Kedarnath is one of the most famous pilgrimages for Hindus and is well known for its majestic temple and glorious history. Trails of Kedarnath yatra pass through the beautiful landscape, snow-covered mountains, and deep valley. If you are planning for the Kedarnath yatra then this article will help you get complete detail about this trip.
.Uttarakhand is famous for its unbeatable beauty and numerous trekking, mountaineering, and adventure spots. It is also known as the Second Kashmir of India. The most famous Hindu pilgrimage, Kedarnath temple is another reason for Uttarakhand be very famous. Located on Kailash mountain in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, Kedarnath temple is the center of attraction for numerous devotees every year. Kedarnath is one of the 12 jotirlingas and panch kedar in India. It is also a part of chota char Dham. So this temple is considered to be very sacred and important for Hindu pilgrims.
Kedarnath is not only famous for pilgrimage but is also very popular among seasonal and professional trekkers because of its magnificent beauty all around.
How to Reach Kedarnath?
By Road: If you are planning to travel by road you can hire a taxi or you can directly come in a personal vehicle to Sonprayag. If you are traveling from New Delhi or a nearby area then you can take a bus from Kashmiri gate and can reach Dehradun. You will get a direct bus from Dehradun to Sonprayag or else you can take a break journey at Rudraprayag. Once you reach Sonprayag you can park your vehicle at Sonprayag parking and hire a shuttle from Sonprayag to Gaurikund. Private vehicles are not allowed to go ahead of Sonprayag. After Gaurikund you have to trek for about 16 km to reach Kedarnath.
By Air: If you are planning to visit Kedarnath by air then you have mainly two options, first is either you can take a flight to Dehradun and chopper from Dehradun to Kedarnath or you can deboard at Dehradun and can cover the remaining distance by road as stated above. You can also book seats in the Kedarnath helicopter service and can take a helicopter from Guptkashi or Phata or Sersi.
By Trekking: Trekking is the most used means of transportation which you can also take after reaching Gaurikund. It's a 16 km trek which will take around 5 to 7 hours to complete as per your stamina. Shuttle service is available from Sonprayag to Gaurikund which will charge INR 50 for one way journey. It's mandatory to be fit to do this yatra by trekking else you may feel fatigued and lack oxygen at some point in time. In most cases, pilgrims start their trek at 4 AM to with a target to reach Kedarnath latest by 1-2 pm considering bad weather and road blockage. You have some other options also to cover this distance like dolly, palki, horses, etc. You can book these services from the counter available at Gaurikund or anywhere in between.
Dos and Dont of this Yatra
- Carry a water bottle with you while traveling and keep seeping water at regular intervals. This will keep your body hydrated while trekking.
- Kedarnath is a medium-level trek where you will get strong radiation from the sun. So don't forget to carry sunscreen with an SPF of more than 50.
- Weather at Kedarnath is very unpredictable and you can rain any time during the trek so don't forget to carry a good quality raincoat with you.
- Always carry a government-authorized I-card with you and show them whenever you are asked to do so.
- Always carry some pocket snacks or some energy bar this will help you be energetic during the trek.
- Trekking trails of Kedarnath are very narrow and have the same route for horses and trekkers so be alert and don't hasten while trekking.
In Kedarnath, nights usually get chilly and cold. So, you should carry an extra shawl and jacket as well.
Understanding the Trek Route
The complete route of trekking to Kedarnath is divided into multiple segments based on halts/stops on the way as explained below:
Haridwar to Gaurikund
The road distance from Haridwar to Gaurikund is around 300 km and you have multiple options to cover this journey. You can either drive your car, hire a taxi, take a bus, or go by a shared jeep. By car (either personal or a taxi), the distance can be covered in around 6 hours while the cost may vary. For personal vehicles, the cost may come to approximately ₹ 3,000.00 and for a taxi, it can go up to ₹ 8,000.00.
Alternatively, you can take a GMOU Ltd. bus from Haridwar to Gaurikund that starts from Haridwar at 5:15 am. Another bus, operated by Himgiri, leaves at 7:00 am while both reach the destination approximately by noon. There’s yet another bus service that operates daily from Rudraprayag starting at 8:30 am. Do note that these bus services have been affected after the 2013 flood calamity and usually run during the Chardham season only (April to October).
If you wish to take the shortest mode of transport, Tata Sumo and Jeeps are available from Rishikesh. Since the journey is mountainous, these vehicles can easily climb the hills and lead you to your destination in the least possible time.
Gaurikund to Kedarnath
The older route from Gaurikund to Kedarnath passed through Rambara and stretched across a 14 km distance. Though the path had been nicely built with shelters, shops, fences, and other amenities for the tourists’ convenience, it got washed out in 2013 due to those disastrous floods.
The NIM team constructed a new route passing through Rambara and Linchauli that includes a bridge constructed to connect to the Rambara landmark. This route is a total stretch of around 15-16 km. Various points across the route include Gaurikund (the starting point), Rambara Bridge (6 km), Jungle Chhati (4 km), Bheembali (3 km), Linchauli (4 km), Kedarnath Base Camp (4 km), and finally the Kedarnath Temple 1 km ahead.
