within the premises are two springs, one cold and the other hot.

The cold spring is the actual Gaurikund, known to acquire different hues. Both springs are not just holy but have curative properties thanks to the presence of sulfur. When in Gaurikund, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Sirkata Temple, just 500 meters away. The temple commemorates a mythical incident in which Lord Shiva beheaded Lord Ganesha and replaced it with the head of an elephant.

  • Elevation: 6000 feet
  • Dedicated to Goddess Gauri
  • Distance from Kedarnath: 09.70 Kilometres
  • Exploration Time: A full day to fully soak in the beauty
  • River: Mandakini River

6. Triyuginarayan Temple

Located in a namesake hamlet, the temple marks the culmination of the Shiva-Parvati love story. The divine couple formally got married here. Interestingly, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, a witness to the divine marital alliance. What makes the shrine stand out is the perpetual fire burning bright since the Shiva-Parvati marriage ceremony. Thanks to the fire, the shrine is nicknamed the “Akhand Dhuni Shrine.” Couples throng to the temple to circumambulate around the fire and enter marital bliss.

Triyugi Narayan Temple houses a natural stream that feeds the Kunds in the vicinity. The shrine’s architecture mimics that of the Kedarnath temple. This uncanny resemblance could be because both structures were materialized by the same person, Adi Shankaracharya. The sanctum sanctorum here is the two feet, the silver idol of Lord Vishnu. At the heart of the temple premises is the Brahma Shila, which marks the location of the wedding ceremony. It is easily accessible thanks to a motorable road.

  • Elevation: 6497 Feet
  • Dedicated to: Lord Vishnu
  • Distance from Kedarnath: 13.50 Kilometres
  • Exploration Time: A couple of hours
  • Famous for: The Eternal Fire

7. Shankaracharya Samadhi

Hinduism has been around since antiquity. But it took Adi Shankracharya to blend all the different schools of Hinduism into a single mainstream idea. To this end, he propounded the philosophy of Advaita, which discards the plurality of the supreme power. Per popular perception, he breathed his last where the Shankaracharya Samadhi is. They believe the saint took samadhi here by merging under the earth’s surface.

The structure at the samadhi features an idol of the saint and a Spatika lingam that was recreated in 2006. Think of Spatika lingam as a triangular crystal composed of oxygen and silicon. They consider it to possess healing attributes, helping devotees get rid of all negativity and doshas. The 2013 catastrophe ate up the premises. With the samadhi just 100 meters away from the Kedarnath temple, you have no reason to skip it.

  • Dedicated to: Jagad Guru Adi Shankaracharya
  • Distance from Kedarnath: 100 meters
  • Exploration Time: Half an hour
  • Famous for: 12 Feet Idol of Shankaracharya and Spatika lingam

8. Kalimath

Make way to one of the 108 Shakti Peethas cradled on the banks of the River Saraswati at a height of 1800 meters. With serenity enveloping the entire area, the ambiance here is simply soul-satisfying and salutary. As the name says it all, Kalimath honors Goddess Kali, who connotes diametrically opposing emotions like motherly love and destruction. You can take a detour to this shrine when heading towards the Kedarnath temple.

Expectedly, there’s a legend linked to the place. Upon eliminating Rakthabeeja, the goddess, to calm herself, she sought refuge in the earth. The Kalimath shrine celebrates that event. The exact place where she dove into the ground is marked by a Sri Yantra. The yantra stays intact all year round, save for the penultimate day of Navratri. This is the time of year when the yantra is removed for some worship rituals and then returned.

As per popular belief, only the lower extremities of Kali are placed in this shrine. The rest of the body lies in the Dhara Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir. In close proximity to the shrine is the Lakshmi temple, known to harbor a perpetual fire. The Bhairav Baba shrine is also perched nearby. Historical evidence links the Kalimath temple to the great poet and dramatist, Kalidasa. True to his name, Kalidas was an ardent devotee of Kali.

  • Elevation: 5900 feet
  • Dedicated to: Goddess Kali
  • Distance from Kedarnath: 19.2 Kilometres
  • Exploration Time: A couple of hours
  • Sanctum Sanctorum: Sri Yantra

9. Sonprayag

En route to Kedarnath, you come across Sonprayag, a sleepy town blessed by nature. The town lies 20 km from Kedarnath, exactly where the Basuki and Mandakini rivers join. The place derives its name from the confluence. For the uninitiated, Prayag is a Sanskrit word meaning “confluence.” The bath at the convergence point (Prayag) is said to cleanse sins and pave the way for salvation. Sonprayag has decent road connectivity, making it easily accessible via bus and cab. The Triyuginarayan shrine is within walking distance.

