Kedarnath – Shiv Temple at Kailasha
Kedarnath is one of the holy Hindu towns located in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. The original temple was constructed by the Pandavas, and then it was later renovated by the Adi Guru Shankracharya in the 8th century. It is one of the char dham of Uttarakhand which is at an altitude of 3584 meters above sea level in the Himalaya(Kailash) near the head of the Mandakini river. The Kedarnath lies in between the snow-covered Himalayan ranges and thousands of tourists visit here.
Due to heavy snowfall in winter, the temple remains open for a few months from last April to November. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Baba Kedar or Lord Shiva. In Kedarnath, there are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Mythology and History about Kedarnath Temple
There is a very famous mythology by Hindus related to the origin of the Kedarnath, which states that after the war of the Kurukchetra(final war of Mahabharata), Pandavas went for an anonymous journey to beg for mercy from Lord Shiva advised by Lord Krishna. So before seeking salvation, Pandavas went to Kashi to meet Lord Shiva.
But Lord Shiva wasn’t willing to meet the Pandavas. Shiva avoided meeting Pandavs at Kashi and took the form of Bull(Nandi) and went away to the Himalayas.
Pandavas went behind Lord Shiva to chase Shiva and they reached Kedarnath where Bhima tried to catch it and hit its hind part with his mace. The bull(Nandi) is immersed in the earth. The parts of the bull appeared in different places. It is believed that the Hind part of the bull was caught by the Bhim from which a Jyotirlinga and Lord Shiva appeared in front of Pandavas. After taking the blessings of Lord Shiva, they told Pandavas from now onwards I will be present here as a triangular-shaped Jyotirlinga, which is now the Kedarnath temple.
The other four parts of the bull(Nandi), Lord Shiva fell at Rudranath, Madhmaheshwar, Tungnath and Kalpeshwar and these places were named Panch Kedar.
Travel Guide for your Journey to Kedarnath
If you are a known traveller who doesn’t know about the routes of Kedarnath here is the complete travel guide for your journey to Kedarnath.
How to reach Kedarnath – Rishikesh or Delhi
As you know that the Kedarnath temple lies in the Rudraprayag district, so firstly you have to reach Rudraprayag and then start your journey from there. There are also many other places in Rudraprayag you can also visit after completing your Kedarnath yatra.
Firstly, Reach Rishikesh
Rishikesh is the starting point to the Himalayas and it is one of the famous cities of Uttarakhand. The city is well-connected with all the inner-state and national bus routes and also with the Train routes. If you are coming via flight then Jolly grant airport Dehradun which is just 20 Km away from Rishikesh and it takes 35 to 40 minutes only. Always try to travel at night so that you can reach Rishikesh in the early morning and start your road journey to Kedarnath.
Rishikesh to Sonprayag or Gaurikund
From Rishikesh Bus Stand, you can catch public transport like Tata Sumo and Buses to Sonprayag. It is harder to find direct buses to Sonprayag so try to catch them for Guptkashi. From there you will find public transport to Sonprayag and Gaurikund easily. However, you can also get a bus to Rudraprayag and then Rudraprayag to Guptkashi. After that, you can complete your journey to Sonprayag with a shareable Maxx or Tata sumo. Below is the road route from Rishikesh to Sonprayag. You can hire a taxi for your destination.
Route from Rishikesh to Sonprayag – Kedarnath
Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Augustmuni – Guptkashi – Sonprayag
Bio – Metric Registration at Sonprayag
As instructed by the Uttarakhand Government, it is compulsory for every traveller to do biometric registration at Sonprayag. The biometric registration facility is also available online on the Uttarakhand tourism website. For registration, you have to carry your Aadhaar Card together.
Facilities for tourists at Sonprayag
Biometric registration for travellers and pilgrimages for Kedarnath Dham Yatra and Char Dham Yatra. Accommodation facilities are there from budget to deluxe restaurants and hotels in Sonprayag. Parking facilities are also available at Sonprayag for all types of vehicles near the bank of river Mandakini. Shuttle service to Gaurikund which are shareable jeeps and Tata sumos.
Keep in mind that Sonprayag is the last point for all commercial and non-commercial vehicles. You can’t travel further by personal vehicle or public transport.
A huge parking facility is there for all kinds of vehicles in Sonprayag. You have to complete the further 5 Km journey from the shuttle service between Sonprayag and Gaurikund which costs 20 rupees per person.
After reaching Gaurikund, ask for the rooms from the hotel owners. The least amount of rooms in the month of May and June is basically 500 and varies on the season.
Journey from Gaurikund to Kedarnath(18 Km, 6 – 7 Hours Journey)
The trek journey to Kedarnath starts from Gaurikund which is approximately 18 Km and takes up to 7 hours to complete. You can also take ponies, horses or dandi at rent to complete your journey.
Trekking tips for the journey to Kedarnath trek
- Try to start your trek journey in the early morning to avoid the hard sunlight at noon. So it’s better to leave the rooms early to complete most of the trek before the sun’s rays become harsher.
- Don’t try to travel empty stomach, it can make your journey harder and you will feel sick in between the journey.
- Carry raincoats and umbrellas because the weather in Kedar Valley is so changing. So carry an umbrella or raincoats together on the journey.
- Walk with good grip shoes as the route is slippery, and don’t carry unwanted things. It will make your bag heavier and your speed will slow down and it will be harder to complete.
- Carry water bottles together, but don’t throw the waste anywhere around, put them into your bag or there are dustbins at some places that use them. Make sure you don’t spoil nature, save it for the next generations.
- Keep your focus on the trekking route so that ponies and horses coming down from Kedarnath don’t hit you.
For what Kedarnath is Famous for?
Kedarnath is famous for Kedarnath Temple, Trekking, Char Dham Yatra, Himalaya(Kailash) and Pilgrimage.
Kedarnath is the best destination for travellers, photographers, family and kids, Groups and for all.
Kedarnath is famous for the following activities: Char Dham Yatra, Kedarnath Temple, Panch Kedar and Trekking.
- Temperature: Cold area(changing temp. can’t be defined, fix)
- Location: Rudraprayag, Garhwal
- Stay(Recommended): 2 days
- Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh, 228 Km
- Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun(248 Km)
- Famous for: Kedarnath Temple, Char Dham Yatra, Trekking, Himalayas, Pilgrimage, Photography
- Best times to visit Kedarnath: May, June, September, October and November
It will take up to 7 hours to complete the route, so it is advised to start your journey in the early morning so that you can reach the destination early. There are a number of hotels and restaurants for accommodation, search for the rooms. For photographers, Kedar Valley is a paradise for them, you can click photos around the temple and around the valley.
The best time to visit Kedarnath is from September to November when the season becomes a little down, so you wouldn’t have to face more crowds. In the months of July and August, heavy rainfall happens in the Kedar Valley and the risk of road blockage and landslides becomes more. It is advised to travel in the month of September and October so that you can get instant Darshan and you don’t need to stay in long queues, and you will be able to find budget hotels at that time.
The approximate time it takes to climb the Kedarnath trek is almost 6 to 7 hours. But the time took also depends upon you. If you are an experienced person, you can cover the Kedarnath trek within 5 to 6 hours. For pahadi people, the trek will be easy to climb.
The trek to Kedarnath is difficult, but not so. If you are a newbie to the mountains, it will be very hard for you to complete the trek. But if you are a person who does exercise on a regular basis, then you will not face any big difficulty to climb up.
No, you can go to Kedarnath by car only up to Gauri Kund which is the last road station. After Gaurikund you have to complete the journey by foot.
The train route is available only up to Rishikesh, after that you have to travel by car, bus or shared vehicle.