Kedarnath to Gaurikund Return
After visiting the Kedarnath Temple, travellers return to Gaurikund through the same path. Trekkers can take halts at points on the route if they wish to.
Gaurikund to Haridwar Return
On the return route, you can either take a bus or book a taxi from Gaurikund if you aren’t taking your own vehicle. Though the regular route to Haridwar would be the same as the one you travelled on arriving, you can also get a transport service direct to Rishikesh from this place. And, in case, no bus is available at a specific time from Gaurikund, you can travel to Sonprayag (6 km from Gaurikund) that’s regularly connected to Haridwar by bus service.
Alternate Trek Routes
In 2016, 2 more routes were opened for travelers visiting Kedarnath. Though there isn’t much difference in the total distance traveled, both take separate paths. The first one is spread over a span of 18 km and passes through Chaumasi followed by Kham then Rambara and finally Kedarnath. For the second one, you can go from Trijuginarayan straight to Kedarnath covering a distance of 15 km.
Popular Trek Packages
Kedarnath Yatra with Chopta Trekking Itinerary
This tour covers a yatra of Kedarnath along with the Chopta trekking. The package covers multiple destinations including Haridwar, Kedarnath, Chopta, and Tunganath that are covered in a span of 5 nights and 6 days. The journey begins at Haridwar city where travelers are transferred to a hotel for relaxing followed by a tour of the city as well as the divine Ganga Aarti that happens at Har ki Pauri.
The travel to Kedarnath starts the next day with the first stop at Guptkashi passing through Rudraprayag followed by a trek to Kedarnath on a subsequent day. After performing pooja at the temple, you will return to Guptkashi through the return trek. The extension of the tour to Chopta (a place known as a paradise for adventure as well as nature lovers) continues on the 4th day. There, you will go through an upward trek of 3 km towards Tunganath temple followed by pooja and the return trek to Chopta. Finally, the tour finishes after taking you back to Haridwar from Chopta. Inclusions of the tour are transportation through the journey, breakfast, dinner meals, hotel stays, and permissions for the trek as well as arrangements for prayers wherever required. Though the price isn’t displayed publicly, you can submit an inquiry with Char Dham Tour to get the package cost.
4 Nights 5 Days Kedarnath Vasuki Tal Trekking Package
Kedarnath trek is one of the most divine and beautiful Himalayan treks. It is situated in the district of Rudraprayag at an altitude of 3,584 m, which is close to the Mandakini river in Uttarakhand. And, it is an important attraction for both religious as well as adventure seekers.
The Garhwal Himalayas Uttarakhand trip is of 5 days that takes you on a trekking adventure at an altitude of 3,553 m. The perfect time to go on this trip is from mid-May to June and from mid-September to mid-November. The tour starts from Rishikesh with a drive to Sonprayag followed by a trek to Linchauli via Gaurikund. The next day, the journey continues from Linchauli to Kedarnath and then Vasukital followed by a return to Kedarnath. The tour terminates after another 2 days when you reach Rishikesh through the same path.
Kedarnath yatra package cost generally ranges from 9500 to 12000 per person depending upon the service you are looking for and the number of people you are traveling with.
Apart from 3rd party (private) operators, there are tour packages organized by the Uttaranchal (now known as Uttarakhand) government as well. According to the source, the temple has been opened for devotees on April 29, 2020. The temple closes on the eve of Bhai Dooj which falls on November 16 this year. And, there are various travel packages for the destination that you can book from eUttaranchal.
The Kedarnath Yatra package spans 3 nights and 4 days, starting from Haridwar. During the tour, you will spend one night each at Guptkashi, Kedarnath, and Rudraprayag. Facilities available include twin/triple sharing accommodation, daily veg breakfast, in-vehicle newspapers, welcome drinks, and surface transportation. The cost of this package is available on request.
Another one on the list is the 5-Day Kedarnath Yatra Package from Delhi which spans over 5 days and 4 nights. The package covers transportation from and to Delhi and takes the route of Delhi-Haridwar-Guptkashi-Kedarnath and returns. Inclusions of the package are hotel accommodation, meals, sightseeing, transfers, charges for parking, fuel, toll taxes, and driver as well as other taxes applicable for transport and hotels. The cost of this package is also available on request.
If you want to extend your journey and add more places, other packages are also available though these are costlier ones. Same Day Do Dham Yatra includes a helicopter tour of Kedarnath yatra and Badrinath Dham in one day. The package costs ₹ 99,000.00 per person. If you are not willing to spend that much, you can take the Panch Kedar Trekking Tour that starts at Haridwar and covers Badrinath Dham along with the Panch Kedar trek in 14 days and 13 nights. The package costs ₹ 45,000.00 per person if you are traveling in a group of over 10. In the case of 5-10 people, the cost rises to ₹ 49,000.00 per person. It includes a dedicated cab for travel and a dedicated guide throughout the journey.