Not only among worshipers but also among adventure enthusiasts, Kedarnath has become one of India’s most popular attractions.
In the month of October, Our team went on a trip to this temple and gained a lot of new experiences. Let us debate everything here in order to make the Kedarnath yatra more educational.
Kedarnath Trip… The word alone would be enough to convey the significance of this heavenly wonderland. This is one of India’s most holy Hindu temples, devoted to Lord Shiva, and located in Uttarakhand’s 12 Jyotirlingas and Chhota Chardham circuit.
Best time to visit
The best season to visit Kedarnath is summer when the temperature is moderate and stays between 15-30 degrees Celsius.
Kedarnath yatra is among the most ancient and exquisite temples in the higher Himalayas. The temple’s construction reveals the history of how it was created using ancient technologies, which continues to astonish scientists today. The careful construction approach utilized to create this temple is the reason Kedarnath was spared major harm after the 2013 calamity. But we won’t get into that here; instead, we’ll talk about this holy and fascinating budget trip to Kedarnath.
Here, we will cover our recent visit to this shrine, as well as some crucial advice that you can use to save money and enjoy this holy and adventurous tour to the most.
Kedarnath’s Brief History
According to mythology, after the Mahabharata conflict, the Pandavas traveled to this location in the quest of Lord Shiva in order to cleanse themselves of all sins. Lord Shiva repeatedly avoided them, eventually taking shelter in the appearance of a bull at Kedarnath.
There is no record of who constructed the Kedarnath Temple. Some say the temple was built by the Pandavas when they came here to meet Lord Shiva, while others say it was built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century.
Whoever constructed this holy temple, has been the main focus of attention for many people around the world for generations. Hundreds of Hindu devotees visit Kedar Dham every year to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings.
When is the best time to visit Kedarnath
The Kedarnath gateway opens in the months of April and May (especially on Akshaya Tritiya), and then closes for the winter on Bhai Dooj (after Diwali) in the months of October and November. From May until June, there is a great rush here, and lodging is extremely expensive. So, if you’re looking for an affordable trip to Kedarnath, avoid going during these months.
The monsoon season runs from July to August. This is a low-traffic time for visitors to Kedarnath and Uttarakhand in general, as the road from Rishikesh to Gaurikund can become blocked owing to landslides. However, if you enjoy visiting the hills during the monsoon and are a youth, you should verify the weather and road conditions adhered to in making your decision. In comparison to other months, hotel room rates are lower during these two months.
The monsoon season can last until September, although you can still visit at this period. The crowd is moderate, and public transportation and lodging are both readily available.
The month of October is the best time to visit Kedarnath since the sky is clear and visibility is better, providing excellent glimpses of the Himalayas. However, avoid going on long weekends because the crowd may increase. Otherwise, the month of October will be more joyful for you. You also won’t have to wait for long periods of time to offer prayers inside the temple. In addition, hotel rates are lower during this month than during the high season. As a result, this season is ideal for a Kedarnath trip budget.
What to bring with you on your journey to Kedarnath yatra
- Woolen cap
- Sunscreen lotion/cream
- Walking Stick (if required) – the same you can purchase from Gaurikund also.
- Personal medical kit (if any)
For those traveling the Kedarnath yatra from Delhi or further beyond (How to reach)
There are numerous economical options for travelers traveling from Delhi to Rishikesh, which is the beginning point for a tour in the hills. State Government Roadways Buses are one alternative. These buses of UTC (Uttarakhand Transport Corporation) and UPSRTC may conveniently be found from ISBT Kashmere Gate (Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation).
There is also a UTC direct bus from Kashmere Gate to Guptkashi that takes roughly 13-14 hours. Guptkashi is 35 kilometers from Gaurikund, the Kedarnath trek’s starting point.
As a result, you may check that out direct bus online and reserve your seats ahead of time. If you can’t secure a seat on such a bus, you can board any other bus to Rishikesh. The Delhi-Rishikesh route is covered by a large number of buses. The regular bus price from Delhi to Rishikesh is currently Rs. 300. Attempt to complete this journey overnight to save time on your journey.
The next morning, you’ll arrive at Rishikesh ISBT, where private buses to Guptkashi or Sonprayag are available. If you can’t get a bus to any of these locations, take any bus that goes to Rudraprayag. The fare for these buses is roughly Rs. 200-250 until Rudraprayag. The distance between Rishikesh and Rudraprayag is 140 kilometers, and the journey takes about 6 hours.
