Kedarnath is one of the four pilgrim sites and the most eminent locations for worshipers of Lord Shiva. It is located in the lower mountain range of the Himalayas in the Rudraprayag district of Garhwal region in Uttarakhand.
It is one of the Char Dham in Uttarakhand and the most important Dham among Panch Kedar. Kedarnath is situated at a height of 3,586 meters in the lap of the majestic mountain peaks and near the head of river Mandakini River. Amongst the group of five Shiva temples in Garhwal Himalayas Kedarnath temple is the most important one.
Kedar meaning powerful is another name of Lord Shiva the protector and the destroyer. The beautiful ambiance around the temple looks like quite peace on heaven causes a beautiful place to do meditation. The main attractions here are the Shiva Temple, which is a popular Hindu shrine and pilgrimage, attracting devotees from all over the world.
Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions – love, hatred, fear, death, and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms. There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the area itself, the most important one is Kedarnath.
One can easily access Kedarnath from all major cities of Uttarakhand, however, mostly pilgrims start their journey from the national capital New Delhi. The driving route to Kedarnath temple stretches till Gauri Kund. Thereafter one has to take the 14km trek to reach the temple. Those who aren’t able to trek by themselves can take Ponies, palanquins and helicopter services.
Best Places To Visit In Kedarnath
1. Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath is the host to the beautiful temple of Lord Shiva where the shrine is made of grey stone. One has to trek the 14km stretch from Gauri Kund along with the true beauty of nature. This stretch offers incredible views of snowy-peaks, alpine meadows and delightful forests of rhododendrons to the pilgrims.
As per the reports, the temple has withstood natural calamities like avalanches, earthquakes, and floods for over a thousand years and still stands as strong and beautiful as the initial time.
Best Time To Visit Kedarnath Temple:
With the onset of winters, the portals of the temple are closed on the 1st day of Oct/Nov amid elaborate rituals. The temple is opened again after 6 months in the Apr/May period of the Hindu calendar.
Gaurikund is the starting point of the trek to the Kedarnath temple. As per the myth, Hindu Goddess Parvati meditated in this place in order to marry Lord Shiva. This place also has some natural thermal springs which offer a refreshing bath to pilgrims.
Best Time To Visit Gaurikund:
You can visit any time throughout the year, however, its better to avoid winter and plan it along with the trip to Kedarnath temple.
3. Bhairav Temple
Bhairav temple is yet another important travel location situated to the south side of the main temple. This temple is dedicated to Bhairav Nath, who is believed to be the one who guards the Kedarnath temple compound when the shrine is closed in the winter season.
4. Vasuki Tal
About 8km away from the Kedarnath temple there exist a crystal clear blue water lake also know as the lake of Vasuki. This place is located at 3,135 meters up and quite a difficult trek for most of the travelers because of its walk among the untouched Himalayas.
Kedarnath – Travel Guide
Here is the travel route for Kedarnath,
Delhi – Haridwar – Rishikesh-Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Tilwara – Agastamuni – Kund – Guptkashi – Phata – Rampur – Sonprayag – Gaurikund – Trek to Kedarnath
Travel By Air:
Jolly Grant airport is the nearest airport to Kedarnath which is located on Rishikesh-Dehradun road. You can easily hire a taxi to Gaurikund from there.
Travel By Road:
The Terk starting location Gaurikund is connected by roads from almost all major destinations like Rishikesh, Dehradun, Uttarkashi. You can travel by bus and even hire taxis to reach Gaurikund.
Travel By Train:
Trains are more common from the national capital New Delhi and you can travel to the nearest train stations to Kedarnath which are Haridwar and Dehradun. From their its easy to hire a cab or get a bus.
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Best Time To Visit Kedarnath
Kedarnath experiences a cold climate throughout the year, so it’s better to visit in summers. May to June and September to October offers the best weather to explore this beautiful place. Winters in Kedarnath is harsh with sub-zero temperatures and heavy rainfall.
Traveling in Summer
Summers of Kedarnath beginning from May and lasts till June. During this period the atmosphere stays pleasing with the temperature hovering around 17°C. This makes the trek easy and makes the condition favorable to indulge in some sightseeing of famous spots in and around Kedarnath.
However, don’t forget to pack necessary trekking accessories while making your way up to the Kedarnath shrine.
Traveling in Monsoon
Monsoons hit Kedarnath starting from July and ending till August. During this period the temperature drops down to 12°C. This season is not that ideal to travel as it is frequent to get heavy rainfalls and landslides during this period. So if you are planning to visit during this period it’s better to be prepared to overcome the difficulties.
Traveling in Winter
Winters in Kedarnath begin in the month of November and last till April. During this season Kedarnath temple stays close and with sub-zero temperatures its common to get heavy snowfalls in this region. This ultimately results in roads been closed to this remote location.