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Kedarnath

Kedarnath is on the bank of the Mandakini River between Gangotri and Badrinath. As the crow flies Kedarnath is only 42km from Badrinath. Over 100,000 pilgrims come here each year. It is believed that Sankaracharya passed away here about 820 AD. Kedareswar Siva is the presiding deity. Behind the Kedarnath temple is an impressive mountain range, with the beautiful Kedarnath Mountain (6,970m).

Kedarnath Temple
This Lord Siva temple at Kedarnath is said to have been built by the Pandavas to atone for their sins procured during the Kurukshetra war. It is believed that this temple was originally constructed by the Pandavas, and the present temple was reconstructed by Sankaracharya in the 8th century. One of the 12 Siva-Jyotirlingas is in this temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Sada Siva and is considered to be one of the major Siva temples in India. Inside the temple there is an irregular, threefaced linga, representing the hump of Lord Siva when he took the form of a bull. It is about 3m (9 ft) long, 1m (3 ft) wide, and 1.3m (4 ft) high. Pilgrims are allowed to touch the linga, perform worship, abhishek (bathe), and massage the linga with ghee. There are deities of goddess Parvati and Ganesh in front of the main altar door. Outside the second door are Lord Krishna, the five Pandavas, their wife, Draupadi, and their mother, Kunti. In the temple is a Lakshmi-Narayana Deity, which was installed by Adi Sankaracharya. The temple faces south, which is a unique feature, as most temples face east. This temple is very solidly built. The temple opens the first week of May and closes either the last week of October or the first week of November. May/June is the busiest time of the year. Worship of Sri Kedarnath is continued in the village of Okhimath in the winter by the priest from the Kedarnath Temple. The waiting time to enter the temple in the afternoon is about 15 minutes, otherwise if you go at 7 am the waiting time may be two hours or more. The main pujas are at six am and six pm.

Temple Story
The story of the temple is that the Pandavas felt contaminated by sinful reactions from killing so many people during the Kurukshetra war. They decided to ask Lord Siva for

The Bharat Seva Ashram. The Pandavas first went to Kashi (Varanasi) to get Lord Siva’s blessings. is a nice. It is believed that Sri Sankara passed away in Kedarnath. . There are also a number of private no-name lodges. It is said that the Pandavas also built temples at these places. and Lord Siva turned himself into a bull to hide. There is another school of thought that says he passed away in Kanchipuram. 4km away. It is said that from this place there is a path that goes north up to Swarga-rohini (path to heaven). Kalpeswar. to the right of the temple. They are known as the Panch Kedars: Kedarnath. Where to Stay The Nigam Tourist Bungalow h(27210) as rooms for Rs 500. Past Vasuki Tal is the Khatling Glacier via the Painya Tal and Maser Tal lakes. The bull slowly sank into the ground. It is a 20-minute walk. There are also dharamshalas and the Birla Guest House. but the Lord fled to Uttarakhand (Guptakashi) and lived there incognito. Before you cross the bridge that crosses to the town you come to a path that leads to a glacier. clean place with rooms for Rs 200. About a km from the lake is the source of the Mandakini River. because some of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were throw here. Vasuki Tal (4320m) is a tough 9km trek from Kedarnath. It takes 1½ to 2 hours to walk here from Kedarnath. face (mukh). leads to the Bhairava temple. Rudranath. is next to the glacier. Eventually the Pandavas found him there. Other people said that the Pandavas ascended from Badrinath. arm (bahu). The path begins near the Tourist Bungalow. Other parts of Lord Siva’s body appeared in other places in the area. It is also known as Gandhi Sarovar. Just behind the Kedarnath Temple is the Mahapanth Trail (Gate of Heaven). hair (jata). Rooms are typically Rs 400 or Rs 600 a night for a decent room. Other Places There is a marble staff behind the temple that commemorates Sankaracharya. It is said that the five Pandavas took this path after performing a huge yajna (sacrifice). but it should be booked in advance. hump (pinda). Rooms are expensive for what you get. Bhairava is the furious form of Lord Siva. Lord Siva instructed them to worship the remaining hump of the bull (pinda form). The path here can also be reached by crossing the river over the bridge that is behind the temple and climbing up the hill. an emerald green lake. Chorabari Tal lake. and Madhyamaheswar. A path to the east of the village. and Lord Siva then appeared before them on account of their great determination. Tungnath. navel (nabhi). Bhima recognized his disguise and grabbed the bull by the tail. For this trek you need a good guide and proper equipment. Tamil Nadu.his blessings to relieve them from these sinful reactions. a large red building located left of the temple. A temple was then constructed and worship has been going on here ever since.

