The Kedarnath and Badrinath are very auspicious and sacred places for the Hindu religion. These two places together with Gangotri and Yamunotri collectively popular as Char Dham. All these places are situated in the state of Uttarakhand. It is believed that if you visit Kedarnath and Badrinath, you can get rid of all your sins and after death, you will get a heavenly afterlife. It is a very important religious place of pilgrimage for Hindus. As per the beliefs, a person should visit this place at least once in their lifetime. Incredible India in this study comes up with all the details you might need to visit this sacred place. So, what are you waiting for? Scroll down to get the details.
Kedarnath is a temple of Lord Shiva situated on the bank of the river Mandakini. The place is known as Rudraprayag. The altitude of the temple is 3584 meters above sea level.
Whereas, Badrinath is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situated on the bank of river Alakananda. The altitude of the temple is 3300 meters above sea level.
Both the temple stays closed from late November to April for excessive snowfall. During this time the temple becomes covered by snow. Thus, the local government closes them for access by tourists and pilgrims.
History of Kedarnath and Badrinath:
Kedarnath: The word ‘Kedar’ means “Mercy” and ‘Nath’ means “Lord”. Thus, numerous people visit this place to redress their sins. The mention of this temple can be found in the epic Mahabharata- Pandavas visited this place to get blessings from Lord Shiva to expiate their sins for killing numerous humans during the war with Kauravas. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Jyotirlingam (Cosmic Light). In entire India there are 12 such temples where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Jyotirlingam, Kedarnath is situated highest among them. The temple is more than 1000 years old and was built by the Adi Shankaracharya- who is known by the name Jagad Guru in the Hindu religion.
Badrinath: This temple was built by Adi Guru Sri Shankaracharya in the 8th century A.D. As per the SkandPuran, the idol of Lord Vishnu was found by him and later established in this temple. The mention of Badrinath can be traced to Vamana Puran and Mahabharata also. This place is mentioned as the place of penance of Narayana- the 5th Avtar of Lord Vishnu as per Vamana Puran. Again this is the place where Pandavas visited with Draupadi as their last pilgrimage. There is a popular legend of the place being named Badrinath. The word Badari locally denotes a wild berry tree. It is said that Lord Vishnu sat here for penance in the scorching sun. So, Goddess Laxmi, his consort, took the form of the Badari tree to give him shade from the sun. Even today also, numerous sages and saints visit this place to look for enlightenment.
Elevation & Boundaries of Kedarnath and Badrinath:
Kedarnath is situated in the state of Uttarakhand. It is 223 km distant from Rishikesh and positioned on the banks of river Mandakini. The elevation is 11,755ft above sea level, this place is very cold. It is popular among tourists for trekking and pilgrims as a sacred temple. As it is surrounded by the mountains of the Himalayas the scenic beauty of this place is astonishing. You can see the Kedarnath Peak just behind the temple which is 22,769 ft high.
Badrinath is situated on the banks of river Alakananda in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. With an average elevation of 10,170 ft above sea level, it is positioned between Nara and Narayana Mountain. The distance of Rishikesh is 301 km from Badrinath and from Gaurikund (Kedarnath) which is 233 km by road. Unlike Kedarnath, Badrinath is also situated between the mountains and has beautiful & picturesque scenic places around it.
Culture & Local Life of Kedarnath and Badrinath:
Both Kedarnath and Badrinath are very famous around the world as pilgrimage. Every year uncountable devotee visits this place. Thus, the local culture and life grew considering tourism. The locals here engaged in various small businesses to encourage the pilgrims and help them in seeking blessings from Lord Shiva.
Incredible India not only helps you to get information about tourist places but also about food and culture too. Just like other sacred places in India you will only get vegetarian food here. No alcohol and Non-veg food is allowed here. Apart from this various milk-made sweets are also popular. Other than puja essentials and food, you will get shops offering handmade wood and cane décor items, winter wear, etc.
Must-Visit Places in Kedarnath and Badrinath:
Apart from the Kedarnath and Badrinath temples, there are some other places that you should visit to enrich your experience. Keep in mind due to heavy snowfall this entire region stays covered under snow from November to April. So, it is advised not to visit this place during this time.
Kedarnath Temple: As mentioned above this is one of the popular Hindu pilgrimages in India. There is no transport directly to the temple. Devotees have to trek around 16kms from Gaurikund to reach Kedarnath temple. Here one can perform puja to seek blessings from Lord Shiva. Due to snowfall, the temple remains closed from November to April. During this time the idol of Lord Shiva is worshipped at Ukhimath.
