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Kedarnath City Information

Kedarnath City Info

City : Kedarnath

Fact File
Area : 2.75 sq km
Altitude : 3,581 m above sea level
Population : 301
Languages : Hindi, Garhwali
Best time to visit : May to October
STD Code : 0137286

Introduction

Situated at a height of 3,581 metres above sea level within the Garhwal Himalayas is Kedarnath, one of the holiest pilgrimages for Hindus from all over the world. Often referred to as the abode of Lord Shiva, the temple here is believed by some to be around 800 years old. The place also assumes significance because of it being the resting place of the renowned saint-philosopher Adi Shankaracharya.

Legend has it that after the great battle at Kurukshetra, the Pandavas went to Lord Shiva to seek penitence for having killed their kin in the battle. Lord Shiva wishing to elude the Pandavas took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. The Pandavas followed him there and, upon being discovered, Shiva dived into the ground leaving behind him a hump on the surface. The conical protrusion is worshipped as the idol in the shrine.

The winters at Kedarnath are very cold with the ground being covered with snow most of the time. In the summers, the mercury barely reaches 20°C. The place experiences about 150 cm of rainfall during the monsoons.

Sightseeing

A visit to Kedarnath combines both the adventure and spirituality commonly associated with the Himalayas. The folding and erosion of hills, luxuriant forests, green valleys, gushing rivers, beautiful waterfalls and deep ravines and passes add splendour to the trek. The temples en route give the feeling of the divine presence and you begin to realise why the region is called the land of gods. A visit to the ancient temple of Kedarnath, set among the stunning mountainscape and renovated a number of times over the centuries, marks a spiritual fulfilment and an excellent trekking experience. The not so religious minded can opt for trekking experience only. The region has eight trekking routes that take you through some picturesque landscapes. However, there is no organized trekking here and so you will have to make your own arrangements.

Excursions

A visit to the areas around Kedarnath can turn out to be an interesting experience. Kedarnath is surrounded by beautiful villages and lakes which add to the serenity and divinity of the place. The are picturesque lakes like Gandhi Sarovar and Vasuki Tal and villages like Gauri Kund, Sonprayag, Guptakashi and Ukhimath are not only interesting places to visit but also act as stages to various legends.

Kedarnath Sightseeing

Lingam

The ancient temple of Kedarnath is the main source of attraction here. It is a 14-km trek from Gaurikund. The lingam at Kedarnath is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of India. An irregular three-faced lingam, it represents the hump of Lord Shiva when he took the form of a bull. It is about 9 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 4 feet high. Pilgrims are allowed to touch the lingam, perform worship, abhishika (bath), and massage the lingam with ghee.

The temple at Kedarnath faces south, which is a unique feature, as most of the temples face east. The temple opens during the first week of May and closes either during the last week of October or the first week of November.

Kedarnath Excursions

Gandhi Sarovar

The Gandhi Sarovar is a small, picturesque lake situated around 1½ km from Kedarnath. According to a legend, it was from this place that Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas, left for heavenly abode.

Vasuki Tal

About 6 km from Kedarnath lies another beautiful lake, Vasuki Tal. The lake, situated at an astounding height of 4,135 m, is surrounded by high mountains and offers an excellent view of the Chaukhamba peak. The lake is also the source of the Son Ganga River. A short distance towards north-west lies the beautiful Painya Tal. The clear water of the lake enables you to see the rectangular rocks at the bottom of the lake.

Gauri Kund

Fifteen kilometres from the Kedarnath temple is Gauri Kund, a village that serves as the trekking base to Kedarnath. An exquisite temple dedicated to goddess Gauri is the main attraction of the village. The village also has some thermal springs which are believed to possess medicinal properties

Sonprayag

Located at a distance of 20 km from Kedarnath, the pristine village of Sonprayag is at the confluence of the Son Ganga and Mandakini rivers. From here, a short trek of 5 km leads you to Triyuginarayan, a mythological venue where the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati was supposed to be solemnized.

Guptakashi

It is a place where Lord Shiva is supposed to have proposed to Parvati. This enchanting locale situated at a distance of 49 km from the Kedarnath temple is famous for the temples of Ardhnarishwar and Vishwanathji.

Ukhimath

Located 59 km from Kedarnath, Ukhimath serves as the home of Lord Kedarnath during the winter months. During winter, the shrine at Kedarnath is closed as it remains submerged in the snow, and so the worship of the deity is performed at Ukhimath.

Agastamuni

This scenic site is situated about 73 km away from Kedarnath. A beautiful temple dedicated to the sage Agastya is the main attraction here.

Chopta

A place of great natural beauty, Chopta is situated about 40 km from Gopeshwar on the Gopeshwar-Ukhimath road at an altitude of about 2,500 m above sea level. The place provides a magnificent view of the Himalayan ranges around it.

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