kedarnath

Updates – WHEN WILL INDIA LEARN ???

In India we do everything in a very unscientific way. We construct dams right on the fault planes (geologist and structural engineers were never consulted), our cities and towns were never planned properly, and then when disaster stikes, we blame everyone from GOV to GOD in the process. Exactly four years back we make a trip to uttarkhand, been to Kedarnath and Gaumukh and have seen most dreadful pollution there. Imagine 80% of the hill slopes were covered by the garbage dump !
This was a disaster waiting to be happened for so long. Dont think ever that this is natural calamity. This is Pure Man Made.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims.

Continuing from our previous Rishikesh to Gangotri – Gaumukh trek

{Day 7}: 1stJune 2009
From: Uttarkashi to Rampur
By: Road
Distance: 265km (11 hrs) via Shrinagar

The town of Uttarkashi is set on the banks of river Bhagirathi at an altitude of 1150m and considered to have similar importance as that of Kashi. Most of the terrain is mountainous with ridges, hills, dense forest and the valleys and slopes of the hills contain sparsely populated hamlets interspersed with terrace cultivation.

Uttarkashi is known for its religious significance as it has a temple of Lord Vishwanath dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a unique Shiva’s trident (mahadev ka trishul) made of ashtadhatu (eight major metals). It is flank by temples of Durga and Hanuman. Other important temples are of Ekadash Rudra and Parshuram.

Among other tourist attractions in Uttarkashi, one can explore the Dodital (16km), Sat-tal (2km from Harsil), Nachiketa Tal (29km) and Dayara Bugyal (32km), which are beautiful lakes on the lap of Himalaya Mountains and surrounded by majestic oaks and deodar trees.

The route to Rudraprayag from Uttarkashi usually goes through Srinagar but we took a different route not by choice but by mistake. It was through Bhaldiana-Lambgaon-Ghansyali-Chirbatiya and finally joining Tilwara in the main route. The roads are well-maintained but climbs are very steep with hairpin bends. From Tilwara the route goes through Siyalsur-Agastyamuni-Guptkashi-Phata and then to Rampur.

Agastyamuni and Phata are the two places from where helicopter services to Kedarnath temple are being operated. Charges are 7000-8000rs and 3000-4000rs respectively for a round trip and that includes special darshan and stay. One can also approach GMVN for the booking.

A word of advice: Make sure you follow the right route to reach earlier. Because of our longer route we reached Rampur very late.

{Day8}: 2ndJune 2009
From: Rampur to Gaurikund to Kedarnath
By: Road and by pony
Distance: 5 Kms to Gaurikund and 14 kms to Kedarnath.

Next morning we kept the luggage at Rampur, started for Kedarnath, and were lucky enough to catch the 9:30am gate. When we reached Gaurikund, the vast sea of humanity paralyzed me.

Kedarnath

View of Kedar peaks from Rampur

The 14 km stone laid trail to Kedarnath temple was deadly polluted and since it rained last night so it was all wet, slippery and stinking. There was no fixed rate for ponies; they were charging anything between 500-1000rs. After much negotiation, we started on our respective ponies for the Kedarnathji and after climbing 2-3 km the first sight of Kedar dome standing majestically, beaming in the morning sun was mesmerizing. One cannot ask for anything more.

After reaching 7km, there was a short break not for us but for the ponies! My knees were badly bruised and I could not stand on my own. Somehow managed to make my way to a nearest tea stall, had some aloo ke paratha and later decided not to mount the pony again. Rest 7km I trek through the thick crowd and finally reunited with my family at 4.00pm.

kedarnath

View of Higher Himalayas from Kedarnath

It was already late, so we could not consider going to Chorabari glacier (3-4km) (from where river Mandakini emerges) and Chorabari Tal (a glacial lake with floating ice on the crystal clear water) or Gandhi Sarovar (2km). I wish I could have one more buffer day with me.

The 8th century Kedarnath temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya and is magnificent in its style and architecture. The stark grey stone structured temple surrounded by snow-capped peaks with Kedar dome in its backdrop is one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.
The jyotirlinga in the sanctum resembles a hump of a bull and the mandap walls adorned with idols of five Pandavas and Draupadi.

Kedarnath temple

Shrine @ Kedarnath

The shrine closes for the winters on the first day of Kartik (Oct-Nov) and reopens on Vaisakh (Apr-May) on the day of Akshay Tritiya, this year it is on 24 th April 2012.

The Shankaracharya Samadhi is located just behind the temple.

Shankaracharya samadhi

Shankaracharya samadhi @ Kedarnath

In the evening, we had a darshan of Lord Kedarnath after standing for two hours in the ice-cold ground. The temple closes at 8:00 pm and reopens at 6:00am in the morning.

A word of advice: Again as in most places in uttarkhand , there is the concept of “Gate”. These open up traffic in one way directions to enable smooth flow. It’s important to leave early to catch the early traffic gate from Rampur.
Once in Gaurikund be careful in choosing your mode of transport to Kedarnath ! Well you have three options really : walk, by horse, or by chair. If you are using a horse , please choose one carefully. The horses here are not too well treated and not in good shape either. If the roads had been in better shape , walking would really have been the ideal choice. Also because of the slippery roads , I have seen many a fall of horse and rider !
Insist on a folded blanket/cushion to sit on the horse, to soften your horse ride. Riding 4 hours on the saddle is not for everyone !
Food : Food choice are very limited and poor quality.
Stay : There are plenty of guest houses , often organized by different States , which offer other food choices to the traveler.
Camera : Keep your camera handy for any occasion. During the summer months the mountains can get very shy and peek out of the clouds once in a while. If you miss an opportunity to click you may not get it again !

kedarnath

Standing in queue for the Lord’s Darshan surrounded by majestic peaks

{Day 9}: 3rd June 2009
From: Kedarnath to Chandrapuri
By: Pony and by Road
Distance: 14 km (Gaurikund) and 55 km (3 hrs)

Next morning after performing puja at the temple, we descend down to Gaurikund after a bit hassle. Gaurikund is the last bus station on kedarnath route. The hot water pond and the Gauri temple are important here.

From Gaurikund we boarded on a shared jeep, which dropped us at Sonprayag where all the vehicles were parked.
SonPrayag is  the confluence of river Basuki and Mandakini and is 5km from Gaurikund.

From Sonprayag, Trijuginarayan is 13km on the path that connects Ghuttu to kedarnath. A magnificent temple of Lord Vishnu is here and is believed to be the site of Lord Shiva and Parvati’s marriage, the eternal flame around which marriage was solemnized still burns here through the three yugs or ages, hence Trijuginarayan.

Around 5:00 pm, we start for Rampur, picked our luggage and off to Chandrapuri. The GMVN’s cottage at Chandrapuri is very well placed on the bank of Mandakini and from where one can enjoy the views of snow-capped mountains at a distant.

Chandrapuri

View of Kedar peaks from Chandrapuri

A word of advice: Most Mobile networks do not work in and around this place.
Not advisable to carry ALL your luggage with you to Kedarnath. Plan on leaving the heavy ones with your hotel in Rampur or wherever you stayed at the foothills of Kedar.

 

Follow our next trip to Chopta and Tungnath

 

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