Rishikesh Rafting

kedarnath travel guide

Kedarnath Yatra Travel Guide

If you are a traveller or pilgrim who wants to visit Kedarnath and do not know much about how to explore Kedarnath Dham, this travel guide will help you a lot in planning your Kedarnath trip.

Kedarnath is one of the most revered shrines of Lord Shiva located in the Rudraprayag District of Garhwal in Uttarakhand. Kedarnath is one of the important temples of the state of Uttarakhand. Kedarnath, at an elevation of 3586 m above sea level, is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

Kedar means powerful is another name for Lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. The beautiful atmosphere around the temple looks like heaven on earth, which makes it a tranquil place for meditation. The main attraction of the site is the Shiva Temple, which is a Hindu temple and attracts devotees from all over the world. The potential of the travel and tourism sector is enhanced through natural beauty and religious affiliation.

The four sites in Chardham are Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. These four are located in the Himalayas of the state of Uttarakhand which are known as Dev Bhoomi or the Land of the Gods. Although each of these four sites has its sacred significance, the person going on a tour of Char Dham visits all four sites and tries to complete the journey in the prescribed order. This yatra is a form of the sacred pilgrimage which is known as Teerth yatra.

Significance of Kedarnath Temple

kedarnath temple

Kedarnath Temple is located in the Garhwal Himalayas in the Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand. It is situated on the banks of the Mandakini River, a tributary of the Ganges. It is one of the most revered places of worship in India. The temple is over 1,000 years old and was built by Guru Sri Adi Shankaracharya. Kedarnath is one of the most revered pilgrimage centres of Uttarakhand.

Day 0: Reach Rishikesh


Rishikesh is one of the famous cities of North India and Uttarakhand. The city is well connected by rail, interstate and national bus routes. If you are arriving by plane, then you will land at Jolly Grant Airport which is located from a distance of 20 kilometres or 35 minutes by road. It is recommended to complete this journey only overnight, so you can reach Rishikesh on a sharp morning to start your road route to Kedarnath.

Day 1: From Rishikesh to Sonprayag or Gaurikund (211 km / 8 hrs by road).
You can catch public transport Buses or Tata Sumo that be taken from the Rishikesh bus terminal for reaching Sonprayag. You may not get direct buses to Sonprayag, but try Guptkashi, the last town before Kedarnath as there are daily bus services to Guptkashi from major cities in Uttarakhand. However, buses are available to Rudraprayag and later from Rudraprayag and Guptkashi. You can complete the journey from Guptkashi to Sonprayag by riding in sharable passenger jeeps or Tata Sumo.

The route from Rishikesh to Sonprayag is as follows:

Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Augustmuni – Guptkashi – Sonprayag



Biometric registration in Sonprayag

According to the instructions of the Government of Uttarakhand, biometric registration is required for every passenger. This registration facility is available online at Uttarakhand Tourism Site or visits Char Dam Biometric Registration Online. However, if you are unable to complete this process by reaching Sonprayag, you will need to bring your AADHAR CARD with you for the registration.

Below are some of the amenities you can find in Sonprayag:

  • Biometric registration of travellers or pilgrims for Kedarnath Dham Yatra or Char Dham Yatra.
  • Accommodation in Sonprayag is available from budget to deluxe hotels.
  • Parking is also available in Sonprayag if you are coming from your private vehicle.
  • Shuttle service to Gaurikund, known as sharable jeeps.

Shuttle service from Sonprayag to Gaurikund Overnight stay at Gaurikund.
Please note that Sonprayag is the endpoint for all types of vehicles. You cannot travel either by private vehicle or public transport. There is a large parking facility at Sonprayag on the banks of the Mandakini River for all types of vehicles. The 5 km journey has to be completed by shuttle service or by jeeps between Sonprayag and Gaurikund. The shuttle service costs Rs 20 per person.

You can ask a hotel owner for a room in Gaurikund. Room rates vary from hotel to hotel or from season to season. The minimum amount you can pay for a hotel room in May and June is 500.

Day 2: From Gaurikund to Kedarnath trek  (16 km/ 5 – 6 hrs).

Kedarnath is located at a distance of 16 km from Gurgaon. You can take a horse or a pony to climb the steep path.

Some trekking tips for your visit to Kedarnath Temple:

  • Try to start your trek early in the morning to avoid intense sunlight.
  • Do not try to walk on an empty stomach; it will make your journey more difficult.
  • Take an umbrella/raincoat, as it can make a big difference in the valley environment.
  • Walk around with shoes having a tight grip and try to carry only essentials in the bag.
  • Take water bottles, but do not throw it anywhere; it is advisable to carry steel water bottles. Respect nature.
  • Make sure to keep your eyes on the trekking route as horses often returning from the temple can hit you or severe injury.

If you start the journey at 8 am, you will reach Kedarnath Valley Post noon or around 3 pm. Search for a hotel room for overnight stay. If you are travelling alone or have enough money, you can book an entire room for yourself or your family members. In the evening you can take photographs of the valley and enjoy the temple atmosphere.

