Gaurikund

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Gaurikund, Guptakashi Overview

Located amongst the supreme environs of the majestic Himalayas, Gaurikund in Guptakashi, Uttarakhand, is famous for being the starting point to and the last road head before the Kedarnath Yatra begins. Gaurikund is located on the banks of the River Mandakini and is rightly considered to be the gateway to spirituality and salvation. Situated in one of the most captivating settings, this is a place of infinite beauty, breathtaking landscapes and immense devotion, all rolled together into one. Located at an altitude of about 2,000 metres above the sea level, the place is highly regarded by devotees, who consider this place to be a base camp for the trek to the Kedarnath Temple, that is situated high up in the mountains. Other than this, the Gaurikund Temple and Gauri Lake are also important landmarks that the place is famous for. 

After the disastrous floods shook Kedarnath in 2013, the original trekking route from Gaurikund to Kedarnath, via Rambara, a total walking distance of 14 kilometres, was completely washed away. However, after this sad event, the trek route has improved considerably and is now absolutely safe, complete with all facilities, thanks to the efforts of the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM). Today, Gaurikund has decent accommodation options in the form of dharamshalas, hotels and guest houses. Trekking is the main activity that takes place here. The entire area resonates with piety and spirituality, not to forget the mesmerising beauty and grandeur of the Himalayas in the backdrop. The area is almost always under cover of a snow blanket, except from March to November, which further adds to the immaculate gorgeousness of this destination.

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The place Gaurikund is named after the Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva. According to popular myths and legends, Gaurikund is the place where Goddess Parvati did penance, which involved ascetic and yoga practices, to win over Lord Shiva. It is widely believed that Lord Shiva accepted to marry Parvati at this place and the wedding took place in Triyugi Narayan, which is also located nearby.

Gaurikund is also related to Lord Ganesha and the story of how he acquired his elephant head. It is believed that while taking a bath, Parvati fashioned Ganesha from the soap lather on her body and placed him at the entrance as her guard. When Lord Shiva arrived and was stopped by Ganesha, he became furious and chopped off the boy's head. Upon Parvati's insistence that the child be brought back to life, Shiva took the head of a wandering elephant and placed it on Ganesha’s body.

The area offers vivid greenery with Vasuki Ganga flowing from below. Located amongst lush green forests, the place boasts of its panoramic views and the two famous attractions located here: Gaurikund Temple and Gauri Lake.

1. Gaurikund Temple: This temple has the idol of Goddess Parvati in it, where devotees offer their prayers. People on their way to Kedarnath make it a point to stop here to visit this holy religious site.
2. Gauri Kund: Also known as Gauri Lake, Parvati Sarovar or the Lake of Compassion, this is the lake where Goddess Parvati had breathed life into Lord Ganesha. Hindus consider this lake to be a sacred spot and take a ritual bath here. Sadly, after the 2013 floods, there is only a small stream of water flowing in place of the Kund.

The Kedarnath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located in the Garhwal Himalayan range. Since the temple is unstable, it is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by an uphill trek from Gaurikund. Devotees have the option of walking to the temple via a 14-kilometre trek, availing the services of a helicopter or hiring a pony.

Gaurikund to Kedarnath trekking route:
Following the flash flood in 2013, a new trekking route was built to connect the two places. The new route is extremely safe and well developed and has all the required facilities available. The route is 8-10 feet wide and has an iron railing on its edge. Shelters, where tourists can take rest, are built at every 500 meters or so. The trekking route for the first 7 kilometres is gradual, but for the subsequent 7 kilometres, the path is steep. The route for the last 3 kilometres goes up and down gradually. It takes about 7 hours to reach Kedarnath from Gaurikund.
The route to be taken is as follows:
Gaurikund- Rambara Bridge- Jungle Chatti- Bheembali- Linchauli- Kedarnath Base Camp- Kedarnath Temple

Gaurikund to Kedarnath pony charges:
Visitors can hire horses to make their journey comfortable and smooth. A pony from Gaurikund to Kedarnath costs INR 1,400; while a return trip would cost you INR 1,100.

Gaurikund to Kedarnath by helicopter:
A helicopter can be booked online to take you to Kedarnath. This service can be availed from Phata, Sersi, Sitapur and Guptkashi.
A one way trip from the base helipad to the temple or the other way round costs INR 3,500 while a round trip will cost you around INR 5,800.

The best time to visit this holy place is from March to November when the snow is cleared out, and all roads are easily accessible. This is also the same time when the Kedarnath temple is open to the general public for darshan. The weather during this period is refreshing and pleasing, though cold.

One can travel around by foot in the town.

It is easy to find decent accommodation here. Dharamshalas, guest houses and hotels provide excellent facilities and services at affordable prices. Shivalik Valley Resorts, Bhawani Tourist Complex and JPG Palace are some good options that you can consider.

Avoid the monsoon season as heavy rains could mean blocked roads due to landslides. It is advisable to advance book your hotel as during this season its difficult to find accommodation in the region.

  • Air: The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun which is 224 km away from Gaurikund. One can easily hire a cab or take a bus for Gaurikund from the airport.

  • Rail: The nearest rail head is at Rishikesh which is about 202 km away from Gaurikund. One can easily get a cab or a bus for Gaurikund from the railway station.

  • Road: Gaurikund is well connected to different parts of the state by motorable roads. Buses regularly connect the town to nearby cities and towns.


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Gaurikund Reviews

10 months ago by Rohit Shroff

Gaurikund is the last destination before going to the Kedarnath temple. It is about 34km away from the Guptakshi. Here the pilgrims bathe in the hot sulphur springs and pray in Gauri temple. It is believed that at this place Ma Gauri did penance or meditation to find Lord shiva as her husband. The Gaurikund is well connected with transport system with a well-built road system. To go further one has to trek.

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