Those wanting to escape the concrete jungles to the abode of tranquility and mesmerizing natural beauty can think of Char Dham Yatra. Heaven to the spiritually inclined, the snow-capped mountains’ scenic beauty is so imposing, and the gurgling of Mandakini makes it mandatory in your travel list. In addition to a spiritual sojourn, Kedarnath is an amazing trekking and sightseeing destination.
Kedarnath- A kaleidoscope of nature and divinity
Kedarnath is the farthest of all the Jyotirlingas, set at a high altitude of the Himalayan Mountains; the temple has opened its door for local pilgrims this year. Lord Shiva’s journey back to his abode in Kedarnath set in flower palanquin was a sight to behold even amid the worldwide pandemic. Recently, the government has opened the shrine for local devotees.
The temple is generally open for six months a year, the rest of the time it remains shrouded in thick snow. The absence of any motorable road to Kedarnath makes it the most extended trek among the Char Dham. Yet, these problematic roads may not be able to scare scared souls. The temple is named after King Kedar, who was one of the kings from Satyuga.
Ways you can travel to Kedarnath
- Trek to the temple – The trek for Kedarnath starts from Gaurikund. Yatris have to trek for 14 km from Gaurikund to reach the temple. The road to the temple has been altered to some extent after the 2013 floods. The trek can be challenging at times, but determination and sheer devotion act as the driving force for thousands of devotes. The expected time taken for the trek is 6-8 hours. Yatris generally take a very early morning trek to reach the temple early in the day.
As you trek high, there are various shops and resting places. You can take small breaks, have refreshments and water and avail toilets. They serve hot tea and local food along with noodles. The warm hospitality of the shop owners is truly heart-touching. Apart from the Garhwali language, they speak Hindi. There are also posts of the Uttrakhand government; the officials here are ready to help the yatris on any occasion.
- Take a horse ride – You can also ride horses, which take you up to the temple from the base locations and drop you back. Some of the tourists may want to stay around for a night; others may return on the same day. A visit to the temple and its picturesque surrounding, the tiredness melts away.
- Alternatively, you can also avail of the helicopter service for ease of access to the temple.
Online helicopter tickets
Uttarakhand tourism has now introduced an online helicopter ticket reservation system for pilgrims. The tickets are being offered in phases of 1000 pilgrims. The pilgrims can cancel the tickets 24 hours to cancel the tickets before the commencement of the journey. The tickets will also be available from counters in Guptkashi and Phata. New helicopter services are also being introduced from Sirsi. Earlier tickets were available from the websites of individual companies offering the service. Per person price of the helicopter, tickets are Rs 7000 approximately from Phata-Kedarnath-Phata.
Helicopter services are also available for Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
Kedarnath – Tourist Attractions
The delight of visual senses and the spiritually enchanted atmosphere soothes the souls from deep within. After Visiting the Kedarnath Mandir, make sure to spend some time around Kedarnath to feel the unique vibe of the place. You can explore some other areas of attraction.
- Adi Shnakaracharya Samadhi Mandir
The revered Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi mandir is situated just behind the Kedarnath Temple. Adi Shankaracharya, the religious head who also revived the Kedarnath temple, gained moksha in this very place.
- Bhairav Temple
The belief says that the Bhairav is the protector of Lord Kedarnath. The fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva, the temple is located near to the Kedarnath Temple, in an approximately one km trek uphill. The panoramic view of the Himalayas is a treat to the soul.
- Chorabari Tal
Located in the proximity of the Kedarnath Temple, it is almost 5 km away. The lake is also known as Gandhi Sarovar, the lake has water from the Chorabari Bamak glacier. The crystal clear water of the lake and the surrounding mountain peas make it a heavenly place.
- Rudra meditation Cave, Kedarnath
The seekers of complete isolation to meditate can recede to the Rudra meditation camp in Kedarnath. Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam manages the place; the cave gained immense popularity after hosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
An important point to note
There are a few important things that travelers must take note of before traveling to Kedarnath. After the 2013 natural disaster, the government has taken some strict steps to regulate the number of tourists and make the Kedarnath Darshan a hassle-free experience for tourists. Tourists must make a note of the below-mentioned points.
The Kedarnath Yatra, like the Char Dham Yatra, now requires registration. There are both online and offline registration procedures. Yatris must complete the registration process and carry all the necessary documents. You must provide transparent information about how many dhams you are visiting and your planned duration of stay. Visitors of Kedarnath must carry a fitness certificate.
How to prepare for the journey?
As the journey is physically exhausting, you must take extra precautions both physically and mentally before the journey. Start preparing for the journey well in advance. Start preparing with the travel itineraries, whether you reach Dehradun by Train or Fight. You can take a bus or car from Haridwar or Dehradun for Kedarnath whether you want to travel on your own or enlist for Chardham Tour Package. You must also prepare your body by going for regular walks and mild exercise.
Travel Expenses for Kedarnath
The expenses to Kedarnath include train/flight tickets/ car/bus fares, accommodations, food, extra expenses, etc. The Chardham Tour packages may cost differs according to the facilities offered. Tentative expenses can be chalked out as below.
From Rishikesh, INR. 20,000
From Dehradun, INR. 25,000
From Delhi, INR. 32,000
From Rishikesh in SUV, INR.13/km
From Dehradun in SUV, INR.14/km
From Haridwar in SUV, INR.13/Km
Fro Delhi in SUV, INR.15/Km
So, ready to experience the ethereal in the abode of Lord Shiva- Kedarnath.