A complete Guide to Kedarnath temple trek: Heaven on Earth
Most of us have thought or dream of at least visiting Kedarnath once in our lifetime. It is considered to be one of the holiest places in India. The majestic Kedarnath peak (6,940 meters) stands behind the temple along with other peaks and adds to the scenery of the area
To just give you a little background of the place, Kedarnath is one of the Char-Dhams popular in the state of Uttarakhand. Others being Gangotri (Origin of River Ganga), Yamunotri (Origin of River Yamuna) and Badrinath (Origin of River Alaknanda).
Also, Kedarnath is said to be more than 1,200 years old and one among the 12 jyotirlingas in India (Other Jyotirlinga been shown). Luckily, I have covered 8 out of them and hoping to cover all by the next two years 😊
There is an interesting story about Kedarnath. According to mythology, Pandavas built the Kedarnath temple after Mahabharata. It is said that Pandavas wanted to go to Lord Shiva for forgiveness after killing their Kaurav brothers to atone for their sins. But Lord Shiva did not want to meet them and hid from them by taking a form of Bull (Nandi). Pandavas and Draupadi spotted a bull that was very unique from the other bulls. Pandav’s brother Bheema identified that the bull is none other than Lord Shiva himself. Bheema tried to catch the bull but couldn’t succeed, he only caught the tail of the bull. Lord Shiva, reappeared in five different forms in five different places called as Panch Kedar taking the form of bull hump at Kedarnath. Hence the shivling is in that form in Kedarnath. (You can google more about Panch Kedar if interested!)
So now coming back to the point, I travelled and completed the whole trek on foot in the month of October 2022, just after the monsoons and before the onset of winter which is considered the best time. Basis my experiences, I will help you all to plan your trip by sharing my stories and giving details about almost everything.
So, Let’s Start!!!
So, a form needs to be filled online which you can get at Kedarnath shrine website. You need to fill the name of the travellers, mobile number, emergency contact number and passport size photo. You get the confirmation easily and guaranteed in 30 minutes.
The temple is opened from may till 2 days post Diwali which is 26th Oct in year 2022. So, you can plan your travel accordingly
Alternate options for the trek:
While I would suggest to do it on foot to get the actual feel, but there are lot of other options like Pony, Palki and helicopter services if you need to. For helicopter, would request to book it in advance through some agent otherwise it is difficult to get the tickets instantly.
Mode of travel:
You can travel by your own car from Delhi. Time taken around 15-16 hours depending upon the traffic. And because of the yatra season and narrow roads, you will find traffic in between for sure.
Else you can take a train till Delhi. After that hop on a bus till Rishikesh and then either take a bus till Guptkashi or take a shared taxi/private taxi till Guptkashi
Else you can opt for a group tour from Either Delhi or Rishikesh which as per my recommendation is the best if you are travelling solo or with friends.
And if you are with family, then my recommendation would be taking a private taxi from Delhi.
You will get ample options on the way though mostly vegetarian as it is a religious route.
There are lot of options and varieties for coffee. So, if you are a coffee lover, this is actually the right place for you
Now I should come to itinerary. You can skip few things if you wish to, or add some days in particular city if you like. I went in a group by our vehicle. So, sharing itinerary basis that:
Day 1: Start from Delhi and reach to Guptkashi (400 Kms, 12-13 hours)
Start as early as possible from Delhi (4-5 am types) if driving on your own. Else try to leave by midnight if taking a taxi.
First stop will be at Rishikesh at around 200 Kms. Have breakfast and start your journey for Devbhoomi Uttarakhand!
Next stop will be Devprayag which is the Sangam of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. This is actually the place where river Ganga is named. Click photos and begin the journey ahead.
You will reach Guptkashi by around 5pm. Relax, have dinner and let you prepare for the trek next day.
If coming by bus or shared taxi, they will also drop you off to Guptkashi. SO would recommend to have a night stay here itself.
We stayed at Himalayan guest house. It has mountain facing rooms. The owner Sushant Sharma is very supportive. You can connect him at 9760944055
Day 2: Start from Guptkashi. Trek to Kedarnath temple and stay near the temple.
It will be the most difficult and long day today. So, start your day early to avoid traffic.
If travelling by private car, start at around 7 pm and reach Sonprayag which takes around 1 hour. There is ample parking space there. Also, you can get a shared taxi from Guptkashi till Sonprayag very easily for 300 Rs.
Once you reach Sonprayag, you need to compulsorily take the shared taxi till Gauri Kund which is 10 kms from Sonprayag.
The actual Kedarnath trek starts from Gauri Kund. While it is mentioned as 16 Kms but in actual world it is more than 22 Kms. Few more Kms have increased after the tragic Kedarnath cloud burst.
You can easily get a pony or Palki from Here at fixed charges of around Rs. 2500 one way.
On foot it will take you around 7-8 hours, depending on you speed and on Pony it will take around 4 hours.
You will reach the Kedarnath temple premises by around 5 Pm. Would definitely recommend you to not miss the evening aarti which starts at 6Pm.
While there are a lot of staying options near the temple premises, but due to the crowd would advice you to book the tents/homestays in advance. You can get it booked from Guptkashi itself by paying a little extra charge. (Recommended)
See the temple in the night, Relax, have dinner and go to sleep early as you would be very tired and the weather would also be cold.
Start point of Trek || Trek route || Night view of Temple
Day 3: Kedarnath Darshan, Trek back to GauriKund and stay in Guptkashi.
Wake up by 5pm to have early morning darshan and enjoy panoramic views around the temple.
There would be a huge line for the darshan. So, either you can be in the line by around 5am and your number will come in 1-2 hours or you can unofficially pay the temple priests around 1000 bucks and he will make you have darshan through VIP entry which is recommended to save time and enjoy views.
Checkout, have breakfast and start trek back by around 10 am.
Reach GauriKund by around 4Pm as trekking down takes around 5-6 hours maximum. There is a Hot water spiring located on the way. Would recommend you to have a dip there. All the pain would vanish instantly. (Trust me!)
Take a shared taxi from GauriKund to Sonprayag and then travel back to Guptkashi.
Have dinner, do a little oil massage of your legs and sleep early.
Morning View of the temple || Peaks surrounding || The view during trek down
Day 4: Start from Guptkashi and reach Delhi.
You can wake up at your own time but my recommendation is to wake up early to get mesmerizing views of chaukambha peak from Guptkashi!
Start journey back post breakfast. Take first stop at Rudrapayag which is the Sangam of Alaknanda and mandakini rivers.
Have lunch at Rudraprayag and start the journey towards Rishikesh.
Reach Rishikesh by around 5 pm. Visit the Laxman Jhula and Ganga aarti if time permits.
Start your journey back to Delhi and reach here by Midnight with beautiful memories of the trip.
Chaukambha peak from Guptkashi || Rudrapayag || Rishikesh Ram Jhoola
Book Helicopter tickets and accommodation in advance if required as there will always be crowd and to avoid last minute rush especially when travelling with family.
Start your journey to such places early in the morning as there would be less traffic and more time for you to explore places.
You will easily get lot of things to eat on the way. So, avoid carrying extra stuff to eat as you would need to carry that weight yourself.
Wherever you find a line for any entry, you can stand in that line and tell your family to join you once it is near to the destination.
Do let me know if I missed anything. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me at Instagram @peakandtroughs.
To many more travels,