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Kedarnath

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Best Time: May-Jun, Sep-Oct Read More

Ideal duration: 1 day

Nearest Airport: Dehradun Check Flights

Kedarnath Tourism

Located on the Garhwal Himalayan Range in the Rudraprayag District, Kedarnath is one of the most sacred temples and the holiest Hindu pilgrimages in India. A part of Chhota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is the most revered among the 12 Jyotirlingas in India dedicated to Lord Shiva. Kedarnath Temple can only be reached from Gaurikund through a trek and remains open only for six months from April to November, due to heavy snowfall in the region the rest of the months.

During the winters from November to May, the diety is shifted from Kedarnath Temple to Ukhitmath and is worshipped there. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector, and the destroyer, and its believed that a journey to this sacred land opens up doorways to "Moksha" or salvation. Set amidst the snow-clad mountains near Chorabari Glacier with Mandakini River flowing in front of it, Kedarnath witnesses lakhs of devotees every year due to its religious significance. 

The present Kedarnath Temple is believed to be re-constructed by Adi Shankaracharya, initially built by the Pandavas thousand years ago from enormous stone slabs over a large rectangular dais.

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Kedarnath Yatra

It takes a 16km trek starting from Gaurikund to reach the Kedarnath Temple, located at the head of Mandakini River. 
Horses or ponies are available to climb up this steep path. Though the flash floods of 2013 devastated Kedarnath, work is being done to revive it to its former glory. The trekking path to Kedarnath is a little different as of now. The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering has set up sheds at every few kilometres where the devotees can rest during this arduous trek.  It is better to head out early in the morning for the temple since it is closed between 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

While here, you may also trek 3 km ahead to visit the beautiful lake, Chorabari Tal. Trekking 4 km ahead, you can find Himalayan peaks being reflected in the crystal clear waters of Vasuki Tal.

Charges for both Palkis and Ponies depend upon the distance, nature of the trip (one way/round), uphill/downhill journey, same/next day return, and weight of the passenger.

Gaurikund-Kedarnath/Kedarnath-Gaurikund Charges

Type of RideOne Way Round Trip
Dandi (Palanquin)INR 3,950-5,050 (0-90 kg)INR 7,950-8,950 (0-90kg)
KandiINR 5,80-1,400 (0-50 kg)INR 1,500-3,350 (0-50 kg)
Pony--INR 1,100-1,400

The Flash Floods of 2013

The disastrous flash floods of 2013 wreaked great havoc in the Kedarnath Valley and other parts of Uttarakhand. Vicious cloudbursts were the prime reason for this tragedy. Due to its proximity to the surrounding Chorabari glacier, the area around the temple suffered unspeakable damage. A terrible amount of casualties were observed- the death of hundreds of pilgrims in the vicinity of the temple, shops and hotels in Kedarnath washed away in the torrential floods, and the roads were destroyed.

The holy temple itself did not suffer any major damage. In what can only be called a miraculous act, a huge rock got stuck behind the temple and protected it from the destructive floods. The temple unbelievably withstood the calamity, suffering only a small crack in one of its four walls. But the entire valley suffered a huge loss of life and property.

Kedarnath by Helicopter

Kedarnath Yatra is now much simpler because of the daily helicopter service which plies from the helipad in Phata village in Kedarnath. Some operators also offer a helicopter service from the town of Agustmuni in Rudraprayag.

Devotees can visit Kedarnath temple and return the same day as helicopter service plies at regular intervals from Phata and Agustmuni helipads. 5-seater helicopters are operated by different tour companies.

Timings
The last helicopter back to Phata leaves at 11:10 AM and those who wish to have an overnight stay at Kedarnath can choose to take this flight the next day. Even with a same-day return flight, devotees get around 1:30 hours for darshan in the temple.

Accommodation options are available at both Phata and Kedarnath.

Cost
Cost for a round trip from Phata-Kedarnath-Phata comes to INR 6500 per person with extra applicable taxes. One way helicopter rides can also be booked subject to seat availability. A one-way ticket costs between INR 3,000 to INR 3,500 with applicable taxes.

