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Kedarnath Trek - A Divine Trek to Shiva's Abode

Kedarnath Trek

It was the summer of 2019 and we headed to the “Devbhumi” or the “Land of God’s” i.e. Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand is known for its natural beauty of the Himalayas, the Bhabhar, and the Terai grasslands and savannas. It is simply another heaven in India.

It was our 9-night and 10-day trip which included Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kedarnath, Joshimath, and Auli. Thanks to Travel Ride for such Amazing Hospitality during our trip. We were extremely excited and never knew what we were going to face in the next few days of Journey.

We were waiting for us to pick up from our hotel which went to take the necessary permission. Instead of 11 am, the cab came at 2.00 pm and we were very frustrated as we wasted our time just sitting idle in the hotel doing nothing. It was 9 hours journey (227 km) from Haridwar.

Finally, we started our journey through Rishikesh. It was a quite hot pan bearable. The road to Kedarnath was blissful, those valleys, twists, and turns were simply amazing. Our driver Jugal bhai was way too friendly so it was never a boring journey. Make sure you don’t have Claustrophobia because traveling in those regions sitting in a car may affect you. After 10 hours of journey, we reached our Hotel in Sitapur.

Sitapur is a small village which is 7kms before Sonprayad. So, you would be confused here. All the tourists and bhakts have to stay in Sitapur or a village before that as no private vehicles are allowed after Sonprayag. It was chilled there, say about 3°C. So had garam garam Aloo Paranthas for dinner and went off to sleep early as we were supposed to start our next day early.

We talked to the Hotel owner before getting to our room regarding the climate, the time it takes to reach up, and the difficulties we face. Uncle was so chilled to talk that we happily slept and got up at 5 am on that chilled morning. We were afraid to have a shower also. Remember, you have to pay for hot water there. So, we wrapped up quickly took the essentials and cloth for the night on the top, and left for the Kedarnath trek after breakfast. You will only get Aloo Paranthas and Dal Rice there which will fill your tummies.

After a short drive, we reached Sonprayag which was guarded by local police. Due to traffic, they didn’t allow any vehicle to stand there for a while. We had our camera, 3 bags of each, and went ahead and what we saw.

There was another 1 km line for the vehicle that takes you to Gaurikund from where you must start your trek. Gaurikund is said to be the base village of Kedarnath. We were in a queue where we met an old couple from Maharashtra. It always feels good when you meet people from your place and talk to them in our language.

So we exchanged a few words, and Aaji said that we needed to take a pass which they would ask. We were unaware of all of this. So my friends went to the counter which was again crowded. Luckily, they got to know that it can be done online too.

Meanwhile, it started raining and we didn’t have an umbrella, and plastic is banned in Sonprayag. So, you won’t get any poncho or raincoats there. I called my friends and asked them to see if they could get an umbrella for us. They bought 3 umbrellas 2 for us and 1 for the aunty who was from Maharashtra. We were OK to get wet but were taking care of our clothes and the camera. Finally, at 11 am we got into the cab that took us 5km from the Sonprayag to Gaurikundwhich will cost you Rs.20 each. It took 30 min to reach there due to Ghat Roads. Why Gaurikund? Because there is a small pond where pilgrims take a bath before starting their journey to Kedarnath.

As soon as we reached, we saw a lot of people, hotels, and restaurants there. At the start, you can book yourself Pony and Manchan (horse). But we were not in the mood to eat anything or wait after all that frustration down, we started walking straight away. It was a 16 km trek at a height of 3,583 m (11,755 ft) and we thought it could be done by evening easily.

Make sure you don’t carry any extra stuff which we eventually be heavy on you. There are open urinals at specific distances, but you can’t do it openly anywhere. It’s a holy place so we should at least respect that. Due to rains and the potties of horses, roads were all muddy at times, it was a sleeper too. We were walking and due to the altitude, we were getting tired easily. My friend will kill me if I plan a trek on our next trip.

Because he is not used to treks and it was just his 2nd trek after Sarpass. (Yes! Surpass was his first Trek). We started feeling breathlessness after a 5km walk. It became difficult to climb with the rain. Somehow managed to walk for 8 km and took a long break to eat something. We had Maggie (make sure you carry ample cash along with you). It was already 4 in the evening and another 8km was left to cover.

But Mother Nature didn’t want us to go that simple. The temperature dropped suddenly and it again started raining. We had our jackets on, Umbrella ON but no use. It was very windy. After a walk of 1 km, we were dead tired and decided to put our bags in the basket which localities carry on their back. He charged us Rs.1500/- till the temple. But somehow, the weather got worse and we were asked to stay at the army camps.

We were all wet along with our bags. One of my two friends was walking slowly so I decided to get a tent for us. The tent was on a sharing basis. As I was booking, my other 2 friends continued walking and they had to come back 1 km down for the tent. We were hungry, tired, all shivering but were not in a mood to eat anything.

My friends had negative thoughts in their minds we wouldn’t complete, we would go down from there. But I kept them boosted and had to go up anyhow. We are not there to give up. We got ourselves changed, called our home slept in a sleeping bag, and directly got up at 6 am to see the clear sky.

We immediately packed up and started the remaining 5 km of our trek. We again put our bags in the basket and started our walk to Kedarnath. In the middle, we had Maggie and Parantha is our breakfast. We saw some snow and were eventually happy to see the flat roads. Yes, the last few kilometers are a flat road there is no climbing. We saw the base of the camps, we were able to see the temple and we were happy. 

The feeling of making it to the temple was amazing after all the difficulties. The view was breathtaking. Temple surrounded by snow-clad mountains.

When you reach the base, the Indian army issues you the pass which will have the time on it. So, you will have to go inside the temple at the given time. I guess every hour, 200 pilgrims are allowed inside. As I and one of the friends reached early, we got the pass of 12.30 pm but the friend who reached late was lucky enough to get the pass of 11.30 am.

Till our turn arrived we sat in the temple premises, enjoying the background, making video calls at home and to friends and making them feel jealous about the view.

The friend who went early asked him to start descending as we would catch up later after our darshan. We saw the board displaying 12.30 and we were inside the temple taking the blessings of "Kedarnath” one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and one of the highest. It was amazing, we forgot all our tiredness there and were out in minutes.

We took some photographs around. We didn’t feel like leaving the place but had to. It was 1.00 pm and we decided to start our descent with minimum stops. We took minimum breaks, had tea in the middle, and kept walking.

A point came where only 5km was left we didn’t feel like walking and taking a “khacchar” but NO. We kept walking and when 2 km was left we met our friend. Finally, we 3 were together and reached the Gaurikund base at 6.00 pm. Yes, just in 5 hours!! We took our bags from the basket and started walking towards the cab which was supposed to take us to Sonprayag.

There was a long queue again for the cab but in 15-20 min, we were able to get the cab and reach down and had our cab waiting for us to take us to the hotel. We were dead tired and were not in the mood to walk anymore. We reached our hotel, undressed ourselves, and slept on our bed.

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Kedarnath Trek Package
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