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The highest Jyotirlinga in the world Kedarnath Dham is sure an adventurous journey. Being one of the holiest centers of spirituality and pilgrimage it is visited annually by thousands of devotees from all over the world. It is mainly famous for being a crucial part of the holy Char Dham Yatra journey that takes place in Devbhoomi Uttarakhand as a way of attaining moksha or salvation. Being located at a high altitude it not only attracts religious pilgrims and Shiva devotees but also various mountaineers and trekkers who love exploring the Himalayan wilderness.
Getting there is quiet a task and requires serious planning even if you are availing a package for Kedarnath Yatra. Here is how one can make their way to this pious Shiva shrine on the hills:
Kedarnath is well connected with a network of roads from different places like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Nainital, Tehri, Pauri, Dehradun etc. however these roads converge at the final road head at Gaurikund, after which the pilgrims or tourists are expected to cover the 18 kms of uphill trek either on foot or via a pony or a Palki ride.
The roads are in good conditions and well built, however due to uncertain situations one must avoid travelling to these parts of Devbhoomi during the monsoon season. It is preferable to first make your way to Rishikesh by train or by bus (depending on where you are commuting from) and then opt for either a cab / taxi service or a local bus / traveler to make the journey till Sonprayag. Once at Sonprayag only shared jeeps and 2 wheelers are allowed till Gaurikund.
Devotees and travelers from far away corners of India like Chennai, Kolkata, Odisha, Mumbai, Gujarat, Kerala etc. prefer travelling to Kedarnath by trains since it is one of the cheapest and the most budget friendly options of getting there. The nearest railway station is located in Rishikesh from where people generally book a cab or utilise the services of local travelers or bus services up to Sonprayag and Gaurikund. This way may seem a little time consuming but it is also the perfect option for people travelling in a tight budget.
Helicopter services are now widely available across various pilgrimage booking platforms. Although a ad bit expensive it is one of the most preferred ways of travelling to the Dham for people who are on a tight schedule or are travelling with senior citizens or anyone suffering from physical or mental disabilities. The journey commences from the Sahastradhara helipad in Dehradun early in the morning and takes around 40 minutes of stunning aerial journey to reach the helipad. There are several helipads located in this region like Sersi, Phata, Sitapur, Guptkashi etc. according to government rules and to keep the fragile ecology safe of this region, the pilgrims get transferred to a separate chopper from here on up to the only helipad in Kedarnath which is just around 500 metres away from the main holy temple.
The nearest airport is situated in Dehradun which is the jolly grant airport and is located at a distance of around 240 kms. Taxi and cab services are easily available from outside the airport which will drop you off at Sonprayag. This is the 2nd easiest ways of reaching Kedarnath next to the helicopter ride.
The trek up to the temple takes the pilgrims on a memorable 16 kms of journey through winding routes surrounded by pristine Himalayan beauty. The final road head is situated at Gaurikund from where the trekking begins and takes the entire day to finish since the route is very challenging and being on high altitude one must be well prepared to cover this distance on foot. One can even choose to go for a palki or a pony ride which costs around 2,000 to 2,500 rupees for one side (be sure to book from a government approved and licensed service provider).
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