Every year, millions of people visit Kedarnath, one of the Char Dhams and holiest pilgrimage centres in India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located at 3,584 metres in Uttarakhand. Among the picturesque locales of the Garhwal region, the location provides a tranquil atmosphere with its snow-capped mountains and alpine forest lands.
This mountainous region is frequented not only by devout people but also by adventurers who take pleasure in overcoming the challenging topography of Garhwal. Kedarnath and its surrounding attractions provide wonderful chances for the adventurous.
One must be aware that the final motorable road leading to Kedarnath ends at Gaurikund. After reaching Gaurikund, the hiking journey commences.
How to reach Kedarnath place?
Travellers can get to Gaurikund using any one of the following transportation options:
Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the closest domestic airport to Kedarnath. It is located around 239 kilometres away from Kedarnath and provides daily flights to and from Delhi. The airport in Dehradun has a taxi service that can take travellers to Kedarnath.
Rishikesh, located 221 kilometres away, is the closest station. At the train station, travellers can make use of pre-paid cab services and buses.
Travellers can reach Kedarnath by using one of the many buses that depart from Rishikesh and Kotdwar. These locations also provide the option of hiring private cabs. Gauri Kund, linked by state buses to Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwara, and Haridwar, is another option for getting to Kedarnath.
Helicopter services to Kedarnath are available to travellers, and tickets can only be purchased via the official government website, which is maintained by UCADA and GMVN. These two organisations are both under the jurisdiction of the Government of Uttarakhand. No other website or service is allowed to book Kedarnath Helicopter tickets but this one. No other website or agency is licensed to offer Kedarnath Helicopter tickets.
Helicopter services can be availed from
- Phata – 19 kms from Kedarnath
- Guptkashi – 24 km from Kedarnath
- Sirsi – 25 km from Kedarnath
15 Kedarnath places that will make you fall in love with the town
Kedarnath is one of the most significant of the twelve Shiva-dedicated Jyotirlingas in India. Kedarnath Temple, located one km from the city centre, is on the Garhwal Himalayan Range in the Rudraprayag District, is only accessible through a hike from Gaurikund and is only reachable from April to November owing to significant snowfall in the area during the other months.
It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya reconstructed the existing Kedarnath Temple, which was originally erected by the Pandavas a millennium ago, from gigantic stone slabs on a big rectangular raised platform. It is believed that a visit to Kedarnath would provide one “Moksha,” which is another word for salvation. Kedar is another name for Lord Shiva, known as both the protector and the destroyer of the universe.
One of the most influential figures in the history of Hinduism, Adi Shankaracharya was a theologian and a great thinker credited for bringing Hinduism’s many schools of thought together and creating its foundations and is said to have been responsible for the establishment of the four sacred dhams in India. The 8th-century shrine of Adi Guru Shankaracharya can be found only just behind the Kedarnath Temple.
At the early age of 32, the well-known Hindu guru had already achieved nirvana. People believe that Shankaracharya became one with the land itself at some point.
Shankaracharya Samadhi is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Kedarnath, which is frequented by tens of thousands of devotees each year. The students of Advaitains go to a hot water spring that is said to have been built by Shankaracharya to find solace from the severe weather conditions in the region.
See also: Places to visit in Dharamshala
Bhairav Nath Temple
The venerated Hindu deity known as Lord Bhairav is housed inside the Bhairavnath Temple, which can be found on the southern side of the Kedarnath Temple and is located around 500 metres away. It is positioned on the summit of a hillside and provides breathtaking vistas of the Himalayan range and the Kedarnath valley below it.
It is widely held that Lord Bhairav is Lord Shiva’s primary manifestation; hence, the temple has an even greater significance due to this belief. The god that is enshrined at the temple is also known as Kshetrapal, which means “protector of the territory.” During the months when the Kedarnath temple is closed for the winter, Bhairava is said to take on the role of Kshetrapal, protecting the temple and the whole Kedar valley. He wields a Trishul as his primary weapon, while a dog serves as his primary mode of transportation.
