Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek (Uttarakhand) – Travel Guide

Brief About Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek

Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek is one of the most adventurous treks in Uttarakhand, India. This trek covers two of the five Kedar temples, Kalpeshwar and Rudranath. The trail offers stunning views of the Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Nanda Ghunti peaks, passing through thick woods, green valleys, lush meadows, and wildflower beds.

Rudranath Temple at Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek
Rudranath Temple at Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek

The Rudranath temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to God Shiva, located in the Garhwal Himalayan Range in Chamoli Uttarakhand, India. It is the fourth temple in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit and is considered the toughest Kedar temple to reach. The temple is situated within a dense forest of rhododendron dwarfs and alpine pastures. The trek starts from Sagar Village, approximately 5 km away from Gopeshwar, and takes about 4-5 days to complete.

The Rudranath temple is built in an ancient cave, and the face of Lord Shiva is worshipped here. The temple’s doors are open only for six months a year, from April to November, due to snowfall during winter. To reach the temple, you have to travel a total of 40 km on foot, with a distance of approximately 24 km from Mandal. Keep in mind that the trek is demanding, with long, hard climbs, and sometimes through leech-infested zones, especially during and immediately after monsoons.

Key details of the Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek:

  • Ideal Number of Days for the Visit: 7 days and 6 nights
  • Trek Distance: 58 km both ways
  • Trek Altitude Range: 11,482 feet
  • Starting Point: Devgram
  • Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh Railway Station (241 km)

Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Rishikesh to Devgram – 10-12 hours drive

The journey to Devgram involves a 10-12 hour drive from Rishikesh followed by a 30-minute trek. The trail starts as a stone paved mud track through green valleys and becomes cemented as you approach the village. You’ll see terraced fields and settlements spread across the hills, villagers working in the fields, and a natural water tap shaped like a cow’s mouth.

Additionally, you’ll get to see the beautiful confluence of Alaknanda and Kalpganga rivers near Helang. Devgram has many guest houses offering accommodation and food at nominal rates.

Day 2: Trek to Kalpeshwar & Back – 2 to 3 hours

On Day 2, you’ll trek to Kalpeshwar which takes about 2-3 hours and helps with acclimatization for the next day’s trek. The trail starts near Prathik lodge in Devgram and initially climbs up a cemented track through fields and settlements. You’ll pass through green valleys and reach a suspension bridge. After crossing the bridge, you’ll find the steps leading to Kalpeshwar temple.

The trail is easy, with an initial ascent and a level walk for the majority of the time, followed by a final ascent on steps. Carry 1 litre of water and refill from the river midway.

Day 3: Devgram to Bansi Narayan – 8 to 10 hours

On Day 3, start your trek to Bhoj Gadi, which comprises moderate ascents and meadow sections. We cross a dense forest and a wide grassland, which offers a picturesque view of the Sankri mountain range. After descending and crossing a charming little bridge, we face the toughest climb of the day, a 45-50 degree ascent for 500 meters.

As soon as we reach the top, the tree line ends and a grand skyline with lush meadows welcomes us. The podium holds views of the renowned Kedarkantha peak and the humongous Phulara Ridge. After resting, we go on an acclimatization walk to the top of the ridge, which is at an altitude of 300 meters. Bhoj Gadi is our campsite for the day, and we can experience the Airtel and BSNL networks on the top of the ridge.

Day 4: Bansi Narayan to Dumak – 5 to 6 hours

On Day 4, start early and leave the mesmerizing Bansi Narayan Cave. The trail is easy and gradually descends all the way to Dumak. The trail passes through dense forests, streams, and giant chestnut trees. Kalgoat village is a good spot to take a break, and Dumak is around 7 km from there.

The trail is well-marked, and you’ll cross a pre-primary school and terraced fields on the way. You can either stay at Bhandari guest house, which provides basic food and stay arrangements at a nominal price, or camp next to the stream.

Day 5: Dumak to Panar – 6 to 8 hours

On Day 5 of the trek, start early since it will be a long day. You’ll begin by taking a cemented trail out of Dumak village, which passes through terraced fields. After a steep descent, you’ll reach Rudra Ganga river and cross it over a cemented bridge. The trail then ascends into the woods, and you’ll eventually reach the huge meadows of Toli, which is a good place to break for lunch.

