This trip is not just about visiting a spiritual destination, but it is also an opportunity to explore the breathtaking natural beauty of the region. As you travel from Dehradun to Kedarnath, you will witness the stunning vistas of the Himalayan range, quaint mountain villages, and experience the local culture and cuisine.
Most people prefer to start the trip from Rishikesh or Haridwar but since Dehradun is the only one among three which has an airport, it is a popular point to start this trip.
In this travel guide, I will take you through every aspect of the trip, including the best places to eat and stay, must-visit attractions, and practical tips to make your journey enjoyable and hassle-free. So, get ready for this unforgettable journey from Dehradun to Kedarnath.
Key details of the Dehradun to Kedarnath Trip:
- Ideal Number of Days for the Visit: 3 days and 4 nights
- Distance: 267 km one way
- Nearest Railway Station: Dehradun Railway Station
- Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun
Table of Contents
Dehradun To Kedarnath Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Dehradun and head for the journey
- On 1st day you have the option to explore Dehradun city by visiting its popular attractions. Robber’s Cave is a popular tourist spot, where you can see a natural cave formation and enjoy a refreshing dip in the stream. Then you can head to the Paltan Bazaar for some local shopping and try out street food.
- In case you have 1 less day, you can skip roaming in Dehradun and can head directly to Kedarnath, look for a transport bus or private taxi which is going to Sonprayag or Guptkashi. You will find many options almost everywhere there.
- Start your journey to Guptkashi, which is approximately 200 km from Dehradun. It will take you roughly 8 to 9 hours since the route is through mountains and vehicles have to go slow. If you leave between morning to noon, you’ll comfortably reach by night time to Guptkashi.
- Visit the ancient Triyuginarayan Temple en route, which is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married.
- Once you reach Guptkashi, book a hotel and take some rest and tomorrow you’ll be leaving for the Kedarnath Temple Trek.
Day 2: Guptkashi to Kedarnath Temple
- Early morning, leave for Gaurikund. It is the base camp for the Kedarnath trek, located approximately 30 km from Guptkashi. You can easily find taxis for this which will take you roughly 1 hour.
- From Gaurikund, start the trek to Kedarnath, which is about 16 km and takes approximately 6-7 hours. Given Kedarnath is only open for 2 months in the whole year, there’s strong crowd. So you can expect a lot of company throughout the trek.
- On arrival, visit the Kedarnath Temple. It is one of the most revered shrines in Hinduism and one among the popular Chaar Dhaam of Uttarakhand. Spend some good time there and enjoy the divinity. I was totally amazed by the view how the trust have maintained the temple in such a great form there.
- It is best to stay there for the night in an ashram or a homestay and head back next morning.
Day 3: Kedarnath to Guptkashi
- Start your journey back to Guptkashi. Enjoy the view while you go back as now you have completed the holy visit of Kedarnath.
- Once you reach down to Gaurikund, take a dip in the hot springs.
- Upon arrival in Guptkashi, explore the local market and rest at your hotel.
Day 4: Guptkashi to Dehradun
- Start your journey back to Dehradun.
- On the way, stop at Rudraprayag to see the confluence of the Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers.
- Upon arrival in Dehradun, explore the city and rest.
Different Modes to Reach Kedarnath from Dehradun
There are several modes of transportation to reach Kedarnath from Dehradun, including:
I) By Road: You can hire a taxi or take a bus from Dehradun to Kedarnath. The road journey takes approximately 8-9 hours to reach Gaurikund. The trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath is the most popular and scenic route to reach the shrine. The trek takes approximately 6-7 hours.
II) By Helicopter: Helicopter services are available from Dehradun to Kedarnath during the pilgrimage season, which runs from April to October/November. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes.
There are five main temples in Uttarakhand dedicated to Lord Shiva known as Panch Kedar. Rudranath is one of them and is located at a distance of 23km from the nearest town. The temple has a unique feature of five kunds, which are also visited by tourists.
Madhyamaheshwar is another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva where his navel is worshipped. This temple is situated at a height of 3289m. Kalpeshwar is where Lord Shiva’s hair is worshipped and is situated near Rudranath.
Nandikund is a lake devoted to Lord Shiva, believed to be the lake from where Lord Shiva’s Nandi bull used to drink water. Panar Bugyal is a flower-strewn meadow and is also a popular destination. Pitradhar is located at an altitude of 4000m above the sea level and is known for its beautiful valley and cliffs with asymmetrical rocks.
Best Time to Visit Kedarnath
The best time to visit Kedarnath is from May to June and September to November when the weather is pleasant and trekking conditions are ideal. During the monsoon season from July to September, heavy rainfall and landslides make the journey difficult. The winter season, from October to March, is characterized by sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall, making it challenging to access the region.
