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Kedarnath Dham Yatra

07-Aug-2013, 20:50:30, :
Kedarnath is one of the most sacred pilgrimages of Lord Shiva situated in Rudraprayag district of Garhwal region in Uttarakhand. Kedarnath is one of the Char Dham in Uttarakhand and the most important dham among Panch kedar. Kedarnath is situated at an altitude of 3586 mts, in the lap of the majestic mountain peaks and near the head of river Mandakini, Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

Kedar meaning powerful is another name of Lord Shiva the protector and the destroyer. The beautiful ambiance around the temple looks like quite peace on heaven causes a beautiful place to do meditation.The main attractions here is the Shiva Temple, which is a popular Hindu shrine and pilgrimage, attracting devotees from all over the world. The travel and tourism scope here is strengthened by factors like natural beauty and religious zest.

Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions - love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms. There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the area itself, the most important one is Kedarnath.

Kedarnath Temple
The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology.

Outside the temple door, a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a "Garbha Griha" for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.

Puja Performed in Kedarnath Mandir
No specific family of pujaris supervises rituals at Kedarnath, which focus around veneration of the stone lingam that rests in the inner sanctum of the temple. Besides its affiliation with Shiva, Kedarnath is also believed to be the site of Shankaracharya's samadhi (achievement of beatified afterlife). The Kedarnath Temple committee office organises booking for special pooja which is performed before the general darshan in the morning

Kedarnath Temple Opening and Closing Timings
Temple is closed from 3 pm to 5 pm so plan to be at temple before 3 pm. Before 3 pm visitors can touch idle and do Abhishek with Ghee. After 5 PM no one can touch idle but can get Darshan with a distance. At this time idle is in Emperor costume.

The temple at Kedarnath enshrining the Jyotirlingam of Shiva opens only six months of a year (April-November) when the sun enters the zodiac sign of Aries and it is closed when the sun enters Scorpio.

Management of Kedarnath Temple
Under The Uttar Pradesh Act No. 30/1948 the administration of Kedarnath was included in the Badarinath Temple Act no. 16, 1939 and it came to be called Shri Badarinath and Shri Kedarnath Mandir Act. The same Samiti (committee) now governs both the temples. Further amended in 2002 after the formation of the 27th state of union of India, the act provides provisions of increasing the number of members, one vice chairman and adding Government officials to the committee.

How to Reach Kedarnath Dham
By Road: Kedarnath is well connected through road via major cities such as Chandigarh (387 km), Delhi (458 km), Nagpur (1421 km), Banglore (2484 km) or Rishikesh (189 km). You can opt out train journey till Haridwar, Kotdwar or Dehradun or air route too if suitable till Dehradun.

From New Delhi: Buses go to Haridwar almost every half an hour. Road takes 8 hours. Also you can go by train, this will take 4-6 hours. From Haridwar you can go directly to Kedarnath but it is also possible to stay there at least one day - this beautiful city is placed on Ganga. If your group is more then 5-6 persons you may think about renting a jeep. If jeep is fast enough then you can reach Gaurikund in 9-10 hours. Please note that road from Rishikesh to Gaurikund will be closed from 8 pm to 4 am.

Kedarnath from Haridwar: From Haridwar every day morning buses start to Gaurikund. Advance bookings can be made at GMOA (Garhwal Mandal owners Association) office in front of the railway station. It takes almost one full day journey to reach Gaurikund if there are no Landslides. Bus journey is very beautiful because most of the 240 kms is ghat road journey with many mountains around and river ganga following you through out the way.

Kedarnath By Taxi or Private Car
If you choose to drive your own vehicle/car, make sure it has good ground clearance as there are rocks strewn all over the route. A powerful engine will make life much easier. There are two parking lots just before Gaurikund (100m, 500m before Gaurikund). Getting space for private vehicles is tough, but can be managed after polite cajoling discussions with the caretakers.

Gate System on the Way to Kedarnath
In Sonprayag, just 5 km below Gaurikund, there is fatak (gate) to make sure vehicles move in one direction only from SonPrayag to Gaurikund. It ensures minimum traffic snarls, but adds 1-1.5 hrs to journey time should you end up on the stationary side. It would be advisable to park your vehicle at SonPrayag and hitch a ride to Gaurikund.

Transport in Gaurikund: Kedarnath is accessible only after a steep 13 km trek through a paved path (horses or palanquins are available for rent) from Gaurikund, which is connected by road from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and other important hill stations of the Garhwal and Kumaon regions in Uttaranchal. The charges are not fixed for Horses, Dandies and Ponies if you book directly. You can check the Govt rates and book from there only to get best rates.

Route to Kedarnath from Rishikesh (223 Kms) : Rishikesh - 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) - Rambara (7 kms) - Garurchatti (4 Kms) - Kedarnath (3 Kms).

By Air: The nearest airport from Kedarnath is the Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun, about 239 km from Kedarnath. In fact this airport is closer to Rishikesh (approx. 16 km) and takes roughly 20-30 minutes to reach Rishikesh. From there you need to book a taxi or take a bus to reach Joshimath. Kingfisher Airlines connects Dehradun airport with New Delhi through its Kingfisher Red service leaving New Delhi airport at 11:35 and 03:20 pm and reaching Dehradun at 12:30 pm and 04:20 pm respectively.

Kedarnath by Helicopter: Kedarnath can be reached very easily via Helicopter services, which operates from various places in Uttarakhand. Some of the prominent places from where you can get Helicopter to Kedarnath are: Dehradun, Gauchar, Agustmuni, Phata, Sitapur.

By Train: The nearest railway stations to Kedarnath are at Rishikesh (215 kms), Haridwar (241 kms), Dehradun (257 kms) and Kotdwar (246 kms). Rishikesh is not connected by fast trains and Kotdwar has very less number of trains. However, Haridwar railway station, 25 km from Rishikesh is better connected with New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Howrah.

Kedarnath Distance Guide : Delhi to Kedarnath: 458 km
Rishikesh to Kedarnath: 223 kms
Chandigarh to Kedarnath: 387 km
Nagpur to Kedarnath: 1421 km
Banglore to Kedarnath: 2484 km

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