It is best to catch the early morning bus at 6 am. the beheaded Ganesh. You have to walk 14km. If the sky is clear. You should be prepared to stay the night at Kedarnath. Some people stop for the night halfway up at Rambara (7km). From Gaurikund you should make sure you reserve early morning buses the night before. Ganesh stopped him. It is said to mark the place where Parvati did austerities. When Siva. then became angry and cut off the head of Ganesh. The bus from Gangotri to Gaurikund (334km) takes a day and a half. Gaurikund is the last bus stop on the way to Kedarnath. Siva said he would give him the head of the first creature that came by. where you can bathe. as it is difficult to go both up and down in the same day. It is 210km from Rishikesh and 334km from Gangotri. it is advised to carry as little as possible up the hill. which is 44km south of Badrinath. As the walk is very tough. It is a great place to bathe after returning from your walk to Kedarnath. The trek along the Mandakini River to Kedarnath is slow and tiresome. Even the smallest load can feel like a lead weight after a few km. Next to the spring is the Gauri Devi Temple. A bus from Haridwar or Rishikesh (295km) takes all day to reach Gaurikund. Otherwise.640m (22. but you could reach Badrinath the same day if you get the 6 am bus and nothing goes wrong. There is a temple called Sirkata Ganesh. you can rent a horse for about Rs 250 one way. Gaurikund Gaurikund is said to be the place where Gaurimata (Parvati) took birth and did austerities for hundreds of years. dedicated to Parvati. So he gave Ganesh the head of an elephant. at the halfway point walking up to Kedarnath. from Joshimath the same bus goes the next morning to Badrinath. who had been traveling for a long time came. From Gaurikund the bus usually takes a full day to get to Joshimath (Rs 100).There are basic places to stay at Rambara. at least 4 hours. not recognizing his own son. To be carried by four people up the hill costs Rs 900 one way. Food in Kedarnath is basic and expensive. Parvati. at the 10km stone you can view the Kedarnath mountain peak at 6. If you cannot walk. If you get a later bus you will definitely have to stop for the night on the way. There is a hot sulfur water spring here named Gaurikund (Tapta Kund). Siva. up a steep incline to get to Kedarnath from Gaurikund. do not believe it. The Skanda Purana says this was the place where Lord Siva beheaded his son Ganesh and then gave him an elephant head. Even if you are told you can get a ticket the next morning. which has several simple eating places and some basic rest houses. about half a km from Gaurikund. who was bathing in Gaurikund.770 ft). When Parvati found out this had happened. she requested Siva to bring him back to life and give him another head. Travel The road to Kedarnath ends at a town named Gaurikund (1. Where to Stay and Eat . in order to marry Lord Siva. The story says that Ganesh was guarding his mother.981m). which happened to be an elephant. as it all has to be brought up by horseback.

