Kedarnath: How To Reach And Where To Stay
The holy and sacred journey to Kedarnath, where Lord Shiva resides is one of the most popular pilgrimage Yatra in India. The journey is undertaken by many pilgrims and tourists alike, who want to feel the divine presence of the Lord. All through the journey, you will feel an external power guiding you and keeping your mind at peace. The feeling personal and unexplainable.
Being such a popular hub, the government has made sure that Kedarnath is well accessible to everyone who chooses to visit the Lord. From proper roads to a good number of buses, the journey till Gaurikund is pretty easy.
Here are some of the possible ways to travel to Kedarnath:
How to Reach Kedarnath Dham
The pious town of Kedarnath is pretty well connected to most of the major cities of North India by road. The following are the distance from the major North Indian towns:
Chandigarh- 387 km
Delhi- 458 km
Nagpur- 1421 km
Another way to go is taking a train till Haridwar/Kotdwar or Dehradun or even an airplane till Dehradun and then continuing on to Kedarnath.
From New Delhi to Kedarnath
The journey from New Delhi to Haridwar is pretty easy, and there are buses that ply every half an hour, making it very convenient. From Delhi, you can also take the train to Haridwar, which will take you about 4-6 hours.
Haridwar is a lovely city located at the banks of the holy river Ganga. Once you reach there, there are various vehicles, from jeeps to private cars that can take you to Gaurikund. This entire journey from Haridwar to Gaurikund takes about 10 – 12 hours.
Kedarnath from Haridwar city
Once in Haridwar, you will face several options to choose from to reach Gaurikund. One of the more popular options is morning buses. You can book these buses at GMOA (Garhwal Mandal owners Association) office or STATE TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT, UTTARAKHAND which is conveniently located at the railway station. The buses are not that frequent, which leads to several issues. Thus, many people choose to go to Rishikesh and take a bus from there. Rishikesh is laden with private and government buses that ply till Gaurikund.
The journey is really mesmerizing as you will be driving through picturesque valleys and gushing rivers. You will find yourself marveling at the beautiful mountains that flank all the entire path.
Kedarnath by Taxi or Private Car
You can also choose to take your own car or hire a taxi until Gaurikund. But, one thing you must keep in mind while doing so, is to make sure that your car has good clearance. This is especially necessary since the path is filled with rocks strewn on the road. There are several car rentals and private taxis that you can hire. You can book them online or after you reach your base point.
Gate System on the Way to Kedarnath
If you do have a private vehicle, then try and mark it at Sonprayag which is about 5 km from Gaurikund. There is a gate en route to Gaurikund which leads to a lot of traffic. If you want to avoid this, then park at Sonprayag and walk up to Gaurikund.
Transport in Gaurikund
The motorbike road stops at Gaurikund, and from here you have to either walk or ride palanquins or horses.
The trek till Kedarnath from there is through a winding paved path which is extremely steep. It is about 13km, and the vertically inclined path doesn’t make it easy at all. You can book horses, Dandies, and Ponies if you are unable to climb, but the rates are never fixed. You can opt to book them through the government website.
The route to Kedarnath from Rishikesh (223 Kms)
Another popular route that many people follow is through Rishikesh.
By Air Kedarnath Temple
If you are traveling through Rishikesh, then you can get down at the Jolly Grant Airport. While the airport is in Dehradun, you can easily reach Rishikesh in 20-30 min. Once you reach Rishikesh, hitch up a taxi or bus ride and reach Joshimath.
Kedarnath Darshan by Helicopter
Another mesmerizing and once in a lifetime way to travel to Kedarnath is through a Helicopter. This way is not only convenient but also an amazing experience. You can get book a Helicopter from a lot of places in Uttarakhand, like Dehradun, Guptkashi, Sirsi, and Phata. All these places provide Helicopter services to Kedarnath. The feeling is absolutely exhilarating as you peak out and watch the beautiful landscape underneath.
However, the rides are not too cheap. It usually costs about 7000 INR.
Where To Stay while traveling Kedarnath
While there are no accommodation centers in Kedarnath itself, there are many situated in the major towns of Guptakashi, Gaurikund Sitapur, Rampur, Ukjimath and in and another of Kedarnath itself. During the Char Dham Yatra season, you will also find several camps that open up, where people pitch up their tents and halt for one night before carrying on with the climb. Over the years the government has also taken steps to increase the camp area and as of now at least 4000 pilgrims can stay there.
Other visitors can find amazing hotels at picturesque places like at the banks of the River Mandakini or at Guptakashi.
The hotels are not luxurious stays, but provide a decent room with decent food. These budget hotels are mainly for one night stays and for people who are looking for a one night halt before commencing on the journey.
If you are lucky you can also stay at the GMVN facility, which is located at the temple. However, it is difficult to secure a booking here, since it is always sold out.
Few Things To Avoid
Do not take a pony ride from Sonprayag. It just adds two more hours to your travel time. Try and reach Gaurikund and hire a pony ride from there.
If you are allergic to horses or mules, then you pretty much have to opt for a helicopter ride, since that is the only way to avoid horses and mules. Otherwise, the entire road till the wondrous Lord Shiva temple is brimming with neighing horses and brooding mules.
Start your journey from Gaurikund as early as you can. You should reach the temple by afternoon, which will allow you to come down before the sunsets. If you start too late, you will not be able to come down to Gaurikund at a decent hour. If you are staying at Sonprayag, then you might even face difficulties while trying to reach Sonprayag from Gaurikund, since all modes of transport get filled with pilgrims and visitors. Thus, timing is very important.
Make sure you always have a jacket and a raincoat with you, since the weather here is pretty unpredictable. It can rain at some point, then the sun might come out smiling followed by a hailstorm.