Sri Kedarnath Helicopter Service 2014

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The last year June 2013 floods had destroyed many flat lands which were regularly used at helipad in the Guptkashi , Sirsi, Sitapuri and Phata , the helipad at Sri Kedarnath was full of rocks and stone as the flood  water flowed  over it and then to the river Mandakini There were lots of speculations if Yatra will be allowed for Sri Kedarnath in the year 2014.

The hard labor put in by the Disaster Management team and the other Govt. Agencies worked in adverse conditions facing  rains , snow and bad weather  along with the low Oxygen at high  altitude prepared a new trekking route 14 km from Gaurikund  till Linchauli and then 6 km to Sri Kedarnath , a 21 km trek is quite difficult to climb as compared to the earlier trek. It is difficult for the Senior Citizens to do this trek The opening of main shrine doors this year the PAWAN HANS helicopter service was started from Guptkashi to Linchauli and onward 6 km trek steep in climb is to be done with same day return to Linchauli . Govt. of Uttrakhand with the help of private helicopter services offered free travel for the senior citizens .

The permission to operate the private helicopters up to  Sri Kedarnath valley was granted on 21 MAY 2014 and now the helicopter will land just 350 meters from the main shrine , it is a big relief to the pilgrims who were earlier walking 6 km to reach the Sri Kedarnath Shrine main temple and had to return same day.

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Yatra Chardham – Hurdles this year 2014

Sri Badrinath Ji Temple

 

The Yatra Chardham for the year 2014 will start from Akshaya Tritiya which falls on the third Tithi (Lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of Hindu month of Vaishakha , when the Sun and Moon are in exaltation; they are simultaneously at their peak of brightness, which happens only once every year .   Lord Vishnu and his incarnations are worshiped on the day. People also conduct Lakshmi puja on Akshaya Tritiya.

This year it falls on 2nd May 2014 and pilgrims from all over India will assemble at Haridwar / Rishikesh and start the holy journey on 30th April or 1st  May to reach the dhams at the time of opening of gates at the main temples of Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath .

The devastating  floods, last year on 16th and 17th June 2013, washed away many roads and bridges in the Uttrakhand along with many thousand deaths of pilgrims and the local residents, it also washed away many guest houses, hotels and flat land suitable for the camps .

Upon talking with the local residents the information shared about the road conditions is bad at many places , Govt. agencies are working to repair the damaged roads and bridges but with the onset of winter the and snowfall in the area the works are stopped and it will resume only after the melting of snow around mid or end March 2014 .

The roads towards Barkot and Janki Chatti were not affected much and are in good condition , the onward  7 km trek to Yamunotri temple is safe ,  the road for Gangotri , Uttarkashi on wards washed away at 7-8 places  near Bhatwari , it is a soft road and at present suitable for light vehicles .

The road form Rudraprayag to Guptkashi / Phata is good for small / light vehicles but onward road to Gaurikund is in bad condition , the 14 km old trek route along the river Mandakini  from Gaurikund  to Rambara and then to Sri Kedarnath is washed away at many places and a new trek is under construction , this new route is aprox. 24 km long climbing up to  13000 ft. and then coming down to Sri Kedarnath at 11760 ft. , it is not possible to travel this distance in one day, one night stop will be required in both the directions and  it is not certain if Govt. will allow the pilgrims to have a night stay at Sri Kedarnath , where the yatris will spend the night , even if it is decided it will be in the tents or may be this year the Yatra for Sri Kedarnath will be by Helicopters with same day return .

The road from Guptkashi to Chopta and then to Pipalkoti is good for small vehicles , the road from Rudraprayag to Pipalkoti and then to Joshimath is better . Road from Joshimath to Gobindgaht and then to Pandukeshwer is ok but onward to Lambagarh, Hanuman chatti till Sri Badrinath is not good only light vehicles can go . There are chances of preparing a helipad at Gobindghat for Helicopter Shuttle service for Sri Badrinath . The trek for Ghangharia , Velley of Flowers and Sri Hemkund Sahib are travel worthy .

Changed flow of river Alakhnanda at Lambagarh after June 2013 floods , it use to flow on the other side of temple built by JP Hydel Project .

In all the preparations this year,it seems that most of the pilgrims will avoid Sri Kedarnath and the road journey will be done in small vehicles for Yamunotri , Gangotri and Sri Badrinath .

This year the yatris may have to get registered and will be allowed only to travel by registered Tourist and State Roadways vehicles .

 

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Yatra Chardham – Sri Kedarnath

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Sri Kedarnath Dham  is situated at a height of 3584 meters above the sea level on the head of river Mandakini surrounded by snow capped mountains , it is a plateu having the most popular Hindu pilgrimage in the Chardham. The temple here is dedicated to Lord Shiva and worshiped here of his back which is conical  in shape. This place is accessible from April till October , rest of the year the idol is kept and worshiped at Ukhimath near Guptkashi . Out side the main entrance there is a big stone statue of Nandi Bull facing the temple , upon entering the hall there are statues of five Pandava brothers , Lord Sri Krishna , Vidharba the guard of Lord Shiva. It is said that one who pays the visit here and bows his head is relived of Sorrows , it was from here onward towards the Swargarohan the Pandwa were blessed and relived of guilt and sorrow of killing their relatives in the Mahabharata war.

Sri Kedarnath Temple main entrance

Legend

This land was once ruled by the King Kedar who is also father of Vrinda , she had worshiped for sixty thousand years , to honor him this region was called as Kedarkhand. It is said the  Pandu the Pandva King died here while trying to  love  Madri .

When Bhim tried to stop the Lord Shiva who had disguised as bull had a fight with mace which hit the Lord Shiva , Bhim having guilt of hurting the Lord massaged the body with Ghee , today the pilgrims follow the ritual by applying the Ghee at the triangular Jyotirlinga along with offering of Bel leaves and milk in the puja .

Their existed a temple of Mahabharata time before this temple was constructed  in Eight centenary by the Adi Shankracharya .

Adi Shankarachrya took samadhi at this place in Sri Kedarnath Dham

When to travel

This temple opens along with the other temples of Chardham on Akshya Tritiya and closes on Depawali for winters , mid June till August is monsoon period , there are land slides and roads blocks quite common and during this period journey is not recomended.

What to see

The main place is the Sri Kedarnath temple , just behind it is the Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi , little above at a small distance on the left side of the temple is the Bhairo temple . Chorbari is a crystal clear snow water lake about a kilometer trek from Kedarnath with floating ice in the water. Vasuki Tal  is 6 km at a height of 4150 meters in the snow caped mountains , one can have a beautiful view of Chaukhamba peaks from here.

Where to stay

There are many guest houses and dharamshalas here but all are with basic facilities only.

How to reach here

There are Buses and trains available up to Hardwar or Rishikesh connections from all over India , one can also reach Dehradun by air onward journey could be performed by buses, cars and jeeps , opening of Helicopter service is a big relief for old age people , the helicopter service is available till Kedarnath from Guptkashi ( Phata) and Dehradun . There is a good road till Gaurikund from here the 14 km trek can be done by walking or hiring the mules or palkis .

Delhi to Rishikesh                      230 km

Rishikesh to Guptkashi            201 km

Guptkashi to Gaurikund            32 km

Gaurikund to Sri Kedarnath      14 km

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