Take care of your camera and don't forget a polythene bag for it exclusively. Gourikund is 233 km from Haridwar and 200 km from Rishikesh. a stone looking like hump of an ox is Mahadev. There is a Nigam Tourist Lodge with rooms for Rs 400 in Sonprayag. next to Gaurikund and the Mandakini River is a decent place with double rooms for Rs 350. Reaching Kedarnath: Apart from the temple itself. Best time to visit Kedarnath: Plan your trip between May and October. This place should be booked at least a week in advance at the GMVN office in Rishikesh. Bharat Seva Ashram and Punjab Sindh are basic places and some of the rooms have bathrooms. usually they are at least Rs 350 for a dirty. From Gourikund it is a continuous uphill trek of 14 km to Kedarnath. So it is better to halt somewhere in between. . Stay at Gourikund: You have to stay in Gourikund for a night before starting your journey to the temple.Hotel Pavan Hansh Restaurant. good vegetarian place. reaching Kedarnath is an adventure. which is six km south of Gaurikund. The natural beauty will alleviate all your exhaustion of climbing. where you can rest a while. If you don't want to walk at a stretch there is a option to halt at Ramwara for a night at either at Kalikamli Dharmashala or GMVN rest house. The scenic beauty throughout your trek is mind-blowing. run-down double room.Shivlok. Sonprayag is much more laid-back than Gaurikund. Chandrapuri. It is very tiring too. the ox of Mahadev is guarding the temple. You can buy these on the route of your trek. Inside the temple. Stalls for snack and tea are also available at few places on the route. it will be a snow covered. Located at a height of 3590 meters of Garhwal Himalayas. next to Gaurikund. Kedarnath. Kedarnath being one of the 12 Jyotirlingam is a famous pilgrim site for Hindus in India.In Gaurikund there are many private guest houses. The best option is GMVN Tourist Rest House Ph: +91 1364 269202 DB @ INR 500 – 700 and dormitory @ INR 100 per bed.The best place in town is the welllocated GMVN Tourist Centre. Many other idols of God are engraved on the wall of the temple inside. otherwise you cannot reach. but do not expect any bargains. Throughout your journey to the temple you will be amazed frequently by the natural beauty of the nature. It will take 10 – 11 hours to reach Gourikund from these places. Mandakini River throughout the journey will accompany you sometimes jumping from a cliff and sometimes hiding in a gorge. For what you get most of them are way overpriced. which is quite common. There are many other places to choose from. It has double rooms for Rs 550 and dorm beds for Rs 125. Buy a walking stick and polythene sheet to cover you in case of drizzle. Walk slowly and take rest in between. is a well-managed. the last motor able road before Kedarnath. In front of the main gate of the temple a black statue of Nandi. There are many cheap hotels in Gourikund. the huge temple made of granite stone with mighty Kedar range of Himalayas in the background will make you spellbound at first sight.Gauri’s Grand restaurant is a good place with an extensive menu. but you need your own transportation to stay there.You can leave your extra luggage at a cloakroom to your left. so You have to start your journey very early in the morning. The place I will suggest is Rudraprayag or. just after going up the steps from where the buses park. It is decently clean. You have to reach Gourikund.

Pony. The flight starts at 6.10 am. Contact: * Agastyamuni Helipad Ph: +91 1364 256825 * Delhi Office at Safdarjang Airport Ph: +91 11 24651248. The rate depend on the weight of the person but whatever they take. Gujarat Bhawan etc. Reach Kedarnath by helicopter: Pawan Hans conduct a helicopter service from Agyastamuni helipad 17 km from Rudraprayag 5 passengers are carried at a time. there are something more in store at Kedarnath. Trekking from Kedarnath: For the enthusiasts. I think it is less for the kind of labor they give! Please don't bargain with them. and goods) are available for them. By the way don't throw away your walking stick while coming down. 8. from where Mandakini river originated. 9.Though nature can be enjoyed most if you walk. More enthusiasts should walk 4 km more up to Basuki tal (4328 meters) If you plan to go up to Basuki tal carry food and take the help of a guide. Time allotted to visit temple is 1 ½ hour. Dharmashala of Kedarnath Temple Committee: +91 1364 263231 Other Dharmashalas of Bharat Sevashram Sangha. it may not be possible for everyone to trek due to physical reasons. dandi or. Madras Bhawan. while age over 2 has to pay the full fare. Round trip cost include the temple visit fee. A astonishing short trek to Chorabalital (Gandhi Sarovar) at 4275 meters is 4 km uphill trek from Kedarnath. The fare for round trip per person at present @ INR 8500 and one way fly to Kedarnath @INR 5000 and return from there @ INR 4000. Children below 2 years are charged 10% of the fare. 24610465 * Monal Resort Rudraprayag Ph: +91 1364 233901/ 02 * GMVN Dehradun Ph: +91 135 2746817 * GMVN Haridwar Ph: +91 1334 224240 * GMVN Rishikesh Ph: +91 135 2435174 Where to stay at Kedarnath: GMVN Tourist Rest House Ph: +91 1364 263218/ 263228 DB @ INR 350 – 1000. 24632273. They are extremely poor and earn for few months with their hard labor and run their family throughout the year. Triyugi Narayan from Gourikund: . It takes 20 minutes to reach Kedarnath. and 11. the mistake done by me! The stick is more required while coming down.10 am. light weight people.30 am . En route you will see Mandakini Glacier. Pithhu ( a basket carried by single person mainly for kids. Dormitory @ INR 100 per bed.40 am. doli (a chair carried by four persons).

Badrinath you can visit Triyugi Narayan Temple 12 km from Gourikund. It is said that the wedding of Shiva and Parvati was held here.While coming back from Gourikund either to Haridwar or. .