Bhairav Temple: This is a small old temple situated very near Kedarnath Temple. It is believed that the god Bhairava, protects the Kedarnath Temple during the winter months (Nov to Apr) when the temple stays under a thick cover of snow.
Vasuki Taal: This is a lake situated 8km away from Kedarnath. It is famous for having spectacular blue water. It takes 4-5 hours to reach this place.
Gandhi Sarovar / Chorabari Taal: It is a lake situated 3.5 km away from Kedarnath. You have to trek for about an hour to reach this place. After the death of Mahatma Gandhi, his ashes were immersed in this lake. Thus, later it was renamed Gandhi Sarovar.
Badrinath Temple: We have already mentioned so many details about this temple above. But the unknown fact is the current temple is not the one built in the 8th century. This temple faced Himalayan avalanches and earthquakes many times. In the 17th century, it was renovated and reconstructed by then Garhwal King. Later, in 1803 it was destroyed by a massive earthquake. Again, the King of Jaipur reconstructed this temple before World War 1. What we see today is the renovated version of the temple made by the King of Jaipur.
Vasudhara Falls: This waterfall is situated 8km from Badrinath Temple. To reach this place you can take a car or bus to Mana-the the last village of India, which is 4kms away. From there you have to cross Bhim Pool. This Pool is a ridge that is believed to be built by Bhim- (one of the brothers of Pandava) for his wife Draupadi. After crossing the pool, the falls are within a 4km trek distance.
Brahma Kapal: It is a ghat on the bank of river Alakananda situated 100m away from Badrinath Temple. Hindu devotee uses this to take a holy bath at the river. Also, this is used to perform the last rite for departed souls.
Accommodation and Car facility:
Kedarnath: There are many Dharamshala and hotels available at Sitapur (nearby Sonprayag). The distance from Kedarnath to Sitapur is 20kms. As the temple is situated in the hills there is no accommodation near the temple. Again, if you want to book Govt. Guesthouse Uttarakhand, then it is available at Sonprayag and Guptkashi.
Car facility can be booked from Sonprayag, Rishikesh, Guptkashi, Tilwara, Rudraprayag, Srinagar, and Haridwar to reach Gaurikund. From there you can trek to Kedarnath. Apart from the car, the local bus service of Uttarakhand connects Kedarnath with major places – Srinagar, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Rudraprayag, etc.
|Place||Distance from Kedarnath (km)|
Badrinath: As Badrinath also is situated at a high altitude there is no accommodation available near the temple. You have to stay at Joshimath, which is 45kms away from Badrinath. You can find many Dharamshala, private hotels, and guest houses to stay in this place.
Car facility to reach Badrinath can opt from Pandukeswar, Joshimath, Govind Ghat, Chamoli, and Nandparayg. Apart from the car, it is well connected with the local bus service.
|Place||Distance from Badrinath (km)|
How to Reach:
By Air: The nearest airport to reach Kedarnath and Badrinath is Jolly Grant Airport. It is near Dehradun. It is 235 km away from Kedarnath and 314kms away from Badrinath. From Delhi, you can get a flight to reach here. From here you can take a taxi.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, which is 223 km away from Kedarnath and 296 km away from Badrinath. Rishikesh is well connected through trains with major cities of India- Delhi, Kolkata, Patna, Ghaziabad, etc. Taxi and buses are available from Rishikesh station to directly head out.
By Road: National Highway 58 connects both Kedarnath and Badrinath with nearby towns like Rudraprayag, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Srinagar, etc. Thus, you can take a car, taxi, or bus from any of these places to reach the place.
How to Travel:
The ideal itinerary takes around 4-5 days to complete Kedarnath & Badrinath Yatra. However, if you want to trek then you should plan for a 10-11 days trip inclusive of some leisure days. For the shorter period, you can skip the trekking part and opt for a helicopter to reach the temple. It is expensive but consumes less time. For this Yatra, you can first base Guptkashi to visit Kedarnath and its surrounding places. After that move to Rudraprayag to pray at Badrinath and visit its nearby places.
Concludingly don’t forget to pack your winter jackets before heading out. The place is cold throughout the year due to its high altitude. At least once, you should visit Kedarnath and Badrinath. Here you can witness how our ancient culture and heritage live in this age of digitization. You can experience that the time has been reversed around 20 years. This is what makes our country Incredible India.