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About Kedarnath Temple: 12 Jyotirlinga of India

Kedarnath is the one of the 12th Jyotirlingas, which are considered sacred shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in Hinduism. These Jyotirlingas are believed to be self-manifested portrayals of Lord Shiva and individually hold great significance in Hindu Mythology and Religious Practices. Here are some information about Kedarnath and the significance of twelve Jyotirlingas:

  • Kedarnath is nestled in the Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand.
  • It is elevated at an altitude of around 3,583 meters (11,755 feet) above sea level in the Himalayan range.
  • Kedarnath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the sacred pilgrimage sites in India.
  • According to Hndu Mythology, Kedarnath is believed to be one of the five holy sites known as the Panch Kedar, where Lord Shiva is believed to have appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga.
  • The temple is accessible via a trekking route from Gaurikund or by helicopter services during certain times of the year.

The Twelve Jyotirlingas

The twelve Jyotirlingas are unfurled around India, individually connected with Spiritual and Divine Significance of Hindu Devtas and Devi.

State Jyotirlingas
Gujarat
Somnath
Andhra Pradesh Mallikarjuna
Madhya Pradesh Mahakaleshwar
Madhya Pradesh Omkareshwar
Uttarakhand Kedarnath
Maharashtra Bhimashankar
Uttar Pradesh Kashi Vishwanath
Maharashtra Trimbakeshwar
Jharkhand Baidyanath
Gujarat Nageshwar
Tamil Nadu Rameshwar
Maharashtra Grishneshwar

History of Kedarnath Temple

The history of Kedarnath is deeply entrenched in Mythology, Spirituality and ancient legends, spanning thousands of years. According to beliefs, Kedarnath is one of the Panch Kedars, a set of 5 holy pilgrimage sites dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that after the Kurukshetra War in Mahabharata, the Pandavas felt guilty and wanted to seek forgiveness from Lord Shiva for their sins, but Lord Shiva was not willing to meet the Pandavas, since he was clearly antagonized for the tremendous bloodshed in the battle of Kurukshetra. Hence, Lord Shiva took the form of a bull and hid among the ground filled with cattles. As the Pandavas pursued him, the bull’s body parts appeared at different locations. Which later came to be known as Panch Kedars, with Kedarnath being the speck where his hump was unveiled. The Kedarnath Temple is thus said to enshrine this sacred hump of Lord Shiva.

Authentically, the roots of Kedarnath can be traced back to the early medieval period. With references in historic texts and inscriptions dating as far as back as the 8th century AD. The temple complex itself is believed to have been constructed around the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, one of the famous Hindu philosophers and Saint who played a significant role in resuscitating and promulgating Hinduism across India. Adi Shankaracharya is credited with establishing the present form of the Temple and its surrounding structures, thereby solidifying Kedarnath’s status as one of the sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus.

Over the centuries, Kedarnath has gone through so much and endured the ravages of nature and time. Its outlying location nestled in the midst of the towering peaks of the Himalayas, has made it susceptible to earthquakes, avalanches and extreme weather conditions. Despite these challenges, the Temple and its surroundings have been meticulously, restored and intact by generations of devotees and local communities, reflecting their unfaltering devotion and commitment to preserving this holy site.

The architecture of the Kedarnath Temple is a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship of ancient builders. Constructed primarily with massive stone slabs, the temple features intricate carvings and sculptures that represent scenes from Hindu mythology and religious beliefs. The Temple’s shrine and the holy of holies houses the sacred lingam, a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva, which is the local point of worship for devotees.

In recent years, Kedarnath has gathered global attention due to the catastrophic floods of 2013, which caused widespread natural devastation and loss of lives in the region. The Temple complex suffered extensive damage with parts of it submerged under mud and rubble. However, the tragedy also brought forth a display of resilience and solidarity, as efforts for the temple’s restoration and rehabilitation were properly undertaken by government agencies and non-profit organization and volunteers from around the world, this act of organisations and participants who came forward for the renewal of Kedarnath were also appreciated by the people and government of India.

Now, Kedarnath stands as a glimmer of light and spiritual conversion, drawing millions of pilgrims and travelers each year who want to surround themselves with tranquility, seek blessing and experience divine grace in its hallowed realm. Its rich ancient history combined with Mythology and tradition, continues to inspire awe and reverence, reaffirming its status as one the holiest pilgrimage sites in India.

