Kedarnath jyotirlinga located on an elevation of 3,583 metres above sea level in the district of Rudra Prayag is famed for being one of the most significant places of Shiva worship in India. This ancient temple where the lord is worshipped in the form of a black triangular stone is lined on one side by the holy Mandakini river on a very high altitude surrounded by the grand snow-capped kedar dome. From this you may have gotten the idea that making a trip to this temple will not be a cake walk. Surrounded by lush greenery of the Himalayas and complete with gently rolling hills of the jagged terrain here the journey here will be a deep spiritual awakening. You will require some fair amount of preparation before going on this holy journey. If you follow these steps religiously then you will surely have a soulful travel:
- First and foremost is to get your medical check up done with your doctor. Being at a very remote location the oxygen content of the regions is very low and may cause trouble for people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, heart problems etc. if your doctor advises you against it then you must drop your plans for the visit.
- Stock up on snacks and packaged eatables like energy bars, chocolates, dry fruits, fruits, Maggie, tea bags etc. this will definitely come in handy if you wish to get a boost of energy during your journey so it is better than depending on food from outside in the shop which may be impure or adulterated. In case of water also you must drink water from packaged bottle and if it is tap water then be sure to boil it since impurities in water has been reported in this region.
- Medications are often ignored by yatris. Apart from the prescribed medicines which you normally take make sure to also pack a first aid kit with all the important medication you may potentially need like anti fever, diarrhoea medicine, pain killers, Moov ointment, Dettol, bandages, cotton etc. this will come in handy not only for your travel but also for your fellow yatris in case of emergencies.
- While packing remember to pack only the essentials and not make the fault of overpacking. Since this will be a testing journey on a gruelling landscape you will be needing the least amount of baggage. Only pack woollens and thermal winter wear along with socks, mufflers, inners and even glares to beat the glare of the sun and protect your eyes.
- Phone connectivity in Kedarnath or other char dham temples for that matter is weak. Although in some areas you will get connectivity to your phones but not in a lot of areas. BSNL is available in most of the places along with Airtel. So before making the journey to kedarnath make sure you have an extra BSNL or Airtel SIM card which will come in handy in case of emergencies.
- People also miss out on this very important detail i.e. checking the latest road and weather conditions. Weather change can severely affect or even cancel your plans for the holy visit. It is also co related to the conditions of roads for e.g. If it is monsoon season the roads will be blocked due to random and unexpected landslides. Follow Facebook pages for char dham and Kedarnath to be updated on the latest happenings there so that you don’t face something unexpected and are mentally prepared for the journey.
- Be well versed with your route map for kedarnath. this will be of help to you: Rishikesh – Dev prayag –Rudra prayag – Agastmuni – Guptkashi –Sonprayag – Gaurikund – Kedarnath.
On reaching Sonprayag, with the help of a shared taxi that will charge Rs. 20/- per head, you will get off at Gaurikund which is the final motorable road from kedarnath temple which is located at a distance of 16 kms. From Gaurikund you will be following the given route: Gaurikund –(4 km) Jungle chatti – (3 km) Bhimbali – (4 km) Linchauli – (4 km) kedarnath base camp – (1 km) kedarnath temple.
- when it comes to footwear invest in a good pair of quality walking shoes since the terrain is hilly and rugged. You won’t be able to complete the journey in slippers or sandals. On a side note you must cut the nails of your foot to ensure a comfortable journey without hurting your feet.
If you follow these preparatory tips before going on the holy journey then it is a sure thing that your holy yatra will be very peaceful and tension free.