Kedarnath YatraKapat Open - 14th May 2013 (Tentative)
Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar), Kedarnath
One of the holiest pilgrimages of Hindus, Kedarnath is one of the four Char dhams. The visit to these four dhams (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamnotri) is considered very important. The famous shrine of Kedarnath features one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Kedar of Lord Shiva. It is situated at an altitude of 3.58metres. The origin of this place is explained in the epic, Mahabharata. According to it, the Pandavas took the blessings of Lord Shiva to atone their sins after the battle of Mahabharata. Ancient temples built by the Pandavas are still present there. Adi Shankaracharya built the main temple in 18th century. At the entrance of the temple there is an imposing statue of Nandi, the sacred bull. The temple is built of grey slabs of stone. It has a huge mandap and an inner sanctum, where Lord Shiva is given homage by the devotees. The main attraction is the uniquely formed conical shaped rock that is considered to represent Lord Shiva.
One may also do tracking up to the Vasuki Tal. From here, one can enjoy the panoramic view of Chaukhamba peaks. Vasuki lake has crystal clear water with blocks of ice floating in it. There are rectangular slabs of rock at the bottom of this lake. It is completely frozen during winters. The journey to Kedarnath is very beautiful as one enjoys the valleys and the mountains. River Ganga flows continuously along the road. The sound of water striking the rocks can be heard clearly. Tourists often stop by and enjoy playing with the ice nearby the roads. It is situated among the beautiful mountains of Uttaranchal. One may approach it from Gaurikund, which has direct road connections to Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun. Daily morning buses to Gaurikund are available from Haridwar. The nearest rail head is Rishikesh, which is 234km from Kedarnath. The nearest airport is jolly grant in Dehradun, 251km away. The best months to visit Kedarnath are between May to October. Some private guesthouses are there and one can take a dip in the holy water from a hot spring.
The glaciers feed major rivers such as the Ganges, and one such glacier is Chorabari Glacier in India. A three and a half kilometres of trek from Kedarnath leads to Chorabari glacier situated between the Kedarnath summit to the north and the town of Kedarnath to the south, this glacier produces a vigorous stream that eventually merges with the Ganges River. Covering some six square kilometres the Chorabari Glacier sports a rocky coating that helps insulate it from melting. Almost all the places in an around Kedarnath is related to Mahabharata in one or the other way. Chorabari also is not an exception. This picturesque lake is also named as Gandhi Sarovar. The popular belief is that it was from here Yudhishthira endeavours his heavenly voyage. Chorabari would be a nice stop over for those who prefer to be in the lap of the Mother Nature in sheer solitude.
Rudraprayag is of immense significance for the pilgrims of Char Dham Yatra, as it is the junction for visiting Badrinath and Kedarnath Dham. An ancient shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of 'Rudra'. Lying at the confluence of the Soneganga and Mandakini rivers, Sonprayag is a beautiful village in Rudraprayag District of Uttaranachal. It is situated at an altitude of around 6000ft above sea level and is noted for its scenic beauty. Sonprayag holds a captivating appeal and is a tiny village situated at the union of two majestic rivers, Mandakini and Basuki. Bounded by lofty snow clad peaks, this place offers a relaxed calmness. By road, Sonprayag is well connected with Ukhimath and Rudraprayag. Apart from its pictorial appearance, this popular tourist location is a much-revered religious place. The devotees believe that a simple dip in the rivers would fetch them with high rewards.
Gaurikund, situated on the bank of river Mandakini at an elevation of 1982 meters & 5km from Sonprayag, is considered to be the gateway to Kedarnath. The attractive mountainous region houses the ancient temple of Gauri mata- dedicated to Goddess Gauri or Parvati. A few kilometres away from the hot spring, can be seen the ancient temple of beheaded Ganesha. The temple of Kedarnath is clearly visible from Gaurikund on a clear day. The uphill trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath is the steepest but the pilgrims throng to Gaurikund and Kedarnath, just to get a glimpse of these natural wonders. Gaurikund acts as a good base to further their climb for professional trekkers while pilgrims prepare themselves for the holy darshan of the Shiva lingum in Kedarnath. Kalikamli Dharamsala, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Hotel Devlok, Hotel Shivlok are some of the lodges where one can put up at Gaurikund.