Places to Visit Near Kedarnath Temple

During a Trip to Kedarnath, there are plethora of attractions to visit and explore, and some of them are pilgrimage sites too which in turn will let you have the most peaceful and joyous experience. Here are some of of the must visit places:-

  • Bhairavnath Temple- This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Bhairava, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, which is just 1 kilometer away from Kedarnath, you can seek blessing and experience the calmness of this temple. The visit to Bhairavnath is essential for tourists to complete the pilgrimage to Kedarnath Temple. According to legend, this temple is believed to protect the area from natural disasters and calamities.
  • Guptkashi- Guptakashi is renowned for the ancient Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ardhnarishwar Temple, which is approximately 49 kilometers away from Kedarnath. It is one of the significant stops for pilgrims on their way to Kedarnath.
  • Triyuginarayan Temple- It is believed to be the destination where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were married. This Temple is located about 25 kilometers away from Kedarnath. Beliefs are that Triyuginarayan features an eternal flame that is said to have been burning since their divine and gracious wedding.
  • Gaurikund- This Gauri Temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, renowned for its hot springs. Gaurikund is the starting point of the trek to Kedarnath Temple. This temple holds religious significance as it is believed to be the place where Goddess Parvati meditated to win Lord Shiva’s affection.
  • Vasuki Tal- Vasuki Tal is a high altitude lake surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks, located approximately 8 kilometers away from Kedarnath Temple. The trek to Vasuki Tal is challenging yet rewarding as it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding and tranquil environment.
  • Sonprayag- Sonprayag is the convergence of the Mandakini and Basuki rivers. It is a pristine spot with essential religious importance believed to be a place where devotees can attain salvation by taking a dip in the waters.
  • Ukhimath- Ukhimath is famous for the wedding of Annirudh, grandson of Lord Krishna with Usha. It is also a famous pilgrimage site and its ancient temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Annirudh and Mandhata, located approximately around 42 km from Kedarnath, it serves as the winter abode for the deities of Kedarnath Temple. The Omkareshwar Temple in Ukhimath provides a shelter to the idols during the winter months, when Kedarnath is closed due to the harsh weather conditions.
  • Rudraprayag- Rudraprayag is situated about 74 kilometers away from the Kedarnath Temple. It is also the sangam of the Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. It is home to the Rudranath Temple and The Chamunda Devi Temple, making it another religious site in the region and a must visit destination.
  • Chorabari Tal- Chorabari Tal is known as the Gandhi Sarovar or Gandhi Tal, this lake lies about 3 kilometers away from the Kedarnath Temple offering breathtaking views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. The lake is known for its crystal clear waters and scenic beauty of the landscapes.
  • Deoria Tal- Deoria Tal is a Pristine lake, located about 60 km away from the Kedarnath Temple via Sari Village offering stunning reflections of the Chaukhamba range. Deoria Tal Lake Trip is a famous spot for various activities like trekking, camping and bird-watching.
  • Rishikesh- Rishikesh is renowned as the “Yoga Capital of The World”, offering opportunities for several adventure activities such as river rafting, tubing, nature and wildlife tours, hiking, camping, and bike tours. Rishikesh is a sacred town and has a range of Temples and Ashrams. It's a vibrant drapery woven with threads of spirituality, adventure and culture.
  • Dhari Devi temple- Dhari Devi Temple is situated approximately 56 kilometers away from Kedarnath. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali and devotees consider her as the protector of the region from natural calamities like floods and landslides. Seek blessing Dhari Devi and experience the aura of Goddess Kali filled with peace and solace.
  • Chopta- Chopta is known as the birding wonderland of Uttarakhand, located about 80 kilometer away from Kedarnath offering plethora of Himalayan Bird Species here, inclusive of native and migratory species like Himalayan Monal, Himalayan Swiftlet, Himalayan Griffon, Hill Partridge and so on, alluring tourists for its picturesque surroundings.
  • Devprayag- Devprayag is located about 79 kilometers from Kedarnath Temple. It is famous for the meeting of two major heavenly rivers, Alaknanda and Bhagirathi to form the holy Ganga. Devprayag is a town filled with myth, traditions and mysticism. It is one of the major attractions near Kedarnath Temple and a must visit destination.

