A travel Guide to Kedarnath
Nestled amid the snow-capped, mighty Himalayas in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath, India is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage and a vital among the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. Taking its name from the protector Lord Shiva and the serene Mandakini river gurgling in front, Kedarnath attractions witness millions of devotees flocking the places every year. This paramount place for Lord Shiva’s worshippers is a significant part of the Panch Kedars (a group of 5 Shiva temples) and the sacred Char Dham Yatra.
The town is located among enchanting meadows and magnificent snow peaks at the height of 3584m. Kedarnath tours include breathtaking nature, exhilarating sceneries, and tranquil ambience, making this place a spiritual nirvana. The magnanimous Kedarnath hill standing behind the temple along with other mountain peaks perfectly sets in for this holy land. The conical-shaped Shivling, mesmerising Gaurikund, the serene shrine of Bhairavnath, the enchanting Vasuki Tal, and the Sonprayag are some notable parts of Kedarnath tourist attractions.
The dharamshalas and hotels in Kedarnath provide all the tourists with comfortable accommodation and warm hospitality. Kedarnath tourist places are usually open for 6 months a year and close for the rest due to the intense snowfall in winters. Prior booking of hotels is advisable.
Places to visit in Kedarnath
1. Kedarnath Temple
This ancient Hindu shrine is the third dwelling of the Char Dham Yatra and a solitaire of Kedarnath tourism. Ensconced by snow and surrounded by the imperial Garhwal Himalayan ranges and the serene blue skies, the Kedarnath temple is believed to grace the devotees with a state of salvation and the gate to Moksha. This shrine is not only a nirvana of divinity but also an alluring adventure as the only way to reach this place is through trekking. One can also use the palanquin rides in case trekking is not convenient. The 12-feet spectacular Shivling, spiritual aura, mighty Nandi statue, and balmy weather is an ultimate euphoria, making this place the best of Kedarnath tourist places.
Gaurikund marks the beginning of the trek to Kedarnath temple and one of the notable Kedarnath attractions. Goddess Parvati (fondly known as Gauri) is believed to have meditated here to marry Lord Shiva, giving Gaurikund its name, as stated in Hindu mythology. Pilgrims take a bath in the natural thermal springs belonging to this place before they embark on their journey towards ultimate serenity. The bygone Gauri and the Sirkata Ganesh shrines near Gaurikund add to this tranquillity, making this place one of the momentous Kedarnath tourist places.
Perched at the height of 1829m and flanked by the glaring snow-capped peaks and nature’s bounty, Sonprayag is a mesmerising hamlet. It is also one of the elite Kedarnath attractions. This enchanting place where the glorious river Mandakini congregates with the dazzling river Basuki is the accredited site where Lord Shiva and Parvati were married. There is a faith that devotees can clinch Vaikunth Dham on touching the sacred waters of Sonprayag. A pilgrim’s Kedarnath travel guide is not complete without visiting this place.
4. Vasuki Tal
Vasuki Tal is a part of most people’s Kedarnath travel guide. This splendid lake at 4135m altitude, offers an enthralling trekking experience that is not easy but worthy. Trekking along the glorious glaciers endows the tourists with spectacular sights of snow-capped Chaukhamba peaks, Vasuki and Chaturangi glaciers.
This temple town. 47km away from Kedarnath and perched at 1319m altitude, is one of the stunning Kedarnath attractions with an enchanting background of the Chaukhamba mountain peaks. It is an excellent stop-over for everyone visiting Kedarnath and is home to the tranquil Ardhnareshwar and Viswanath shrines dedicated to the Adi Yogi, i.e., Lord Shiva. The captivating views of nature, lush greenery and rich cultural history make this little hamlet a wholesome package for vacation.
6. Bhairavnath Shrine
Located 500m away from Kedarnath temple towards the south is the abode of Lord Bhairav, the Bhairavnath temple. This shrine endows the visitors with spectacular views of the Himalayas and Kedarnath valley. The enshrining deity of the Bhairavnath shrine is the crucial Gana of Lord Shiva. This is why the place is flocked with devotees all the time.
Things to do in Kedarnath
This place is as adventurous as it is spiritual and tranquil. These are the things to do in Kedarnath.
Trekking to Kedarnath Peak
No other activity is as infatuating and enthralling as trekking to the peaks of the mighty Kedarnath hill. The spectacular sights of Vasuki Tal, the gorgeous Mandakini Valley, and the stunning Chaukambha peaks along the route to Kedarnath peak are so captivating that even one of the hardest trekking routes seems easy.
Relish the Sunset Point
The Chopta Valley in Kedarnath is home to marvellous sunsets and incredible nature. Also the beginning of the Chandrashila and Tungnath trekking routes, the Chopta Valley is an ideal night camping spot. Breathtaking views of the incredible valleys in the background make this place a worthy outdoor camping spot.
Visit the Anusuya Devi Temple
This temple, devoted to Goddess Anusuya, is located close to Rudranath and 30km away from the Chopta Valley. This shrine is filled with a mystical and tranquil aura. It is widely believed that a pilgrimage to this place solves all the concerns faced by the devotees.
Various kiosks in and around Kedarnath sell photographs of gods and other souvenirs. Real Rudraksha, a crucial part of Hindu rituals, Tulsi beads, crystals, saligrams, Shilajit, and other herbs are available for the devotees to purchase as a part of their Kedarnath trip.
Best time to visit Kedarnath
One needs to pay a little attention while deciding the best season to visit Kedarnath. Winters are freezing cold and inhospitable here. Also, the main temple of Kedarnath remains closed during this time for 6 months. So, it is best to avoid visiting the place in extreme climatic conditions. Monsoons in Kedarnath are unpredictable though it doesn’t receive much rainfall. But in case there are heavy rains, there will be road blocks due to landslides making the travel inconvenient.
With pleasant temperatures, a gentle cool breeze, and a warm ambience, the summer season, i.e., April to June, is the best time to visit Kedarnath. These dates are ideal for Char Dham and Panch Kedar trips too. So, book your tickets well in advance to avoid missing the tour.
How to Reach Kedarnath
Reaching Kedarnath actually means reaching Gaurikund, the nearest place and the beginning point of trekking to this place. Here is how to reach Kedarnath via Gaurikund through different modes of transport:
By Airways – There is no direct flight to Kedarnath as it doesn’t have an airport. The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun 250km away from Kedarnath is the nearest airline facility to this place. You will get flights to Dehradun regularly from all the major Indian cities.
By Railways – Rishikesh railway station, 210km away from Gaurikund, is the nearest railway station to Kedarnath. This station is well connected to most Indian cities with regularly running trains.
By Roadways – Kedarnath has excellent bus connectivity to Dehradun and New Delhi. However, it is easy to reach this place by road through Dehradun.