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GANGOTRI TO SRI KEDARNATH
There is a traditional system of commencing pilgrimage to the four shrines of Uttaranchal state, starting from Yamunotri and then Gangotri, the pilgrimage to Sri Kedarnath follows next. At Yamunotri and Gangotri, the pilgrims take bath in the sacred rivers and get cleansed their body and soul and then Chardham yatra get ready for further pilgrimage to Sri Kedarnath. The Pilgrims also carry Ganga-water from these places to offer to the Linga of Shiva at Kedranath.
Travellers going from Gangotri to Sri Kedarnath must return to Koticolony via Uttarkashi and Dhaarasu. This Journey of 171 km is all along the bank of the Bhagirathi.
From Koti Colony (Tehri) there are two routes available to Sri Kedarnath.
ROUTE – 1
Koti Colony ( Tehri), Gadolia, Ghansali, Chirbatia, Tilwara, Gaurikund and Sri Kedarnath – 186km.
ROUTE – 2
Koti Colony (Tehri), Gadolia, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Tilwara, Gaurikund and Sri Kedarnath – 190 km.
Route – I: Via Koti Colony (Tehri)- Ghansali- Tilwara- Kedarnath
Place Altitude(m) Distance(km) Total Distance(km)
Gangotri 3140 – –
Harshil 2620 30 30
Uttarkashi 1158 70 100
Dharasu 1036 31 131
Kotic Colony (Tehri) 850 40 171
Gadolia 770 23 194
Ghansali 976 16 210
Chirbatia 2170 27 237
Tilwara 915 39 276
Agastmuni 914 9 285
Kund 976 19 304
Guptakashi 1319 7 311
Narayankoti 1500 4 315
Phata 1829 10 325
Rampur 1646 9 334
Sonprayag 1829 4 338
Gaurikund 1982 5 343
Rambara 2591 7 350
Garurchatii 3262 4 354
Sri Kedarnath 3583 3 357
Gangotri to Gaurikund : 343 km (motor road)
Gaurikund to Sri Kedarnath : 14 km (trek route)
This route is quite interesting and passes through enchanting scenic Himalayan ranges.
Gadolia
Gadolia is 23 km from Koti Colony (Tehri) and the road leads along the bank of the Bhilangana river. It is a tiny place, known only fro the two bifurcating roads, both for Sri Kedarnath. The two roads meet at Tilwara further up in the Rudraprayag District.
Ghansali
It is a small hill town. From here, one road leads to Ghuttu 32km, which is the base for the Khatling glacier and the enchanting Panwali bugyal. It is 16km from Gadolia.
Chirbatia
From Ghansali there is a continuous uphill journey of 27 km to reach the beautiful mountain hemlet of Chirbatia. One can viw the snow capped mountains in a clear day from the lofty heights of this place. There are a few eating places. A forests rest house is available for stay.
Tilwara
From Chirbatia there is a continuous down hill journey through magnificent mountain country, a distance of 39 km to the town of Tilwara. Here at Tilwara, the road joins the main highway going from Rishikesh to Sri Kedarnath.
ROUTE – II: Gangotri to Sri Kedarnath Route-
Via Koticlony (Tehri), Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Tilwara,Gaurikund, Sri Kedarnath.
This route is straightforward and easy then the route – I and followed by most of the pilgrims and tourists.
Gangotri to Sri Kedarnath
Route-II – Via Koti Colony, Srinagar,Rudraprayag, Gauri Kund
Place Altitude(m) Distance(km) Total Distance(km)
Gangotri 3140 – –
Harshil 2620 30 30
Uttarkashi 1158 70 100
Dharasu 1036 31 131
Kotic Colony (Tehri) 850 40 171
Gadolia 770 23 194
Maletha 518 34 228
Kirtinagar 520 3 231
Srinagar 579 6 237
Rudraprayag 610 34 271
Tilwara 915 9 280
Agastmuni 914 9 289
Kund 976 19 308
Guptkashi 1319 7 315
Narayankoti 1500 4 319
Phata 1829 10 329
Rampur 1646 9 338
Sonprayag 1829 4 342
Gaurikund 1982 5 347
Rambara 2591 7 354
Garurchatti 3262 4 358
Sri Kedarnath 3583 3 361
Gangotri to Gaurikund
Gaurikund to Sri Kedarnath 347 km. (motor road)
14km. (trek).
