Kedarnath Dham Yatra

Kedarnath mandir

Kedarnath Ji is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva spread all across the country and one of the most auspicious Dham in Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand.  Kedarnath Temple is devoted to Lord Shiva who is the God of destruction and most beloved God for Hindu religion. Kedarnath is a special destination to witness the prominent vibes of Bhole Shankar or Bhagwan Shiva everywhere. This blog will explain you how to visit Kedarnath by helicopter or by track and the things you can follow and about other attractions at Kedarnath Temple.

This place is surrounded by Himalayan hills covered with snow and located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, it has set up near the shores of beautiful Mandakini river. The whole place and its surroundings were destroyed in a tragic incident in June, 2013 when a cloud burst resulted in intense rains and floods which took away everything except Shiv Ji’s Mandir here and one of the prime factors which saved the temple from any disaster is the Bhim Shila, which is also called as miracle rock, which diverted the flow of water to its sides and thus there was no harm to the holy Temple. The Bhim Shila has taken its position on the back side of the temple and its one of the major point of attraction at Baba Kedarnath Temple.

But, the main attractions of this place are not the beautiful Kedar peaks or flowing Mandakini river or the Bharav Baba temple – on the hill nearby, the main attraction here is only Kedarnath Dham Temple – home of Bhole Shankara, who attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. In spite of unpredictable weather conditions, extreme cold and rains, no proper accommodation facilities, pilgrims from all over in India visit Kedarnath Ji, to take the blessings of Bhagwan Shiva.

Kedarnath Temple opens for only 06 months in a year and get closed for next 06 months during every year because of immersive and extreme weather and snow fall, and thus the route to visit the Mandir gets blocked entirely. 

Beginning of our trip to Kedarnath


We planned to visit Kedarnath ji temple in September 2022 and for the same we have started from Delhi Railway station after taking the name of Bhagwan Shiva – Jai Bholenath. Next morning, after arriving at Haridwar, our driver was waiting for us and we started early morning our drive to Guptakashi, which is treated as the nearest stopping point, to stop for a night and nearby to the helipads from where one can take a helicopter to Kedarnath Temple.  

Dharadevi Temple

Enroute to Guptkashi, first we took a photo stop at Devprayag – beautiful sangam of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi River, both the river can be easily seen becuase of the difference of their colors and later we saw the beutiful temple of Dhara Devi from the distance.

By Helicopter

 There are 3 helipads near Guptkashi – Phata, Sersi and Guptakashi, itself.  We had our helicopter services booked from Phata helipad. We reached around 3 pm to our accommodation in Guptkashi and check in smoothly. After relaxing for few minutes we walked around the resort, which was in the midst of the nature, the greenery, waterfalls, monkeys and helicopters flying around, we could see them all from our room’s window only. Since we were very excited about our helicopter trip to the temple next day in the morning from 09-12 pm slot, we had our dinner in the resort somehow managed a sleep for few hours.

helicopter from Phata Helipad

Next morning, we woke up early, had breakfast and left for Phata helipad to visit Kedarnath, which took around 30 min to reach there, after reaching there we had our boarding pass, body weight and luggage weight checked and paid (as we had extra weight with us) and it was told to us to come back in next 2 hours for boarding as there were many people already waiting before us for the same.

Tip:  We thought to reach at 0830 hrs, since our departure timing given was between 09-12 pm, but its better if you reach as early as possible, as there is queue at the helipad for boarding the helicopter for the same slot you may have opted also and early reaching means, early departure to the temple.

Phata Helipad

Finally, our turn came and we boarded the helicopter and it took just about 10 min for us to reach to the helipad of Kedarnath Temple and from there its about 15 min walking distance to the Temple. When we left the Phata Helipad, it was bright sunny morning but by the time, we arrive at the Kedarnath Temple, it’s started raining with heavy clouds.  Unpredictable weather!

we started our walk towards the temple. Normally when pilgrims come to the Kedarnath Temple by morning helicopter, they go back by afternoon helicopter slot between 3 – 6 pm slot, but we had decided to stop at the temple in the night and go back to Guptakashi next morning by catching the helicopter slot between 7 – 10 am from Kedarnath Helipad.

