Kedarnath....the holy shrine of Lord Shiva
‘Shiv Shambhu Bholenath, Har Har Mahadev’....the entire Kedarnath valley reverberates this sound, brimming the entire atmosphere with positivity and pious spirituality. Lord Shiva, the most revered deity in Hinduism rests in Kedarnath which is why it is visited by millions from across India every year.
Kedarnath temple is marvelously nestled at an elevation of 3584 meters above sea level in the Rudraprayag area of Garhwal, Uttarakhand, thus pilgrims are required to complete a grueling trek to reach the temple premises for the holy darshan. However demanding the trek may be, devotees from near and far-off places leave no stone unturned in paying tribute to the Devo Ke Dev Mahadev at his holy supreme shrine.
Things to consider for Kedarnath
If you are planning a trip to Kedarnath this year, you must be aware of a few things before planning your travel route to this one of the four spiritual dhams in India. For starters, the most challenging thing is the weather that extraordinarily wavers, making it challenging for pilgrims to complete their trek to reach the main temple compound for completing the holy darshan. It is nothing short of an accomplishment once you reach the Garbha Griha. The area is prone to landslides and many a time, the government intervenes to cease the visit to the temple because of this. Tourists must register themselves with the authorities before commencing their trek to the Kedarnath temple.
Moreover, the area near the main temple compound always remains jam-packed which is why an advance reservation is substantially required. Also, one can check accommodation in the Gaurikund area but this would also mean to double trek up and down on the same day. This can get highly demanding for those who have no prior experience in trekking or are beginners. The steep slopes are quite challenging and one may find it tricky to trek to the main temple realm.
The temple remains closed for half of the year because of inaccessibility due to heavy snowfall and snow storms, i.e. from November to April. Summer months are the best to visit Kedarnath, also avoid monsoons as there is a greater risk because of landslides.
Chardham Helicopter tour
The initiation of the project Chardham Helicopter tour by the Uttarakhand government has increased Kedarnath’s accessibility for those who are unfit for the trek and the elderly. It has now become convenient to complete the holy circuit of the Char Dham Yatra even if one cannot trek. The lifesaver helicopter for Kedarnath temple operates from several destinations such as Phata, Sitapur, Sersi, and Guptkashi.
How to do a helicopter ticket booking for Kedarnath?
Booking a helicopter ride to Kedarnath is an easy task, thanks to the online booking portal released by the Uttarakhand government, making it convenient for travelers to proceed with helicopter service bookings.
First up, one needs to visit the official website https://heliservices.uk.gov.in/ to initiate helicopter booking for Kedarnath. A registration portal will open on the screen where you need to register yourself. Once the registration is complete, you can then log in to access the helicopter registration page for further booking. Follow the on-screen instructions and finally complete the payment to receive a helicopter booking confirmation on your registered email address or contact number. You can also pre-book from a selection of Poojas/Aartis at Kedarnath.
How to reach Kedarnath?
Kedarnath, the abode of Lord Shiva, does not have any direct connectivity to trains and airplanes. Also, there is no direct connectivity of the road to the Kedarnath temple. The nearest train station is the Yog Nagri Rishikesh Railway station. The station is stationed 102 kilometers from the Kedarnath temple in Rudraprayag, Garhwal, Uttrakhand. From here one can find numerous taxi services that will escort you to Gaurikund from where you can commence the trek to the temple.
The nearest airport, Jolly Grant airport, is 240 km away from Kedarnath. You can take a bus or cab to Rishikesh and from there, taxis are readily available for Gaurikund. Gaurikund also has the last motorable road to Kedarnath and devotees then have to trek along the Himalayas to reach the main shrine (Kedarnath Temple). If you are unable to trek, you can pre-book helicopter services for completing your pilgrimage.
In conclusion, the scintillating abode of Lord Shiva is as unique as he is; the place is a magically woven cocoon of spirituality, and the very air of Kedarnath is entwined with Shiva’s spirit and benevolence in this spiritual realm. Apparently, Kedarnath is a rage among shiva devotees and pilgrims, wanting a glimpse of Mahadev in the hump of a bull avatar (form) which is why when the season opens the place is swarmed by devotees in hope of nirvana for a transcendental experience of a lifetime.