Maletha
23 km from Koticolony (Tehri), theroad to Srinagar diverts at Gadolia. FROM HERE TO Meletha it is 34km along a mettled raod. Maletha is birth place of legendary General to Garhwal, Madho Singh Bhandari, who sacrificed the life of his son for the prosperity of this area. Here the road from Koticolony (Tehri) joins the main highway going to Sri Kedranath and Sri Badarinath from Rishkesh.
Kirtinagar
Just 3 km from Maletha s located the town of Kirtinagar, which was established by the fromer King Kirti Shah of Tehri Garhwal. A concrete bridge was constructed over the Alaknanda to connect it with Srinagar, which is 6 km away from here.
Srinagar
It is a developing town with schools, colleges, HNB Garhwal University, G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment an Development, High Altitude Plant Physiological Research Centre (HAPPRC) and several Government offices. Srinagar falls in the Pauri District of Uttaranchal state. Srinagar is situated at an elevation of 575 m above sea level on the bank of the Alaknanda river amidst captivating surroundings in the open valley, the widest in Garhwal. The town derived its name from a Sriyantra drawn on a huge slab of stone. Legend is that in ancient times human lives were sacrificed in front of the Sriyantra in order to propitiate the divine powers. Adiguru Shankaracharya, in a bid to stop this inhuman practice, turned it upside down where it can still be seen as a rock in the river Alaknanda.
Srinagar was once the capital of the Garhwal King before the arrival of British. Srinagar was founded by king Ajay of Tehri Garhwal in the 14th century and was its capital till 1816, and this place was given to the British for their help in fighting the Gorkha invaders at Dehra Dun. Modern Srinagar was founded in 1896. Srinagar was the third medieval capital of Garhwal, founded soon after Chandpurgarhi and Devalgarh.
Srinagar Garhwal was once an important centre for art, culture and architecture and is mentioned in the travel accounts of most of the travelers from abroad who visited the mountain terrane in the 19th century. But by the time it passed under British control, it had lost much of its glamour. Maularam, the famous painter of miniatures, a poet and witty courtier, has written a moving lament for Srinagar. The twon was washed off in the devastating flood and to an earthquake in 1803.
Kamleshwar
It is said that Lord Rama had worshipped Lord Shiva here with a thousand lotus flowers. One flower fell short and Rama compensated this loss by offering one of this eyes. That is the reason why he is also known as ‘Kamal Nayan’, meaning lotus eyed. Since that day Shiva is worshipped as Kamleshwar Mahadev.
The ancient famous temple of Kamleshwar Mahadev is situated on the banks of the river Alaknanda. Every year on the auspicious night of Vaikunth Chaturdashi in the month of November. Several couples who don’t have offspring pray remain standing through out the night, holding ghee fed deeps(lamps) to received blessing of Lord Shiva. Their hard prayers generally bear fruit.
A big fair is also held here on this occasion. This temple was intact in the devastating floods of 1971, while a major portion of the town was swept away.
Srinagar is well connected to Dehra Dun, Rishikesh , Kotdwara, Pauri , Nainital , Almora , Delhi and other cities of the region. Srinagar is 34 km from Deoprayag, 106km. From Rishikesh, 118 km from Sri Kedarnath, 195 k from Sri Badarinath and 177 km from Sri Hemkund Sahib.
Dhari Devi
The temple of Goddess Dharidevi is comfortably perched atop a 20m high rocks on the banks of the Alaknanda at a distance of 15 km from Srinagar on Srinagar – Badarinath highway. The trek of about ½ km begins from Kaliasaur. According to legend, the temple was once washed off by floods, while floating the idol on reaching the site they heard a divine voice instructing them to install the idol as it was, on the spot it was found. Since then the fierce looking idol remains where it was, known as Dhari Devi, under the open sky, thousands of devotees pay their obeisance to the deity every day. It is a popular belief among local people that the deity changes its colour at different times in a day.
Rudraprayag Rudraprayag is 34 km beyond Srinagar. This is the point where the two roads branch off to the sacred shrines of Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badarinath. From Srinagar to Rudraprayag the road goes along the Alaknanda and is fairly flat.
Note: For description of Rudraprayag please refer to Section- The Panch Paryag.
Tilwara
From Rudraprayag onwards the journey is incredible. The fabulous Mandakini is constant delight. The emerald mountains slopes,valleys, forests green terraced fields, several water falls and snow peaks, allured visitors a lot.