Vasuki Tal, Kedarnath
Kedarnath is at an altitude of 3584 metres. The trek starts from Gaurikund, Where there is a hot water Sulphur Spring. While approaching Kedarnath, one passes through stately forests and come across some beautiful waterfalls. A magnificent temple was built by the Pandavas at the base of Kedarnath peak's south eastern face, and millions of pilgrims now come here to offer their prayers to Lord Shiva the most revered sacred sites of the Hindus. Vasuki Tal, eight kilometres from Kedarnath is, at a height of 4135 metres. The lake is surrounded by high mountains and offers an excellent view of the Chaukhamba peaks. Kedarnath to Vasukital is a continuous ascent, and a great trek where from the view of Chaukhamba Peaks and Mandakini Valley is wonderful. Vasukital Lake, about half a kilometre in radius, with crystal clear waters will possibly take you into an immediate trance.
Situated in the backdrop of the majestic Sri Kedarnath range, Kedarnath is a fourteen kilometres trek from Gaurikund. During the winters, the shrine is submerged in snow & hence is closed. Agast Muni is located seventeen kilometres beyond Rudraprayag enrooted to Kedarnath. Agastya, referred in the Mahabharata in Sauptikaparva, as the teacher of Guru Drona, gave Drona, the greatest of weapons, Brahmashirasa, used by both Arujuna and Ashwathama at the end of the war. Augustyamuni is famed for the temple in the name of sage Agastya. The popular belief is that the sage had meditated here for almost one year. This holy shrine at the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand is thronged by thousands of devotees during Baisakhi celebrations. The old temple at this lofty place exemplifies excellent architecture and structural magnificence. Its walls are carved with the images of numerous gods and goddess of the Hindu Mythology.
About 49km from Kedarnath, Guptkashi, a place filled with calmness and peace of mind, is located in the district of Rudraprayag within the hill state of Uttarakhand in India. It is supposed that when the Pandavas were on a lookout to meet Lord Shiva after the battle of Kurukshetra and seek his blessing, the Lord evaded them by leaving Guptkashi, Kedarnath. Lord Shiva did not wish to meet them as he held them accountable for bloodshed and devastation of their family rule even though they fought for the correct cause. Guptkashi is considered to be as significant as Kashi since it is here at Manikarnik Kund that the streams of Ganga and Yamuna are believed to meet. Guptkashi is situated at an elevation of 1319 metres. 3km from Guptkashi, the remains of Ramgarh still seem to repeat the love between Lord Krishna's son Anniruddha and Vanasur's daughter Usha.
Chandrashila summit is a rock face above the temple of Tungnath, the highest of all the temples in the Himalayas. It is a short but rigorous hike beyond the temple. The Chandrashila summit affords the most beautiful view of the Nandadevi, Trishul, Kedar Peak and Chaukhamba peaks. There are various legends associated with this place. According to one of the popular legend, this is the place where Lord Rama meditated after defeating the demon-king Ravana. Another legend says that moon-god Chandra spent time here in penance. Chandrashila Trek is one of the popular treks that can be undertaken round the year, in Garhwal Himalayas except during heavy snowing months of December & January. Apart from trekking, Chandrashila is ideal for other escapades like skiing and scaling. Though the main destination is the summit of the peak, the lord Shiva temple on the high precepts is also worthy visiting.
Chopta is one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots in the whole Garhwal. The breathtaking view of the Himalayas is treating for the eyes as well as soul. Chopta is situated on the Gopeshwar - Ukhimath road at a distance of about forty kilometres from Gopeshwar Chopta at a height of 2900metres. Chopta, a fascinating trek through the snowy environ, offers an eye catching spectacles of the majestic mountains and lush meadows. Chopta comes under the protected area of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary and it is a natural habitat for many of the rare species in the animal kingdom. These unruffled surroundings are a hot spot of adventurous people since it offers excellent opportunities of trekking. Apart from enjoying the natural splendours, one is also has the option to be blessed with the holy darshan of the Shiva temple which is said to be one among the Panch Kedars.