Are you a nature lover seeking a divine experience amidst the majestic Himalayas? Look no further than Kedarnath, a hidden gem nestled in the Uttarakhand state of India. This comprehensive Kedarnath travel guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan your trip to this enchanting destination. From trekking through scenic trails to exploring ancient temples, Kedarnath offers a perfect blend of adventure and spirituality. So, gear up and get ready for an unforgettable journey!
Location and Overview
Located at an altitude of 3,583 meters (11,755 feet) above sea level, Kedarnath is situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. This picturesque town is nestled in the lap of the Garhwal Himalayas, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and lush greenery. Kedarnath is renowned for its spiritual significance, as it is home to the revered Kedarnath Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.
How to Reach Kedarnath
Reaching Kedarnath requires a combination of road and trekking. The nearest airport to Kedarnath is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, approximately 238 kilometers (148 miles) away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Gaurikund, the base camp for the trek to Kedarnath. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, which is well-connected to major cities in India. From Rishikesh, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Gaurikund.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Kedarnath is during the months of May to June and September to October. The weather during these periods is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15 to 30 degrees Celsius (59 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). It is important to note that Kedarnath experiences heavy snowfall during winters, and the temple remains closed from November to April.
Places to Visit in Kedarnath
A visit to Kedarnath is incomplete without paying homage to the Kedarnath Temple. This ancient temple, believed to be over a thousand years old, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is located amidst stunning natural beauty and offers a serene atmosphere for spiritual seekers. The architecture of the temple is awe-inspiring, with intricate carvings and a magnificent stone edifice.
Chorabari Tal, also known as Gandhi Sarovar, is a pristine glacial lake located at an altitude of 3,900 meters (12,800 feet) above sea level. The lake is named after Chorabari Bamak Glacier and is surrounded by snow-clad peaks. It is believed that Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were immersed in this lake, adding to its historical and cultural significance.
Vasuki Tal is a mesmerizing high-altitude lake situated at an elevation of 4,150 meters (13,615 feet) above sea level. The lake is surrounded by breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayas and is a popular destination among adventure enthusiasts. Trekking to Vasuki Tal offers a thrilling experience, with the trail passing through dense forests and gushing waterfalls.
Shankaracharya Samadhi is a sacred site dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya, the renowned Hindu philosopher and theologian. It is believed to be the place where Adi Shankaracharya attained liberation from the mortal world. The samadhi is a tranquil spot with a spiritual aura, attracting devotees and seekers of wisdom.
Gandhi Sarovar, also known as Chorabari Tal, is a beautiful lake named after Mahatma Gandhi. It is located at an altitude of 3,900 meters (12,800 feet) and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The lake is a popular spot for meditation and reflection, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Trekking in Kedarnath
Kedarnath is a paradise for trekkers, offering a range of exhilarating trails that lead to stunning vistas and natural wonders. The most famous trek in Kedarnath is the Kedarnath Trek, which starts from Gaurikund and covers a distance of approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles). The trek takes you through picturesque landscapes, dense forests, and roaring waterfalls, providing a thrilling adventure amidst nature’s bounty.
Kedarnath offers a variety of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and budget. From guesthouses and lodges to tents and ashrams, you can choose the type of stay that best suits your preferences. It is advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak season, to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free stay.
Food and Dining
While visiting Kedarnath, you can savor the local cuisine, which primarily consists of vegetarian dishes. The region offers a unique culinary experience, with flavors influenced by the Garhwali and Kumaoni cultures. You can relish dishes like Kumaoni dal, bhang ki chutney, and singhodi, a local specialty made from colocasia leaves. Don’t forget to try the piping hot chai (tea) and local sweets like bal mithai and singori.
While exploring Kedarnath, it is important to prioritize your safety and well-being. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:
- Acclimatize yourself to the high altitude gradually to avoid altitude sickness.
- Carry necessary medication, including those for altitude sickness and common ailments.
- Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions.
- Stay hydrated and avoid excessive physical exertion.
- Follow the instructions of local guides and authorities.
Kedarnath, with its breathtaking natural beauty and spiritual significance, offers a unique travel experience for adventure enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike. From trekking in the Himalayas to seeking blessings at ancient temples, this serene town has something to offer everyone. So, plan your trip to Kedarnath and immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance of this mystical destination.