  • Elevation: 6000 feet
  • Distance from Kedarnath: 20 Kilometres
  • Exploration Time: A couple of hours
  • Famous as: The conflux point of Basuki and Mandakini

10. Phata

The picturesque hamlet could serve as the base camp for the Kedarnath trip. Feel free to spend the night here and opt for a chopper or trek the next morning to Kedarnath. It would take just eight minutes to get to the shrine, which is 32 kilometers away. Rudraprayag can be accessed via a bus or taxi from Rudryaprayag, located 18 kilometers away.

  • Distance from Kedarnath: 32 Kilometres
  • Exploration Time: A couple of hours
  • Famous for: Helipad

How to reach

Gaurikund is the nearest motorable town to Kedarnath. You can come via rail, road, and air.

Air: The Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun district is 230 km away from Gaurikund. It’s the nearest airport to Kedarnath. Of late, the government has put in place helicopter services up to the Kedarnath temple.

Rail: Rishikesh, about 243 km from Kedarnath, is the closest railway station. It receives passenger trains all year round from all major cities in India.

Road: Gaurikund has fine motorable road connectivity. You can opt for state-run UTC (Uttarakhand Transport Corporation) buses or private buses and cabs to reach Gaurikund and then trek up to Kedarnath.

Distance Chart

Wondering how far Kedarnath is from your city? Well, here’s a road distance table. As a side note, the town has fine road connectivity. The hilly terrain doesn’t support a rail network. As such, roads are an ideal option to get to Kedarnath.

Table: Road Distance from different cities

City Distance
Delhi 457 Kilometre
Chandigarh 432 Kilometre
Dehradun 109 Kilometre
Shimla 494 Kilometre
Jaipur 730 Kilometre
Lucknow 754 Kilometre
Noida 459 Kilometre
Mumbai 1437 Kilometre
Chennai 1965 Kilometre
Bangalore 1980 Kilometre
Kolkata 1293 Kilometre
Gurgaon 491 Kilometre
Rishikesh 105 Kilometre
Nainital 154 Kilometre
Hyderabad 1485 Kilometre

Chopper Service:

You might either lack the inclination or ability to trek to Kedarnath. In either case, a chopper service can help. Chopper service is readily available from Sersi, Guptkashi, and Phata, courtesy of the DGCA. The prices are reasonable and pre-determined by the DGCA.

From Sersi:

One Way Round Trip
INR 2340 INR 4680

From Guptkashi:

One Way Round Trip
INR 3875 INR 7750

From Phata:

One Way Round Trip
INR 2360 INR 7750

The best way to get to Sersi is by helicopter. The fare is the cheapest, and travel time is minimal. Within 5 minutes, you can make it to Kedarnath from Sersi.

Five chopper service providers are operational here:

  1. Aryan Aviation
  2. Pawan Hans
  3. Himalayan Heli
  4. UT Air India
  5. Arrow Aircraft

Where to book the chopper ride?

Bookings are completed online via chopper service providers’ official websites, including

  1. himalayanheli.com
  2. utair-india.com
  3. Arrowaircraft.com

Bookings via heliservices.uk.gov.in are also available.

Hotels

Kedarnath offers an extensive range of hotels, resorts, and guest houses to suit every budget. Some good options are given below:

Hotels Price range( in INR) Google Rating
Kedar Valley Resorts 1200-1500 4.0/5
Shivalik Valley Resorts 3500-4000 4.2/5
Kedar River Retreat 4200-4600 4.3/5
La Fiyoli Resort 6500-6900 4.8/5
Hotel New Basera 3500-4000 4.3/5

Food

Kedarnath offers simple, local vegetarian dishes. Veg cuisines from around India are available as people from around the country visit here. But you should sample some local authentic Garhwali dishes like Kullu trout, Bhadrak, and Badi, among other options.

Best Time to visit Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath is open to visitors for around 6 months only, from May to November 1st. In winter, heavy snowfall makes the area inaccessible to people. Even during the monsoon, be careful as the horrific Kedarnath floods still haunt the area.

Facilities Available at Kedarnath:

ATM – Yes

Hotels: Yes

Petrol Station: No

Chopper Service: Yes

4G Connectivity: Yes (BSNL, Jio, and Airtel)

Kedarnath Temple Travel Tips:

We understand how eager you are to embark on the Kedarnath trip. But not so fast. First, arm yourself with a few proven tips for an incident-free and pleasurable trip.

