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In the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, a divine town named Kedarnath lies. Uttarakhand is also called ‘Devbhoomi’ or the ‘Land of the Gods’ as the place blooms with spiritual and religious significance, with magnificent temples and holy rivers being proof. It is one of the main four dams of the Hindu pilgrimage, Char Dham. It is located in the state of Uttarakhand amid the majestic peaks of the Himalayas. Let us explore travelling to Kedarnath in winter for your next spiritual retreat!

History Of Kedarnath

The Kedarnath Temple is one of the oldest temples in the world

Image Credit: Shaq774 for Wikipedia

Kedarnath is a town that is well-known for one of the oldest temples, the Kedarnath Temple. It is more than a thousand years old with no evidence of its date of construction. Since it is considered the land of the gods, most devotees in India consider it a privilege to get a chance to visit any of the char dhams at least once in their lives. According to popular legend, the Kedarnath temple was made by the Pandavas during the time of Mahabharat as a way to make amends for their sins. Lord Shiva changed his form into that of a bull and disappeared into the ground under Kedarnath, where the temple was built. The Shiva ling inside is believed to have been created through the elements of nature, earth, fire, water and air.

Despite numerous catastrophes, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, etc., the temple has always stood upright and untouched due to the blessings of Lord Shiva. The government and the locals have volunteered to repair the damages in and around the temple. It is also said that Nara and Narayan meditated in Kedarnath for several years, and Lord Shiva became so impressed by them that he allowed them to make the temple their permanent home.

Must Read: Kedarnath In October

Kedarnath Location And Timings In Winter

Full View of Kedarnath Town

Image Source: Shutterstock

Kedarnath is located at an altitude of 11,755 ft in the Himalayan Range. It is quite close to Chorabari Glacier, the source of the River Mandakini.

The most favourable time to visit the temple is from April to October. Kedarnath is closed during the winter due to heavy snowfall. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and lies at an elevation of more than 3000 m. Although Kedarnath is at its peak beauty during winter owing to snowfall, it remains closed most of the winter season (Nov – April) due to the harsh climate and heavy snowfall, making it inaccessible to travel there.

Kedarnath Travel Route In Winter

A helicopter landing near the temple in winters

Image Credit: Atarax42 for Wikimedia Commons

It is better to avoid travelling to Kedarnath during winter. Accommodations are shut in Kedarnath, making it challenging to thrive there. Moreover, the town closes down due to its vulnerability to landslides and earthquakes.

  • By Air: The Jolly Grant Airport of Uttarakhand is at a distance of 238 km from Kedarnath. Helicopter services are also available at Kedarnath during the summer.
  • By Road: Buses, private cars, and taxis are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand like Rishikesh, Pauri, Dehradun, Haridwar, Srinagar, Tehri, Uttarkashi, etc.
  • By Train: Rishikesh Railway Station is the nearest one to Kedarnath. It is located 216 km through NH58 before the town of Kedarnath.

Suggested Read: Places Near Kedarnath

Kedarnath Activities In Winter

Ukhimath Temple at Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand

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Unfortunately, the temple remains closed during winter, but the priests move the idol to another temple, Ukhimath, where the poojas and worship are continued until the main temple opens again. Ukhimath is another small town in the same district. The Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath is where the idol of Lord Kedarnath (Lord Shiva) is kept during winter. Surrounded by snow and tranquillity, Ukhimath is a must-see destination for enhancing your relationship with the divine. Every year, a grand procession is conducted for Lord Shiva at the start of winter and worshipped for almost six months until the Kedarnath temple opens again.

The magnificent Himalayan peaks like Neelkanth are a sight from Ukhimath. Along with Lord Shiva, there are many small temples and shrines for other gods and goddesses as well. Kharsali, not too far from the Kedarnath Temple and close to River Yamuna, is a famous spot for adventure sports, thermal springs, lush green hills and trees. It is also a very popular camping spot. Outside of Kedarnath is the beautiful hill station of Auli that you can visit. It boasts a fun ski resort that will fulfil your snow ski wishes amid scenic hills.