Things to do in and around Kedarnath Temple

  • River Rafting in Rishikesh- River Rafting in Rishikesh offers one of the exhilarating adventure sports experiences during a trip to Kedarnath. Known as the ‘Yoga Capital of The World’ Rishikesh is filled with various adventure activities.
  • Darshan at Kedarnath- Darshan at Kedarnath is one of the most peaceful, spiritual and significant experiences for devotees and pilgrims.
  • Holy Dip at Gaurikund- A holy dip at Gaurikund is believed to purify pilgrims and prepare them spiritually for the journey ahead. The thermal springs are considered sacred and are named after Goddess Parvati, who is said to have meditated here. Bathing in these waters is an integral part of the pilgrimage, enhancing the spiritual experience.
  • Hike to Bhairav Temple- The hike to Bhairav Temple, located near the Kedarnath Temple offers a short yet steep trek with breathtaking views of the surrounding Himalayas. Dedicated to Bhairav Baba, the temple is believed to protect the Kedarnath Valley and devotees from evil. Visiting this temple is considered an important ritual, adding to the spiritual significance of the Kedarnath Pilgrimage.
  • Aarti at Har ki Pauri- The Aarti at Har ki Pauri in Haridwar is a mesmerizing ritual performed at dusk along the shore of the Ganga River. Devotees gather to witness priests chanting hymns and offering flames to the river, creating a divine and vibrant atmosphere.
  • Visit Vishwanath Temple- You can visit the ancient Vishwanath Temple in Guptkashi offering spiritually enriching experience, as the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and holds significant religious importance.

Best time to Visit Kedarnath Dham

  • Spring (April to June)- This is the peak time to visit Kedarnath Dham as this season offers pleasant and mild weather and clear skies with temperature ranging from 5 degree celsius to 18 degree celsius. The roads and trails are open and accessible and The Temple opens for the season around Akshay Tritya. Additionally, this is the peak season with a higher number of pilgrims, so you expect larger crowds and longer wait times. The picturesque beauty, lush greenery, blooming flowers and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, adds to the experience of visiting Kedarnath Dham in this season.
  • Summer (July to August)- This season is not recommended for the visit to the Kedarnath Dham, as the weather is mild but heavy rainfalls can occur due to the monsoon with risks of floods and landslides. The crowds are lesser due to the challenging weather condition and roads can be dangerous and frequently disrupted by landslides.
  • Autumn (September to October)- This is another excellent time to visit Kedarnath Dham as the weather is clear and crisp with temperatures ranging from 2 degree celsius to 15 degree celsius. The roads and trails are in good condition after monsoon making the journey easier, crowds are fewer than in spring, offering a more peaceful experience, while the region boasts breathtaking views with clear skies and fresh air.
  • Winter (November to March)- Winter months are extremely cold with heavy snowfall and extremely bad weather conditions. This season is not recommended for the visit to Kedarnath Dham, since the Temple is also closed for the winters and the area is mostly inaccessible due to snow-covered trails and roads.

How to reach Kedarnath Dham

  • Bus- Regular Buses and State-run as well as private buses run to Sonprayag, which is the last point accessible by regular vehicles, from Sonprayag, you need to take the shared jeep or hire a taxi to reach Gaurikund, from there Kedarnath is just 5 kilometers away.
  • Car- If you love driving, you can drive from Delhi as the roads are well connected with Gaurikund to Rudraprayag and Guptkashi, ensuring that your vehicle is good to travel in mountains.
  • By Air- The nearest airport from Kedarnath is Jolly Grant Airport, approximately 239 kilometers away, flights are well connected from major cities like Delhi and Mumbai. From the airport you can hire a cab or taxi or take a bus to reach Gaurikund, the base for the trek to Kedarnath. The Journey takes around 8-10 hours by road, also if some devotees are not physically fit or they don’t want to trek, another option is also available which is an Helicopter ride from Phata and Sirci to Kedarnath Temple.
  • By Train- There are 3 nearest Railway Stations from Kedarnath, Rishikesh Railway Station, Haridwar Railway Station and Dehradun Railway Station. Direct trains are connected to any of these stations from major cities like Delhi and Mumbai. After reaching any of these stations, you can hire a taxi or a cab to Gaurikund. The road journey typically takes 8-10 depending upon the Railway Station you start from.

Festivals in Kedarnath Dham

Kedarnath hosts several vibrant festivals, the most notable being the Kedarnath Temple Opening Ceremony around April-May, marking the end of winter and drawing thousands of devotees. Another significant celebration is Badri-Kedar Utsav, held in June featuring various cultural performances and religious rituals. Additionally Vijaya Dashmi (Dussehra) in October-November is celebrated in great fervor, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. Witnessing these festivals in Kedarnath Dham is one of the divine experiences for devotees and pilgrims.