With other travellers, you can talk about where they came from and the journey that will soothe your mind from the fatigue of trekking. Walking around the temple and enjoying the view of the snow-capped Himalayas will help make it the best day of your life. Eat your dinner, get to bed on time and relax your body or get ready for the next day’s journey.

The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) is working to restore Kedarnath to its former glory after the 2013 flash floods that devastated the Kedarnath region. The new trekking route to Kedarnath is now on the right side of the valley. It can be reached by crossing a bridge at Rambada, which is now destroyed. Sheds are set up after every kilometre by the NIM so that pilgrims can take rest during the trek.

Day 3: From Kedarnath Temple to Sonprayag via Gaurikund (16 km trek / 5 – 6 hrs).
Try to get up early in the morning. Bathe and pray that you are grateful for this life and for the opportunity to visit the Kedarnath Temple. It will take you about 3 hours to complete the process from standing in the temple row to the darshan. Prasad shops are available around the Kedarnath Temple. After this, you can also visit the Baba Bhairav Temple on the hill near Kedarnath. It is 600 meters away from the temple.

Some tips for travelling

Tip 1: If you want to visit Bhairavnath Temple in Kedarnath after checking from your hotel room as there is a shortcut route from Bhairav Temple to another part which will save you time on your way back to Sonprayag. / Gaurikund.

You can rent horses/ponies or palki or can complete the further distance by trekking. It takes 5 to 6 hours to reach Gaurikund, from where there is a shuttle service to Sonprayag.

Tip 2: If you reach Sonprayag from 2 to 3 pm, then it’s better to travel to Guptkashi (30 km / 1.5 hrs by road). This saves 2 hours for the next day’s travel and avoids you from morning traffic.

Day 3: From Guptkashi to Rishikesh (184 km / 7 hrs).

Say goodbye to this beautiful city in Uttarakhand. The journey will take you 7 to 8 hours. It is recommended to start your journey on a sharp morning so you can reach Rishikesh just in time to catch night buses or trains.

The easiest way to visit Kedarnath Temple

If you are unable to trek more than 16 km to reach Kedarnath Temple, you can hire a Pony to get there. They charge between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,000 on each side, but there is an easy way to reach Kedarnath Temple.

  • Book your hotel in Phata which is near to Kedarnath
  • Book a helicopter service from Fata to Kedarnath at the cost of Rs 7000. It is almost like the rate of a pony on both sides, but it saves you time and effort to reach Kedarnath.
  • Do your explorations and darshan at the temple. While returning, arrive at the Kedarnath Helipad to return to Phata.
  • If you have a low budget, book a helicopter from Sersi which costs Rs. 2500 per side and you can come back by trekking route as it is easier to walk downhill than uphill.

Latest news and updates from Kedarnath

  • 30 October 2020: The doors of Kedarnath Temple will open at 06:30 am due to cold weather.
  • 19 October 2020: From 12 June 2020 to 18 October 2020, more than 50,000 pilgrims have visited Kedarnath.
  • 16 October 2020: 33121 pilgrims visited Kedarnath Temple during the first 15 days of October to pay homage to Baba Kedarnath.
  • 9 October 2020: 2595 pilgrims visit Kedarnath Temple to pay homage to Baba Kedarnath.
  • 5 October 2020: Helicopter service resumes in Kedarnath from 9 October. Heli service to Kedarnath Dham will start from 9 October. On 6 October, a DGCA team will inspect the Sirsa, Fata and Guptkashi helipads.
  • 4 October 2020: The government increased the limit of the number of Kedarnath devotees to 3,000. The maximum number of visitors to the Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand has been increased to 3,000 per day.
  • 20 August 2020: Helicopter service to Kedarnath will be operational during the Covid period.
  • 29 April 2020: Kapats of Kedarnath temple were open during the pandemic.
  • 8 March 2019: Mukesh Ambani’s son Anant Ambani has been appointed as the member of Badrinath-Kedarnath temple committee.
  • 4 April 2019: Implemented the plastic ban in the Kedarnath Valley and formation of a special 9-member committee. Pilgrims are advised to carry paper bags.
  • 29 April 2019: Now you can enjoy local pahadi cuisine on your way to Kedarnath in Gaurikund.
  • 9 May 2019: The gates of Kedarnath Temple are open to all pilgrims for the 2019-2020 Char Dham Yatra season. The High Court has approved the tender procedures for the Kedarnath Helicopter Service.
  • 16 May 2019: Helicopter services to Kedarnath are now available from Sirsi, Guptakashi and Phata helipads. The DGCA has approved seven helicopter companies to operate helicopter services to Kedarnath.
  • 18 May 2019: Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Kedarnath. Review reconstruction activities in the valley.
  • 20 May 2019: Now you can book Rudra Cave where Prime Minister Modi meditated for Rs 900 from GMVN
  • 27 May 2019: Now you can Book a helicopter to Kedarnath from the GMVN website.
  • 7 June 2019: Record 36,000 devotees pay homage at Kedarnath Temple.
  • 12 June 2019: Construction of new trek route for mules begins on Kedarnath route. This route is 5 km long and is located between Bheembali and Garudchatii.