Kedarnath Hill Station

Kedarnath is the seat of Lord Shiva. It is one of the twelve "Jyotirlingas" of Lord Shiva. Lying at an altitude of 3584 m at the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimage for the Hindus. It is no wonder that Adi Guru Shankaracharya - a great scholar & saint, chose to enshrine Lord Shiva in this land, where the unholy becomes oly and the holy becomes holier. It is the place where Lord Shiva absolved Pandavas from the sin of killing their own cousins Kauravas in the battle of Kurukshetra. The origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic Mahabharat.

Kedarnath is one destination among the Char Dham Yatra [Hindu Pilgrimage] of north India, other three destinations are Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

Around Tourist Destinations in Kedarnath                                                                        

Almora:
Almora is situated about 253 kms from Kedarnath famous for hill stations and temples.

Ranikhet:
Ranikhet is a tourist place in Uttrakhand known for hill station, adventure sports, temples, museums, and dams. The area is about 258 kms from Kedarnath.

Nainital:
Nainital is located about 315 kms from Kedarnath very well known for hill station, trekking, lakes, gardens, temples, and museums.

Solan:
Solan is approx 362 kms from Kedarnath famous for temples and monasteries.

Kasauli:
Kasauli is a place in Himachal Pradesh famous for hill station, bird watching, and monasteries. It is about 392 kms from Kedarnath.

Shimla:
Shimla is one of the most famous hill stations in India visited by lakhs of tourist all round the year. It is also well known for mountaineering, trekking, temples, monasteries, ice skating, skiing and honeymoon. Shimla is located at 447 kms from Kedarnath.

Kullu:
Kullu is also one of the most highly visited tourist destination situated in Himachal Pradesh famous for hill stations and temples. It is about 605 kms from Kedarnath.

Manali:
Manali is about 647 kms from Kedarnath known for hill station, trekking, paragliding, skiing, rock climbing, waterfalls, and honeymoon trips.

TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS                                                                                            

The Kedarnath Temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas and is almost 1000 years old. In the 8th century AD, it was refurbished by Adiguru Shankaracharya. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the idol is in the form of a pyramidal lingam. It is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country and is revered highly. The statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Shiva, stands at the entrance of the temple. During the winters, the statue is carried to Ukhimath, and is reinstated in Kedarnath in the month of May. The breathtaking view of the Kedardome peak behind the temple is a major attraction.

The Samadhi of Adiguru Shankaracharya is located just behind the temple and is the final resting place of the saint. The Bhairavnath temple, situated to the south of the main temple of Kedarnath, is dedicated to Lord Bhairav, the deity who guards the main temple in winter when it is closed.

A solid path from near the main bridge, before the town, crosses the Mandakini to the left of the valley, and ends 4 km away at the glacier. At its edge is the Chorabari Tal Lake, now known as Gandhi Sarovar, as some of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes were scattered here. It is also said that Yudhishthira, the eldest Pandava, departed to heaven from this lake.

Close by, around 800 m from the lake, is the source of the Mandakini. One can also cross the river by the small bridge behind the temple, and scramble up the rough boulder-strewn moraine to meet the main track.

At a distance of 6 km from Kedarnath is Vasuki Tal, which is perched at a height of 4135 meters above the sea level. It offers a splendid view of the Chaukambha peaks and is an important spot in the itinerary of trekkers. The trekking base to Kedarnath is at a distance of 15 km and is named Gauri Kund, where there is temple dedicated to Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva. One can also find thermal springs of medicinal value here. At the confluence of the Son Ganga and Mandakani rivers is Son Prayag, at a distance of 20 km from Kedarnath.

Around 25 km from Kedarnath is Triyuginarayan, the mythological venue where the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati was solemnized. It is a short trek of 5 km from Son Prayag. An eternal flame, which is said to have been witness to the marriage, burns in front of the temple even today.

At a distance of 49 km is Gupt Kashi, which is famous for its temples of Ardhnarishwar and Vishwanath. Ukhimath, at a distance of 60 km, is the winter home of the deity of Kedarnath and the Rawal (head priest) of the temple. Agastmuni, at a distance of 73, km has a temple dedicated to sage Agastya.

Situated on the Gopeshwar-Ukhimath Road, about 40 km from Gopeshwar at an altitude of about 2500 meters above sea level, Chopta is one of the most picturesque spots in the entire Garhwal region. It provides a breathtaking view of Himalayan ranges surrounding it.

Chandrashila (93 km) is a beautiful peak providing a captivating view of the other snow-clad peaks. The trek from Tungnath to Chandrashila offers a rare sight of the rhododendron forests and the alpine meadows. Deoria Tal is 2 km from Chopta-Ukhimath Road. This beautiful lake is at an altitude of 2438 m and gives a scenic view of the neighboring snow-capped peaks. This land is an ideal place for angling and bird watching.

The four other Panch Kedar sites are located in the vicinity of Kedarnath. Madmaheshwar, where the navel (nabhi) of Shiva fell, is at a distance of 74 km from Kedarnath, at a height of 3289 m. Tungnath (90 km) is perched at an altitude of 3680 m. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of his arms (bahu). Rudranath (142 km), at a height of 2286 meters, is a very important pilgrim spot and Shiva's face is worshipped here. Kapleshwar (160 km) is at an altitude of 2134 meters and Shiva's locks are worshipped here.

TREKKING Apart from being a place of pilgrimage, Kedarnath is a trekkers' paradise as well. The Garhwal Himalayas provide ample opportunities for the adventurous and the daring. The trek starts form Gaurikund, which is easily approachable by car or bus. From Gaurikund to Rambara the trek follows the river Mandakini. It is a little steep initially but then becomes a gradual climb through forests. There are several beautiful waterfalls along the way. From Rambara the trek to Kedarnath is much easier.

Kedarnath to Vasuki Tal is a continuous ascent along a goat track. The view of the Chaukambha peaks and the Mandakini valley is delightful from here. The final trek to the Vasuki Tal is downhill for a kilometer. Paian Tal is about 1 km northwest and at the bottom of it, one can see rectangular slabs of rocks. From here, one can go on to the Khatling glacier.

How to Reach
Air : Nearest Airport, Jollygrant, 239 Kms.
Rail : Nearest Railway station, Rishikesh, 221 Kms.
Road : Kedarnath is approachable on foot from Gaurikund, which is connected by road with Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, Hardwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon hills.

WHERE TO STAY
To stay here, one can find dharamshalas, ashrams, and tourist bungalows of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN). Food in the eating joints along Kedarnath's main street is simple but expensive, as all supplies have to be brought up from the valley on horseback. The canteen run by the temple committee, Shri Badrinath Kedarnath Mandir Samiti, serves good quality food. It should be noted that non-vegetarian food and liquor are not available here. 

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