Aaochale ( Let's Go )
Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the town of Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, India. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and is considered one of the most sacred shrines in Hinduism. The temple is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level, near the head of Mandakini River.
The original temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata era. However, the current structure was built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, a Hindu philosopher and theologian. The temple is made of large stone slabs and is surrounded by snowy peaks and glaciers.
The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, in the form of a pyramidal lingam made of black stone. The lingam is believed to be self-manifested and is worshipped as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. The temple also houses idols of other deities such as Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, and Nandi.
The temple is open to devotees only from the end of April to the beginning of November due to heavy snowfall during the winter months. During this time, the idol of Lord Kedarnath is taken to Ukhimath, a town in Rudraprayag district, where it is worshipped for six months. The temple attracts thousands of devotees every year, who brave difficult terrain and harsh weather conditions to pay their respects to Lord Shiva.
Who Should Visit Kedarnath
Kedarnath is a highly revered pilgrimage site for Hindus, and therefore, anyone who is interested in spirituality, religion, and ancient culture should visit Kedarnath at least once in their lifetime. The town is considered to be one of the four sacred shrines of the Char Dham Yatra and is believed to have been built by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata era.
Kedarnath is also an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The town is situated amidst the snow-capped Himalayan mountains and is surrounded by pristine forests, beautiful waterfalls, and trekking trails that offer stunning views of the Himalayan range. The Kedarnath Trek is considered to be one of the most challenging treks in India and attracts a large number of adventure seekers every year.
Overall, Kedarnath is a perfect destination for anyone who is interested in spirituality, religion, ancient culture, and adventure. The town’s rich history, natural beauty, and trekking trails make it an ideal destination for all kinds of travelers and one of the top destination in uttarakhand tourism.
Best Time To Visit Kedarnath
The best time to visit Kedarnath is from May to June and from September to October. During this time, the weather is pleasant, and the temperature ranges between 15°C to 20°C during the day and drops to 5°C to 10°C at night. The sky is clear, and the views of the surrounding mountains are spectacular.
The months of May and June are ideal for visiting Kedarnath as the snow starts melting, and the trekking trails are accessible. The town is usually crowded during this time as it coincides with the Char Dham Yatra. September to October is also a good time to visit as the weather is mild, and the crowds have thinned out.
It is not recommended to visit Kedarnath during the monsoon season from July to August as the region experiences heavy rainfall, landslides, and floods, making it dangerous to travel. The town is also closed during the winter season from November to April due to heavy snowfall, and the region becomes inaccessible.
How to Reach Kedarnath
Kedarnath is located in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India and is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level. The town is accessible only by foot or by helicopter. Here are the ways to reach Kedarnath:
The most popular and traditional way to reach Kedarnath is by foot. The trek to Kedarnath starts from Gaurikund, which is about 16 km from the town of Sonprayag. From there, you have to trek for 14 km to reach Kedarnath. The trek is moderately challenging and takes around 6 to 8 hours.
By Helicopter: Helicopter services are available from Dehradun, Phata, Guptkashi, and Sirsi. It is the quickest and easiest way to reach Kedarnath. The helicopter service takes around 15 to 20 minutes to reach Kedarnath from any of the above-mentioned places.
By Road: Kedarnath is not directly connected by road, and the nearest motorable road is up to Sonprayag, which is about 20 km from Kedarnath. From Sonprayag, you have to take a shared taxi or bus to reach Gaurikund, which is the starting point of the trek to Kedarnath.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Kedarnath is Haridwar, which is about 240 km away. From Haridwar, you can take a taxi or bus to reach Gaurikund, which is the starting point of the trek to Kedarnath.
It is important to note that the town is located at a high altitude and is prone to altitude sickness. It is recommended to acclimatize properly before starting the trek or taking the helicopter service.
Things To Do in Kedarnath
Kedarnath, located in the state of Uttarakhand, is a popular pilgrimage site and is visited by thousands of devotees every year. Here are some things to do in Kedarnath:
Visit the Kedarnath Temple:
The main attraction of Kedarnath is the Kedarnath Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level and is believed to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. Despite being located in a remote and challenging location, Kedarnath Temple remains a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over India and the world, who come to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and immerse themselves in the spiritual atmosphere of the place.
Trek to Vasuki Tal:
Vasuki Tal is a beautiful lake situated at an altitude of 4,150 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is a popular trekking destination. The trek to Vasuki Tal starts from Kedarnath and takes around 2 to 3 days.
Explore Gandhi Sarovar:
Gandhi Sarovar is a glacial lake situated at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level. It is named after Mahatma Gandhi, who visited this place in 1947. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is a popular trekking destination.
The trek to Gandhi Sarovar starts from Kedarnath and takes around 2-3 hours to reach. The trek is moderately difficult and involves a steep climb over rocky terrain. However, the breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks and the surrounding valleys make the trek worth the effort.
The lake is fed by the melting snow from the surrounding peaks and is surrounded by rocky cliffs on three sides, with the fourth side open to the sky. The water of the lake is crystal clear and reflects the surrounding peaks, adding to its natural beauty. Visitors can spend some time at the lake, enjoying the serene surroundings and the beautiful views.
Gandhi Sarovar is also an important spot for trekkers who are en route to the Kedarnath peak, as it serves as a base camp for the climb. Visitors can also explore the nearby Vasuki Tal, which is another popular trekking spot in the area. The lake offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and provides an opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form.
Witness the Beauty of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary: Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area and is home to various species of flora and fauna. The sanctuary is located in the Himalayas and is a popular trekking destination. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from April to June and from September to November.
Enjoy Scenic Views:
Kedarnath is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offers breathtaking views. You can sit and enjoy the views or take a leisurely walk around the town.
- Visit Bhairav Temple:Just above the cliff from kedarnath is the temple of bharav nath. It is a must visit place when you visit kedarnath temple. It is just one km simple trek to reach the temple. From here you can have a bird eye view of kedarnath town below and the beautiful surrounds around.
Note that Kedarnath is located at a high altitude and is prone to altitude sickness. It is important to acclimatize properly before starting any activities.
Before You Travel
Before traveling to Kedarnath, it is essential to keep certain dos and don’ts in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable pilgrimage. Some of them are:
- Carry warm clothes and comfortable shoes as the weather in the region can be unpredictable.
- Make sure to carry enough cash as there are no ATMs or card payment facilities available in the area.
- Book your accommodation in advance as it can be difficult to find a place to stay during peak season.
- Be respectful of the local customs and traditions. Dress modestly and remove shoes before entering the temple.
- Carry necessary medications and a first aid kit with you.
- Make sure to carry enough water and stay hydrated throughout your journey.
- Take breaks and rest frequently, especially if you are trekking to the temple.
- Follow the instructions of the temple authorities and the local guides.
- Do not carry any plastic bags or items that can harm the environment. The use of plastic is banned in the region.
- Do not litter the surroundings or the temple premises. Keep the area clean and dispose of waste properly.
- Do not consume alcohol or drugs during your trip.
- Do not make loud noises or disturb the peace of the area.
- Do not touch or damage any artifacts or statues in the temple.
- Do not attempt to trek alone without a guide.
- Do not take any shortcuts or try to deviate from the main trekking route.
- Do not ignore any signs of altitude sickness or other health problems. Seek medical attention immediately if required.
By following these dos and don’ts, you can have a safe and memorable pilgrimage to Kedarnath.