A holy Hindu town located in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is one of the Char Dhams located in the Himalayas. It is resting at an elevation of 3584m above sea level near the head of Mandakini River. This pristine site is a very renowned religious spot for all Hindu pilgrims. The Kedarnath temple enshrining the highly revered Kedareshwar (the name with which Lord Shiva resides here), attracts thousands of devotees from all over the world. The Kedarnath temple lies amidst the incredible snow-covered Himalayan ranges. Due to the extreme weather conditions the temple here remains open from the end of April to the beginning of November. This is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. In Kedarnath alone there are about more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the temple was built by the Pandavas of Mahabharatha and was later revived by Adi Shankaracharya. Legend has it that Pandavas performed a strong penance here to please Lord Shiva in Kedarnath. After having won the war against the Kauravas, the Pandavas felt guilty and wanted to seek blessings from Lord Shiva for redemption who was hiding from them. It is here in Kedarnath where Lord Shiva took refuge in the form of a bull. The bull hided his face into the ground, and his hump remained behind on the surface. The other four parts of Lord Shiva fell at Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhmaheshwar and Kapleshwar. Kedarnath along with these four are also described as Panch Kedar. The inner walls of the temple are sculpted with various deities. The scenes depict various mythological stories. To reach Kedarnath you have to trek 14km through a paved road from Gaurikund. You can also take horse or ponies to climb up the steep path. Gaurikund is connected by road from Haridwar, Dehradun, Rishikesh and some other regions of Uttarakhand.
Places to see at Kedarnath: This residing place of Lord Mahadev is dotted with some sacred sight seeing locations. These include:
Kedarnath is one of the holiest Hindu pilgrims of India with Lord Shiva as its residing deity. This holy site is situated perched at an elevation of 3,584mts above sea level in the foot of imposing snow bound Himalayan peaks. Mythology says that Pandavas wanted to wash their sins they committed during the great war of Mahabharata by killing their own brothers, so they wished to meet Lord Shiva. Shiva was angry with them and he didn’t want to bless them with his presence so Lord Shiva converted himself into a big bull and dug himself under the ground. The places where the body parts were founded were named as kedars. The hump of the bull was found here. The temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya in the early 8th century. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India and the main temple of Panch Kedar.
Chorabari Tal is a beautiful lake situated 3kms ahead of Kedarnath in the mouth of Chorabari Bamak Glacier. Chorabari Tal is a pristine lake which shows the reflections of the gigantic Himalayan peaks. Chorabari Tal is also known as Gandhi sarovar. The trek is easy but be careful while crossing the waterfall in between.
Gaurikund is the commencement point of the trek of 14kms to the sacred shrine of Kedarnath. The place is named after Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva and a temple Gauri is also situated here. It is believed that Lord Shiva accepted to marry Parvati at this place and married her in Trijuginarayan. The place offers vivid greenery with Vasuki Ganga flowing from below. Gaurikund is situated 66kms from Rudraprayag. The place also has natural thermal springs.
Vasuki Tal can be reached by a 7km moderate trek from Kedarnath. The lake is located at an altitude of 4,150mts above sea level surrounded by Himalayan peaks casting their shadows on the crystal clear water of Vasuki Tal.
Adi Shankaracharya was a great scholar and a saint who established four sacred dhams in India and after that he went to his Samadhi at an early age of 32.
Nearby attractions around Kedarnath: If you are in Kedarnath, there are some must visit location near to it. These include:
It is the holy place where Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. Trijuginarayan is situated 12kms from Sonprayag. The immortal flame is still burning around which the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were solemnised.
Chopta is popularly known as Mini Switzerland or the Switzerland of Uttaranchal. The number of tourists visiting Chopta has increased in recent years and the region has become popular vacation spot for adventure lovers and explorers. Tungnath is the highest temple of Lord Shiva situated only 3.5kms away from Chopta which should be covered on foot or by pony. Chopta is situated 70kms from Gaurikund. The region showers tourists with natural beauteousness during winters.
Ukhimath is an important destination of Rudraprayag district as this place is the home of Lord Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar during winters. Ukhimath is mainly inhabited by the Rawal’s who are the head priests (pundits) of Kedarnath. Ukhimath is situated 42kms from Kedarnath. Snow capped peaks of the majestic Himalayan range can be easily seen from here.
The confluence of Alaknanda River and Mandakini River is known as Rudraprayag. The distance from Kedarnath to Rudraprayag is 80kms. Rudraprayag is the only confluence situated on Alaknanda River which is also considered as state district. Rudra is one of the 108names of Lord Shiva. The road to Kedarnath Dham and Badrinath Dham diverts from this point.
Kalimath is a Shaktipeeth having a temple of Goddess Kali. Famous Kali mata temple in Kalimath is visited by devotees all round the year and located near Ukhimath.
Things to do in Kedarnath: After visiting the holy Kedarnath temple, don’t forget to visit the Shankaracharya samadhi (his final resting place) behind the temple. Also take an easy walk to the Bhairav temple nearby.
Best time to visit Kedarnath: Summer i.e from April-May to October, is the ideal time to visit Kedarnath. Try to avoid the monsoon season as the site is prone to heavy rainfall and flood.
How to go ?
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 239 km from Kedarnath. Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is a domestic airport located at about 20 km away from city center of Dehradun. Taxi cabs are available from Dehradun airport to Kedarnath.
Nearest railhead at Rishikesh, 189 km away from Kedarnath. One has to travel 207 km by road and the rest 14 km by foot to reach Kedarnath.
Kedarnath is well connected through road. The National Highway from Delhi to Mana (538 km) is accessible throughout the year. Kedarnath can be accessed by foot from GauriKund. Gaurikund is connected by state buses to Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwara, Haridwar and other hill stations of Kumaon and Garhwal Hills.
Where to stay ?
After the tremendous flood of 2013, most of the hotels and lodges the destroyed. The few accommodation information available to us include:
Kedarnath Tourist Bungalow (GMVN) : +91-01364-263228
Chardham Camps: +91-1334 -261026,266026 Website: www.chardhamcamps.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.