History of Kedarnath

The history behind the Kedarnath Temple is associated with the legend of Mahabharat. Pandavas, after the battle of Kurukshetra, felt guilty for killing their Kaurava cousins. So, they wanted Lord Shiva to absolve their sins but, Lord Shiva was annoyed with them. The Pandavas first went to Kashi to meet Shiva where they learnt that he was in the Himalayas. They proceeded for the Himalayas too but miffed Shiva did not want to absolve their sins easily. Therefore, he disguised himself as a bull and went to Guptakashi. The Pandavas reached Guptakashi too and spotted a unique looking bull. Bheema, one of the Pandavas, grabbed its tail and the bull was disintegrated in different directions. It is believed that its hump fell in Kedarnath and hence, the Kedarnath Temple was born.

The other parts of the bull's body fell places such as Tungnath, Rudranath, Kalpeshwar and Madhyamaheshwar. These four places along with Kedarnath came to be known as the holy 'Panch Kedars'. Later, Lord Shiva forgave Pandavas' sins and decided to reside in Kedarnath as a Jyotirlinga. It is also believed that Nar and Narayana, who were the two famed Lord Vishnu incarnations, gave a performance before an earthen Shiva lingam at Bharat Khand Badrikashrama. Lord Shiva was pleased and appeared before them. He requested them to make a wish. So, they asked the Lord to reside permanently at Kedarnath in the form of a Jyotirlingam. The Lord agreed to their wish and thus enshrined himself in the Kedarnath temple

Another legend was when Shiva appeared before the worshippers Nara-Narayan, they requested him to stay there in his pure form for human welfare. Therefore, Shiva decided to reside as a Jyoti in the snow-clad Himalayas in a place known as Kedar. That is why he is also called Kedarnath or Kedareshwara.

Kedarnath Mandir

The Kedarnath Temple was built around a thousand years ago with massive stone slabs stands on a raised rectangular platform. It covers an area of approximately 3 sq. km. Before the main temple, there is a low roofed hall which has images of Parvati and the five Pandavas. The walls are adorned with figures of other deities from Mahabharat. Outside the temple door, there is also a huge statue of Nandi bull which is also worshipped by the tourists and in the main temple, a conical rock is worshipped as Lord Shiva. It is believed that Kedarnath temple has been revived by Adi Shankaracharya over the centuries.

Kedarnath Temple Pooja and Rituals

There are different types of morning and evening poojas that are performed throughout the day in the temple. Devotees have to pay a specific amount of money to attend a particular Pooja. The morning pooja starts from 4:00 and lasts till 7:00. It includes:-

Mahabhishek - The cost of attending this pooja is INR 1700 per person.
Rudrabhishek - The Pooja is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is performed to wipe out all the sins. It costs INR 1300 per person to attend this pooja.
Laghurudrabhishek - This Abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth or to remove the bad effects of planets in the horoscope. This pooja costs INR 1100 to one person.
Shodasopachar Pooja - INR 1000 has to be paid for each devotee to attend this pooja. Besides these, Balbhog, general morning pooja and several other rituals are also performed which visitors can attend at nominal rates.

The evening poojas are held between 6:00 PM to 07:30 PM. These are:

Shiva Sahasranamam Paath - All the 1008 names of Lord Shiva are recited in front of Lord Shiva and proper Pooja and Abhishekam are done. INR 360 has to be paid for each person to attend this pooja.
Shiva Mahimastotra Paath - Devotees have to pay INR 360 per person to take part in this pooja. Shiva Thandavastotra Paath- The stotrams which have 16 syllables per stotra are recited as they describe Lord Shiva’s power and beauty. It costs INR 340 for one person.

Festivals Celebrated in Kedarnath Temple

Besides seeking the blessing of Lord Shiva, you can witness the exciting and religious festivals which are held in the temple:-

1. Badri-Kedar Utsav - Organised in the month of June, this festival brings together the prominent artists from all over Uttaranchal to showcase their musical talent dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated for 8 days.
2. Shravani Annakoot Mela - The Mela is celebrated on a day before the Raksha Bandhan. The entire Jyotirlinga is covered with cooked rice which is later distributed to devotees as Prasad. Several Poojas are performed on this auspicious day.
3. Samadhi Pooja -A grand Pooja is held every year on the Samadhi of the great Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The event is held on that day when the Kedarnath Temple closes for six months.

