India is a place devoted to serving serenity in the form of culture, tradition, and religion. Every part of the country is like a treasure hiding a fascinating experience. Kedarnath pilgrimage is located in the lap of majestic mountains at an altitude of 3586mts is one of those treasures.
Well known as the Hindu shrine devoted to Lord Shiva the place is located in Rudraprayag district, Garhwal region in Uttarakhand. It is one of the most pious and sacred “Dham” among Char Dhams. Char Dham yatra may be considered an old age activity but if you really wish to juice out the best experience of Kedarnath trip do not wait till you cross 40!
The place is an idol summer holiday travel destination hosting thousands of travellers from all over the world. Temples, mountains and Garhwali food fuse to give travellers a memorable experience.
Facts About Kedarnath
|Best time to visit||Summers June or mild Sept-Oct (Lesser Landslides probability)|
|Weather||5.1 °C | 41.2 °F.|
|Trek Length||07 km Gradual | 07 km Steep|
Religious places always have interesting stories of god and goddesses. Kedarnath establishment and shiv linga worship also have many mythological stories.
1. Nar Narayan Story
Nar Narayan considered to be one of the ardent devotees of Lord Shiva worshipped Shiva in the form of “Shivaling”.
One day the worship brought Nar Narayan fortune and Lord Shiva appeared in front of him and offered him a wish. Nar Narayan wanted Shiva to make this land his home. Lord Shiva agreed and since then the place is known as ‘Kedarnath’. Kedar is another name by which Lord Shiva is worshipped all over the country.
2. Kedar (Goddesses Laxmi Father) Story
Kedar was the father was Goddess Laxmi. Some legends also believe that he established his kingdom in Kedarnath due to which the place got its name as “Kedarnath”.
3. The Pandavas Story
Pandavas fought the Mahabharata and came to the temple to ask for forgiveness from Lord Shiva. But Lord Shiva was in no mode of delivering forgiveness on his end. Due to this he took bull’s form and camouflaged himself. The hump of the bull is the sign of shiva’s idol being worshipped at the temple.
These stories always succeed in mesmerizing travelers. Shiva and stories revolving around the establishment of the temple are still a mystery.
Culture of Kedarnath
Every place has its own indigenous food, traditions, dance, music, and festivals. These are an important part of the overall identity of a place. Kedarnath pilgrimage is also in the head of River Mandakini sharing most of the festivals of Garhwali culture.
One of the festivals is Badri Kedar festival which is celebrated with a lot of fervor and zeal in Badrinath and Kedarnath.
This festival occurs mostly in the month of June. Artists from different parts of the country collaborate to celebrate and add colors to this festival. Being a holy city all the Hindu festivals are celebrated with extra enthusiasm. Holi, Deepawali, Durga pooja are the period of celebration and joy. The place always has tourist hunting the marketplaces in search of local food. The main servings which are indigenous to Kedarnath include ‘ras’, ‘Chainsoo’ and ‘kaffuli’.
As it’s a Holy Hindu Shrine there is no non-vegetarian food served in hotels. So you have a chance to detoxify and relish all vegetarian dishes.
Places To Visit Near Kedarnath
This place is famous for being the heaven departure site of eldest Pandava Yudhisthir (from The Mahabharata).
The main relevance of this temple is the belief of Bhairav God guarding the entire Kedarnath temple and Kedarnath Valley in times of crisis. It is believed the Bhairav temple is the gateway protecting the entire Kedarnath from all-natural disruptions including landslides, heavy rainfall or even high tides.
This is another major place of religious relevance. It is known as a Samadhi (Death place) of Aadiguru Shankaracharya.
Small Kund (pond) acting as a water source situated 200 meters away from Kedarnath temple. The Kund is called so because of the presence of ‘Ret’ or sand in it.
This is a temple dedicated to’ The Gauri’, wife of Lord Shiva. The place also serves as a base of trekking for Kedarnath temple.
Trekking to Kedarnath Temple involves a 14kms long trek from Gaurikund. Although the journey is long the palaquines, potters and ponies make it easier to sway along. You can also visit Rambara in the mid of the trek.
Kedarnath is a Holy Shrine where you can dive into the ocean of divinity, peace and joy. If you are someone bored with the conventional holiday on a fancy resort then this place is a perfect break for you.
