Kedarnath, literal meaning ‘powerful god’ is the temple of Lord Shiva. Kedarnath temple is one of the four Chota Char Dham Yatra sites in Hindu mythology. It is located in the Garhwal Himayalan range of Uttrakhand near the Mandakini River a tributary of River Ganga.
While the exact builder of this temple is not known, according to Hindu mythology it is considered that the five Pandava brothers of Mahabharata built it and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. According to scientific research it is considered to be 3000 years old shrine.
Located at the height of 3553 meters, it remains intact even after the 2013 tragedy which washed away everything that came in its path. The temple remains not destructed apart from few cracks which were caused by the flowing debris of the higher mountains.
The trek remains open from early April till the month of November as during the winters due to heavy snowfall the temple remains closed. For six months during the winters (November to April) the Paliki with Utsava Murti of Lord Kedarnath is shifted to downhill to Guptakashi also known as Ukhimath.
Whereas the best time to visit Kedarnath is in summers during the month of April to July (temperature remains between 15-30 degree Celsius) when the weather is warm and soothing.
Kedarnath is well connected from Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Dehradun and from the national capital of New Delhi.
The nearest airport is in Dehradun (Jolly Grant Airport). This airport is well connected to Delhi and other parts of the country. From the airport, you can take a cab or a bus up till Gaurikund which is around 103km and would take around 2-2.30 hour.
The nearest railway station is in Rishikesh (Rishikesh Railway Station) which is well connected to Delhi. You can take a cab or a bus from Rishikesh to Gaurikund, the base camp of Kedarnath. The distance is around 216 km and would take 2.30-5 hours. To travel faster you can take a cab which would take 2.30min or to travel cheaper you can take a state bus from Rishikesh which is a 5 hour drive.
The roadway is well connected till Gaurikund. You can take a bus or a cab from Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Dehradun. During the peak seasons, buses leave from Delhi directly to Gaurikund.
From Gaurikund it is a 16 km trek to Kedarnath. It is a non-motorable road and has to be done by foot. It is a well paved road and is recommended by Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM).
If you are not willing to travel by foot you can avail the helicopter, palki or horses, mule service which is available on reimbursing basis.
It takes around 5-10 min via helicopter from Sersi or Phata to Kedarnath and would cost around Rs. 6500-7000 on a round trip.
The mule or pony service would cost around Rs. 3000 – 4000. It is recommended to not take pony or mule from Sonprayag, it would increase the time by around 2 hours. Take it from Gaurikund itself.
For the palki, it would charge around Rs. 5000 – 10000 depending upon your weight and distance.
Those who prefer walking; it would be a 5 hour trek and can be done easily with patience. The first part of the trek is pretty easy and the difficulty level keeps increasing with height. However, you pass through a beautiful waterfall and the scenic beauty is beyond explanation.
From Gaurikund it is a 6km trek uphill Rambara bridge from where you can see the washed away part of Kedarnath of the 2013 tragedy. After this point, the difficulty level increases a bit. You can rest near the Ramabara bridge, Jungle Chatti, Bheembali, Linchauli where a government has made facility for people to rest.
You can choose to not carry food or water with you as there are shops in every 200m for you to eat or drink. You can also give your luggage to porters or pittus who will carry your luggage till the top with you or directly deliver it there in the Hotel or Dharmshala.
The temple remains closed from 3-5 pm. So try to reach before 3 pm. If you reach after 5 pm you won’t be allowed to touch or go around the idol whereas before 3 pm you can touch and worship freely.
If you reach late try not to trek down on the same day as the route is really uncertain and dangerous. There are a couple of small hotels and dharmshalas which are clean with attached bathrooms. The room would cost around Rs. 300-400 per person. You can stay overnight and attend the Aarti and Abhishek in the morning before you start descending down. There are a couple of shops where you can have your meal in around 100rs per plate. There are many governments authorized canteen which provide food at a fixed price.
Places you can also visit before or after the Kedarnath temple trek:
Check out all about Kedarnath Temple: The holy shrine of Lord Shiva. Catch up with all the tips which would be helpful while planning for Kedarnath trip or Char Dham Yatra and don’t forget to see places in route to Kedarnath.