Budget and Expenses

On your trip to Kedarnath Temple, you will have to bear expenses on accommodation, transport, food and other essentials. Here is the list of the necessities you need with prices:-

Hotels - There is a wide range of hotels that you will find in Kedarnath. The cost of five-star hotels is around INR 7,000. The minimum price for a hotel is INR 2,000.
Food - Usually food is included in the price charged by hotels. But, if you wish to eat in some other restaurant, it won’t be more than INR 1,000 per person.
Pooja Prices-  There are many kinds of poojas held in Kedarnath Mandir. The minimum price is INR 340 and the maximum is INR 1,700.
Pony or Horse Rides - If you wish to hire a pony or horse on your way to Kedarnath from Gaurikund, then you will have to pay a price which is fixed by the government every year. Usually, it costs INR 1,800 for one trip.

Tips

  • Carry enough woollen clothes with you as temperature takes a dip after sun sets.
  • Liquor is strictly prohibited.
  • Take the basic emergency medicines with you.
  • Asthmatic people should take extra precautions as the altitude is high.
  • Carry mosquito or insect repellent to avoid diseases like malaria.
  • Avoid eating raw and cold food. Boiled or cooked food is safer.
  • During the yatra, don't relax at places where warning signs are seen.
  • To prevent sunburn, keep applying sunscreen.
  • Avoid drinking tap water.
  • You need to obtain a medical fitness certificate before you can embark on the trek to Kedarnath. These can be obtained at Guptkashi and Sonprayag.

Restaurants and Local Food in Kedarnath

Options for eating are very limited at Kedarnath. Don't expect huge, well laid out restaurants. One might find a number of dhabas and eateries dotting the area, though. It might be a good idea to carry some packed food and drinks. Also, only vegetarian food is available and alcoholic beverages prohibited in Kedarnath.
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Kedarnath Photos

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FAQs on Kedarnath

What are the places near Kedarnath?

The top places near to Kedarnath are Auli which is 52 km from Kedarnath, Valley of flowers which is located 51 km from Kedarnath, Nainital which is located 154 km from Kedarnath, Nelong valley which is located 42 km from Kedarnath, Madhyamaheshwar which is located 17 km from Kedarnath

What is the best way to reach Kedarnath?

Rishikesh is the nearest railway station to Kedarnath at a distance of 216 km. Jolly Grant is the nearest airport. Gaurikund, the commencement point for the trek to Kedarnath, is well connected by road to major cities in Uttarakhand and Delhi.
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What is the best time to visit Kedarnath?

Kedarnath is cold for the most part of the year, however, May to June and September to October are the best time to visit Kedarnath. This means that avoiding the winters while planning your trip might be a wise decision. Winter ranges from November to April, reaching sub-zero temperatures along with heavy rainfall. Summertime (May-June) brings pleasant weather, ideal for visiting Kedarnath and other nearby sites. However, monsoons fall from July to August and bring heavy rainfall, causing landslides and hindrance.

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What are the things to do in Kedarnath?

The top things to do in Kedarnath are Kedarnath Temple, Vasuki Tal, Shankaracharya Samadhi, Agastyamuni, Chandrashila, Sonprayag. You can see all the places to visit in Kedarnath here

How much does a package cost for Kedarnath?

The packages for Kedarnath start at INR 10334 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What is the local food in Kedarnath?

Options for eating out can get very limited at Kedarnath. Don't expect huge, well laid out restaurants. One might find a number of dhabas and eateries dotting the area, though. It might be a good idea to carry some packed food and drinks. Also, only vegetarian food is available and alcoholic beverages prohibited in Kedarnath.
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What is not so good about Kedarnath?

Cold throughout the year. As it is placed at a high altitude, one has to trek 16 km which may be difficult for some.

Who should visit Kedarnath?

Kedarnath is great for people who are looking for a religious getaway to Dham Yatra. Adventure seekers may also find it a great location for trekking.

What is famous about Kedarnath?

Kedarnath has an unparallel beauty, surrounded by snowy peaks. It is one of the holiest pilgrims in North India and amongst the four Dhams.

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Kedarnath Reviews

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Kumar Kislay 2 years ago
- Kedarnath is one of the most sacred and significant religious centers of the country. Do respect and be sensitive towards local beliefs and religious sentiments.
- Carry your identification proofs and documents. They may be required at some check points.
- Carrying a first aid kit is an essential and especially medicines for altitude related problems. It might also be a good idea to get a check up before you go for a trek at a high altitude as such.
- Carry proper and heavy woolens.
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