Nestled in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, the Kedarnath Dham lures scores of ardent devotees of Lord Shiva. The mystical aura, fascinating valleys, imposing snow-laden peaks and lush forests add to the ethereal charm of the place. The ambiance here is so pure and devotees fill the air with the chants Lord Shiva.
Positioned near the source of Mandakini River, the Kedarnath temple is highly revered as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Perched at the height of 3,584 meters, the shrine is also one of the Panch Kedars which refers to a group of 5 Shiva temples in Garhwal Himalayas. Commanding a trek of 14 km from Gauri Kund, the sanctum sanctorum presents a sight to behold.
Celebrating the greatness of the Supreme Being, Kedarnath Dham remains the center of attraction owing to a number of legends associated with it. Every year pilgrims embark on the Kedarnath Yatra in Uttarakhand to bask in the bliss. There are motorable roads till Gauri Kund and from there, the sacred sojourn can be completed on foot, dolis (palki) or ponies.
Besides, the temple is also an important part of the sacred Chhota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. It is considered very auspicious to embark on the Char Dham Yatra at least once in a lifetime for all the Hindus. Doing so is said to absolve all the sins and sets the human being free from the cycle of birth and death. One can easily plan the Ek Dham or Char Dham Yatra by helicopter.
The splendid beauty of the area makes the journey to the holy abode of Lord Shiva a lot easier. However, Kedarnath Yatra starting dates depend on the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya and are declared on the Maha Shiva Ratri. Usually, the doors of Kedarnath temple open in the month of May. It is the main priest or pujari of Kedarnath who first seeks the blessings and bow down before the lingam after the door opens. Interestingly, the lingam here is in a conical shape that makes it stand out amongst the rest of the lingams.
Kedarnath Temple Aarti Timing
- Maha Abhishek Puja at Kedarnath: 4:00 A.M to 7:00 A.M
- Kedarnath Ji ki Aarti: 4:00 A.M to 7:00 P.M
Best Time to Visit Kedarnath
Owing to the cold climate all-round the year, the best time to visit Kedarnath is from May – June and September – October. These months feature an ideal climate to explore the place. Weather remains pleasant and cool. While during the monsoon season, there is a heavy downpour, winter makes the temperature drop down to sub-zero level. Thus, summers are surely the best to plan a pilgrimage.
Summers : Summers in Kedarnath start from May and end in June. No doubt summer is the ideal time to visit Kedarnath Dham as the temperature hovers around 17°C. Additionally, the perfect weather allows to delight in sightseeing of famous tourist attractions with ease. Also, it is in this season only that the sacred Char Dham Yatra starts. Kedarnath opening date is this year is 3rd May 2022.
Winters: Months between November and April mark the winter season in Kedarnath. Heavy snowfall blocks the roads leading to the holy shrine of Lord Shiva. Hence, it is not the peak season to visit Kedarnath. The temperature reaches to sub-zero level making winters chilly. Also, it is in this season only that the place becomes inaccessible and hence gates of the temple are closed. Kedarnath temple closing date in 2022 is 20th Nov (Tentative).
Monsoon: Monsoon season starts in Kedarnath in July and ends in August. Frequent landslides and heavy rains are common in this season. The temperature during this season hovers around 12 degree Celsius. Thus, it is advisable either to drop the idea to plan a trip to Kedarnath in monsoon or to go after considering all the difficulties that one may encounter.
How to Reach Kedarnath
When you’re thinking about how to reach Kedarnath, it is good to know that there are no direct flights or trains or buses leading you to the shrine. Also, Gaurikund is the last motorable road from Kedarnath. However, one can easily reach the shrine by air by deboarding at Dehradun airport or railway station and hiring a cab or bus from there. Also, a helicopter is the best way to reach Kedarnath in Uttarakhand.
- Delhi to Kedarnath – 447 km approx.
- Dehradun to Kedarnath – 257 km approx.
- Rishikesh to Kedarnath – 223 km approx.
Note: – Driving not permitted in hills from 8:00 P.M to 4:00 A.M.
By Air : The nearest airport to the Kedarnath is in Dehradun. It lies at a distance of 225 km. Also, the best way to reach Kedarnath temple by helicopter is by boarding it from Sirsi, Phata or Guptakashi Helipads.
By Train: Kedarnath is nestled in a remote location and hence do not have a railway station of its own. However, the nearest railway stations to Kedarnath is in Rishikesh at a distance of 210 km.
By Bus: Gaurikund is the last motorable road and is connected by buses and taxis from important cities like Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Tehri, Pauri, etc. A trek of 16 km from Gaurikund leads one easily to Kedarnath Dham.
Route of Kedarnath Yatra
Delhi – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Gaurikund (via Tilwara – Agastmuni – Chandrapuri – Kund – Guptkashi – Phata – Sitapur – Sonprayag) – trek to Kedarnath
Route of Chardham Yatra
Delhi → Haridwar → Barkot → Yamunotri → Uttarkashi → Gangotri → Guptkashi → Kedarnath → Badrinath → Rishikesh → Delhi (Back)
Places to visit in Kedarnath
Besides the highly revered Jyotirlinga Temple of Lord Shiva, there are many places to visit in Kedarnath.
A trek to Kedarnath starts from Gaurikund. It is believed that Goddess Parvati meditated here in order to appease Lord Shiva to marry her. Devotees usually bathe here in the holy kund comprising of hot thermal springs before heading towards the temple.
It is another important temple that is nestled within the complex of the Kedarnath Dham. The Bhairav Temple is highly revered and id dedicated to Bhairav Baba who is believed to guard Kedarnath Dham in winter.
A short trek from Kedarnath leads one to the Chorabari Lake. Fed by a glacier of the same name, the lake is the place where some ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed. Because of this reason, the lake is also known as Gandhi Sarovar.
Featuring azure water, the Vasuki Tal lies at a distance of 8 km from Kedarnath. Since it is located in a remote place, the trek to this lake is quite difficult but is worth all the efforts.