6 Best Places to Visit in Kedarnath

Kedarnath and Badrinath along with Yamunotri and Gangotri are beautiful pilgrimage places to visit in India. Kedarnath is considered the most remote of the four sites under Chota Char Dham yatra.

Kedarnath is a really magical place. It is located in a beautiful valley at almost 3500 meters high, and right at the foot of the Kedar mountain range where the Kedar Dome is located, a summit of more than 7000 meters. The small village revolves around the Kedarnath temple dedicated to Shiva. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, or sacred places of this deity.

The literal meaning of Kedar is 'Ke' for 'moksha' (nirvana) and 'Dar' for 'door.' This holy place is also referred to as the door to nirvana. At this holy place, this temple was first built by King Janmajeya, one of Pandava's descendants. He built this temple in memory of his ancestors. Over the centuries, a number of saints and sages have used this place for their spiritual meditation.

One of whom was Adi Guru Shankaracharya, who took Yog Samadhi here after praying to Kedareshwar. Pandavas are believed to have come to Kedarnath to see Shiva. Shiva played a prank on Pandavas and showed himself in the form of a Bhainsa (wild buffalo). It is also believed that they proceeded straight to heaven from here.

There are many sightseeing locations on the way to Kedarnath and Badrinath. It has beautiful waterfalls, religious places, parks and great mountains to explore. The travelers can spend their leisure time and make the most of their time while visiting these nearby areas.

The Himalayas have also been considered the home of many Gods and Goddesses. The holy river Ganges originates from the Himalayas, the holy temples of Hindus, Kedarnath Dham, Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake are also located in the Himalayas. The Himalayas are the largest ice field in the world with a length of over 45,000 km.

In the second half of the day, you cannot leave for Haridwar because there is no bus service available. If you still want to go, you can go till Rudraprayag, on a shared taxi and from there, you can continue your journey to Haridwar. This is for those who need to travel post-lunch or towards evening. The month of May is witness to peak rush to Kedarnath Dham. If you come here for your Biometric exercise, it might take you more than an hour in line.

You can buy the ticket for a pony ride from the prepaid counter. It will cost you Rs. 2500. One-side! For the return journey, you will need to buy another ticket, for which you will need to wait in a line again.

Places to Visit in Kedarnath

Below are some of the places to visit on the way to Kedarnath.

1. Sonprayag

On the way to Kedarnath Dham, Sonprayag lies at the confluence of two holy rivers Basuki and Mandakini. Prayag, the Sanskrit word means confluence and hence the confluence of two rivers Basuki and Mandakini makes this place sacred. Located at an altitude of 1829 mts above sea level this place is also near to Triyuginarayan Temple, which is famous for being the wedding place of Shiva and Parvati.

2. Gaurikund

From Sonprayag, you can hire a shared Bolero, to travel 5 kms and reach Gaurikund. The line is so long that, in May month, you need to wait an average of 90 minutes.

Gaurikund is located 28 Km from Ukhimath and is the base point for the Kedarnath. Situated at an elevation of 1,982 mts above sea level the place is famous as it is believed that Parvati, wife of Shiva did penance to win over Shiva's heart. It is believed that Shiva agreed to marry Parvati and they married at a nearby village known as Triyuginarayan Temple.

Walking on foot is quite difficult! But the journey is enjoyable too! The best thing is you can stop anywhere on the route and enjoy and appreciate the natural beauty. Just look at it and enjoy it. Now see how many glaciers we saw en-route, like this huge size glacier! The glacier is spread on either side of our route, upwards as well as downwards.

3. Triyuginarayan

Situated in Rudraprayag district, locals believe that the Vishnu temple here has witnessed the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. Fascinating fact about this temple is its perpetual fire, which is believed to be burning in its fire pit.

4. Vasuki Tal

Vasuki Tal located at an altitude of 14,200 feet above sea level is an 8 km trek from Kedarnath temple. This trek is moderate to difficult level trek and one can either take pony till Kedarnath and or can trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath while spending the night at Kedarnath. The tal is famous for Brahma Kamal and other Himalayan flowers and as per legend it is believed that Vishnu took the holy bath at this lake and thus the name follows.

5. Gandhi Sarovar

This crystal clear water lake is a small lake also known as Chorabari tal as it is located on the mouth of Chorabari Bamak glacier. This beautiful lake is located at an altitude of 3,900 mts above sea level on the foot of Kedarnath and Kirthi Stambh peak. One can start this 3 km trek from the iron gate of Kedarnath.

6. Phata

All the ponies, mules that bring pilgrims to Kedarnath, drop their passengers here. And the last 2 kms of journey to the temple is done on foot from here onwards. If someone cannot walk at all, he or she can sit in a basket-like contraption and finish their journey. And if you are travelling by helicopter, that will drop you about half a km from the main temple.

On the way to Kedarnath Dham, this small village is famous for the helipad for Kedarnath pilgrims. This village is strategically and commercially situated on the Gopeshwar - Gaurikund road, and tourist who can’t trek to Kedarnath avails the helicopter service which takes 10 minutes to fly to Kedarnath Temple.

Kalyan Panja