Considered to be one of the holiest and ancient sites in India Kedarnath dham is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of ‘lord of Kedar’. Not only is this an important and the highest jyotirlingas in India but it is also a crucial destination in the holy Chota Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand. People make it a point to take the journey to all the Chota Char Dham sites since it is believed that taking the yatra will grant them moksha or salvation from the karmic cycle of birth and rebirth. The presiding deity of the temple is in the form of an irregular Shiva Lingam which is worshipped when the temple kapat opens for darshan during the holy eve of Akshaya Tritiya which falls generally on during the months of either late April or early may and remains open for 6 months before shutting down for the winter months on either late October or early November.
The ancient temple of Kedarnath is perched amongst the magnificent snowcapped mountains and the lush green valleys on an elevation of 3,583 metres above sea level within the district of Rudraprayag. Set against the mesmerizing backdrop of the mighty Himalayas, the temple is placed right next to the holy river of Mandakini and is situated at a distance of 223 km from the holy town of Rishikesh. Its location is also an ideal destination for trekking activities since it is surrounded by amazing lush green pastures.
How to Reach
Kedarnath Dham cannot be reached directly by car, but it requires the pilgrim to cover a trekking journey of 16 kms which requires walking of moderate to difficult level. Here are a few ways by which you can reach Kedarnath Dham in a more convenient manner:
- By Bus / Private Car: The roads leading up to Kedarnath Dham is well connected by a number of neighboring towns and cities like Delhi and Dehradun. The best way to travel to Kedarnath is by first reaching to Kashmere Gate ISBT or Anand Vihar bus terminal in Delhi and from there on taking a bus service to Haridwar / Rishikesh which will be an overnight journey of almost 260 km. you can also choose your mode of transport from here life A/C sleeper, non A/C sleeper, Volvo A/C semi sleeper etc. from Haridwar / Rishikesh you will be able to easily avail a bus service heading for Gaurikund, which will be an overall journey of 5 hours where you will be covering 125km. the entire journey is extremely scenic and you will be able savor some of the most beautiful sites of the pure Himalayan beauty.
- Brief Route Map of Kedarnath from Delhi: Delhi – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Gaurikund 9via Agastmuni – Guptkashi – Sonprayag) – Gaurikund – Kedarnath.
- By Helicopter: If you are running short on time and require completing the yatra quickly then a helicopter journey to Kedarnath can be your best option. Even if you are accompanied by a senior citizen or someone who is incapable of completing the journey on foot then a helicopter journey is a blessing. The journey will commence from the Sahastradhara airport in Dehradun and conclude its first leg at Phata / Sitapur helipad and as per the government regulations the passengers will be transferred to another shuttle service which will end the journey at the Kedarnath helipad which is located at just a mere distance of 500 metres from the main temple entrance.
Best Time to Visit
After all these detailed planning and decision making you will be confused about when you should take the journey. It will be a wise decision for you to not avail any of these services during the rainy months of July to September since the entire region remains prone to unexpected landslides that will put the life you as well as your loved ones at risk. The best and the most comfortable time to visit will be between the months of April to June since these are summer months and the overall weather condition here is extremely pleasant and charming. You can also plan your visit during the closing time of the dham that takes place between the months of end of September to November, but remember it will be freezing cold by then, making your stay there extremely difficult and unpleasant.