Places To Visit Near Kedarnath

Whether it is the amazing Vasuki Tal Trek or the mesmerising beauty of Sonprayag. Check out these breathtaking places to visit near Kedarnath

Vasuki Tal Trek

Lying at an altitude of 4000m, the Vasuki Tal Lake is just a short trek away from Kedarnath

Image Credit: Petrit Bejdoni for Wikimedia Commons

A clear lake at an altitude of more than 4000 m is quite an attraction about 5 km away from the town of Kedarnath. The Chor Bamak and Vasuki Glacier and the snowy peaks all around are the lake’s water sources. During winter, you can find many icebergs in the lake. It is also a great spot to view the Chaukhamba Peak. The lake got its name ‘Vasuki Tal’ due to its uncanny resemblance to the King of Snakes, Vasuki, which we usually spot wrapped around Shiva’s neck. Due to its steep terrain, visitors love to hike here. It is a great trekking spot.

Suggested Read: Places To Visit In Uttarakhand With Family

Bhim Shila

Bhim Shila In front of Kedarnath Temple

Image Credit: Dev-Bhoomi uttarakhand for Facebook

According to legend, Bhim Shila, a giant rock in Kedarnath, was placed by Bhim (strongest Pandava) to protect the temple during a battle. What’s interesting about this rock is that it has defied all laws of science as it is balanced in a way you wouldn’t believe. During the terrifying floods of 2013 in Uttarakhand, Bhim Shila was never deterred from its place. Even the ravaging flood could not move the rock and acted as a shield in front of the temple to divert the flood water.

Gauri Kund

Gauri Kund is one of the most beautiful and sacred sites near Kedarnath

Image Credit: Ondřej Žváček for Wikimedia Commons

It is a popular Hindu pilgrimage place and a trekking base camp that leads to the Kedarnath temple. It is located in the heart of the Garhwal Himalayas, at an elevation of 6502 ft. The legendary story of Gauri says that she meditated here for decades to win over Shiva’s heart. Gauri Kund is where she lives while practising yoga and meditation. This spot is also known for the popular story of Goddess Parvati bathing as Ganesha guarded the entrance and Shiva, in anger, cut off his head which was then replaced with that of an elephant. Devotees come here in fond remembrance of their deities.

Suggested Read: Mahasu Devta Temple


Green Meadows in Sonprayag, Uttarakhand

Image Credit: Vvnataraj for Wikipedia

It is a beautiful village in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It’s about 73 km from the main town and situated by River Mandakini. The word Prayag means confluence, and Sonprayag is located at the confluence of two sacred rivers, Mandakini and Basuki. The popular belief is that if you bathe in this river, all your sins will be washed away.

Further Read: Monuments In Uttarakhand

Kedarnath is a beautiful, nature-filled destination and an amazing spiritual retreat. Visiting Kedarnath is a life-changing pilgrimage or yatra. Now that you have all the information book your tickets for an amazing spiritual trip to Kedarnath. Hurry!

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Cover Image credit: By Shivam Kumar 766 for Wikipedia.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kedarnath In Winter

What's the usual temperature in Kedarnath?

The usual temperature in Kedarnath is around 20°C. In winter the temperatures drop down even further, making it inhospitable and unlivable.

What precautions should be taken while travelling to Kedarnath in winter?

Winter is the harshest month in Kedarnath and it is not advisable to visit during these months. Kedarnath in winter is very prone to landslides and roadblocks so be careful on roads and ghats.

Any suggestions on what to wear in Kedarnath?

Wear shoes that are suitable for trekking and walking on ice. Wear a jacket with inners and ensure that the jacket is waterproof as well. Carry a trekking pole along with you for your trek.

What essentials need to be carried while visiting Kedarnath in winter?

It is not advisable to visit Kedarnath during winter but if you are, then good quality, woollen clothes, hiking boots, oxygen bottles, torches, water bottles and medicines are a must.

Is accommodation available at Kedarnath?

There are many hotels, lodges and homestays available for you to stay. However, during winter these lodges and homestays are likely to be shut.

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