Kedarnath is among the most spiritual pilgrimages in India. Thousands of devotees come here within a span of 6 months when it remains open for visitors. Kedarnath Temple is one of the Char Dhams and part of the Panch Kedar’s. This blog will tell you about our experience of our visit to Kedarnath. This is a complete guide for Kedarnath which includes trek details, timings, and the registration link.
Note*: Since the number of devotees has poured in in large amounts more than Kedarnath can handle, it is important to register for the pooja and entrance to Kedarnath.
Read to know more about the Kedarnath trek, how to reach there, where to stay, and other important information.
The reason why I got this registration section first is that every devotee is now allowed entry only if he/she has registered for the visit and pooja from the government portal. Portal Link.
Do not worry if you do not get the slots, you can head to Tunganath too and try for a later slot. Slots are getting filled quickly because of the huge downpour of tourists. If you decide to go to Tunganath do visit Chandrashila Peak as well.
When to visit Kedarnath?
The Temple opens on Akshay Tritiya Day, which falls in April or May, and it remains open till the day of Bhai Dooj, which lies in October or November. The opening day is formally announced on Mahashivratri.
The Temple only remains open for 6 or 7 months for the entire year. For the rest of the year, the temple’s Kapats is closed and you won’t find a lot of tourists there. Check the image below when the Kapats are closed.
How to Reach?
- Kedarnath is in the Rudraprayag district of the Garhwal region in the state of Uttarakhand in India. The temple is situated in the Kedar Valley.
- The nearest airport to reach is The Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun. It is located 235 km from Kedarnath. You can then get a cab from the airport as they are easily available. We also reached the Holly Grant Airport and from there took a taxi to Sonprayag.
- You can also travel by train. The nearest railway stations are the Haridwar or Rishikesh railway stations. From Haridwar and Rishikesh, you can get direct buses to Guptkashi and Sonprayag. The availability of busses is low, so it is better to keep a check on the time at which busses arrive or to book your bus seats prior.
- You can also travel by road. You can travel by bus to Guptikashi, Gopeshwar, or Karnaprayag. You can also hire a cab to reach Sonprayag or Guptikashi. It is best to book a cab that gives a complete tour package.
We hired a car after reaching Sonprayag to visit Kedarnath and Badrinath, which cost us around 12000 rupees. We had also asked to stop at Tungnath and Chopta on the way
If you want to travel by your own car, you can follow this route after reaching Haridwar
At Sonprayag, there are huge parking spaces where you can park your car for the night.
- Gaurikund to Jungle Chatti (4 km)
- Jungle Chatti to Bheembali (3 km)
- Bheembali to Lincholi (4 km)
- Lincholi to Kedarnath base camp (4 km)
- Base camp to Kedarnath temple (1 km)
You can cover the entire trail in a single day on foot or can also choose to stay a night in between the trek. There are accommodation facilities available in the middle. In total from Gaurikund, this is a 16 Km trek.
Trek on foot
The trek from Gaurikund to the temple is a 16-17 km trek.
Kedarnath trek by Mules, Horses, and Pitthus
Horses, mules, palkis, and Pitthus are available from Gaurikund to Kedarnath. You will find a booking office at the starting point of the trek from where you can book them. You can either get them at Gaurikund, or you can also get them on the trek.
You also have an option to go to Kedarnath by helicopter. The helipad is located at Phata between Guptkashi and Sonprayag. There are a few different operators available who provide helicopter services to Kedarnath.
There are other helipads at Sitapur and Sersi. The helicopter would land you at the Kedarnath Base Camp, which is about 1 km from the Kedarnath Temple. This 1 km distance has to be covered on foot. Horses and mules are also not allowed after this point.
Important things about the Helicopter ride to Kedarnath
- The helipads are available only at Phata, Sersi, and Sitapur.
- Additional charges will be levied if you are more than 80 kg in weight, and if you are above 120 kg, then two seats will be booked because of the weight.
- The price of helicopter tickets varies for different helipads. It depends on the helipad you are flying from. A round trip will cost you approximately Rs 5000 to Rs7000.
- It takes approximately 10 minutes to fly to Kedarnath Base Helipad, and after that, you have an easy trek of fewer than 20 minutes to reach the Kedarnath Temple.
- You can only carry 2 kgs of luggage per person.
- If you want the round trip on the same day, then you will get 2 hours to go and visit the Temple and then come back to the helipad on time.
The trek – day 1
We had decided to go on foot all the way from Gaurikund which is the base point, to Kedarnath Yatra. We had first reached Sonprayag by car we had hired. We passed through the windy mountain roads and saw the meeting of the rivers Mandakini and Alaknanda at Rudraprayag. What a sight it was!
The Mandakini river was a constant beauty along our way to Sonprayag. We had decided to stay the night at Sonprayag. There are many places where you can stay at night even if you reach late. You could also stay the night at Guptkashi, which comes before Sonprayag if the night starts falling on your journey. Guptkashi also has a number of hotels for you to stay in.
