Kedarnath is ancient and magnificent Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. Kedarnath is located in the state of Uttarakhand, India, on the Garhwal Himalayan range.
The temple, at a height of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), 223 km (139 mi) from Rishikesh, on the shores of Mandakini river, a tributary of Ganga.
The name "Kedarnath" means "the lord of the field": it derives from the Sanskrit words kedara ("field") and natha ("lord").
The temple is open to the general public only between the months of April (Akshaya Tritiya) and November (Kartik Purnima, the autumn full moon). During the winters, the vigraha (deity) from Kedarnath temple is carried down to Ukhimath and is worshiped for the next six months.
The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 22 kilometres (14 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund.
According to Hindu legends, the temple was initially built by Pandavas, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, expounded in Tevaram.
The presiding image of Kedarnath in the form of lingam is of irregular shape with a pedestal 3.6 m (12 ft) in circumference and 3.6 m (12 ft) in height.
There are five temples around namely Kedarnath, Tunganath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheswar, and Kalpeshwar.
The first hall inside Kedarnath Temple contains statues of the five Pandava brothers, Krishna, Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva and Virabhadra.
The head priest (Raval) of the Kedarnath temple belongs to the Veerashaiva community from Karnataka.
Adi Shankara was believed to have revived this temple, along with Badrinath and other temples of Uttarakhand; he is believed to have attained Mahasamadhi at Kedaranath. Behind the temple is the samadhi mandir of Adi Sankara.
Kedarnath was the worst affected area during the 2013 flash floods in North India. The temple complex, surrounding areas, and Kedarnath town suffered extensive damage, but the temple structure did not suffer any major damage.
How to Reach
Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Kedarnath situated at a distance of 238kms. Jolly Grant Airport is well connected to Delhi with daily flights. Gaurikund is well connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant Airport. Taxis are available from Jolly Grant Airport to Gaurikund.
The nearest railway station to Kedarnath is Rishikesh. Rishikesh railway station is situated 216kms before Kedarnath on NH58. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India. Gaurikund is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. Taxis and buses are easily available from Rishikesh to Gaurikund.
Gaurikund is the point where road to Kedarnath ends and an easy trek of 14km commence. Gaurikund is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand and northern states of India. Buses and Taxis to Gaurikund are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand like Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Srinagar, Chamoli etc.
Kedarnath Popular Route
Delhi -> Haridwar (206 kms) -> Rishikesh (24 kms) -> Devaprayag (70 kms) -> Srinagar (35 kms) -> Rudraprayag (34 kms) -> Tilwara (9kms) -> Agastamuni (10 kms) -> Kund (15 kms) -> Guptkashi (5 kms) -> Phata (11 kms) -> Rampur (9 kms) -> SonPrayag (3 kms) -> Gaurikund (5 kms) -> Kedarnath (16 Kms).
Kedarnath Trek Route Map
Start from Gaurikund : Gaurikund (6 kms) -> Rambara Bridge (4 kms) -> Jungle Chatti (3 kms) -> Bheembali (4 kms) -> Linchauli (4 kms) -> Kedarnath Base Camp (1 kms) -> Kedarnath Temple.
Languages: Hindi, Garwali
Best Season: May to June - Sep to Oct
Weather: Summer 7oCto 17oC
Winter: -14 to 8oC
Altitude: 3553 m
STD code: 01372
Gaurikund lies on National Highway 109 which connects Rudraprayag with Kedarnath. It is base to the Kedarnath trek. The village has hot water springs and a temple dedicated to Goddess Gauri.
Sonprayag is a place of religious significance located in-route to Kedarnath Dham. It is situated at an elevation of 1829 mtrs above sea level and offers a scintillating view of snow covered mountains and lush green Sonprayag valley.
Triyuginarayan is a well-known Hindu pilgrimage located in the Rudraprayag district. This picturesque village is perched at an elevation of 1,980 and offers panoramic views of snow covered mountains of the beauteous Garhwal region. The architecture of this temple resembles to that of Badrinath shrine.
Vasuki tal is a glacial lake situated at an impressive altitude of 14,200 feet above sea level in Kedarnath Dham. It can be reached by a 7 km moderate trek from Kedarnath. Chorbari Bamak Glacier
Chorbari Bamak Glacier is situtated in district Rudraprayag. The glacier is 6 km long and originates from the southern slope of Kedar-dome, Bhartekhunta and Kirti Stambh and this hill range is the water divide which separates the Gangotri group of glaciers and the Chorbari glacier. Several hanging glaciers and avalanche chutes feed the glacier. The lower part of the glacier is covered by thick debris and bounded by huge deposits of lateral moraines. The glacier starts from its accumulation zone (600 m) and terminates at an elevation of 3800 m, from where a snow - melt stream originates, called Mandakini and merges into the Alaknanda at Rudraprayag. The glacier is approachable by road up to Gaurikund via Rudraprayag, Guptkashi and Son Prayag. From Gaurikund, a trek runs over the hilly slopes up to Kedarnath temple. From Kedarnath temple, there is a 3 km footpath to the glacier snout. Between the rock face and right lateral moraine of the glacier, there is a lake formed by glacier melted water called Gandhi-Sarovar.