Explore nature in its most blooming form in Kedarnath!
How To Reach Kedarnath (223 Kms)
Rishikesh → Devaprayag (70 km) → Srinagar (35 km) → Rudraprayag (34 km) → Tilwara (9kms) → Agastamuni (10 km) → Kund (15 km) → Guptkashi (5 km) → Phata (11 km) → Rampur (9 km) → SonPrayag (3 km) → Gaurikund (5 km) → Rambara (7 km) → Linchauli (4 Kms) → Kedarnath (3 Kms)
You can go through road via major cities such as Chandigarh (387 km), Delhi (458 km), Nagpur (1421 km), Bangalore (2484 km) or Rishikesh (189 km).
You can make advance bookings at the GMOA (Garhwal Mandal owners Association) office in front of the railway station. It takes almost one full day journey to reach Gaurikund if there are no Landslides. A bus journey is very beautiful because most of the 240 km is ghat road journey with many mountains around and river Ganges following you throughout the way.
• Nearest airport from Kedarnath – Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun (239 km)
• From there you need to book a taxi or take a bus to reach Joshimath.
• Kingfisher Airlines connects Dehradun airport with New Delhi through its Kingfisher Red service.
• Departure from New Delhi airport at 11:35 and 03:20 pm
• Arrival at Dehradun at 12:30 pm and 04:20 pm
Closer railway stations to Kedarnath – Rishikesh (215 km), Haridwar (241 km)
Haridwar Railway station is the more preferable option because it has connectivity to major locations including Mumbai, Ahemdabad, Amritsar and Howrah.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Kedarnath
1. How to Reach from Gaurikund to Kedarnath
The best way is to pre-book the palanquines, or horses for the ride from Gaurikund to Kedarnath Temple. If you book on the spot then charges are not fixed. It’s better to check government rates before booking.
2. What is the easiest way to reach Kedarnath?
There are well-connected land, air, and railways available to reach Kedarnath. It is connected to big cities where you can easily catch roadways. Kedarnath is located 387 kilometers from Chandigarh, 458 Kilometers from Delhi, 1421 kilometers from Nagpur, 2484 kilometers from Bangalore and 198 kilometres from Rishikesh.
If you wish to take a train journey then travel till Haridwar or Dehradun via railways and then you can hire a cab or jeep to reach the destination. If you want to reach early and in a more comfortable way then you can also take air route till Dehradun.
3. What if the journey starts in Delhi?
By road, it will take almost 8 hours to reach Haridwar. Buses are easily accessible on this route. After every half an hour you can easily catch up the bus. If you are not comfortable with the bus or road trip then you can also take a train to Haridwar. It’s going to take approximately 6 hours to reach Haridwar from Delhi.
4. How to reach Kedarnath from Haridwar?
Garhwal Mandal Association is located in front of Haridwar Railway station. Once you reach the association you can book yourself a bus seat for Gaurikund. It will take the entire day to reach Gaurikund but do not worry the scenic beauty of mountains will keep you entertained throughout the journey.
5. What to do once you reach Sonprayag?
Sonprayag is the gateway for Gaurikund lying below 5kms. It has a one-way vehicle allowance so if you do not want to wait around in traffic for an hour and then better step down at fatak and hitch a ride to Gaurikund.
6. Why is vegetarian food served in most of the Holy shrines?
A lot of people may have this query of why the shrines are mostly vegetarian in nature. Scientifically, a vegetarian diet is known to calm the inner soul and reduce anxiousness. It is also referred to as ‘Satvik Bhojan’ in many places. Satvik refers to goodness, peace and honesty. Visitors travelling to holy destinations are in search of peace. The vegetarian diet is one part of being peaceful and less anxious or tempted.
7. What is the best time to visit Kedarnath?
Kedarnath is located in the mountains, so the temperature ranges between four degree Celsius to seventeen degree Celsius.
Summers extend from May to June and it is the most favourable season to visit places and sightseeing. The temples remain active and you can easily worship during this time. The place is blossoming in this season and tourists from all over the world assemble to grab glimpses of Lord Shiva’s home.
The rainy season ranges from July to August. This season is mostly prone to landslides and therefore it’s not advisable to visit Kedarnath in the rainy season.