Kedarnath dham, one of the most vital dhams of the chota chardham circuit pulls scores of pilgrims each owing to its immense spiritual glory. If you wish to reach Kedarnath dham to seek the blessings of Kedarnath Ji this general travel info guide would prove quite helpful for you. So read on-
Of the four holy points of the Chota Chardham in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. He is among the holy trinity, and is the God of Destruction. At an elevation of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), the ancient shrine is situated on the top of Garhwal Mountains. Located on the shore of the gurgling Mandakini River, it stands as a stunning time-beaten edifice reminding us of its past glory. It is believed that this temple was established by the legendary Pandavas. Later, it was lost in the hilly wilderness with Time. In 8th century AD, Adi Shankaracharya, an eminent scholar, reformer and Hindu revivalist, restored the old temple. The high priest of Kedarnath hails of the Veershaiva family from Karnataka and is called as ‘rawal’. Unlike the rawal of Badrinath, the rawal of Kedarnath do not partake in the worship and rituals of Lord Kedarnath. He acts as a guide to his subordinate priests.
The catastrophic deluge at Kedarnath and adjoining areas in June, 2013 washed away the trekking road to Kedarnath from Gaurikund. Now, the new road takes longer time to reach. Also, there is provision to visit the temple by helicopter.
Kedarnath TempleThe temple itself is the most significant tourist spot here. It is a big, strong, stone built shrine housing one of the 12 jyotirlings, Kedarnath. It draws thousands of pilgrims nationwide during its peak season.
Adi Shakaracharya Samadhi
It is documented that Adi Shankaracharya attained Samadhi (Liberation) here at the age of 32. He was a well known Sanskrit scholar, poet, social reformer and spiritual leader.
It is the place; myth has it, that Lord Shiva accepted the proposal of marrying Gauri, other name of goddess Parvati. There is a hot water tank here which I considered holy.
It is believed that 5 body parts of the bull (Lord Shiva took the form to scare Pandavas) scattered through the five places in the Garhwal region and are together called Panch Kedar.
Chota Chardham includes Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath.
Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit Kedarnath is during the summers. The tourist season starts from late April and ends at late October. The door of Kedarnath opens on the auspicious occasion of Akshyay Tritiya and closes on Bhatri Dwitiya or Bhai Dooj, two days after Diwali. These 6 months, from April to October, the pilgrims keep the Himalayan air buzzing with Lord Shiva’s name.
How to Reach:
Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun is the nearest airport. It is well-connected with Delhi, and Delhi in turn is well connected to the rest of the world by regular flights. From the airport, buses and taxis ply regularly.
Rishikesh is the nearest railway station. But, it is a small station and express trains do not pass through it. So, it is advisable to start the journey from Haridwar which is the nearest railhead of all the journeys into the Himlayas Buses and taxis are available from both Hrishikesh and Haridwar to Guptkashi.
Buses and taxis ply regularly from important destinations nearby. Private cars follow the route of the buses. But, to reach Kedarnath, there will be two options, a 3-day long trekking from Guptkashi upwards, or helicopter flight from nearby locations.
Various accommodations are available. There are quite a handful of options available to choose from, like hotels, lodges, rest houses, ashrams and dharamshalas. There is GMVN tourist house which offers decent stay for the travelers. The accommodation is cheap and not burdensome for the pocket.