Kedarnath

edarnath is a holy town of the Hindus and is located in Uttarakhand. It is a nagar panchayat located in the Rudraprayag district. It is also the remotest of all the char dham sites, located at 3,584 metres above sea level. The Kedarnath temple was built back in the 8th century AD by Adi Shankaracharya and it stands side by side to the temple that was built by the Pandavas.

It is surrounded by some of the most beautiful snow capped mountains. Kedarnath attracts tourists from all over the country and abroad and is a very popular destination. The famed Jyotilirlingam is located here amidst the beautiful mountains and the majestic beauty of the Kedarnath. During the winter season, the Kedarnath shrine is submerged in snow and hence, remains closed. There is a 14 kms. long stretch after which the visitor reaches Kedarnath.

According to legends, after the Pandavas won over the Kauravas in the war of Kurukshetra, they felt guilty of having kiled their own brothers. They went on and wanted the blessings of Lord Shiva as redemption. However, Lord Shiva kept eluding them and went on and took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. But, since he was followed, he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. It is said that the remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped as manifestations. 

Tourist Attractions

Kedarnath tourist attractions mainly include its temples and shrines. The following are the tourist attractions of Kedarnath

The Temple: The temple of Kedarnath was built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya in the 8th century and it is adjacent to the site where Pandavas had built a temple. It is a big structure which stands in the middle of a plateau with the snow covered peak clearly visible. It is believed that the temple is more than 1000 years old. The whole architecture of the temple is exquisite while the walls are filled with scenes from mythological stories and various images of many deities.

Shankaracharya Samadhi: Situated just behind the Kedarnath temple is the samadhi of Adi Guru Shankaracarya. He took samadhi at an age of 32 years after establishing the four pilgrimages or the Char Dhams.

Chorbari: Chorbari is a beautiful lake that is located just 2kms. from the Kedarnath temple. Here, one can see floating ice over the river which makes for a beautiful sight. It is believed that the eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhishthir went to heaven from this place.

Soneprayag: Soneprayag is an important tourist destination because it is the meeting place of two important Himalayan rivers, the Son Ganga and the Mandakini. It is located about 20kms. from Kedarnath.

Places to See Near Kedarnath

Kedarnath excursions consist of some of the finest places near the city of Kedarnath. Excursions around the city are a must see for those visiting the city. Some of the places to visit around Kedarnath are:

Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary: The Kedarnath wildlife sanctuary is located in the Chamoli district. One has to take the road from Haridwar - Rudraprayag and then to Sitapur which is about 226kms. away. The Kedarnath sanctuary was founded in the year 1972. In this beautiful sanctuary, one can easily spot animals like snow leopard, snow cock, tahr, musk deer, leopard, etc. Apart from the animals, many species of birds can also be found here. There is also a forest hut that is available for overnight stay.

Chopta: Chopta is one of the most picturesque spot in the entire Garhwal region. It provides a beautiful view of the Himalayan ranges that surrounds it. It is situated on the Gopeshwar - Ulhimath road about 40kms. from Gopeshwar, at an altitude of 2,500 metres above sea level.

Deora Tal: Deori Tal is a beautiful lake that is located at an altitude of 2,436 metres above sea level. It provides a breathtaking view of the snow capped mountain all around. It is the perfect place for angling as well as bird watching.

Chandrashila: The peak at Chandrashila provides a very beautiful, almost unique view of the snow capped mountains. It is located about 93 kms. from Kedarnath. After reaching Tungnath, one has to undertake a trek to reach Chandrashila. The trek is beautifully decorated by rhodendron forests and alpine meadows.

Kalpnath: Kalpnath is also known as Kalpeshwar temple. It is located about 160kms. from Kedarnath and is at an altitude of 2,134 metres above sea level. One interesting aspect of Kalpnath is that Shiva's locks are worshipped at this place.

