Kedarnath Temple, an abode of Lord Shiva in the lofty heights of Garhwal Himalayas is a place of great religious significance. The temple comes within Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district and is perched at an elevation of about 3584 meters above the sea level. Every year devotees in thousands travel to this holy place to pay their tribute to Lord Kedarnath.
Lord Kedarnath is a manifestation of Lord Shiva, one of the Gods of the holy trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwar. He is enshrined in the Kedarnath Temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva and one of the dhams of the sacred Chota Chardham circuit. Traveling to the Kedarnath temple isn’t an easy thing. Every minute your tenacity and endurance will be tested. You’ll have to defy inclement weather conditions and ignore the dangers of the mountainous terrain and route to reach the Kedarnath Dham.
Some Key Facts about the Kedarnath Yatra
|Kedarnath Temple Deity||Kedarnath or Lord Shiva|
|In which state||Uttarakhand|
|In which district||Rudraprayag|
|Number of Visitors Each Year||Approximately 10 to 15 lakhs visitors|
|Starting point of the trek||Gaurikund|
|Distance to be covered||16 kms|
Kedarnath Trek Base Camp
To reach Kedarnath Dham, you’ll have to reach Gaurikund first. There are cabs and state buses to convey you to Gaurikund but from Gaurikund to Kedarnath temple, you have to travel on foot only. From Gaurikund to Kedarnath, the road conditions are not suitable for any vehicle. Therefore, trekking is the only option. You have to trek across a distance of nearly 16 kms from the Gaurikund base camp to reach the Kedarnath Dham. It takes nearly 7 to 8 hours to reach the Kedarnath Dham from Gaurikund on foot. The journey can be really adventurous and can acquaint one with the mesmerizing scenic beauty of the Garhwal Himalayas. Gaurikund thus is the final and ultimate road head prior to the Kedarnath Dham. The route to Kedarnath via Rambara from Gaurikund consists of a fenced pavement and many shelters for pilgrims to take rest in the midst of the trek. The route is safe and offers splendid views of waterfalls, forests and vales.
Other Ways to travel apart from foot
Pilgrims generally put up at Gaurikund for the night to brush off their fatigue and the next day they start their journey towards Kedarnath. Some pilgrims, who do not take much rest, make sure to take a bath in the holy Gauri Kund, a hot water lake. The hot water of the Kund reduces pain and cramps n the limbs and soothes the tired muscles. Those who find it difficult to trek their way up to the temple, may avail any of the following means:
Palki or Dandi rates for one way trip from Gaurikund to Kedarnath is Rs. 4550 for travelers weighing 75 kgs or more and Rs. 5050 for travelers weighing around 90 kgs. For two-way trip the Palki rate is Rs 7950 for a traveler weighing around 75 kg and Rs. 8450 for a traveler weighing around 90 kg.
Pony service from Gaurikund to Kedarnath costs Rs 2300 and from Kedarnath back to Gaurikund it costs Rs. 1500.
It is necessary to book the Palki or Pony service ahead of time and booking counters are available at Sonprayag or Gaurikund.
Those who have time crunch issues and wish to cover the distance fast can opt for the helicopter service to the Kedarnath Dham. Shuttle helicopter services are available to the Kedarnath Dham. To book the shuttle Heli service can be done through GMVN or UCADA administered government sites that are fully authorized, both GMVN and UCADA are run by the Uttarakhand Government. No other agency or online portal has the authority to book Heli tickets for the Kedarnath Dham. Specific time slot or date will be announced to do this booking and the interested pilgrims need to follow the same. For booking the Heli tickets prior registration is mandatory. Post successful booking the pilgrim must get a print out of the ticket and carry it during the journey. Also, to travel to Kedarnath Dham by helicopter you must carry a valid identity proof with you. To book the helicopter service to Kedarnath Dham, you need to visit the given website: https://heliservices.uk.gov.in/
The helicopters take off for Kedarnath from the Phata helipad, Sirsi helipad and Guptakashi Helipad.
Traveling to Kedarnath temple by helicopter is expensive. The heli rates are decided by the government. Last year for one-way trip, the rate was Rs. 2340 from Sirsi, Rs. 2360 from Phata and Rs. 3875 from Guptakashi.