In summer, Kedarnath experiences mild warmth and cool breeze, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C. During this season, Tungnath Temple, Gauri Kund, and Bhairavnath Temple are popular attractions. The monsoon season brings average temperatures between 6°C and 15°C, and heavy rainfall makes the journey difficult.
During the winter season, Kedarnath remains covered in snow, and the temple is closed, but the Omkareshwar Temple in Ukhimath serves as a winter abode for Lord Kedarnath. Though the weather can be challenging, the snow-clad peaks and enchanting beauty of the region during this season are worth exploring.
Must Visit Attractions During The Journey
Kedarnath is a treasure trove of fascinating attractions, from ancient temples to beautiful glacial lakes. Here are some must-visit attractions during your journey:
- Kedarnath Temple: The 1000-year-old Shiva Temple is the main attraction in Kedarnath, enshrining one of the 12 Jyotirlinga of Shiva. The imposing tower and ancient stone-cut architecture make it a sight to see. The inner walls are adorned with carvings of various Hindu deities and mythological events.
- Vasuki Tal: Perched at an altitude of 14,200 feet, Vasuki Tal is a high glacial lake offering magnificent views of the Mandakini Valley and Chaukhamba peaks. This pristine lake is surrounded by rare Brahma Kamal and many other Himalayan flowers, giving it a divine vibe. It’s a popular spot for trekking and camping, with views of Chaturangi and Vasuki glaciers on the way up.
- Triyuginarayan Temple: A major pilgrimage site and tourist attraction, Triyuginarayan Temple is where Lord Shiva married Parvati. The continuous fire burning in front of the temple has been said to have been burning since the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. It’s also called the Akhand Dhuni Temple.
- Gaurikund: A place of mythological importance, Gaurikund is famous for its hot water spring where pilgrims come to take a dip. It’s the base point for trekking to Kedarnath Temple and surrounded by panoramic views.
- Syalsaur: A picturesque village located on the banks of the Mandakini River, Syalsaur is a budding attraction for nature lovers. It’s a must-visit place for its greenery and vibes, making it perfect for bird watching too.
- Chopta: Known as the Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand, Chopta is a base for trekking to Tungnath, the third temple of Panch Kedar. It’s a small hamlet and an all-year holiday destination for travellers, surrounded by pine, deodar, alpine, and rhododendron trees.
- Shankaracharya Samadhi: A temple preserving the shrine of Adi Shankaracharya, the proponent of Advaita Philosophy.
- Sonprayag: A small hamlet nestled on the banks of the confluence of Mandakini and Basuki Rivers, Sonprayag is considered a holy place.
- Bhairavnath Temple: Located 500 meters from Kedarnath Temple, Bhairavnath Temple enshrines another avatar of Shiva, Bhairav. The temple sits atop a small hillock and offers stunning views of the Himalayas and the valley of Kedarnath below.
- Chorabari Lake: Also called Gandhi Sarovar/Tal, this gorgeous glacial lake sits at 12500+ feet and is a short trek from the Kedarnath temple.
Places To Eat & Stay During The Dehradun to Kedarnath Trip
Finding good places to eat and stay is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable trip to Kedarnath. We have documented some of our recommendations to eat and stay during your journey:
Places to Eat:
- Ramwada: Located in Kedarnath, Ramwada is known for its delicious local cuisine, including Garhwali Thali and Litti Chokha.
- Chotiwala Restaurant: A popular restaurant chain in Uttarakhand, Chotiwala Restaurant serves a variety of vegetarian dishes, including North Indian, South Indian, and Chinese.
- Punjab Sweets: Located in Sonprayag, Punjab Sweets is a great place to stop for some mouth-watering Indian snacks, sweets, and desserts.
Places to Stay:
- GMVN Kedarnath Tourist Rest House: Located in Kedarnath, GMVN Kedarnath Tourist Rest House is a comfortable stay option with basic amenities and a great view of the Himalayas.
- Himalayan Comfort Stay: Located in Guptkashi, Himalayan Comfort Stay is a great option for those looking for a more luxurious stay with modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service.
- Hotel New Himachal House: Located in Gaurikund, Hotel New Himachal House is a budget-friendly option with clean rooms and a great view of the surrounding mountains.
Remember to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak season, as the number of options can be limited. Additionally, many hotels and restaurants may close during the monsoon season due to heavy rainfall and landslides, so it’s important to plan accordingly.
Nearby Destinations you may want to explore:
- Kedartal Trek near Gangotri in Uttarakhand
- Satopanth Trek near Joshimath, Uttarakhand
- Phulara Ridge Trek near Sankri, Uttarakhand