Located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is one of the most prominent pilgrimage destinations for Lord Shiva devotees. This beautiful town is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand and has gained importance because of the sacred Kedarnath Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Kedarnath is perched at an elevation of 3583 meters above the sea level and is considered as the most remote pilgrimage of the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage circuit in Uttarakhand. This sacred town of Lord Shiva is beautifully adorned with snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, and the mesmerizing scenic splendor which invite millions of tourists visiting this place each year. You can feel a strong sense of spirituality and serenity mixed in the atmosphere of the town.
The Legend behind the Kedarnath Temple
Pandavas sought Lord Shiva to absolve their sins of doing fratricide as they were burdened with the guilt of doing so. They did a strong penance to please Lord Shiva but Lord Shiva didn’t want to make themselves free from the wrongdoings and the sins so he transformed himself into a bull and roam in the Garhwal Himalayan Ranges. Bheem (one of the Pandava brothers) found him then to hide himself Lord Shiva dived into the ground and Bheem could only get hold of the bull’s hump. So, at Kedarnath Lord Shiva is being worshipped as a bull hump since then only.
Places to Visit In and Around Kedarnath
There are numerous places to visit in and around Kedarnath and most of the sightseeing locations have mythological and religious implications. The serenity and the scenic beauty of this sacred town attract thousands of tourists and devotees every year coming from all across the globe.
01. Kedarnath Temple
A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is counted as the highest one amongst the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. This sacred temple of Lord Shiva is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand and is reckoned as one of the most prominent and sacred Hindu Temples. It is also a prime stopover off Chota Char Dham in Uttarakhand. The environment of this revered shrine is beautifully studded with lofty mountain ranges, snow-clad peaks, and the lush green meadows. You can feel a strong sense of spirituality and unflinching faith of devotees lingering in the atmosphere.
02. Gandhi Sarovar
It is a small yet beautiful lake holding crystal clear water which is also named as Chorabari Tal as it is located at the head of the Chorabari Bamak Glacier. The lake is situated at an elevation of 3900 meters above the sea level and at the foothills of Kedarnath and the Kirti Stambh Peak. The imposing and the breathtaking views of the waterfalls and the Himalayan Peaks make it quite appealing and inviting to the tourists. It is always good to visit Gandhi Sarovar early in the morning as there is no consistency in the weather and the weather changes rapidly.
03. Vasuki Tal
This beautiful glacial lake is nestled at an elevation of 14,200 feet above the sea level offers an amazing view of the imposing Chaukhamba peaks and is the most ideal trekking range to climb up the hills. The divine aura of this lake is beautifully filled with scented blooming Brahma Kamal and the other flowers grown around the placid lake. The lake got its name as it is believed that on the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan, Lord Vishnu take a bath in this lake which gives it a religious significance too. The splendid Himalayan ranges and the mesmerizing scenic beauty of the lake make it always crowded with the tourists.
Also known as winter abode of Lord Shiva (Kedarnath). Due to the high altitude location of Kedarnath, the place receives heavy snowfall and the road gets blocked so the idol of Kedarnath is taken to Ukhimath where devotees come and pray their offerings to Lord Shiva at Ukhimath. It is situated at an elevation of 1317 meters above the sea level in the Himalayas and in the hilly town of Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand. If you want to experience a deep serenity and spirituality without any crowd then Ukhimath can be one of your favorite destinations.
The jyotirlinga of Kedarnath is situated at a distance of 30 kms from the highest temple dedicated to Shivaji in the world and a crucial pillar of the panch kedar yatra circuit. It is also a part of the Chopta Chandrashila trekking route which allows you to explore the serene and pristine nature of Garhwal Himalayan ranges. The place offers some of the most exhilarating views of the valley below and is believed to be the place where the Bahu or hands of Shivaji had fallen and a temple was created on this site by the Pandav brothers on their way to heaven.
Located right before the main temple of Kedarnath Gaurikund is named after Shivaji’s consort Parvati. It serves as the base for the further trekking up to the temple. There are numerous temples and lodges here which allow the pilgrims to stay with ease. An ancient temple dedicated to Gauri gives this holy town its name and is believed to be the place where Parvati had meditated to ask Shivaji for his hand in marriage. This is the primary pilgrimage place where people decide to stay for the duration of their stay. If you have time in hand you also have the freedom of exploring some nearby places.
The pristine pilgrimage town of near Kedarnath is situated at a distance of 18 kms from the main temple and at a mere distance of 4 km from Gaurikund. This small and pristine hamlet is situated on an elevation of 1,829 metres above sea level and is surrounded by a panoramic stretch of snow clad mountain peaks. The fast flowing river that makes its way through the valley only adds on to the enchantingly charming beauty of this place. The trekking journey to Kedarnath commences from here and takes them on a spiritual journey.
08. Deoria Tal
If you a few days in your hand during your visit to Kedarnath then you should definitely pay a visit to this pristine high altitude glacial lake that is situated at a distance of 73 kms from kedarnath dham. You will be able to view the magnificent snowy peaks of the surrounding reflecting in its clear water. The Bugyal surrounding it are gently rolling and adds on to its beauty and has attracted a range of tourists and adventure lover who are looking to explore some untouched places in Uttarakhand.
How to Reach
This sacred shrine of Lord Shiva is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand at an elevation of 384 meters above the sea level. Kedarnath is accessible via road, rail and air transport. Nowadays, there are many traveling companies offering Helicopter Services to Kedarnath which shortens the time duration of the journey.
By Road: Kedarnath is very well connected with the major cities of the country like Chandigarh (at a distance of 387 km), Delhi (at a distance of 458 km), Nagpur, Bangalore, and Rishikesh. Buses from New Delhi Kashmiri Gate to Haridwar ply frequently which takes around 8 hours to cover the distance.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to Kedarnath is Haridwar Railway Station, Rishikesh Railway Station, Dehradun, and Kotdwar Railway Station. Haridwar Railway Station is well connected with the other major cities of the country like Mumbai, Allahabad, Ahmedabad, and Howrah. However, very less number of trains runs from Kotdwar and there are no fast trains from Rishikesh.
By Air: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport from Kedarnath and is located at a distance of 239 km. The airport is, however, closer to Rishikesh which is located at a distance of 16 km and it hardly takes 20-30 minutes to reach Rishikesh. From there, we can get a bus or a taxi very easily to Joshimath.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Kedarnath is May to June and September to October as the weather is quite pleasing and favorable. Kedarnath receives heavy snowfall during winter and in Monsoon it receives heavy rainfall which results in the blockage of roads.