Kedarnath is an important pilgrimage center for Shiviates and is also the remotest of char dhams. Situated at an altitude of about 11,500ft, Kedarnath is highest of char dhams. The journey to Kedarnath requires a trek of 14 km from Gaurikund which can either be covered by foot, horses or dholies. Recently, helicopter services have been started by Pawan Hans. The tickets for the helicopter service can be booked online.
We had stayed at Srinagar and had to travel 100km to reach Gaurikund. Traffic jams had become a nightmare and I had developed a bad habit of looking out on the road at each turn for any traffic jam. A clear road would make me relaxed, until next turn.
Kedarnath was the place that I was longing to visit and I did not want to miss it for any reason.
There was no miracle on the road that day. The bus stopped on the road 8km before Gaurikund. That was pretty bad considering that we had to walk for 14 km from Gaurikund and reach Kedarnath by sunset.
After walking for more than an hour, we reached a place called Sona Prayag. Gaurikund was still 5 km away.
As the road further was very narrow, vehicles were allowed in only one direction. That should have contained the traffic but unprecendented crowd had messed up everything. It situation was so bad that vehicles were simply not allowed after Sona Prayag.
Unlike Yamunothri, the dholy system was very well organized in Gaurikund. People have to stand in queue and buy dholy tickets. The ticket price was decided based on the weight of the person. It was surprising to see computerized system working so nicely in that remote corner with huge crowd.
Seven km from Gaurikund was a small village Rambara. Here we stopped to have lunch. By then the entire area was covered with mist and it started to rain. We still had a long way to and hence did not stop for rain to subside. We had raincoats.
I was the sole visitor of the Temple at that time. The Bhairava people staying near the Temple looked scary. I had heard about their love for “ganja” and similar stuff. Needless to say, I didn’t stay there for long.
If stayed for couple of days in Kedarnath, there are few high altitude lakes that are worth a visit like Vasuki Tal. Triguneshwar Temple near Gaurikund should be good. Tunganath, one of the Panch Kedar and highest Temple in the world may be interesting.