On the route to Kedarnath lies a significant Hindu pilgrimage place known as Gaurikund. It is about 14 kilometres away from Kedarnath and 4 kilometres away from Sonprayag. There is a temple at Gaurikund known as the Gauri Devi Temple. This temple is devoted to the goddess Parvati. It is said that Parvati travelled to Gaurikund and sat there in meditation for a significant amount of time to convince Lord Shiva to become her spouse.
Pilgrims often spend the night in Gaurikund because it also functions as a base camp for the Kedarnath trek and because it is the last stop before beginning the journey to the Kedarnath temple. Sonprayag has replaced Gaurikund as the destination of the hike.
With an elevation of 1,829 metres, Sonprayag is located five kilometres from Gaurikund, and 18 kilometres from Kedarnath. Sonprayag has significant religious importance since it is said to have been the location of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati’s wedding. River Mandakini and River Basuki come together at this point, surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains and the bounties of nature.
Sonprayag is situated between Rudraprayag and Gaurikund on the way to Kedarnath. Gaurikund can be reached via Sonprayag by cab, shared jeep, or bus originating from Rudraprayag.
Located 15 km away from Kedarnath, Triyuginarayan is a famous Hindu pilgrimage site. This picture-perfect settlement is situated at an elevation of 1,980, and it provides breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains in the Garhwal area. The TriyugiNarayan temple, also referred to as the Trijugi Narayan temple, devoted to Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, is the primary point of interest in this area. This temple’s architecture is quite similar to the architecture of the Badrinath shrine.
Shiva and Parvati are said to have wed here, and Lord Vishnu is said to have seen the ceremony. The temple is unique in that worshippers can worship Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Parvathi at the same location. Since Lord Brahma was also present at the wedding, the temple completes the Hindu trinity of gods. Before you set out on your trip during the monsoon season, it is a good idea to inquire with the local authorities, tour guides, or tour operators about the current weather and road conditions. Photography could well be restricted inside the temple, particularly within the sanctum. Please observe the rules stated by temple officials and respect the sacredness of the location.
The Chorabari Tal is a lake known for its crystal clear water and dazzling views of the mountains that surround it. After having some of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes scattered in the lake in 1948, the body of water was renamed Gandhi Sarovar in honour of the late leader. The knowledge of yoga is said to have been passed down via the Saptrishis by Lord Shiva, who is said to have done it near Chorabari Lake.
Are you interested in learning how to reach Gandhi Sarovar? Between Rishikesh and Gaurikund, there are buses and taxis at your disposal. The remaining 17 kilometres of the journey have to be covered on foot to reach Gandhi Sarovar. Ponies and palanquins are accessible from Gaurikund. The path from Gaurikund to Gandhi Sarovar on your journey is not difficult. The Gandhi Sarovar is just three kilometres away from Kedarnath.
Vasuki Tal or Vasuki Lake is an exquisite lake located eight kilometres from Kedarnath at an elevation of 4,135 metres. It is also a popular destination for Uttarakhand Treks. The lake is surrounded by tall mountains and offers a breathtaking view of various Himalayan peaks. It is claimed that Lord Vishnu bathed in this lake in ancient times. Around the Vasuki Tal, several gorgeous, bright flowers, and one of the most well-known is the Brahma Kamal. During the winter, the lake is entirely frozen.
Gaurikund is the starting point for the trek, which continues through Rambara to Garud Chatti before passing past the revered Kedarnath Dham shrine. The trail from Kedarnath to Vasuki Tal ascends steadily over a narrow path. The holy River Mandakini, which flows in a downhill direction and borders the whole path of the Kedarnath walk, provides pilgrims and tourists with the chance to be enthralled by its beauty at various points during the journey.
