Beyond Bollywood: Why You Need To Visit The Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath is an emotion that everyone is familiar with. The pilgrims tread towards the holy temple to admire Shiva’s abode, the movie fanatics can’t stop singing the songs from the film based on it, and trekking enthusiasts take this yatra as a challenge. No matter what the reason, Kedarnath has a fan following like none other.
What Makes It Awesome
A place of worship in the state of Uttarakhand, located at a height of 3500 odd meters, a trip here is an experience in itself. Legends tell us that during the time of Mahabharata, Pandavas left in search of Shiva to ask him for forgiveness, post the war. Lord Shiva on knowing this went into hiding, and returned as a bull named Nandi in Guptakashi – another important spiritual site for those following Hindu mythology on the way to Kedarnath. When the Pandavas found out that the bull was indeed Shiva, they tried to plead with it too but in vain. Shiva disintegrated in five different places, in five different forms – the hump being in Kedarnath.
Hence it forms one of the points of the Chaar Dham yatra for the practitioners of Hinduism.
Kedarnath in Rudraprayag is surrounded by the Garhwal Himalayas that has extreme winter conditions for almost half a year, and is closed for public during that time. In fact, the climate in this region is highly unpredictable – we all remember the devastation that the 2013 floods were, right? The entire town was wiped out, causing loss of both lives and property. Even after this ordeal, the main shrine, the temple remain untouched as a few boulders stopped the water from destroying it. Call this luck or a miracle, it did happen.
Kedarnath was restored by the government, and tented accommodation was built with stalls for food and beverages. There are hotels at the base villages like Gaurikund or Sonprayag. It is from here that you can either choose to do the 14 km long trek on foot, amidst scenic views, by a man driven palki or on a pony. You’ll have to book the latter two days in advance.
There is even an option to reach the top via a helicopter ride from Phata, Sirsi or other helipad sites, though it might be heavy on your pocket. However, it is the best mode of transport for those who have time constraints or health issues.
What Could Be Better
Since it’s a pilgrimage site, a huge number of people flock to the temple every year and the area tends to be littered post the pilgrimage season.
Keeping the path clean and carrying back the trash is one major way in which the pilgrims and tourists can help. Cannot even stress how important this is.
If you can, choose to walk. It’ll give you breathtaking views and memories that'll last a lifetime. And oh, always trek with an experienced guide, they’ll take you through obstacles quite swiftly.