The helicopter companies that have been given the authority to fly to Kedarnath with pilgrims include Pawan Hans, Arrow Aircraft, Aryan Aviation, Pinnacle Air, Thumby Aviation, Chipsan Aviation, Kestral Aviation and Himalayan Heli.
How Does The Trek Start?
From Sonprayag, pilgrims may board buses or taxi/jeep to reach the Kedarnath trek base camp, Gaurikund. The distance between Gaurikund and Sonprayag is nearly 6-7 kms.
After reaching Gaurikund, your trek towards Kedarnath starts. Apart from the commonly known and used route, there is another route to the Kedarnath Dham. This new route has been constructed by the team from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. The new route came into being after the 2013 flash floods. This new route passes through Linchauli. The devastating floods of 2013 had washed out Rambara completely. In the recent times, a bridge has been set up at Rambara and it serves as the chief landmark. The trek, prior to the disastrous floods, was a 14 kilometers long trek but after the calamity the distance to be covered increased by another 2 kms thereby leading to a trek of 16 kms in total.
The route map is as follows:
Gaurikund—–Rambara bridge——–Jungle Chatti——–Bheembali——-Linchauli———Kedarnath temple base camp——–Kedarnath shrine
Distance between Each Stop:
Gaurikund to Rambara Bridge: 6 Km
Rambara Bridge to Jungle Chatti: 4 Km
Jungle Chatti to Bheembali: 3 Km
Bheembali to Linchauli: 4 Km
Linchauli to Kedarnath temple base camp: 4 Km
Kedarnath base camp to Kedarnath shrine: 1 Km
Alternate routes to the Kedarnath Temple
From the year 2016, two other trek routes to the Kedarnath shrine has opened up. These new routes are as follows:
This route takes you across a distance of 18 Kms.
This route takes you across a distance of 15 Kms.
The first stop during Kedarnath Dham trek could be Jungle Chatti, the second stop could be Bheembali, the third stop could be Linchauli and the fourth stop could be the Kedarnath Dham base camp. It is always advised that pilgrims put up at the Kedarnath Dham base camp for the night and next day early morning start moving towards the temple. That way they can evade lengthy queues.
In the course of the journey, trekkers will be helped with medical aids coming from the government to rejuvenate their tired muscles. Also, there are several resting shelters for trekkers to take rest.
When Should You Start Your Trek To Kedarnath From Gaurikund?
It is really amazing to embark on a trek to the Kedarnath temple. You’ll be able to sense spirituality in its purest forms in the course of this arduous trek. But, the time that you choose for trekking is very important. You cannot trek in the nighttime as there could be many dangers lurking in the corner. In the darkness of the night you’ll not be able to see the alert sign boards on the road or may miss potholes or dangerous turns of the mountainous route. This may lead to fatal mishaps. Also, travelers may fall a prey to dangerous animals in the nighttime as the region comes within the Kedarnath wildlife sanctuary. Again, in the day time when the sun is high up there, you might find it too tiresome to trek on the difficult route. So, it is always advised that you start the trek at day break; i.e. around 4.00 am. In that case, you can reach the holy Kedarnath shrine by 1.30 pm.
When Is The Kedarnath Yatra Trek Opening This 2023
25th April, 2023 is the opening date for Kedarnath Yatra and the closing date is 14th November 2023. Priests from Ukhimath’s Omkareshwar Temple decide the temple’s opening date each year after reviewing the sacred Hindu Panchang.
Must Read: Travel Guide of Kedarnath and Badrinath
Can You Undertake The Trek Of 16 Kms To The Kedarnath Dham?
You can undertake the Kedarnath trek, only if you have done the following things:
- You have registered online for the trip
- If you have got the biometric registration done
- You have undergone a prior health checkup and have received a fitness certificate for the trip
- You should be free from health issues like asthma, cardiac problems, High BP problem.
- The per-day limit for a visit to the Kedarnath shrine is 13000. The day you plan to pay your visit to the shrine, you should come within the permissible 13000 count.