From Rudraprayag the road to Sri Kedarnath crosses the river Mandakini, passes through a long tunnel (55m long & 10 m wide), which is the only tunnel in the Garhwal region, and then goes along the banks of the Mandakini river. The tiny town of Tilwara is 9 km from Rudraprayag. The road coming from Koti Colony via Chirbatia, meets the main road going from Rishikesh to Sri Kedarnath at Tilwara.
Agastmuni
The famous town of Agustmuni is located at a distance of 9 km from Tilwara on the bank of the Mandakini river in the Mandakini valley, which is rich in verdant forests and terraced beds of green fields. This is the place where Rishi Agastya meditated for years. A temple by the name of Agasteshwar Mahadev is dedicated to sage Agastya and this temple is also of an archaeological significance, figures of God and Goddess have been carved out on stones. On the occasion of Vaisakhi(April) a fair is held and devotees from far and near villages come here to worship and pay their homage to the deity. A small market also exits here. There are a few eating places.
Kund
Kund is located 19 km from Agastmuni at a height of 976 m above sea level. From here the road bifurcates, one leads to Sri Kedarnath via Guptakashi and the other one goes to Chamoli via Ukhimath.
Guptkashi
It is an important place of District Rudraparyag on the route to Sri Kedarnth, Madhmeshwar and Sidhapeeth Kalimath. Guptakashi is comfortably perched at an elevation of 1319 m above sea level. After a continuously climb of 7 km from kund , one can reach to this other mountain peaks can be viewed frm here. Just opposite to Guptakashi is located the pretty town of Ukhimath.
Guptkashi has a great importance quite like that of Kashi. The two ancient temples of the Chandrasekhar Mahadev and the Ardha Narishwar are located here. Lord Vishwanath is worshipped in the Mahadev temple, the presiding deity of Varanasi. In the vicinity of the temple there is small pound known as Maikarnika Kund which is fed by two springs, known as the Ganga and the Yamuna.
Legend is that the battle of Mahabharata, the Pandavas propitiated Lord Shiva and seek His blessing. But Lord Shiva evaded from Guptkashi to Kedarnath as He did not want to grant them Darshan. The reason being that although they had fought for the right cause but they were also responsible for killing their own kith and kin. This is the place where Shiva lived incognito and came to be known as Guptkashi and Ukhimath.
The Pandas of Sri Kedarnath live in the villages near Guptakashi. A good market, hospital, food and other facilities are also available here.
Narayankoti (Tourist Village)
At a distance of 4km from Guptkashi town enroute to Sri kedarnath is located this ancient temple complex of Naryankoti. They are having historical and archaeological importance. It is said that at once there were as many as 365 temples dedicated to various god and goddess but because of negligence by government authorities now there are only 29 such temple remains. In one of the temple there is a beautifully carved image of lord Narayana. There is an another very ancient temple dedicated to Navgraha (the nine planets), and in this temple , the nine planets, viz. Sun , Moon , Marsh, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu and Kutu, are beautifully carved on stones. The architectural style of temples are unique and belonged to 8th century. The administration of this temple complex is under The Archaeological Survey of India. Now the Government of India has declared this village as a tourist village.
Phata
It is a small town with full of greenery and enchanting scenic beauty all around.
Rampur/ Sitapur
24 km from Guptakashi, one passes through an area of majestic and untamed natural scenery.
Sonprayag
This tiny village, carved out of the forest, is situated at the confluence of the Mandakini and the son Ganga (Basuki river) at an elevation of 1829 m above sea level. The Mandakini emerges from Kedarnath while the son Ganga flows from the Basuki Tal. It is said that a mere touch of the holy water of Sonprayag helps one to attain the “Baikuntha Dham”. Triyuginarayan, which is supposed to be the marriage place of Shiva and Parvati, is at a distance of 12km by motor road and 5km on foot from here.
There is a huge and beautiful water falls near Sonprayag, pouring down from a height of about 50m. This spot is visited by a large number of tourists.
TRIYUGINARAYAN (Wedding Spot of Shiva and Parvati)
The temple of Triyuginarayan is located at an elevation of 1980m above sea level on the ancient bridle path goes from Gangotri to Sri Kedarnath.
