Kedarnath temple considers one of the most beautiful Hindu shrines around the world, Located on the Himalayan Ranges on the shores of Mandakini River at the height of 11,755 ft. from the Sea level, in the northern state of India, Uttrakhand. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open to the general public only between the months of April and November. During the winters, Lord Shiva from the Kedarnath temple is carried down to Ukhimath and where the deity is worshiped for the next six months.
According to the Hindu Legends, Kedarnath Temple is said to be more than 1200 years Old and one of Four Major sites of Chhota Charm Dham, Which includes Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamnotri & Gangotri. Ultimately all are in the Northern state of India, Uttrakhand (The Land of God).
Kedarnath was the most affected town during the 2013 Flood in North India, The Temple Complex and near all got Damaged. But the temple structure Didn’t suffer any major Damage, Apart from a few Cracks. Thanks to the Big Rock behind the temple which slides from the mountains during the flood and stopped right behind the temple, which ultimately acted as a barrier, protecting the temple from the Flood.
HOW TO REACH KEDARNATH TEMPLE
Kedarnath temple is one of the Highest Shiva temples and the trek to the temple is considered as one of the toughest treks in Hinduism, Surrounded by wide ranges of Himalayas. Reaching the Kedarnath temple isn’t as easy as it looks Since the temple is at an altitude of Approx. 12,000 ft.
Kedarnath is 223 km away from the Holy city of Rishikesh, which is about 7-8 Hours of Journey to reach Guptkashi. You can drive from Rishikesh to Guptkashi via Rudraprayag or you may board the frequent buses that run from Rishikesh to Guptkashi. Better to check the Buses schedule on UTC Official Website.
Guptkashi is the nearest town to the Kedarnath temple, which is 34 km away from Gaurikund (where the trek for the temple officially starts). Guptkashi is well connected through the bus services across the state of Uttarakhand & also a nice place to spend a day exploring the sacred Vishwanath temple & the lifestyle of the people living in mountains.
From Guptkashi, Sharing Jeeps will be there to take you to Sonprayag, which will take about an hour. Sonprayag is a small village & the official administration of the Kedarnath temple committee, This is where you can register yourself for the trek to the temple.
Once you are in Sonprayag, You have to fetch another Sharing jeep which will drop you at the Gaurikund, which is about 3 Km and it would take about 20 minutes to reach Guarikund.
Gaurikund is situated at an altitude of 6,502 feet above sea level in the Garhwal Himalayas. It’s the official gateway to start your 16 Kms trek to the Kedarnath temple.
KEDARNATH SUMMIT TREK
Trek to the temple starts from Gaurikund, A small village in Chamoli District 16 Km away from Kedarnath temple. Gauikund is the starting point to get yourself ready for one of the most Beautiful & toughest trek. It would roughly take about 8-10 hours to reach the summit.
Trekking to the temple is divided into 7 Halting points, Each point has a specific importance. All the 7 Major Halting Points are Junglechatti, Bheembal, Rambara, Lencholi, Base Camp & the Kedarnath temple itself. Beautiful mountains, Dozen of Waterfalls, snow mountains, Mesmerizing atmosphere, and the beauty of Mandakini river floating alongside with Trek. Kedarnath trek is an unforgettable experience or you may call it, a journey of a lifetime to remember.
Starting from Guarikund, Trek will head you to Rambara, the starting 7 Km seems very normal as the way is very well Designed, Crossing Junglechatti & Bheembal. this was used to be the old trek to Kedarnath But after the 2013 Flood, the way was partially Devasted. Hence the further way after Rambara to the temple is totally a new trek, which is equally difficult to trek as somewhere there is no proper way to cross. But it’s equally fun & at the same time gave us the real adventurous time.
Bambara is officially the first half of the Summit. After crossing the Mandakini river over the Bridge, heading to the second half is the difficult part, while the trek altitude to the summit is high and needs a lot of effort for the base camp. while there are many Camps operated by GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam), Restaurants run by local villagers.
Base camp is about 1.5 km away from the temple, which is the nearest stop to the temple. Base camp has many camp houses, which ultimately give you the reason to rest overnight for getting ready to see the most beautiful lord shiva temple surrounded around the range of Himalayas.
THE STORY OF KEDARNATH TEMPLE
The Temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. The builders kept in mind that in the Hindu religion Shiv, to whom Kedarnath is dedicated, is not only a savior but also a destroyer. So the entire temple complex and the area were built in such a way that the shrine would be able to survive natural disasters. Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have died aged 32, at Kedarnath, Texts say that he was last seen by his disciples behind the Kedarnath temple, walking in the Himalayas until he was not traced.
Geologists claim that the temple of Kedarnath was under snow for nearly 400 years, sometime around 1300-1900 AD, a period known as the Little Ice Age. Scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, say the several yellow lines on the temple walls point to glacial activity in the region. The temple not only survived being under the snow for 400 years but also escaped any serious damage from glacial movement, as per this report.
Scientists say that even the inside of the temple shows signs of glacial movement and the stones are more polished. The report further adds that scientists studied architecture and concluded that those who designed the temple not only kept in mind the terrain but also the formation of snow and glaciers, and ensured that the structure was strong enough not only to withstand natural disasters and the passage of time.
Kedarnath temple is a Pure Gem on Earth, Right in the Middle of Land and sky, which is indeed a dream destination for all the Hindus around the world. Kedarnath trek is one of India’s Beautiful treks, which definitely needs your visit.
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