Kedarnath is one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimages located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand in India. It is one among of the Char Dhams located within the Himalayas. The village of Kedarnath, whose defining feature is the temple, lies on the valley floor at the upper fringe of the Lesser Himalayan Mountain range, quite a bit higher than the altitudes at which most Garhwalis live. Kedarnath occupies an individual place in the networks of modern Hindu pilgrimage destinations. In current decades the road ended in Gaurikund, about 1,805 meters in altitude and 14km in distance short of the temple. Kedarnath is one of the four paramount sites in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage that also includes Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
It is the foremost remote of the four Char Dham sites and is bounded by breathtaking snow-clad mountaintop. Known for the ancient Shiva Temple, a visit to Kedarnath is an exhilarating experience. Just like the other sites, Kedarnath closes on the primary day of the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November) and reopens in Vaishakh (April-May) every year.
Kedarnath is a “crossing-over place” (Sanskrit: tirtha)—a place that gives the likelihood that one can “cross-over” or “ford” the ocean of rebirth. It is a place that gives special access to that which is underneath and over and within and beyond. It is a place that grants wish, heals, and purifies karma. It is a Dham, a habitat rich place of a deity. Kedarnath is top viewed primarily as a Dham, an especially powerful abode of Shiva. More specifically, alongside Manimahesh in modern-day Himachal Pradesh, Amarnath in Jammu and Kashmir, Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, and Pashupatinath in Nepal, Kedarnath is one of the foremost famous places where Shiva is skillful to dwell in the Himalaya, the mountain range that is famously both his father-in-law and his preferred residence, the place where he can pursue his yogic practices in natural solitude. It is one among the 12 jyotirlingas, 12 locations spread throughout India where Shiva’s universal sort of a vibrating column of light embeds itself in the ground. The linga contained within the temple is the most important point of Shiva’s presence in Kedarnath. It’s svayambhu—an a priori presence in the form of a roughly triangular piece of a mountain rock that emerges from the bottom and that muddies the relationships among God, place, and cosmos. This abode or dwelling happens inside and outside the temple.
The shrine is submerged in snow for about 6 months when the Lord is shifted to Ukhimath. Consistent with a legend, the temple came into existence as a result of the Pandavas’ search for Lord Shiva to catch abreast of their sins for killing their brethren during the Kurukshetra war. Lord Shiva steer clear all attempts to meet the brothers and stopped at Kedarnath and took the shape of a bull and began to force himself into the ground, leaving only his hump visible. The willpower and determination of the Pandavas admired Lord Shiva and he forgave their sins, blessed them, and allowed them to worship him at Kedarnath. It’s said that the stone-like structure that’s worshiped here is the hump of the bull.
The face emerges at Rudranath Temple, the arms at the Tungnath Temple, the belly at Madmaheshwar Temple and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar Temple. Kedarnath, and therefore the four above-mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.
BEST PLACES TO EAT
Kedarnath may be a strictly vegetarian place and use of alcohol is prohibited here. There are few restaurants, on the way directing up to the holy temple, which are open from 4 am to midnight and serve basic Indian food. It’s preferable to eat boiled vegetables or cooked food for keeping a track of your health.
HOW TO REACH KEDARNATH
From Rishikesh, you can grab the direct shared cab/bus till Guptkashi, or do many shared cabs from Rishikesh to Rudraprayag then Rudraprayag to Guptkashi.
From Guptkashi, another shared cab or one among the less frequent buses till Sonprayag, spend the night at there, then early morning leave for Gaurikund and you can begin your 16km trek from there.
Alternatively, you can also stay for Gaurikund overnight but stay options seem better in Sonprayag.