Agastyamuni, also known as Augustmuni, is a town that sits at an elevation of 1000 metres and is located on the bank of the Mandakini River. The town’s name is derived from the name of a Hindu religious teacher Agastya, Agastyamuni. It is well-known for the temple dedicated to Maharshi Priya Ranjan. In addition, helicopter services provided by Pawan Hans are based out of the town of Agastyamuni. One can avail of these services to fly to the Kedarnath temple.
During Baisakhi’s celebration, Agastyamuni is host to a massive fair that takes place around the city. The distance between Rudraprayag and the town of Agastyamuni is about 18 kilometres. Transportation options to Agastyamuni are accessible from Rudraprayag, including taxis and buses. Rudraprayag is located on national route NH58, which links Delhi to Badrinath and the Mana Pass in Uttarakhand, close to the boundary between India and Tibet. There is a train station in Rishikesh, which is the closest one, and from there, buses and taxis are fairly accessible to go to this location.
Located 47 km from Kedarnath, when the temple of Kedarnath is closed for the season, worship services are held at the Omkareshwar Temple in Ukhimath. According to Hindu mythology, this is the location of the wedding ceremony that took place between Usha, the daughter of Banasura, and Aniruddha, the grandson of Lord Krishna. This location was once referred to as Ushamath, but it is now more often known as Ukhimath. The Madhyamaheshwar Temple, the Tungnath Temple, and Deoria Tal, a natural lake, as well as many other beautiful locations, are all situated close to Ukhimath, making it a convenient base from which to explore the area.
The Rawals, who are the senior priests (pundits) in Kedarnath, make up the majority of the town’s population in Ukhimath. From Ukhimath, one can get a clear view of the snow-covered peaks that make up the magnificent Himalayan range. There are state-operated buses that travel between Haridwar and Srinagar Garhwal, and they drop off travellers in Rudraprayag. From here, one can rent a taxi to go to Ukhimath with one to 1.5 hours travel time.
Located 47 kilometres away from Kedarnath. Guptakshi is situated at an altitude of 1,319 metres and is surrounded by the picturesque snow-covered peaks of the Chaukhamba highlands. Those headed to Kedarnath will find that Guptkashi makes for a convenient halt along the way. In addition to its rich history and culture, the town’s wonderful climate, verdant woods, and mesmerising vistas of the Chaukhamba Range make it an ideal destination for vacationers looking for a complete experience.
Guptkashi is a spiritually significant town because of its ancient temples, such as Vishwanath and Ardhnarishwar. Guptkashi is one of the main towns in the Rudraprayag region, and as a result of its location along the path that leads to the famed temple of Kedarnath, the town offers a wide variety of lodging alternatives that are spread out around town.
A stunning alpine lake known as Deoria Tal can be found in the vicinity of Saari village in Uttarakhand. It is situated 73 kilometres away from Kedarnath and 56 kilometres from Rudraprayag. Deoria Tal is one of the most well-known sites to go trekking in the vicinity of Badrinath, as well as one of the best locations in Uttarakhand to go trekking. The Hindu gods, also known as ‘devas,’ are said to have taken a dip in the mystical waters of this emerald lake, according to Hindu mythology. According to another theory, Devariyatal is also the “Indra Sarovar,” a body of water mentioned in the Puranas, ancient Hindu literature.
At the Deoria Tal location, visitors can utilise a Forest Rest House for accommodation. There is also the option of staying in tents, which provide guests with breathtaking views of the lake. In addition, a handful of modest hotels with affordable rates for guests to choose from in the hamlet of Sari. The months of March through May and October through November are the finest times to go to Deoria Tal.
A gorgeous hamlet known as the ‘mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand’ can be found 85 kilometres away from Kedarnath. This hamlet is little explored by tourists and is renowned for its beauty. Chopta is a vacation spot that can be enjoyed throughout the year due to its temperate climate, which makes it pleasant in the summer, rain-fresh in the monsoon, and a snow-covered wonderland in the winter. It sits at the centre of the Panch Kedar, which consists of the five Shiva temples considered to be the holiest in the state.