This place is known for the magnificent templeof Lord Vishnu, the Narayan, which is similar in style, architecture and sculpture to that of Sri Kedarnath. In front of the temple, is an eternal fire(Akhand Dhuni) which according to legend is believed to never extinguish. Mythologyy has it that the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parwati was solemnized here in the presence of Lord Vishnu and pilgrims reverently smear the holy ashes on their forheads.
The fascinating perpetual snow clad mountains can be viewed from here. The surroundings are captivating and beautiful.
There is dharamshala and PWD inspection house for overnight stay.
It is 277 km from Rishikesh. From Sonprayag the trek of 5 km starts which passes through dense forets and orchards. It can be visited any time in the year. It can also be approached by a Jeep road 12 km from Sonprayag.
Gauri Kund
It is situated at an elevation of 1982 m above sea –level and encircled by rocky mountains and dense forests, hence remains cold even during summer. This is the last motor head, 5 km away from Sonprayag and hub of activates on this route during pilgrimage season. The road lead along the Mandakini though lush green forets.
In early pilgrimage season, usually in the month of April or early May at many places enroute to Kedarnath, will have several feet of avalanched winter snow through which a path is cut by BRO and PWD and later on maintained for further pilgrimage.
There is an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Goddess Parvati meditated here. The metallic idols of Gauri (Parvati) and Mahadev are enshrined in the temple.
There are two water pools-one hot, and the other cold in the vicinity of the temple. Before prcoceeding to Kedarnath on foot, people bath in the hot water pond and visit the Gauri Devi temple.
The exotic mule track is well- made to Sri Kedarnath begins from here, hence most of the pilgrims prefer to stay here, over- night. The trek rises gradually but is rather narrow in places, ponies also use the trail. Be careful to keep in to the hill side while passing the ponies, which tend to keep to the edge. A nudge from a pony can throw a person several metres below the ridge.
Enroute to kedarnath there are several temporary shelters in caves of sadhu and beggars during pilgrimage season. They ask money from you. Many of the sadhu smoke sulpha (charas) as Prasad of ‘ Bhola Shankar’, one can get blessings from sadhus after giving them a few coins. Coolies, ponies, Dandi and Kandi can be hired from here. It is advisable to hire registered porters only. Generally pilgrims stay a single night at Kedarnath. So it is better to carry only important items. Woollens, umbrella or raincoat, torch etc. must be carried on. Cloakroom or at private hotels.
Accommodation
Plenty of accommodation is available in hotels, tourist rest house, lodges, dharamshalas and ashrams. There are several eating places. Alcoholic drink and non- vegetarian meals are strictly prohibited.
Sri Kedarnath Trek
From Gauri Kund to Sri Kedarnath the distance is 14 km. It is better to start to Kedarnath as early as possible to avoid the strong sun rays on the up hill trek. The trek is most interesting and rewarding. The bridle path rises gradually. The entire route is picturesque and passes through lush green forests, verdant valleys and charming waterfalls. Enroute to Kedarnath there are several eating and places that offer a respite for a while, a refreshing refreshment or may be night’s shelter.
From Gaurikund to Junglechatti, it is a 3 km steep ascent through mixed forests. This sloppy hillock with many make shift shops is surrounded by dense mixed forests. One can have tea, coffee, milk and breakfast here to strengthen his stamina and to get ready for further climb. Pilgrims from all corners of the India either going to Kedar or coming back greet each other,.i.e. Jai Kedar, Jai Bhole, Bum Shankar (Hail, the deity Kedarnath ji).
Rambara
Further up from Junglechatti to Rambara it is a 4 km gradual ascent through dense mixed forests and near several enchanting inspiring waterfalls. Rambara is almost midway.
At Rambara several eating places, hotels and rest house are available. One who arrives late at Rambara, it is better to stay here overnight and proceed further the next morning.
Garurchatti
From Rambara onwards the scenery changes dramatically. The surrounding mountains are steep, stark and generally bare and vegetation diminishes. The 4 km trek upto this spot is very steep ascent and tedious. Some travelers and pilgrims can feel headache and deficiency of oxygen.
It is an easy gradient 3 km from Garurchatti to Sri Kedarnath. The temple of Sri Kedarnath can be seen near Garurchatti with the towering snow peaks, at the back ground. It is a beautiful sight. All around it is an aura of peace and purity. The fabulous Mandakini is a constant delight to the trekkers through out the trail.

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