  • Choose the time to visit wisely, preferably in May and June. The risk of landslides is high during the wet season, and the temple stays closed during the winter. Also, check the Kedarnath weather updates before finalizing the travel dates.
  • Pack winter clothing no matter when you plan to visit. Even during summer, the place experiences a cool breeze, making the temperature dip drastically. If you aren’t well protected, the risk of hypothermia looms large. Rain is always around the corner in Kedarnath. Raincoats and umbrellas are a must.
  • If you want to trek to Kedarnath, make sure you are physically fit for the challenge. Yoga, especially pranayam, and light exercises will help. Get yourself medically screened to identify any issues that may be aggravated by heights.
  • Reserve your hotel well in advance. Or else, finding accommodation is hard, especially during the peak season (May to June).
  • Biometric registration is mandatory for every visitor. You can get registered either at Sonprayag or online, subject to your preference.
  • If walking isn’t your idea for a vacation, feel free to hire a mule or porter from Sonprayag. However, pay them as per the government-approved price list. For safety’s sake, cross-verify the IDs of the porters and mule-owners beforehand.
  • Adhere to all safety protocols when trekking to Kedarnath. If your budget allows and you wish to explore the place in its entirety, hire a guide. The professional will help you create a bespoke itinerary suiting your travel goals, time, and interests.
  • The oxygen levels deplete as you go higher. So, avoid walking briskly when trekking to Kedarnath. Or else, you might be dealing with a medical emergency.
  • The afternoon sun can be harsh, especially when trekking uphill. So, you are better off starting your journey at dawn.
  • Never skip your meal before embarking on the trek. However, keep it light, as heavy meals can cause drowsiness and indigestion.
  • Consume as much water as you can to prevent dehydration. Preferably, carry enough water to sustain you through the entire trek.
  • The temple authorities discourage photography within the shrine complex. Non-compliance could attract equipment confiscation and/or fines.
  • If you are short on time, go for the chopper service. You could easily complete the trip in two days. If the budget is tight, book the chopper for one side only. It’s easier to walk down than to climb uphill. Ideally, board the chopper at Sersi. The fare is the cheapest, and travel time is minimal, usually 5 to 7 minutes from here.
  • Choose trip dates that coincide with the opening or closing ceremonies. Both ceremonies are spectacles, laden with rituals, religious zeal, and mysticism.
  • When in Kedarnath, don’t consume alcohol. Mind you, it’s a religiously significant site and these vices undermine its religious sanctity.
  • Carrying some cash with you makes sense. The hotels and vendors are reluctant to accept payments digitally. The amount of cash you should carry depends on your requirements. Ideally, it should be between 10 and 15 K.

What to pack for your Kedarnath Yatra?

Confused about what to pack for a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable trip? Read on to know.

Clothing: Two to three pairs of woolen caps, socks, mufflers, warmers, sweaters, jackets, or anything else that will help you cope with the chill. Raincoats or umbrellas are a must, should it start raining unexpectedly. Plus, opt for a lightweight and sturdy design.

First Aid Kit: Don’t forget to take along a well-curated first aid kit to ease common medical conditions. It should feature antiseptic lotions, bandaids, analgesics, muscle creams, and medications for colds and coughs. Also, carry any medicine you take regularly.

Cosmetics and Hygiene Products: Personal hygiene is important, even when on a pilgrimage. Carry your personal soap, handwash, moisturizers, sunscreen ointments, cold creams, perfumes, and more.

Eatables: Trekking on an empty stomach is no fun. It’s advisable to pack dry fruits and glucose to stay energetic. Nutrition bars can also be a good alternative for instant energy. Cup noodles are easy to cook and hence should be in your bag. Also, biscuits and rusks can be considered. If you have a sweet tooth, carry plenty of dark chocolate.

Miscellany: A torch is a must since you might be traveling back from Kedarnath in the dark. Go for a battery-operated one that can be recharged once it loses its juice. Smartphones have decent cameras, but it’s better to carry a DSLR to capture the beauty of Kedarnath. Don’t forget to pack a power bank should your gadgets need a recharge.

Conclusion

Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple in Kedarnath, India Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, is one of Sanatan’s pillars. The sacred site encourages you to witness firsthand how beautiful nature and faith can coexist. We’ve provided you with enough information to plan your next trip to Kedarnath with ease. So, next summer, treat yourself and your family on a vacation to Kedarnath to seek blessings and meditate for the peace and harmony you want in life. Trust us when we say it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar
Passionate about content quality and attention to detail, Rohit has penned over 15,000 copies for some of the leading online and offline publications in his eight-year career. Currently heading the content team at Dunia Ka Gyan, he believes in team spirit, ingenuity, and reader satisfaction.

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