This post answers all your queries related to the Kedarnath Yatra, from what are the dos and don’ts of this yatra to how is a Kedarnath tour planned with a bit of everything in between. It also has a list of things one needs to keep in mind before embarking on this pilgrimage, things which you may find very handy for your next trip. The best time to visit Kedarnath is from May to June and September to October!!
Kedarnath is the abode of Lord Shiva, located at an elevation of 3140 mts in the Garhwal Himalayas. The temple has been constructed in the North Indian style of architecture, which is one of the biggest draws for pilgrims from across the country. Unlike other temples that are situated in South India, this temple does not see a heavy crowd. Though it draws some pilgrims from across India, most pilgrims are from Uttarakhand and surrounding areas like Rudraprayag District and Chamoli District.
Lord Shiva has been worshiped here since time immemorial and pilgrims have thronged this shrine for centuries to seek his blessings. According to legends, it is believed that following his marriage to Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva had settled in Kedarnath and sat on meditation here.
The temple is open 365 days a year and though the best time to visit is between May and October, you can visit the shrine even during winter. However, there is no water available in the temple premises during winter so you will have to carry water with you while coming here. The best time to visit Kedarnath is from May to June and September to October!!
How to reach Kedarnath
Kedarnath can be reached from two directions – from Bhimtal or Gaurikund – both of which have their pros and cons as well as pluses and minuses. From Bhimtal, the best and the easiest approach is from Dhrangdhara, which is as you take a cab from Mussoorie to Rishikesh. The distance from Dhrangdhara to Kedarnath is about 6 km and it takes about 30 minutes for the cab ride. Another option of reaching Kedarnath is through the Keylong jeep or buses plying from Dehradun through Haridwar and Mussoorie. The rides are quite comfortable but can be delayed at some places due to bad weather conditions. You should always carry your food and water with you while traveling to Kedarnath as there is nothing available en route.
From Gaurikund, you can take a jeep which will take about 30 minutes. This option is cheaper than the other one but not as comfortable. If you are going over the weekend, then it will be difficult to get a jeep from Gaurikund because of the heavy rush. However, you can easily get a ride if you plan to visit Kedarnath on weekdays. The options available are – you can either hire a taxi or a cab to Kedarnath or you can book a Kedarnath tour package which would have both the jeep ride and accommodation in the Gaurikund.
How to reach Kedarnath from Joshimath to Gaurikund- The first step will be to go to Joginder Nagar Railway Station from where you can take a train for Gaurikund. You should use the narrow gauge line as this has frequent stops and gets canceled less often even if the weather is bad. It is also the most comfortable. However, the journey can take about 3 to 4 hours and you may end up waiting for a long time at some places. The next step is to take a jeep from Gaurikund to Joshimath. It takes about 2-3 hours and there is no need for any reservations as it is only a 45-minute ride from there.
Where to Stay at Kedarnath
There are many accommodations available at Kedarnath but only a few have the facilities of the hotel or you may find other types of accommodation like homestays and guest houses easily if you go here on weekdays. The best way to explore the different accommodation types is to start by looking at booking Kedarnath hotels. There is also a list of options available in hotels while you are booking the trip but it is not exhaustive enough and if you need help, then you can consult with a guide or fellow travelers. The best time to visit Kedarnath is from May to June and September to October!!
Hiking at Kedarnath
There is no defined route from Kedarnath to the temple and you have to reach through ghats of Yamunotri and Chandanwari, for which there are many options like walking on jeep tracks, trekking from Gaurikund, etc., depending on your fitness level. You should do the trek on foot as it would give you the best experience but if you are traveling during the monsoon, then jeep tracks would be your best option.
The trek from Gaurikund is about 10 km and most of it is a steep climb. You can plan for this trek as per your convenience and we suggest that you stick to the timings mentioned by the travel agencies or if possible, you should hire a guide who knows this yatra. The guides of Gaurikund will take you through all important places before they take you to Kedarnath and this move might cause some inconvenience because they won’t let anyone go ahead of their group. You can also book a trek from Kedarnath to the temple which will cost you about Rs 3000 per person. If you are planning to go for the fast walk then you should plan it before leaving for Kedarnath on any day of the year.
The trail from Gaurikund is about 15 km and has a few waterfalls along the way. You have to take care of the water because if you get tired during this walk, then there will be no one to help you and you might end up losing your life. So keep drinking water regularly and use sunscreen to protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun. If you are afraid of heights, do not try to cross the falls because they can be very dangerous during the monsoon. The route can be found at different sites online and you should visit one of them to plan your journey.
The trail from Kedarnath is about 5 km but most people took this route due to fear during heavy rains or snow as well as heavy rush in Gaurikund. However, this is an easy walk and there is no need for any special preparations for it. You have to take care at the places where there are only stones and no wooden steps etc., which could make your journey easier.
Dangers at Kedarnath
If you are a first-time visitor to this place then we would suggest that you have a guide with you. There are dangers like getting lost in the wilderness, falling due to slippery rocks, getting stuck in bad weather conditions, etc., so make sure that you don’t get trapped in any of these situations. The main dangers in the area are – being trapped or lost when there is heavy snowfall or rains and getting attacked by wild animals or one of them. You should also stay away from the path if you see any animal crossing it because they are used to taking help from the residents and it might lead to causing problems for both of them.
Kedarnath is a nice place to visit in Uttarakhand but you should make sure that you are well prepared before going here. We would suggest that you visit during the weekdays because it is always crowded on the weekends. All in all, this is a nice place which will leave you mesmerized and we hope that you will enjoy your stay here. Also, keep in mind that the best time to visit Kedarnath is from May to June and September to October!!