KedarNath.. Not a Trip, but a Pilgrimage

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by सागर, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. सागर

    सागर New Member

    I generally do not count my Travel a Trip unless it has number of stops for Chai & Sutta and this one was devoid of it. Hence, a Pilgrimage.
    Week of Diwali, when hustle was in City out of blue, few of my cousins planned a car trip to Kedarnath, Adobe of Mahadev and me being the sort of nomad in home, was automatically picked without an option.
    Well we all know not all of your cousins are best friends and there is always one who is doing lot better in life to screw your happiness and to make things worst, one of my Uncle, a true devotee who don't even eat non-veg decided to join.
    So all in all it was a Pilgrimage which started early morning of 8th November, the plan was to visit the shrine on the closing date of 9th November.

    With all set and me working during Night was responsible to wake everyone up for early morning start...

    Day 1: Dehradun to GauriKund - 251 Kms
    With an elder person accompanying you, rest assure you will start on time and will be carrying all basic necessities such as breakfast, lunch and snacks for midway with you.
    So we started at 0500 in the morning with an aim to cover the distance by afternoon 1400-1500 hrs, as mentioned by Google.

    Road Map

    View attachment 2584


    Overall it was an uneventful drive till , with we 3 cousins switching seats, me being a non-driver was sitting next to driver for most of the parts and aunt relaxing in the back seat.
    By 0900 Hrs we reached holy town of Devprayag (114 km) famous for being the confluence point for River Ganga (Bhagirathi) and its major tributary River Alaknanda.
    After savouring the natural beauty, started off again and after drive of 40 kms reached the beautiful town of Srinagar located on the banks of River Alaknanda. The valley is widest at Srinagar, which is an important town in the Garhwal division of Uttarakhand. 35Kms ahead we reached the town of Rudraprayag, which is famous for being the confluence point of River Alaknanda and its tributary River Mandakini.
    It is at Rudraprayag from where the highway branches off towards Kedarnath from NH-58, and after a drive of another one hour and fifteen minutes reached GuptKashi by 1430 Hrs. We halted in Guptkashi market for Lunch and aware we have ample time to reach Gaurikund where we had planned night stay, decided to visit The Vishwanath Temple. The Vishwanath Temple in Guptakashi has a stark visual similarity with the Kashi Vishwanath Temple of the holy city of Varanasi. This may be the reason for the similarity between the names of the two temples. Aside this, the Vishwanath Temple is also part of the Rudra temple conglomerate of Rudraprayag that conjures up the temple chain of Panch Kedars and the Chota Kedarnath.

    1515528482_Vishwanath-Guptkashi.jpg
    In Vishwanath Temple complex a small pond called the Manikarnika Kund, in front of the temple gate, a Shiva-linga is bathed by two springs, representing the rivers Ganges and Yamuna. The Yamuna spring water go out from a goumukh (nose in the shape of a cow’s mouth) and the Ganga spring flows through trunk of an elephant strategically placed above the linga.
    By 1630 Hrs we headed for Gaurikund, which is the base camp for trek to Kedarnath. The very first striking view of the morning from Guptkashi was of the Chaukhamba massif.
    The road between Guptkashi and Gaurikund was damaged at many places due to landslides and work in Progress, which slowed the progress. It took 2 Hrs to cover a distance of 38 kms. Reached Gaurikund by 1830 Hrs
    We stayed at Shivalik Valley Resorts a good hotel with Warm stay and decent enough food.

    Day 2: GauriKund to KedarNath Temple

    After early Morning Tea at 0700 Hrs and light breakfast we left the Hotel towards Kedarnath Foot Track inception nearly 3 Kms from the Hotel and after parking the car started for our trek towards Kedarnath by 0830 Hrs which was 13 kms away.

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    The trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath is a tough one as the ascent is too steep right from the starting itself. The altitude rises from 1,982 meters at Gaurikund to 3,583 meters at Kedarnath, a rise of 1601 meters (5252 feet) within a span of 14 kms, making the trek a challenging one.

    Water Fall.JPG

    We stopped for lunch enroute at Rambara, which was a major halt on the Gaurikund-Kedarnath trek before the massive flash floods of 2013. The trek is much steeper from Rambara onwards.