FAQs

1. Are Mobile Phones allowed in Kedarnath Temple?

Yes, The Government of Uttarakhand has banned the use of Mobile Phones near the 200-meter radius of the Kedarnath Temple.

2. Which is the best time to visit Kedarnath Dham?

The best time to Visit Kedarnath Dham is during the months of September and October, as the crowds are lesser and temperature is mild and pleasant throughout this time.

3. Can we complete Kedarnath in 1 day?

The Trek to Kedarnath Takes around 6-8 hours to complete with moderate difficulty level.

4. What is the cost of a helicopter in Kedarnath?

The cost of Helicopter ride in Kedarnath is generally INR 7000 to INR 12000 per person for a one-way journey.

5. What is the closing date of Kedarnath Dham?

Kedarnath Dham usually closes around the festival of Diwali every year.

Explore our other Uttarakhand Tour Packages: Uttarakhand Backpacking Chopta Edition, Hampta Pass Trek, Valley of Flowers Trek, Madmaheshwar Trek

Itinerary

Day 0

Delhi To Guptkashi | Overnight Journey

  • Assemble at boarding point in Delhi at 9 pm - Akshardham Metro Station
  • Start an overnight journey to Guptkashi and socialize with your co-travelers.

Day 1

Devprayag Sangam | Guptkashi Arrival

  • Enroute Guptkashi, we will take a pit stop at Devprayag in the early morning to witness the beautiful confluence of the Bhagirathi & Alaknanda rivers ultimately becoming Ganga river.
  • Further, we will take a halt around Rudraprayag to grab a satisfying breakfast and continue our journey towards Guptkashi (on our own).
  • After arriving in Guptkashi, check in to our comfortable rooms/camps, freshen up and have lunch.
  • Savour home-style cooked dinner and overnight stay.

Day 2

Drive From Guptkashi To Gaurikund | Kedarnath Trek | Kedarnath Arrival

  • Wake early in the morning and get refreshed. (No Breakfast)
  • Check out the hotel by max 2-3 AM (this is to avoid the long queue and traffic during the morning hours).
  • Head towards Sonprayag and then Gaurikund (the place from where we will start our trek to Kedarnath Dham).
  • Begin your trek to Kedarnath Dham - It will be a trek of approx. 22 km and take 8 to 10 hrs. to Reach Kedarnath Dham.
  • From Sonprayag, you have to board local transportation for Gaurikund.
  • After arriving in Kedarnath by late evening, attend the aarti.
  • Post evening aarti, check in to our guest house, freshen up and have some leisure.
  • Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3

Trek Down To Gaurikund | Guptkashi Arrival & Leisure
  • Wake up early morning to visit the Kedarnath Temple. Seek blessings at one of the most prominent shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and amongst 12 Jyotirlinga of India.
  • Witness the mesmerizing view as the sun rays falls on the snow-clad Himalayan range located behind Kedarnath Temple.
  • Post breakfast, check out from our accommodation, and begin your trek down to Gaurikund.
  • Drive back to Guptkashi/Sitapur.
  • Check in to our comfortable rooms/camps and freshen up. Feel free to stroll around and spend your rest day at leisure.
  • Savour home-style cooked dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4

Rishikesh Arrival | Activities, Local Market & More | Depart For Delhi

  • Wake up to a beautiful mountain morning and post breakfast, drive from Guptkashi to Delhi via Rishikesh.
  • After arriving in Rishikesh, explore the local market, Ram Jhula, go for the cafe-hopping, and visit temples and serene Ganga ghats by walking. 
  • By late night, start your overnight journey from Rishikesh to Delhi.
  • Reach Delhi the next morning with lots of amazing memories and unforgettable experiences.

Inclusions

  • Transportation from Delhi to Delhi: Tempo Traveler/Cab.
  • 3 Nights Accommodation on sharing basis
  • Experienced and cool trip leader.
  • 5 Meals: Dinner (3), Breakfast (3)
  • Driver allowances, toll taxes, parking, state taxes.

Exclusions

  • Any extra meals apart from the ones mentioned under inclusions.
  • Travel Insurance, items of a personal nature like porterage, tips, laundry etc.
  • Any entry fees, extra expenses for optional activities or tickets, unless quoted in Inclusions.
  • Any other costing involved due to circumstances like natural calamity, weather conditions, riots, roadblocks, landslides or any other forced circumstances which are out of our control.
  • GST (5%) is applicable extra.
  • Anything which is not mentioned in the above inclusions.

Batches

Price Summary

Price ₹12000


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