A Sojourn Above The Clouds: Kedarnath By Helicopter
The Kedarnath Yatra is one such pilgrimage which attracts millions of devotees every year. It is one of the four most pious pilgrimage sites in India- Char Dham. The entire Yatra is marked with beautiful landscapes, flowing rivers and thrilling scenes.
The Kedarnath temple is also part of the 12 Jyotirlingas and is the most revered among the Panch Kedar.
While I have been on this magnificent Kedarnath Yatra, I had never taken the helicopter ride. It is often said that the beauty of Kedarnath is even more pronounced if you are sailing through the clouds. This time around I made up my mind to embark on the Yatra through a helicopter. I quickly found out a Kedarnath Helicopter Booking Service within my budget. And, the flying services have been divided into 3 Zones as follows;
Guptkashi Zone handles two Aviation Operators but the price a quite high INR 8550
1- Aero Aviation
2- Aryan Aviation
Phata Zone – handles four aviation operators but price is a quite affordable INR 4798
1- UT Air
2- Thumbi Air
3- Pawan Hansa
4- Indo Copter
Sirsi Zone handles for aviation operators and price is good to fly INR 4950
1- Crystel Aviation
2- Himalayan Heli
3- Heritage Aviation
4- Peripheral Aviation
Note- But each year the price of flying revised as per the contract system by Uttarakhand Government.
Rishikesh to Kedarnath Yatra
I was travelling from Rishikesh and reached Phata in about 8 hours. I reached my hotel late evening and decided to have a quick dinner. Next morning I got up at 5 am to commence my journey to the helipads.
How To Reach Phata / Guptkashi?
If you too have planned this stunning Kedarnath helicopter trip from Phata or Guptkashi then learn how to reach these places: These lovely locations are extremely scenic and filled with Helipads. Both of these areas are located about 200 km from Rishikesh. The route that I chose is as follows :
Rishikesh to Devprayag-Devprayag to Srinagar-Srinagar to Rudraprayag-Rudraprayag to Guptkash-Guptkashi to Phata. The total journey took me about 8 hours. The journey itself is beautiful and you will find yourself relishing every bit of it.
The Kedarnath Helicopter service usually requires people to reach there by 6 am early morning.
Tips For Your Kedarnath Yatra by Helicopter Tour
In the helicopter, you can only carry a small handbag which cannot weigh more than 5 kgs While flying over the Mandakini Valley the weather tends to change suddenly. While I did not have such experiences, it is still very common. This can lead to cancellations of flights. In this case, you might have to stay another night at Guptkashi or Phata and wait for for the next day.
A Heartfelt Goodbye
The beauty of the Kedarnath Helicopter Tour lies in the fact that one is willing to let all inhibitions go and explore the great unknown. The ride is absolutely thrilling but liberating nonetheless. As I witnessed the rivers flowing below me, and the clouds flying past me I felt alive. There was a divinity even in the air where the holy Kedarnath Shrine rests. God truly rests in Kedarnath!