For your knowledge, shared jeeps run from Rishikesh to other destinations in Garhwal, including Rudraprayag/Guptkashi. To travel in these jeeps, depart from your Delhi-Rishikesh bus at Natraj Chowk in Rishikesh, where jeeps for any of the above destinations can be found. These jeeps will cost roughly Rs. 300-350 to get to Rudraprayag and Rs. 450-500 to get to Guptkashi.
Kedarnath Yatra on a Small budget
Our trip to Kedarnath had not been on my list of places to visit. It was pulled together 3-4 days before We left on my trip. Perhaps it was a message from the Himalayas or Lord Shiva. Whatever the reason, in the month of October, We opted to embark on a journey to Kedarnath.
Our journey began in Dehradun when I boarded a hired jeep to Rudraprayag. Early in the morning, at 5 a.m., the jeep set out from Dehradun. The road quality was excellent till Rishikesh, but after that, it became very rough and bumpy, as a project to widen all of the highways connecting Uttarakhand’s Chardham to Rishikesh is underway.
So, after a four-hour ride (which usually takes three hours), the jeep arrived in Teen Dhara, in where most buses and jeeps stop for a half-hour tea break. Teen Dhara was originally a popular en-route stopover for visitors to fill their water bottles from the three natural freshwater springs (thus the name), and it was also famed for its juicy cucumbers topped with chat masala and lemon. However, due to road expansion construction, everything has now vanished, and the area has lost its attractiveness.
Our trek proceeded after the interval, and at about 1 o’clock, We arrived in Rudraprayag, where the Mandakini River, which flows from Kedarnath, meets the Alaknanda River (that comes from Badrinath). You have two alternatives from Rudraprayag. You can either wait for a bus or hire a shared vehicle to get to Sonprayag.
The distance between Rudraprayag and Sonprayag is 70 kilometers, and it takes roughly 4 hours to go this distance due to road widening construction. I paid Rs. 100 for a bus ride from Rudraprayag to Sonprayag via Guptkashi. Please keep in mind that there are only a few buses running on this route, and you may have to wait a long time for one. Another option is to take a shared jeep, which you can easily find near the Rudraprayag bus stop. The cost of these jeeps is between Rs. 200 and Rs. 250 per person.
People who are traveling directly from Delhi to Guptkashi will need to take a shared jeep or a bus to Sonprayag from the Guptkashi bus station. Sonprayag is 30 kilometers away from Guptkashi and takes roughly 2 hours to reach (depending on road conditions).
So, by the evening, We had arrived at Sonprayag and began seeking a place to stay for the night. For those unfamiliar travelers, Sonprayag is the final town where outside vehicles are permitted. To get to Gaurikund from Sonprayag, one must use a local vehicle.
When it comes to staying, if you are on schedule and can get to Sonprayag before it becomes dark, We recommend getting out of your vehicle 1 kilometer before Sonprayag, at a place called Sitapur. You’re probably now wondering why?
Well, Sonprayag is still a little village where most people come and stay overnight so that they can start their journey to Kedarnath the next day. And the majority of the lodges/guest houses are in Sonprayag which take advantage of it, charging nearly double the rate for their rooms, which might range from 1000 to 1200 rupees. When it comes to overall, they compare favorably to lodges and guest rooms in other towns and cities. In fact, in Sonprayag, there are few proper hotels or guesthouses where you may get good value for your money.
So, in my opinion, get down to Sitapur, where you can easily find good accommodation for Rs. 500-600, and it would not be too much additional to cover the next day. Dinner will cost you an additional Rs. 100-150 per person.
Start early the next morning with light baggage to reach the Sonprayag checkpoint, where you can complete bio-metric registration (mandatory for Kedarnath pilgrims). You can also register for bio-metrics in advance online.
After the bio-metrics, take the vehicle to Gaurikund, which is only 5 kilometers away. The cost of these jeeps is between Rs. 25 and Rs. 30 per person. Arrive at Gaurikund, where you can have a holy bath in a kund with a spring of hot water. Soap and detergents are not permitted inside the Kund.
You can visit Gauri Maa Temple, after taking a bath, which is devoted to Goddess Parvati.
Gaurikund is a small town with a crowded market that one must travel to begin the trip to Kedarnath.