Rudranath: A very important pilgrimage spot for the tourists, Shiva's face is worshipped here. It is located about 142 kms. from Kedarnath and is situated at a height of 2,286 metres above sea level. The Rudranath temple provides an enchanting view of the mountains that surround it. The nearby places like Anusuya Devi temple and a number of other holy spots are well worth a visit.

Tungnath: Just about 90kms. from Kedarnath and located at an altitude of 3,680 metres above sea level, is Tungnath. It is the highest shrine of God Shiva, and he is worshipped here in the form of arms. It is quite easily accessible by road from Kedarnath.

Madhmaheshwar: Madhmaheshwar is located about 25kms. north-east of Gopikashi. It is about 74kms. from Kedarnath and situated at an altitude of 3,289 metres. The best statue of Har Gauri in India, which measures over a metre in length, is located in the Kali temple, at Madhmaheshwar. The trek from Kalimath to Madhmaheswar is dotted with beautiful scenery all around. It is surrounded by the Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Neelkanth peaks.

Agastymuni: Agastymuni is a very famous temple which is located about 73 kms. from Kedarnath. The temple of sage Agastya is the prime attraction of this place.

Guptkashi: It is located about 49kms. from Kedarnath and is famous for its four temples of Ardhnarishwar and Vishwanath which are worth a visit.

Gaurikund Trek: Gaurikund is located about 14kms. from Kedarnath. It is the main trekking base to Kedarnath. There is a temple located here that is dedicated to Gauri; there are also thermal springs located here that are believed to have curative powers. Located at an altitude of 1,982 metres above sea level, it is said that Goddess Parvathi as Gauri meditated here for a considerable amount of time, because she wanted Lord Shiva as her husband. There are also a couple of temples located here, which are dedicated to Gauri and Mahadev.

Trijuginarayan: Trijuginarayan is a beautiful place that is located about 25kms. from Kedarnath and is a famous excursion spot. According to mythology, it is the place where the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvathi took place. It is a short trek of about 5kms. from Son Prayag.

Vasuki: Vasuki is located at a distance of 6kms. from Kedarnath and is at a height of 4,135 metres above sea level. It is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges that provide a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges. It is an important spot fro trekkers and nature lovers.

 
Must Visit Kedarnath Temple, Shankaracharya Samadhi, Vasuki Tal, Gaurikund, Sonprayag
Climate Summers are pleasant while winters are cold
Ideal Time May to October
Languages Hindi
Festival Makar Sankranti, Basant Panchami, Shivaratri, Nandasthmi, Holi, Baisakhi, Rakshabandhan, Mata Murti, Lekhpal, Janamashtami, Desshera, Deepawali

Shopping

There are not many items that one can buy in Kedarnath. There are many small shops located here that one can visit for souvenirs. These have photographs of the Kedarnath and Badrinath temples or of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

Apart from the photographs of Gods and Goddesses and framed pictures of temples, one can also get a Rudraksh Mala made from Rudraksh, which is very important to the Hindus.

One can also find various crystals, saligrams, herbs, Shilajit, natural vitalizers, precious stones, tulsi beads, etc. here as well.

How to reach Kedarnath

Kedarnath is one of the most important tourist destinations in Uttarakhand. Tourists from all over the world visit Kedarnath as it is considered one of the holiest places. There are several ways to reach Kedarnath.

By Air: The nearest airport from Kedarnath is Jolly Grant, located at Dehradun, which is about 250kms. from Kedarnath. From there, one can take a local cab or luxury buses which regularly ply to Kedarnath.

By Rail: The nearest railway station to Kedarnath is located at Rishikesh (234kms.) and Kotdwar (260kms.).

By Road: There is a regular bus service from Rishikersh and Kotdwar for Kedarnath. Private taxis can also be hired to these places. Trek distance to Kedarnath from Rambara is 6 kms and Gaurikund is 14 kms. Other major distances are Sonaprayag (20 kms), Guptakashi (49 kms), Ukhimath (59 kms) and Chamoli (138 kms).
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