Kedarnath Helipad

It was raining in Kedarnath Valley and temperature was extremely low, but we were filled with enthusiasm to meet our Isht dev, Mahadev, we continued our walk towards the temple.

We actually were very fortunate to reach the temple in the next 10 to 15 minutes. And the moment when we saw the temple for the first time, the scene was like that we have reached heaven, although we have seen the temple so many times in videos and pictures, but the actual site was so mesmerizing that for the first few seconds we did not have any kind of words except “Jai Bholenath”. The Mandir premises were completely occupied by the devotees of Bholenath and we were one of them and all of us were chanting – Jai Bholenath, Jai Shiv Shankar, Har Har Mahadev, etc.

The drizzling continued but no-one was thinking about anything except the Bholenath and to have his Darshan as soon as possible. Since we were loaded with the luggage and with that we could not go inside the temple with the same so we thought let’s put our luggage somewhere and then to go for the Darshan first.

But we could not find any space to put our luggage neither any shopkeepers were ready to keep the same with them for some time nor any deposit space was there for the same. So we hv decided let’s go for the accommodation first as ultimately we have to take accommodation for an overnight stay here. But as I said it was all crowded and the pilgrims were all over around the temple so the accommodation facilities were quite Limited in numbers.

Nandi darhan at Kedarnath Ji Temple

We actually were very fortunate to reach the temple in the next 10 to 15 minutes. And the moment when we saw the temple for the first time, the scene was like that we have reached heaven, although we have seen the temple so many times in videos and pictures, but the actual site was so mesmerizing that for the first few seconds we did not have any kind of words except “Jai Bholenath”. The Mandir premises were completely occupied by the devotees of Bholenath and we were one of them and all of us were chanting – Jai Bholenath, Jai Shiv Shankar, Har Har Mahadev, etc.

The drizzling continued but no-one was thinking about anything except the Bholenath and to have his Darshan as soon as possible. Since we were loaded with the luggage and with that we could not go inside the temple with the same so we thought let’s put our luggage somewhere and then to go for the Darshan first.

After getting the room key we kept our luggage inside the room and went to the temple right then for the darshan of Lord Shiva. There were hundreds of devotees standing in the queue and we were one of them. All Around the Temple there were mighty mountains, beautiful waterfalls, river streams and frequent rains but none of them were able to stop the devotees of Bholenath to have his darshan. Since we were mesmerized with the beauty of the place we could not imagine how much time we spent outside waiting for our turn and finally we got the opportunity to go inside the temple and have the darshan of Bhagwan Shiv at Kedarnath Dham, and yes I would say that it was a dream come true to see Bhagwan Shiv at Kedarnath Dham.

Kedarnath Mandir

All the bhaktas including us were seeing the Jyotirling of Bhagwan Shiv at Kedarnath Dham without blinking an eye and because it was so crowded we only could get few moments to see the Bhagwan Shiv before the pandas on duty told us to continue our walk towards the exit of the temple but we were not sad at all because it was the first time when we saw the Kedarnath Dham and since were staying there for the night we knew that we will come back again after some time. After coming out of Temple were mixed with all the devotees who were taking pictures, selfies and sending videos to their loved ones at home.  

Other attractions at Kedarnath Dham

Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi

We thought to walk around the temple and see some important and not to be missed attractions around the Kedarnath Temple, one of them is Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi, loacated in the complex of Kedarnath Temple, just about 600 meters away from the back side of temple, it is 12feet tall statue of Sri Shankaracharya, made up of black stone. 

It is surrounded by a small garden and one can read Shiv Strotam written on the walls of the Samadhi when you go down. The area around the statue is peaceful, serene and quite a perfect place for meditation. Another main site is , Shri Bhairavnath Mandir, which is around 02km above the Kedarnath Temple and can be seen at nearby hill from Kedarnath Ji Temple complex, it is said that Kedarnath Yatra is incomplete without taking blessings of Bhairavnath Ji.

Bhairavnath Temple

This small trek from the right side of temple is beautiful and scenic and from the Bhairavnath Temple one can get a beautiful bird’s eye view of Kedarnath Temple and its surroundings. 

We already discussed about the miracle rock, Bhim Shila, which saved the holy Kedarnath temple from the worst flood hit in year 2013, it came along with the flood and anchored 30 feet away behind the Kedarnath Temple. 