    Trek.JPG

    After a tiring and arduous trekking of 14 kms, reached Kedarnath Town by 1530 Hrs. It took us a total of 7 Hrs to trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath, the actual trekking time was 5 Hrs 30 Mins plus 1 Hrs 30 Mins of halts for relaxation, food etc. The temperature was pretty low and we could feel the chill in the air. We checked into a lodge near the temple and decided to rest before we go to shrine.
    Kedarnath is a scenic town set in a bowl shaped valley surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks, the most prominent amongst them are the Kedarnath Main and Kedarnath Dome with an elevation of 6,940 meters above sea level. The Kedarnath temple lies in the center of the town and is believed to have been constructed in 8th century AD. The whole structure of the temple has been marvelously carved out from huge boulders. Such was the architectural acumen of those times that the temple stands to this day despite bearing the countless vagaries of nature in the form of floods and earthquakes.
    Bhakt.JPG
    Temple.JPG

    The temple has been beautifully constructed on a raised platform made of huge stones cut into rectangular shape, to give it a firm and strong base. It is amazing to note that how difficult it would have been for the workers and architects to construct the temple at such a remote, dangerous and high altitude terrain during the historic times, bereft of any modern day technology.
    It being the fag end of the yatra season, there were not many visitors in the town, which otherwise bursts to the seams during the peak season in the months of May and June.

    The towering snow capped mountains provide a striking background to the temple.
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    We checked into a lodge near the temple and decided to stay indoors as the temperature outside had reached around freezing point after sunset. After relaxing for an hour we had our dinner by 2000 Hrs and went to sleep by 2130 Hrs for a much deserved rest after an exhausting day. That was the end of day two of the trip.

    Day 3: Back to Doon

    With temperature already dipping in night and feeling the chill in lodge, we were expecting Snow Clad Temple in the morning. And boy, were we not amazed with the astonishing beauty of nature.

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    And with this view as a memory to remember forever with us, we started our descent. Descent was quite steep and we reached Gaurikund by 1400 Hrs.
    After having our lunch at Gaurikund, we decided to stretch to Dehradun and planned to reach there by Midnight.
    We were at Srinagar by 1900 Hrs, when I received a call from an old school friend who had planned a get-together at Byasi, Rishikesh. After a bit of hesitation and argument with my cousins, they agreed to drop me on way and head back to Dehradun.
    That was a end of Pilgrimage and start of a Trip.
    And, that's how Life is when one road ends Another Begins... A End Of Pilgrimage, A Beginning of Another Trip!!




     
  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member


    That last picture is mind blowing. I was about to ask you ke bhai chalne se pehle puchh liya hota, main aa jata Doon ...

    But then I read you went with your family ..... Can't imagine you sitting there with no sutta for endless hours in a car ....

    And no nov-veg? How did you survive?
     
  3. Uday

    Uday New Member

    How is the accommodation at the temple? Are there plenty of hotels to stay nearby?
     
  4. सागर

    सागर New Member

    हाहाहाहा... भाई मत पूछो... अगर वापसी में Rishikesh ना रुकता.. घर वापसी तक शुध्द सात्विक ब्राह्मण बन गया होता
     
  5. सागर

    सागर New Member

    Hi Uday, Yes there are lodges and guest houses, but with basic facilities only.
    Shrine is closed now and will open in April 2019.
     
  6. Uday

    Uday New Member

    And when did you visit?
     
  7. Uday

    Uday New Member

    Never mind that question. I just read that you visited around Diwali.
     
  8. Uday

    Uday New Member

    That last picture is truly amazing. I would love to get a view like that. Do hotels get available there in as early as April?
     
  9. सागर

    सागर New Member

    Hi Uday, I am not sure of Shrine opening date for 2019.. The date is decided by Priests and State Government approval. This Year gates were opened on April 18th.
    I would suggest to visit in the second week of inception so that the locals are back in village settled and can provide best of the services they can afford
     
  10. Niharika 1986

    Niharika 1986 New Member

    I went to Kedarnath 7 years ago. This refreshed the memories of that trip.
     

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