From Toli, the path becomes a little tricky, but after climbing up a ridge and passing through thinning vegetation, you’ll reach the top of the ridge and the sloping meadows of Panar. There, you can see beautiful snow-capped mountains and a carpet of pinkish red flowers in August and September. Panar has a tourist hut and a shepherd settlement nearby, both of which provide food, and there’s a thin water stream a few meters below the tourist hut.

Day 6: Panar to Rudranath to Panar – 6 to 8 hours

On day 6, you will take a moderate, gradually ascending trail to Rudranath. There are no water sources on the way, so make sure to carry 2 litres of water. Start in the morning, after breakfast. The trail climbs up the ridge with undergrowth on the way. You will see the Panar meadows below and snow-capped peaks in front.

The stone path on this ridge between Panar and Rudranath has stunning views of the Himalayas. The trail descends first and then ascends, and after around 4.5 hours of hiking, you will reach the Rudranath shrine, surrounded by huge rock walls and boulders. It is bounded on each side by a pond. There are places around the temple that serve lunch. Return to Panar after lunch.

Day 7: Panar to Sagar – 4 to 5 hours

On Day 7, you will start from Panar after breakfast and take the stony mud trail that descends to the left. You will reach Lunti Bugyal, a beautiful meadow surrounded by forests on all sides. Continue on the trail that enters another forest from the meadow, and Sagar village will become visible. The trail becomes narrow and passes through rocky steps all the way to Sagar.

There is a stream just before Sagar, and you can find tea stalls and shops in Sagar. The bus stop is at the end of the steps that lead to the trail. From Sagar, you can get shared jeeps/buses going to Gopeshwar, which is around 5 km from Sagar village. From Gopeshwar, you can get frequent buses to Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Trekkers during the Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek
Trekkers during the Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek

Things to Watch Out For during Kalpeshwar Rudranath Trek

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.

What is the best time to visit Rudranath Trek

The best time to go is during the summer months of May to June or in the post-monsoon season from September to November. The temperatures during these months are mild and pleasant, ranging from 13 to 17 degrees Celsius during the day. The trek is not recommended during the winter as the roads are blocked due to snow, and during monsoon season, the rain makes it difficult to reach there. However, determined pilgrims are still able to complete the pilgrimage journey during the monsoon season.

How to reach the starting point of the trek?

To reach Devgram, you need to first get to Rishikesh. You can reach Rishikesh by air, with the nearest airport being the Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun, or by bus from Delhi, Haridwar or Dehradun. You can also reach Rishikesh by train to Haridwar, and then either take a bus or hire a taxi to Rishikesh.

From Rishikesh, you need to take an 8-9 hour drive to Helang and then a shared jeep to Devgram, followed by a 2 km trek. The best way to travel to Devgram is by car, with options to hire a taxi or rent a car.

Availability of accommodations and food near the trek


In Devgram, you can find guesthouses that offer food at reasonable prices. However, there are no restaurants or dhabas at Rudranath. So, it is recommended to carry your own food to Rudranath. Travelers can find a local cook to travel with them who can prepare meals along the way or they can carry packaged food as a snack. During the shrine’s open season, home stays in Rudranath offer home-cooked meals.


You can find many guest houses offering accommodation at nominal rates in Devgram. Accommodation options on the trekking trail are limited and typically involve staying in tents or guesthouses.

As the shrine is situated at a higher elevation, accommodation is simple and limited near Rudranath, and most trekkers bring their own tents and supplies to camp near the temple. However, accommodation options are available at Sagar, Lyuti Bugyal, Panar, and Urgam, which are on the way to Rudranath.

If you want proper hotels, you can find many in Joshimath.

Aaryam Resort in Joshimath
Aaryam Resort in Joshimath

The Difficulty level of the Rudranath Trek

The trek involves some steep ascents and descents, making it a moderate trek. Trekkers need to have a reasonable level of physical fitness and should prepare themselves both physically and mentally prior to the trek.

Medical assistance is usually available, but trekkers should consult their healthcare provider before beginning the trek. Altitude sickness is a concern, and trekkers should learn about the symptoms and notify the team if any symptoms appear. Overall, the trek is doable for people with basic fitness levels and involves a gradual ascent covering a long distance.

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