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Tourism of India

Pilgrim Destinations

Kedarnath

Situated in the scenic locales of the Garhwal Himalayas, at an altitude of 3,581 metres above sea level, Kedarnath is situated in the Uttar Kashi district of the northern state of Uttaranchal. Very close to the Indo-Chinese border, it is the source of the Mandakini River, and the site of one of the major Shiva temples in the country.

The Legend of Kedar

According to legend, Lord Shiva wished to elude the Pandavas, who had come to seek penitence for having killed their kin in the battle of Kurukshetra. He took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, identified the meanest and most arrogant of the herd as Shiva, and having done so, grabbed him by the hindquarters. Shiva dived into the ground leaving behind a hump on the surface. What remains at the shrine in Kedarnath is the rear end of the bull, while the rest of the body is scattered throughout the Garhwal in the five shrines collectively known as the Panch Kedar.

Best time to Visit

May through to October

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Getting There

Kedarnath is 239 km from Dehradun of which the first 225 km. is by road and the remaining 14 km a trekking route.

By Rail

Rishikesh, the nearest railhead, is 221 km from Kedarnath.

By Road

Kedarnath is well connected by bus services to other centers in the region. Ponies and porters are available at Gaurikund, from where the 14 km trek to Kedarnath starts.

Where to Stay

Kedarnath has a number of dharamshalas, ashrams, cottages and a UP government Tourist Rest House which offer a comfortable stay.

What to See

Kedarnath Temple
The Kedarnath Temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas and is almost 1000 years old. In the 8th century AD, it was refurbished by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. The statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Shiva, stands at the entrance of the temple. The idol is in the form of a pyramidal lingam. It is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country and is revered highly. Each November, as winter approaches, the holy statue of Lord Shiva is taken to Ukhimath, only to be reinstated at Kedarnath, in the first week of May. That's when the gates of the temple are thrown open to pilgrims.

Son Prayag
Located at the confluence of the Mandakini and the Sone Ganga rivers.

Deoria Tal and Vasuki Tal
Lakes that offer a splendid view of the Chaukambha peaks.

Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar)
A small lake with floating ice on it, now known as Gandhi Sarovar, as some of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes were scattered here. It is believed that the eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhishtir, departed to heaven from this place.

Gupt Kashi
Is famous for its temples of Ardhnarishwar and Vishwanath.

Gaurikund
An ancient temple dedicated to the Goddess Gauri or Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.

Panch Kedar sites
Madmaheshwar, 74 km from Kedarnath, is where the navel (nabhi) of Shiva fell. At Tungnath, 90 km from Kedarnath, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of his arms (bahu). Shiva's face is worshipped at Rudranath, 142 km from Kedarnath. Kapleshwar is 160 km from Kedarnath and Shiva's locks are worshipped here.