Continue traveling in the direction of Kedarnath’s sacred shrine. After a half-kilometer trek, you will come upon a pony stall where you can hire a pony towards Kedarnath. The cost for this is Rs. 2500 per person, per way. Kandi and Palkies are also available, with prices ranging from Rs. 4550 to Rs. 6550 depending on the person’s weight.
Because We enjoy trekking, I completed this course entirely on foot. After 4 kilometers of trekking, you will arrive at Junglechatti, the first rest stop, where you may have tea or snacks.
Please keep in mind that all of the en-route food/tea businesses you’ll pass across on this path are pricey, and the rates for everything you buy or consume will be nearly double the MRP. This is because all of these products, including vegetables and food raw ingredients, are transported to these little dhabas/refreshment places on horseback, which the owners must pay a high price for.
If at all feasible, bring a few snacks and fruits from Sitapur or Sonprayag to avoid paying high prices on the trip.
The first 6 kilometers to Kedarnath are not particularly difficult, and the altitude is not particularly high. However, after passing through Bheembali, a midway rest stop, you must cross a bridge to reach the Mandakini River’s opposite bank, where you will find the new route cut out in the aftermath of the 2013 accident.
Once you cross the bridge, the hike becomes more difficult because it is steep from here on, and it is practically continually steep until you reach Kedarnath’s base camp. It will be less exhausting if you walk slowly and steadily, with small breaks in between. When climbing up the hills, don’t rush because you’ll be fully fatigued after a while.
As you go higher, the altitude rises with you, and some of you may have trouble breathing because the oxygen value is lower at higher altitudes. People who aren’t used to hiking in the mountains, especially at higher elevations, should bring tiny packs of camphor with them since it aids in the treatment of breathlessness.
We began our hike from Gaurikund at about 6 a.m. and arrived in Kedarnath around 1:30 p.m. This trek’s final 1 km is easy and practically plain.
GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) – an entity of Uttarakhand Tourism – provides a few tented accommodations in this region. Shared lodging (dormitories/tents) is also available here, with prices starting at Rs. 250 a night per bed. However, making an advance booking online is recommended for staying here, as these tents/dormitories are usually fully booked. The quality of these shared rooms is good, and they make every effort to keep it that way at such a high altitude.
If you are unable to find accommodation in GMVN, proceed a little further and approach the Kedarnath market gate, where you will find a few lodges with rooms ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 800. However, if you are traveling during the high season, which is May-June, We would advise you to book ahead of time because getting a room would be difficult.
If you arrive in Kedarnath between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., We would recommend visiting the temple before 3 p.m. because the temple door closes at 3 p.m. and reopens at 5 p.m. In the evening, there may be a large crowd and long lines. As a result, it is best to avoid going to the temple in the evening.
There are a few dhabas within walking distance of the temple where you can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The cost of a dinner here ranges from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200.
The very next morning, We went to Bhairav Temple, which is about 800 meters from Kedarnath. From here, one may get a breathtaking view of the Kedarnath peak. It will undoubtedly surprise you. One may also enjoy the best view of Kedarnath town from here.
We had breakfast after returning to my guesthouse in Kedarnath and then began my trip down to Gaurikund after visiting a few hotels for official purposes. It takes only 4-5 hours to return to Gaurikund on foot.
We stayed in a lodge in Sonprayag for our final night of the trip, which cost Rs. 600 but was not worth it at all. The chamber was suffocation dank, and there were no windows at all. When visiting Kedarnath, try to book hotels in Sitapur for overnight stays.
The next day, I hired a shared jeep to Rudraprayag and then a bus to Dehradun from Rudraprayag.
My journey to Kedarnath was thrilling, and We learned a lot of new things that we have shared with you all. If you are planning a trip to this location in the near future and do not want to spend a lot of money on your vacation, try to follow the tips I have provided above. This should undoubtedly be of great help to you!
Best Places to See in Kedarnath Dham
- Kedarnath Temple
- Shankaracharya Samadhi
- Rudra Cave Kedarnath
- Bhairav Temple
- Gandhi Sarovar
- Vasuki Tal Lake
Places to See in-route to Kedarnath
- Gaurikund Temple
- Triyuginarayan Temple
Places at a Distance of More Than 20km from Kedarnath
- Tungnath – Chandrashila
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