How to Visit Kedarnath

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Visit Kedarnath

Kedarnath, nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, is one of the holiest destinations for Hindu pilgrims. Home to the revered Kedarnath Temple and surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, it offers a spiritual and natural retreat. This comprehensive guide will help you plan your visit to Kedarnath, ensuring a memorable and meaningful experience.

Preparation and Planning:

  1. Best Time to Visit:
    • Kedarnath is open to pilgrims from May to October. The best time is during the summer months (May to June) and early autumn (September to October) when the weather is relatively pleasant.
  2. Permits and Registration:
    • Register online for the Char Dham Yatra and obtain the necessary permits before your visit.
    • Carry multiple copies of your identity documents.
  3. Physical Fitness:
    • Kedarnath is at high altitude, so ensure you are physically fit. Consult a doctor if needed.
    • Acclimatize yourself by spending a day in a nearby location like Guptkashi before starting the trek.

Getting to Kedarnath:

  1. Reaching Rishikesh/Haridwar:
    • Begin your journey by reaching either Rishikesh or Haridwar by train or road.
    • These cities serve as the gateway to Kedarnath, and you can hire taxis or use local buses to proceed further.
  2. Transport to Gaurikund:
    • From Rishikesh/Haridwar, take a taxi or bus to Gaurikund, the last motorable point before Kedarnath.

Trekking to Kedarnath:

  1. Kedarnath Trek:
    • The trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath is approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles).
    • Options for trekking include walking, hiring a mule, or using a helicopter service.
  2. Pit Stops:
    • Plan pit stops at designated points like Rambara and Garud Chatti for rest and refreshments.

Accommodation in Kedarnath:

  1. Kedarnath Town:
    • Limited accommodation options are available in Kedarnath town, mainly in the form of guesthouses and dharamshalas.
    • Make reservations in advance if possible.
  2. Tented Accommodation:
    • Tented accommodation is also available in Kedarnath, providing a basic but comfortable stay.

Visiting Kedarnath Temple:

  1. Temple Timings:
    • The Kedarnath Temple usually opens from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM and then from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
    • Note that temple timings may vary, so check locally.
  2. Darshan Tips:
    • Be prepared for long queues during peak pilgrimage season. It’s advisable to reach the temple early.
    • Maintain a respectful and patient demeanor during the darshan (viewing of the deity).

Safety and Health:

  1. Weather:
    • Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable. Carry warm clothing and rain gear.
    • Stay updated on local weather forecasts.
  2. Altitude Sickness:
    • Watch for symptoms of altitude sickness and descend if they occur.
    • Carry essential medications and first-aid supplies.

Visiting Kedarnath is a spiritual and physical journey that requires preparation and planning. Respect the sanctity of the place, follow local guidelines, and cherish the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Himalayas as you embark on this sacred pilgrimage to Kedarnath.