Bhim shila Kedarnath

It is around 20feet wide and 12feet or so tall. Now it is an auspicious stone and has religious value for every pilgrim to Kedarnath Ji, devotees offer prasad and do pooja of Bhim shila as well.

After spending few hours there outside, we went to take some rest in our room, it was too cold and the blankets and the bed sheets were not so clean but the place which only operates for half of the year, we could not expect much. After sometime we walked out from our room for Lunch and found food options in many small but crowded restaurants. Somehow we managed to have some space and have tea, samosas and few more snacks there.

 Since, we wanted to do Jal Abhishek and we were told that there is a counter from where we can purchase the tickets to go for the special Pooja or Jal Abhishek of Shiv Ji. The ticket counter was just on the right hand side of the temple and the ticket price for special pooja was INR 5000 and in one ticket maximum 5 people can go and do jal Abhishek, we took the ticket of Jal Abhishek but the time slot which was given to us was late in the night – 2:00 a.m., but we had no issues in that because the idea for us to stay overnight at Kedarnath Dham was to remain as closest to the temple during the night as possible.

By the time we got our ticket slot it was 06PM and this is the time for Shivji evening Aarti. We were fortunate to attend that Aarti so close to the temple. After Aarti we were just roaming around the temple and purchase some Prasad and souvenirs for our family. 

Evening aarti Kedarnath

After dinner we went to our room take some rest as we had to get up by 1.00am for our Pooja at temple. At 1.30am we entered the grabhgreha for our Jalabhishek Pooja and it was still raining and in the night, and it was freezing temperature outside. But, the biggest satisfaction was that the darshan and Jalabishek of Bhagwan Shiv was completed very peacefully and we got good amount of time of be with Bhagwan Shiv at his Kedarnath Home. This is really some unforgettable moments which we will cherish for our lifelong.

After Jalabishek and pujan we went to our accommodation for some final packing as we have early morning Helicopter for return trip to Phata.

After packing, we went out and had our last darshan of Bhagwan Shiv Kedarnath Dham and proceeded to the helipad, it was pitch dark outside at that moment but with the torch and mobile lights we managed to walk on the route without facing any challenges.

Bhim Shila Kedarnath

we reached the Kedarnath helipad well before the departure time. After reaching there, we get shocked to see that there was no information with anyone about the actual flight timings of the helicopters from Kedarnath to other helipads, the continuous rains and heavy clouds made it impossible to operate any helicopter at that moment, the visibility was almost closed to zero. We, along with other helicopter’s passengers enquired with the makeshift offices of the helicopter companies at Kedarnath but none of them were able to answer that when it’s possible to operate the helicopter services. Minutes by minutes, it was getting tougher and tougher to stay there due to continuous rains and there were no proper arrangements by the authorities to provide proper shades or a place where the pilgrims can save themselves from rains and cold waves.

Finally, after waiting for about 4 hours and getting no response from reservations, we decided to track the Kedarnath Dham till Gauri Kund (from here the road transportation starts). We informed the helicopter services team about the cancellations of our one way trip ( Kedarnath – Pata) and begun our journey.

peak of Kedarnath Dham

The most amazing thing while beginning this track for me was that “I wanted to visit Kedarnath Dham by tracking and my partner wanted to visit Kedarnath Dham via helicopter”, so, Bhagwan Shiv has approved wishes for both of us in one trip only, we reached Kedarnath Dham by Helicopter (it was her wish) and we are going back from Kedarnath Dham by track (it was my wish). Jai Shambhunath!

Trekking from Kedarnath to Gaurikund offers breath-taking views of the Himalayas, beautiful surroundings and ethereal atmosphere allows you to forget about yourself and your mind & soul just focus in the natural beauty of the region.

As you descend along the path, the sound of the rushing Mandakini River accompanies you, its crystal-clear waters falling down the rocky terrain, creating a soothing melody. Along the route, you encounter fantastic villages situated amidst the mountains, where the locals greet you with warm smiles, offering a glimpse into their simple and serene way of life.