The next morning, we got up early to start our Kedarnath trek. Earlier, you had to start the trek from Sonprayag itself. But now, a road has been built which covers a 5 km distance from Sonprayag to Gaurikund. The distance can be traveled by a shared jeep.
Before leaving for Gaurikund, you need to go to Yatra Registration Counter and buy an e-pass. The cost of an e-pass is Rs 50. You can get it from there or also get yours online and show it at the Counter. Remember to also book online for Kedarnath.
After getting our passes, we went to the shared jeeps that took yatris from Sonprayag to Gaurikund. The jeep fare is Rs 30 per person. Gaurikund is known for its Gauri Temple and the Uma Maheswar Temple. You will also find many shops which have essentials for the travelers.
After reaching Gaurikund, we started the trek around 7 am. The trek from there to Kedarnath is a 16 km trek. You could also see and hear the Mandakini river flowing there. We all started the trek with full enthusiasm.
After only a few hundred meters, you will see a booking office that provides horses, mules, pitthus, and palkis. You can book them from here. You will keep finding mules almost through the whole journey and book them at any time.
We had decided to walk and had walked a few kilometers when our legs started getting tired. I had started thinking, why didn’t I get a mule. Anyway, I continued the trek. The next step we took was at Chhoti Lincholi. The time was almost 12.30 pm, and we decided to take a break there and have lunch. This place is kind of a midpoint of the trek.
After having lunch, we continued the trek and reached Lincholi. You can find a few accommodation options here where you stay for the night. Kedarnath is about 6 km more from Lincholi. We decided not to stay and continued to trek all the way to Kedarnath.
After some time, we had reached Kedarnath Base Camp. There are cottages and a GMVN Guest house available at the Kedarnath base Camp. Kedarnath temple is stil 500 m from here. We finally reached the Kedarnath shrine at around 4 pm. After we reached Kedarnath, we looked for a place to stay. There are various options available for you to stay near the shrine. We decided on a place to stay, which was just behind the Kedarnath Temple.
We had made it in time for the evening Aarti at the Temple. The Aarti had started at 5.30 pm. After attending the Aarti, we went to our guest house, had our dinner, and slept.
The trek – Day 2
We woke up early the next morning and went to the Kedarnath Temple. We saw the Temple and the statues of the five Pandava brothers and Draupadi. Then in the main hall, You will see a conical-shaped stone which is believed to be the bull(hump of the bull) that Lord Shiva transformed into. There are also statues of Lord Shiva and other deities in the main hall.
There is a statue of ‘Nandi’ outside of the Temple. There is the Shri Divya Bheem Shila just behind the Temple. The whole Temple looks extremely beautiful with the snow-covered peaks surrounding the Temple on three sides.
After we offered our prayers in the Temple, we started our return journey towards Gaurikund. We reached Gaurikund by 12 pm. Our car was waiting there. We took the car and decided to travel back to Guptkashi and stay the night there before continuing our journey towards Badrinath.
Check out the image gallery of Kedarnath.
The Temple stays open every day
from 4 am to 9 pm.
Where to stay?
There are a number of places like hotels and guest houses available at Sonprayag and Gaurikund. You can book a hotel at any of these two places.
GMNV houses are also available, which you can book online. There are many guest houses and dormitories also available near the Temple. The prices of the accommodations vary, so it’s best to book your stay online and prior to your arrival. We stayed at a place where it cost us Rs 2000 for a double bedroom.
Other important questions
- Are medical facilities available on the Kedarnath Trek?
Yes, medical centers and medical help are available throughout the trek. You can also find medical facilities at Jungle Chatti, Lincoln, and Bheemabali.
- Are there Toilet Facilities on the Trek?
There are make-shift toilet tents available at various places on the trek.
- Are there food, restaurants, and shops available on Trek
Yes, there are shops and restaurants available. Many hotels provide food also at very reasonable prices. Vegetarian food is available. You will find many shops through the trek that sell snacks, Maggi, parathas, and hot beverages.
- Are there Mobile Services available?
You will get mobile reception at Gaurikund till Lincholi.
After that, the signals do get lost, and it is difficult to get mobile service at Kedarnath.
Places to see around the Kedarnath Temple:
- Bhairon Nath Temple
- Shankaracharya Samadhi
- Gandhi Sarovar
- Vasuki Tal
- Rudra Meditation Cave
Some interesting facts about the Temple:
- It is said that the Temple was buried under ice for 400 years.
- Kedarnath is among the 12 Jyotirlings of Lord Shiva. It is the highest Jyotirling of all the Jyotirlings in India.
- It is said that the Kedarnath Temple can never be harmed as it is eternally protected.
- The main deity is brought down from the Temple after it closes on Bhai Dooj.
- The puja is done in the Kannada language.
In the end, Kedarnath is one of the most wonderful experiences and a perfect vacation or travel to experience an exceptional combination of Divinity and Beauty. Thousands of people experience this famous pilgrimage every year. If you’re planning to travel to Kedarnath, it does require elaborate planning and prior reservations, and this Kedarnath travel blog will definitely help you.