Kedarnath, is the most known and visited pilgrimage in India, and it is in devotion to Lord Shiva. Here you would see the unparalleled beauty offered by the Himalayas, and this trip is a main part of the Char DhamYatra. Kedarnath is located in Uttarakhand, and has been popularly known for having Kedarnath Temple. It is the holiest pilgrimage, which one plans to visit as a part of their Char DhamYatra, once in a lifetime. This Char DhamYatra involves Kedarnath, Gangotri, Badrinath, and Yamunotri.
This pilgrimage is visited by everyone, be it aged, middle aged, or youngsters. Youngsters find this pilgrimage as a great adventure to hike and explore the scenic beauty. Just as other sites, this place closes during Kartikmaas (Hindu Month) i.e. from October to November, and opens again in the Vaishakhmaas (Hindu Month) i.e. from April to May, which is followed by every year.
The shrine gets submerged within snow for half of the year. Legends have said that this temple came to the very existence, when Pandavas were in search of the Lord Shiva in order to compensate for the sins they had done by killing that took place during the war of Kurukshetra. Lord Shiva had attempted to avoid all scenarios to meet them but eventually stopped in this very place called Kedarnath. Here he took the shape of the bull and forced himself to the ground beneath and the only part visible was the hump. The determination and will power of Pandavas had Lord Shiva impressed and blessed them by forgiving their sins. So it is being said that the big stone shaped structure is basically the bull’s hump. The yatra or the tour remains incomplete if you don’t visit Pashupatinath as the head of the bull is said to be there, which is situated in Nepal. Kedarnath is part of the known twelve Jyotirlingas.
There arePanchKedar- that is the face present at the Rudranath Temple, arms in Tungnath Temple, hair locks along with the head in the Kalpeshwar Temple, and belly in the Madmaheshwar Temple, along with hump in the Kedarnath Temple – all make it PanchKedar.
Planning the trip:
Kedarnath yatra should be planned in advance, so there are no any last minute hassles and delays. After the 2013 disaster that took place, Government has restricted and put a limit on the number of people travelling to Kedarnath route, which is around 1500 a dayalthough the government is planning a registration for having around 5000 per day.
Here there are simple two ways for registration of Chardham and Kedarnath Yatra. So you can either plan to register directly with registration counter or you can book online. Booking online has one drawback, that is, the seats are limited. Such counters are there at many of the public places such as markets, near Haridwar bus stands, Rishikesh Terminals, railway stations etc. At some counters they do ask for photo id, which isn’t mandatory but better to carry one. There are various types of Yatra, so when you get to the counters you need to specify as to which yatra you want to opt for such as the EkDham, Do Dham, Char Dham, etc. While registering, they will capture your photo using a webcam, and through this they will provide you with trip card. Throughout your journey, you are required to carry along this trip card.
2. After Reaching Guptkashi and Gaurikund
Just the registration doesn’t mean you are all set for the trip, now for this Kedarnath Yatra, you are also required to obtain a proper medical certificate mentioning that you are physically fit to carry on with this pilgrimage. Such certificates you can obtain from Sonprayag and Guptkashi medical centres. Here they examine blood pressure as well as inquire if you have any other medical condition or history. If the conditions are minor, they will provide you with medications. If they are major conditions, then they will not allow you to further carry forward with this yatraby trek. But there is other way that is they allow you to travel by helicopter. Kedarnath helicopter ticket booking can be done here. These centres for medical check-up get extremely crowded during the morning time, as most of the pilgrims prefer to come in morning. So, to avoid any delays, it is very well advisable that you avail your medical certificate a day prior to your trekking. If you get late because of this, then you will also lose the chance of getting palkis and ponies. As day passes by the availability of the palkis and ponies also decrease.
3. Registering for Palkis/Ponies
To hire palki or pony for your Kedarnath yatra from the Sonprayag, there are many governments based counters, from where you can book it. These are available on fixed rates, and every year government plans the price, which is made available to the tourists. During the 2015 Kedarnath Yatra, the price was fixed at 1800/- rupees for one person from Sonprayag, and Kedarnath it was fixed at 1400/- rupees. This is only one-way trip, and the round off comes to 3200/- rupees per person. From Sonprayag it takes almost 6 hours to reach Kedarnath on a pony, and from Kedarnath it takes almost 4 hours to return back to Sonprayag.
There are many medicalcentres, safety arrangements, food facility, etc. available along the trek. Having helipads, pony rides and palkis makes the journey easy for the ones who have medical problems. There are also several hotels, guest houses, and dharamshalas available, where you can make booking prior as thinking that when you reach, there will be some accommodation available, doesn’t work most of the times. Better to plan and make arrangements before going to Kedarnath yatra, especially if you are travelling with family. Such arrangements and registrations make you relax, feel safe, and comfortable. So, plan a trip soon to Kedarnath and enjoy its scenic beauty, as this is one of the best lifetime experiences, which you don’t want to miss out on.