The panoramic vistas from the trekking route offer sweeping views of the surrounding valleys and distant peaks, painting a picture-perfect landscape that will forever remain carved in your memory. The trek from Kedarnath to Gaurikund is not just a physical journey but also a spiritual one, allowing you to connect with nature and find comfort in the serenity of the mountains. Finally, as we approached Gaurikund, the feeling of accomplishment and the sense of having witnessed something extraordinary filled our heart. Not to forget that this was the toughest track we have done in our life till date – the continuous rails, luggage with soaked clothes inside have made it twice heavy then it was before rains and slippery route where you have to walk very cautiously if you don’t want to fall and hurt your bones.

After reaching Gaurikund we got to know that we need to reach Sonprayag bus stand where our vehicle was waiting for us. From Gaurikund to Sonprayag we need to take taxi union / govt public taxis only, private vehicles are not allowed at all. The cost for sharing jeep from Gaurikund to Sonprayag is INR 40/50 per person approx. We easily got the sharing jeep to Sonprayag and after arriving there, we only have to walk for 5 min towards the car parking area of Sonprayag, where we met our driver and started our journey towards Dehradun railway station for our return journey to Delhi.

Modes to travel to Kedarnath Ji

Total distance from Delhi to Kedarnath is approximately 450 kilometres.

Routing as below:

Delhi > 206 Km > Haridwar > 24 Km > Rishikesh > 74 Km > Devprayag > 34 Km > Srinagar > 33 Km > Rudraprayag > 44 Km > Guptkashi > 15 Km > Phata > Sonprayag > 18 Km Trek > Kedarnath Temple.

There is no direct route from Delhi to Kedarnath Ji Temple, we need to reach Guptkashi (which is the nearest recommended stopover place for tourists traveling via helicopter to Kedarnath Dham or for the tracking as well or than Guptkashi, tourists can stay in home stay or small hotel / lodges close to the helipads as well. Total journey hours from Delhi to Guptkashi is nearly around 12 hours ( via Haridwar / Rishikesh) , so one can take 1 night night halt at Haridwar / Rishikesh and then move ahead to Guptkashi for a night stay . Next day early morning one can trek to Kedarnath mandir (16km trek) or can opt for helicopter from nearby helipads like Phata , Sirsi or from Guptkashi. Helicopters can be booked for same day darshan or next day darshan.

By Train, one can arrive at Dehradoon / Haridwar or Rishikesh railway station and from there taxi services are available for Guptkashi via Haridwar , Rishikesh, Devpraprag , Shrinagar , Rudraprayag to Guptkashi.

NOTE: for helicopter booking, please book in advance as helicopter tickets are limited in numbers and available on first come, first serve basis.

For trekking:

For trekkers traveling time depends from person to person, everyone has its own pace of speed so generally it takes approx. 08 hours to 12 hours per way, but if you are going via Helicopter then the total journey time will be 07 -08 minutes only to Kedarnath Ji Helipad, then 1km walk / trek from there to the temple.

During the monsoon which is from July to August, the trek will be very risky due to the possibility of landslide and flooding. While trekking on foot you will get lots of shops, tea stalls, fruit and snacks shops, etc. throughout the way. 

One can also hire pony, palki, etc. if walking is not easy for you.

Distances at the Kedarnath Temple trek:

Gaurikund to Jungle Chatti/Bhairon Chatti– distance is 4KM

Jungle Chatti/Bhairon Chatti to Bheembali —distance is 3KM

Bheembali to Linchauli — distance is 4KM

Linchauli to K base camp —  distance is 4KM

K base camp to Kedarnath Temple– distance is 1KM

After reaching to the Temple you can find out camps and tents at the base point and if you wish to stay near temple there are rooms and dormitories available. Hotel Costs are quite high near mandir as compare to tents or camps, which are little away from the temple. If you wish to do Rudra Abhishek Pooja for Shiv ji… then you can get this at the GMVN counter at the mandir @ INR 5100 for a group of 05 people at a time and time slots for this Pooja generally falls between midnight to early in the morning and total duration of Jalabhishek is about 15 minutes.

For travelers who wish to visit Kedarnath ji along with other Dhams of Uttarakhand, popularly named as Char Dham, you can consider India On holidays Char Dham trip itinerary here, and we will be more than happy to customize the same as per your requirements.

For more practical information and any queries related to char dham travel, please feel free to get in touch with Team Plan Journeys and we will be more than happy to assist you. Jai Bholenath, Jai Kedarnath!

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