Sitting majestically amidst the serene and peaceful surroundings of the Garhwal Himalayas is the ancient Shiva Temple, Kedarnath. Located right next to the holy river Mandakini, Kedarnath temple is a major part of the holy Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand. Reaching the temple is a real challenge. It is a mentally and physically draining task. The 18 km of the uphill trek will be a testing moment for even expert trekkers.
This pilgrimage center is visited by pilgrim goers and Shiva worshippers from all over the world. The key to completing this journey is to keep a few travels tricks up your sleeve.
Check out these travel tips for Kedarnath to make your journey memorable and comfortable.
Choose the Best Time to Visit Kedarnath
The best time to visit Kedarnath is from early April to early July. This is the summer season in the hills of Uttarakhand. During this time the pilgrimage is at its peak and pilgrims visit Kedarnath from all over the world. The days are bright, cloudless, and clear while the nights are still very cold. Keeping in mind the unexpected weather conditions of the hills, summer seems like the safest and the best time to offer your prayer to the lord. It is best to book your Kedarnath tour package beforehand for the said months. Avoid going to Kedarnath or any other hill station during the pouring monsoon months. This is for your own and your loved one’s safety.
Stay Warm like This
No matter when you decide to go to Kedarnath, remember to pack as if you are going to a very cold place. There are plenty of ways from which you could stay warm in Kedarnath. Pack good quality thermals, woollen socks, muffler, ear muffs, and gloves. It is important for you to stay warm during the trip otherwise you may fall sick and be unable to complete the holy pilgrimage. One of the best ways of staying warm is by covering your fingertips, toes, and head. Instead of wearing 2-3 heavy jackets and sweaters, wear one fleece base layer and then top it up with a sweater and a jacket. There are also heat packs available online. Heat packs are tiny bags of heat that activate when you keep them inside your gloves, shoe, or inner pockets.
The best way to reach Kedarnath is by helicopter trip. However, it may be expensive for many. The next best way to reach Kedarnath is by road. The trip starts off from Rishikesh, the gateway to the Garhwal. It goes through Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Ukhimath, and Gaurikund. Gaurikund is the last motorable road leading up to Kedarnath from here the uphill trekking trail to Kedarnath begins. There are numerous other options to reach Kedarnath. You can take your private vehicle or rent a car or hire a taxi service as well. All this can be done easily through a travel agency or by yourself in Rishikesh.
Alternative to Trekking Uphill
Many fitness enthusiasts or extreme devotees decide to cover the 18kms of the uphill trek to the temple on foot. However, some people are unable to do so for a variety of reasons. There are pony and Doli services available for people who are unable to cover the trip on foot. Many people opt for these alternative options as it actually is a very difficult and challenging high-altitude trek.
It has increasingly become a trend to book a helicopter tour package for Kedarnath. The helicopter trip starts from the Sahastradhara Helipad in Dehradun. The chopper will drop off the pilgrim at one of the many helipads near Kedarnath temple. From the Sersi, Sitapur, Phata, etc. helipad the passenger pilgrims will be transferred to another helicopter that will transfer them to the Kedarnath Helipad. This helipad is just 500 meters away from the main temple shrine. This not only cuts down on travel time but is also a very comfortable option for people who are physically challenged. It is also a comfortable and luxurious option for people traveling with their families.
Carry A First Aid Kit
A first aid kit has to be one of the most crucial things to carry during a trip to Kedarnath. This first aid box must include items like a Dettol Bottle, Band-Aids, Pain Killer, Paracetamol, Calpol / Dolo, Crepe Bandage, Cotton, anti-motion sickness medication, and other medicines that are prescribed to you on a daily basis.
Another important thing to carry for the journey is water purifying tablets. The water purity condition in Kedarnath is not up to mark. It is advisable to use these water cleaning tablets every time you get water.
Book Accommodation In Advance
You don’t want to be slowed down during the yatra. The best way of doing this is by booking your accommodation way beforehand. There are hotels for all ranges available. To offer more convenience for the pilgrims, there are guest houses also available by the GMVN. Making these bookings beforehand will not waste your time during the trip. During the peak travel season, these prices for the hotel shoot up and its availability also falls. To ensure budget-friendly accommodation it is important to make these bookings before the peak travel season kickstarts.
Prepare Yourself Beforehand
A trip to Kedarnath is physically challenging for some and excruciating for others. It is best to stay in your best shape if you are planning on booking a Kedarnath yatra package. It would be ideal for you to start with some light workout routines at least a month prior to the beginning of the journey. You can go for regular walks, eat right and practice yoga exercises. Even a 20 minute to half an hour of workout routine can make a world of difference.
Even if you are traveling by helicopter pilgrims still need to be in the right physical condition. This is because Kedarnath is located at a very remote high altitude location. This is a challenge to the physical condition of the pilgrims.
Additional Essentials to Carry
Other than the essentials mentioned in the list above, there are other additional important things to carry. These include a portable charger, an extra set of batteries for battery-operated items, a good pair of walking shoes, heat packs, a torch, and a valid SIM card like BSNL or JIO that only functions in these parts, etc.
These are some easy and doable travel tips for Kedarnath. These tips have been accumulated over time by expert travelers and people who have been there. It is better to be prepared and safe than being sorry.