On its left are the shrines of Kedarnath and Madmaheshwar; on its right are the shrines of Rudranath and Kalpeshwar and the Tungnath temple, which is situated immediately above it. Over 240 different kinds of birds, both native to the area and those that migrate here, may be seen in Chopta, making it a haven for birdwatchers. The closest market to Chopta in Ukhimath, which is 30 kilometres before Chopta; thus, you should bring all the necessities you may need during your time spent in Chopta.
Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world, located 88 kilometres from Kedarnath and 3 kilometres from Chopta. It is a well-known pilgrimage site in Uttarakhand and a popular destination for trekkers. It is believed that the temple is 1000 years old, and it is the third time in the sequence of the Panch Kedars. Adi Shankaracharya was the one who first uncovered this holy shrine. Only ten persons can fit in the shrine’s sanctuary. The precious black stone, which stands one foot high and represents Lord Shiva’s arms, is worshipped in the sanctuary.
Additionally, Tungnath is a renowned place for hiking and adventure activities. From Chopta, a 3-kilometre hike begins. It’s a long, arduous hike that takes around three hours total. Rough terrain, lush green meadows, and rhododendrons along the path. One can see many Himalayan peaks in the distance from Tungnath. The Chandrashila top, a 1.5-mile difficult climb from here, gives a breathtaking vista of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks.
Even though the holy temple of Kedarnath is situated in the Rudraprayag district, the sacred site is still 76 kilometres from the main town centre. The majority of pilgrims who are travelling the Char Dham yatra stop here. Rudraprayag derives its name from the Rudra incarnation of Lord Shiva. This paradisiacal town is surrounded by snowy mountains, raging rivers, glistening streams, and emerald lakes. One of the Panch Prayag, also known as the five confluences of the Alaknanda River, is located in Rudraprayag.
Rudraprayag is located near the Indo-Tibetan border on the national route NH58. Rudraprayag is hence a mandatory stop for all buses and vehicles transporting pilgrims from New Delhi to Badrinath via Haridwar and Rishikesh during the pilgrimage season of the summer months.
What is the optimal time of year to visit Kedarnath?
The best time to visit Kedarnath is either in May when the temple first opens its doors after being closed for the winter, or in September and October when there are fewer visitors.
When travelling to Kedarnath, what type of weather can one anticipate?
Because Kedarnath’s summer season lasts from March to June, the weather at this time of year is ideal. Between June and September, the monsoon season should be avoided. November marks the beginning of winter, which continues through February and causes Kedarnath to be blanketed with snow.
Does Kedarnath have any ATM facilities?
Due to the poor internet connection and ongoing town reconstruction work in Kedarnath, there are presently no ATMs operating in the area. This is because of the damage that occurred in 2013. However, it is recommended that you withdraw the cash from sites such as Rudraprayag, Agastyamuni, and Guptkashi before moving forward with the journey.
What is the state of the roads in Kedarnath?
When travelling to mountainous places, it is usually a good idea to check the road conditions in advance, particularly during the monsoon season when roads are prone to landslides owing to excessive rainfall. However, being part of the well-maintained NH-58 and NH-109 till Gaurikund, Kedarnath’s roads are rather decent and suitable for vehicles. It is recommended to avoid planning a trip to Kedarnath during periods of severe precipitation and to adhere to all official rules in the event of a problem.
Are taxi services accessible in Kedarnath?
Gaurikund, the closest road head to Kedarnath, offers vehicle rental options to tourists and pilgrims. One can reserve taxis in Gaurikund to go to neighbouring regions such as Chopta, Guptkashi, and Augustmuni, among others. Taxi charges vary based on the kind of vehicle booked and the distance travelled.
What about the food and lodging options in Kedarnath?
After the 2013 natural tragedy, just a few hotels and eateries remain in Kedarnath. Currently, however, the government offers free lodging and food to visitors who visit Kedarnath. Free accommodations are subject to government decisions, which are subject to change without notice.