Essential Advice for Exploring Kedarnath Dham: Your Comprehensive Travel Guide


As the name suggests this ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Kedar. Sitting at an elevation of 3,583 metres above sea level and offering some of the most stunning views of the surroundings, the undulating landscape of Kedarnath valley represents a wonderful combination of spirituality and picturesque views. Sitting inside the temple the presiding deity is in the form of a black, irregular gleaming stone structure. This iconic Jyotirlinga is believed to be one of the holiest and also a part of the Panch Kedar Yatra of Uttarakhand that includes temples like Madhyamaheshwar, Kalpeshwar, Tungnath and Rudranath. The main hall of this temple is a sight to behold with the presence of a number of images and statues dedicated to the lord and his consort.

Legend of the Temple

The term ‘Kedarnath’ literally translates into ‘the lord of the field’ and its history dates back to the ancient ages. As per the numerous Hindu mythological accounts Lord Shiva had decided to settle down here as requested by the twins Nar and Narayan. Another account mentions about the fact that after the Kurukshetra war the Pandava brothers are said to have visited this place and established the Panch Kedar Yatra since they were looking for Lord Shiva to ask for forgiveness for killing their kin in the war.

While looking for the lord they reached Kedarnath and found the lord in the guise of a bull having recognized the lord, the lord dug himself into the ground however the strongest Pandava brother Bheem grabbed the lord by the tail and forced him to forgive the brothers. Later on the brothers established temples on the spot from where the lord’s head, legs etc were located, one of them being in Pashupatinath at Nepal. One of the earliest mentions of the temple can be found in the 7th and 8th century book of Skanda Purana.

Lesser Known Fact

As per the latest researches done by scientists it has been proven that the ancient temple of Kedarnath was under the cover of snow for as long as 400 years. This research was done by the scientists of Wadia institute of Himalayan geology who also said that due to this fact the shrine had not suffered huge damages during the flooding of June 15th and 16th. This fact is evident due to the obvious presence of numerous yellow lines which was formed die to the slow movement of glacier over these stones.

The temple had not only survived these intense years of mini ice age which had took place in this region but it also escaped serious damages which could have been caused due to glacial movements. These lines representing glacial movements are not only evident outside the temple structure but it is also present inside the temple walls. This little ice age lasted between 1300 – 1900 AD and there is no real or documented evidence as to who had constructed this temple for this information people rely on the holy ancient Hindu literary books.

Route Map

Route map from Delhi – Delhi – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Augustmuni – Guptkashi – Gaurikund – Kedarnath

If you are travelling from Delhi, Dehradun, Nainital or any other part of India you will be required to commute from the twin holy towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Opening and Closing Dates

The temple opens its Kapat for Darshan to the pilgrims during the holy day of Akshaya Tritiya with great zeal, which falls on the day of either end of April or early may. The temple then shuts down for Darshan with the onset of winter during the auspicious day of Bhai Dooj which falls mostly during the month of either late October or early November. If you are looking to go on a Char Dham Yatra then during winter you will be visiting the holy abode at Ukhimath which is the winter home of lord Kedar.

Travel Tips

  • Carry Important Medicines – Make sure you have packed all your important and vital medicines which may come to use during your holy Yatra like anti fever, antibiotics, and diarrhea medicine and pain killers. Also make it a point to carry along a first aid kit (containing bandages, band aid, Dettol, doctor tape etc.) that may come in handy during emergency situations.
  • Load up on Woolens – Pack up a lot of warm woolen winter wear clothing items like heavy down jackets, woolen sweaters, sweatshirts and thermals. You should also carry along with you some winter travel essential accessories like ear muffs, gloves, zippers, leg warmers, woolen mufflers, woolen socks, shawls etc which will definitely be an essential addition to your winter wardrobe.
  • Make Bookings Beforehand – Confirm your bookings way beforehand since the Char Dham Yatra is an extremely popular pilgrimage holiday which is availed by a large population of tourists not only from India but as well as for people from abroad. No matter which packages you are booking it is vital for you to get it done and confirmed beforehand especially your helicopter services for Kedarnath yatra.
  • Refrain from Unethical Activities – Being a holy pilgrimage destination Kedarnath Dham restricts the consumption of alcoholic drinks and non-vegetarian food items. These activities will not only land you in trouble but you will also be charged a fine of hefty amount.
  • No Camera Area – The valley of Kedarnath is a beautiful and scenic destination with picturesque sights every step of the way. You will be compelled to click a number of pictures everywhere (for which you should carry an extra pair of batteries and portable chargers) however, photography and videography inside the temple premises is strictly prohibited.
  • Carry Dry Fruits – It is a wise option for you to carry along dry food materials like powdered milk and tea bags so that you don’t spend your money in constantly buying useless food items. Dry fruits are also a good option for you to carry as an eatable option since it provides you with instant energy boost.

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