The Kedarnath Yatra, which is an annual pilgrimage to the Lord Shiva temple, helped the town of Kedarnath in the state of Uttarakhand become well-known. Kedarnath's literal translation is "lord of the field." Since ancient times, Kedarnath has been a major destination for pilgrims.
Kedarnath Yatra Overview
Kedarnath is a town in Rudraparyag district state of Uttarakhand, India. It is one of the five holy places of the Hindus. According to Hindu mythology, after defeating the Kauravas in the Mahabharata epic, the Pandavas felt remorse for having slaughtered so many people and prayed to Lord Shiva for forgiveness. The Lord continuously evaded them before seeking sanctuary as a bull at Kedarnath. At Kedarnath, the Lord dove underground, leaving his hump on the surface at Kedarnath.Lord Shiva's remaining components made their appearances in four further locations, where they are revered as his incarnations. At Tungnath, the Lord's arms appeared, at Rudranath, his face, the belly at Madmaheshwar and his locks (hair) in Kalpeshwar. The temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas or bright places, where Shiva is believed to have manifested as a flaming light. The Panch Kedars include Kedarnath as well.
Kedarnath is also called the "mouth of the universe", and the "source of the Ganga".
Kedarnath Yatra Update
Due to natural calamities of Kedarnath, you must have complete information before planning a trek. The additional street lights and lodging, however, have led to the development of a new path. The Indian Railways has also introduced new trains to accommodate more pilgrims.
Main Attractions of Kedarnath Yatra
There are many places near Kedarnath that you can visit while doing the Kedarnath Yatra.
Bhairavnath Temple: The temple of Lord Bhairavnath is situated to the south of Kedarnath temple. Bhairon Baba is believed to be the fierce incarnation of Lord Shiva associated with the disaster in 2013. When the Kedarnath temple are closed, only Bhairon Baba guards the temple.
Vasuki Tal Lake: The crystal clear blue-water Vasuki Tal surrounded by glaciers is 10 km away from Kedarnath, Vasuki Tal is situated at an altitude of 14,300 feet above sea level. You can see Brahma Kamal and other rare Himalayan flowers near Vasuki Tal which enchant the atmosphere.
Gandhi Sarovar: Gandhi Sarovar A small lake with crystal clear water, also known as Chorabari Tal, Gandhi Sarovar is situated at the mouth of Chorabari Bamak Glacier. Its height of 4,000 meters above sea level is situated at the foothills of Kirti Stambh peak. There is also an enchanting waterfall on the way to Gandhi Sarovar.
Gaurikund: Gaurikund is the starting point of Kedarnath Yatra. Gaurikund is situated at an altitude of 1,983 meters above sea level, this place is named after Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva. According to the legend, Goddess Parvati meditated at this place to marry Lord Shiva. A temple of Goddess Gauri is also situated here. Gaurikund also has a natural hot water source. Devotees take a bath here for the holy darshan of Lord Kedareshwar and before proceeding on the trek.
Also you can visit:
Guptakashi: Guptkashi is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. This place full of natural beauty got its name Guptkashi because Lord Shiva had come here to hide from the Pandavas. You can visit Vishwanath and Ardhanarishwar Temple here, if you are looking for best and cheap hotel in Guptkashi, then you can contact Hotel Vivek.
Sonprayag: Sonprayag is situated at the confluence point of Basuki and Mandakini rivers. It is a belief that taking a bath at Sonprayag Sangam gives purity and washes away all sins. Sonprayag is situated at an altitude of 1829 meters above sea level. Snow-capped mountains all around, the sound of the rumble of rivers, gives a different feeling.
Chandrashila: Chandrashila is a peak situated at an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level. Chandrashila is considered as one of the most popular places near Kedarnath. According to mythology, Lord Rama prayed to Shiva after killing Ravana. Lord Rama wished to get rid of his sin of killing a Brahmin. From Chandrashila you can get a complete 360 degree view of the Himalayan range like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Kedar Peak and Chaukhamba peaks.
Tungnath Temple: Tungnath is one of the Panch Kedar. Tungnath Temple is the highest Shiva temple in the world situated at a height of 3,680 feet. The arms of Lord Shiva are worshipped here. The temple is believed to be 1000 years old and was discovered by Adi Shankaracharya.
Rudranath Temple: Rudranath Temple is included in Panch Kedar, which is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This temple is situated in the Himalayan peaks where the head of Lord Shiva is worshipped. Lord Shiva is also worshiped here in the form of Neelkanth Mahadev. Various sacred pools of water are located around the temple which include Saraswati Kund, Tara-kund, Suryakund, Chandra-kund etc.
Activities In Kedarnath
Bhava Spand Vipassana: This is a meditation centre located near Kedarnath.
Chandrashekhars: This is a temple located near Kedarnath, which is dedicated to Sage Chandrashekhar.
Gita Bhawan: A centre that hosts religious discourses, lectures and seminars to discuss the importance of spirituality.
Kedarnath Yatra Booking
If you are planning to do the Kedarnath Yatra, then you can start booking your tickets a few months before the date.
The tickets can be bought from the counters in Kedarnath, Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun, Delhi and many other places. The counters will open in the first week of July for the Kedarnath Yatra. You can also buy the tickets from travel agents or the agents' offices.
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Best Time For Kedarnath Yatra
The best time to visit Kedarnath is between August and October. May and June are the most crowded months for Kedarnath Yatra. I would suggest you to travel between August to October. The weather remains pleasant during these months, making it the perfect time to visit the temple.
Kedarnath can be reached even during the rainy season. However, it is advisable to carry an umbrella and wear rain gear.
How To Reach Kedarnath
By Air: The nearest airport to Kedarnath is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is approximately 180 km away.
By Rail: The nearest railhead to Kedarnath is Rishikesh, which is around 180 km away.
By Road: By road you can go to Gaurikund, to reach Kedarnath from Gaurikund you have to trek 16 kms. You can easily reach Gaurikund by Bus and Cab. you get direct bust is available from the nearest major places Rishikesh, Dehradun, Haridwar, Delhi etc. One can also book private taxis to reach Gaurikund.