Kedarnath is known to be a holy pilgrimage place located in the northern state of Uttarakhand and situated at 3,584 metres above sea level, nearby the River Mandakini. Kedarnath falls under the four prime sites in Char DhamYatra in India, where the other four are Yamunotri, Gangotri, and Badrinath. Many believe that once in a lifetime, doing a Char DhamYatra is a must, as it leads to liberation (moksha).
Kedarnath among the four pilgrimage sites is known to be the most prime site, which is flanked with breathtaking snow covered mountains. It is devoted to Lord Shiva. Due to the weather condition, Kedarnath is closed during Hindu month’s first day of Kartik that is October-November. It reopens every year in Vaishakh month that is April-May. The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 18-kilometres (11-mile) uphill trek from the town of Gaurikund (though pony and manchan service is available to reach the structure).
Legend says that this temple of Kedarnath came to existence when Pandavas had gone in search for God Shiva, as they wanted to apologize for their committed sins of Brahmanahatya (killing Brahmin) and fratricide (killing their own brother). But Lord Shiva tried to avoid all the attempts to let any of the brothers meet him. For this reason, Lord Shiva went incognito and took the form of bull Nandi. But the Pandavas went after him and recognized Shiva in his disguised form. When they tried to pursue Shiva, he vanished in the ground, where later he reappeared in five of the different forms that are, hump in Kedarnath, face in Rudranath, arms in Tungnath, locks in Kalpeshwar, and stomach in Madhyamaheshwar. In the temple of Kedarnath you can see the statues of five Pandavas as well. The mantras spoken during the puja of Shiva are in Kannada language, which has been the ritual from hundred years, and the head priest is also from Karnataka.
Stay in Kedarnath:
The best places where one can stay in Kedarnath are hotels as well as dharamshalas. Although it is recommended to do the booking for stay prior as it is one of the major tourist places and pilgrims. Dharamshalas is preferred by many as it provides all the basic amenities and has comfortable accommodation, and also they are available for below 500 rupees. There are also guest houses which stay booked generally all time of the year, so much luck can’t be expected with it.
The availability of roomis higher during the month of September to October, where you can avail rooms at the rate of 600 rupees per night, where facility of hot water is at additional charge rate. Rooms in some of the better hotels are located nearby to temple, where the cost is in between 1000-1200 rupees, which offer hot water and on demand heater service. The hotels for higher range that is from 2500-4000 rupees per day, offer better facilities with coffee shop, heater, internet, and TV. Along with rooms, you can also opt for Kedarnath helicopter booking (http://kedarnath-helicopter-booking.triptochardham.com/) in advance.
Kedarnath is known to be strictly vegetarian area, where consumption of alcohol is also prohibited. There are some of the restaurants available or you can say dhabas, which are nearby and opens from early morning that is from 4 o’clock. Basic Indian food is served here, and it is very much advisable to eat healthy and boiled vegetables to maintain health.
So plan a trip to Kedarnath soon and enjoy the beauty of the magnificent Himalayan views along with the temple.