One of the most divine journeys in north India, Kedarnath is situated in Uttarakhand. It is situated above sea level at an altitude of 3,584 m, near the head of the Mandakini river. A famous place for Hindu pilgrims, Kedarnath is one of the four major sites in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage that also covers Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Kedarnath Dham, located in the Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand in the lap of the Garhwal Himalayas, is an essential part of the Char Dham Yatra, which includes Yamunotri, Gangotri, and Badrinath. It is said that the Pandavas asked Lord Shiva to relieve themselves from the guilt of killing their blood relatives.
A visit to the Kedarnath temple is an integral part of the famous Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple in Kedarnath, India which is dedicated to Lord Shiva, is said to be more than 1200 years old. It was built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century A.D., near the site of an ancient temple established by the Pandavas, as one of Lord Shiva's 12 Jyotirlingas in India.
The Kedarnath Temple is a marvel of architecture. The assembly hall's inner walls are adorned with statues of various gods and situations from mythology. A big statue of the Nandi Bull stands to watch outside the temple entry. The magnificently architected Kedarnath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is thought to be over 1000 years old.
The temple of Kedarnath is made up of exceptionally enormous, heavy, and evenly carved grey stone slabs, and it makes one wonder how these massive slabs were moved in the past. The Kedar temple contains a “Garbha Griha” for worship and a Mandap for pilgrims and guests to congregate. Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva avatar is worshipped as a conical rock formation inside the temple.
Holistic Rehabilitation at the Kedarnath Temple
Following the Kedarnath Flood in 2013, the Kedarnath Temple complex has been beautifully reconstructed and repaired. Although the original Kedarnath temple edifice is stable, the renovation of Kedarnath comprises new pilgrim walkways, new guest homes, accommodation for Pujaris and pilgrims, the construction of Bathing Ghats, and helipads, among other things.
As Kedarnath is enclosed by mountain peaks, trekking and rock climbing are the most activities. You can take a trek to Kedarnath Temple or Chandrashila Peak. Gandhi Sarovar is approximately 4 km away from the town. Kedarnath doesn't have many stores. However, you find small shops selling religious souvenirs like Lord Shiva pictures, various types of crystals, herbs, natural vitalizes, precious stones, tulsi beads, and more.
The best season to visit Kedarnath is summer when the temperature is moderate and stays between 15-30 degrees Celsius. The sun is mild and there is a gentle cool breeze that makes the day pleasant. This is the perfect time to visit Kedarnath temple, Panch Kedar, and Chota Char Dham, among other highlights of the area.
The temperature would be Avg. between 30 to 15 degrees low. Weather in Kedarnath is always cold; it’s just that the degree of coldness varies. The months of April, May, and June are cool and refreshing. The average temperature is usually around 17 degrees Celsius, and with the warm sun for company, you can spend your time walking about the place. Other than the Kedarnath temple, you can visit a pilgrimage to the other shrines that dot this beautiful mountain town. Lord Shiva is the main divinity, but there are temples devoted to several other gods too.
If you happen to be in Kedarnath during June, you will get to experience the colorful Badri Kedar Festival. The area is festooned with decorations and gets to a festive mood. Summer is the best time for the traditions of Devbhoomi, Uttarakhand. For eight days, the area is full of artists from various parts of Uttarakhand. Singers, dancers, painters, and other craftspeople use this platform to showcase their talents.
The monsoon at Kedarnath is unpredictable. The region doesn't get much rain on average, but when it does, it can cause landslides and blockages. If you don't want to be adventurous, skip this season and schedule your spiritual retreat in the summer.
Expect bitterly cold weather if you visit the Himalayas in the winter. In more ways than one, the winter in Kedarnath will test your endurance and leave you breathless. The scenery is stunning, but you'll have to suffer temperatures well below zero at times. Although there are some sunny days in Kedarnath throughout the winter, it is a frigid time of year.
Kedarnath does not have an airport, so Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest civil airhead. Jolly Grant Airport has Located nearby 250 km from Kedarnath, connected to the major cities of India including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. There are a lot of flights operating to and fro from these cities and provide a lot of options in terms of flight timing and fares. All airlines have flights to Jolly Grant Airport.
Kedarnath is connected to New Delhi and Dehradun by the bus network. From New Delhi, the best way is to take a bus to reach Dehradun which is about 260 km from the Indian capital. Kashmere Gate Bus Terminal and Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in Delhi are the two major interstate bus depots that run regular bus services to Dehradun. Once in Dehradun, can catch a bus to Kedarnath. There are plenty of options to choose from A/C sleeper, non-A/C sleeper, Volvo A/C, Volvo non-A/C, and semi-sleeper buses. You can get a bus from Haridwar to Kedarnath, which is around 125 km and buses take about 5 hours to cover the distance. Can also hire a cab.
There is no railway station at Kedarnath. Rishikesh Railway Station is the nearest station to Kedarnath. Located about 210 km from Gaurikund, Rishikesh Railway Station is well connected to almost all the major cities of India and has a regular train daily. From Rishikesh, one can take a bus to Gaurikund.