The Hindu temple of Kedarnath is one of the holiest and sacred shrines in India. Situated high among the Garhwal Himalayan lap at a height of 3,583 metres above sea level, the temple site offers its visitors with some of the most panoramic and scenic views of the surrounding landscape. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and as history dictates this prime center of pilgrimage was established by the Pandava brothers. The temple is not directly accessible by road and can only be reached after covering an uphill trek of 18 km which commences from Gaurikund. Apart from being one of the significant parts of the Chota Chardham Yatra, the temple is also one of the prime jyotirlingas of India among the 12.
Kedarnath can be reached only during the summer months when the snow has melted and the roads have been cleared for the journey. The gates are opened in the onset of summer months on the eve of Akshaya Tritiya which falls during the months of April and May. During the open season several thousands of devout Hindu pilgrims take up this journey towards cleansing their soul and attaining moksha in life. There are numerous options to reach Kedarnath Dham if you are not too keen on walking all the way. Mules and palanquins are made available for a comfortable journey. Apart from this helicopter services to Char Dham Yatra are also made available for people seeking a convenient substitute. These options are usually taken up by senior citizens and people suffering from some sort of a physical ailment.
If you are planning on taking up this potentially life-changing pilgrimage journey then you must follow these preparatory guidelines:
Check for Timings:
First and foremost you should remember to keep in mind to make this pilgrimage yatra during the appropriate time. Keep a check on the opening dates of Kedarnath dham which usually occurs between the months of April and May during the eve of Akshaya Tritiya. The yatra halts for a while during the months of June and August due to heavy rainfall when the entire region becomes vulnerable to landslides and mudslides making the pilgrimage journey extremely difficult. The month of September, right after the rainy season, is the best time to visit the dham. The temple door shuts down for pilgrimage between the months of October and November during the day of Diwali.
Hire a Tour Operator:
If this is your first time then make sure to hire an experienced tour operator who will successfully guide you towards your destination. It is advisable for you to opt for a guide since he will have the best knowledge about the area including accommodation, food options, nearby sightseeing areas and the exact darshan timings.
In order to cover this journey people need to be physically fit. Consult a physician just 3 months prior to the commencement of your journey. This consultation would require a thorough check-up of your whole body making sure that you are fit to cover the strenuous trekking journey. Be sure you are not suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac disease or any such related problems. Be sure you carry your proper medication for the entire journey and also get appropriate treatment before kick-starting your yatra.
Being situated at a whopping elevation among the snowcapped mountains it is advisable for you to carry along heavy warm jacket, woolen clothes, warm gloves, and trekking boots. The temperatures during night time tend to go below zero making the need for heavy winter clothing necessary. You should also carry mufflers, winter caps, glares and a sun block so that your skin doesn’t get burnt.
Avoid carrying heavy and bulky luggage and bags as it will only set you back in your journey. You will have the option of using Haridwar or Rishikesh as your base camp where you can leave your unnecessary heavy baggage. Only carry small pieces of baggage with your essentials inside like packets of dry fruits which you can munch on if you during your yatra, necessary and limited clothing items along with your medicines and first aid kit.