Off the cuff trip to kedarnath.

2nd Jun 2019
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma

Few things are best when they are left know why? because it fills your life with experiances.

And it all started with toothsome "rajma-chawal" of our favourite dhabha in Karanpur[Dehradun].

*Dehradun- rishikesh

We wanted to go on a self-drive.two of us knew driving and everyone readily agreed to this seemingly dangerous idea.we took 2 rental bikes.which are easily available in dehradun.everyone had packed light luggage ,so we managed to fit them around our bikes.Such a smooth NH it is,it hardly takes 50 min. To reach rishikesh from dehradun.If you want to feel the good essence of this highway then you must prefer bikes. In between the journey,took some refreshing pitstop to keep ourselves hydrated as summer was at its peak.we had lunch at rishikesh and without wasting our time we headed towards our destination.

It took us around 2.5 hours to reach Devprayag. As I entered the town, the first thing I could sense was the peacefulness.

We had some pahadi garhwali food here,"aalo ki thichoni" with some breads,it was yumm!!

Being not as popular as the holy town of Haridwar and Rishikesh is what makes this place peaceful. The first thing that I wanted to see was the Sangam of the two rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda that forms The Ganges. The place where the two rivers meet is called Prayag. One has to walk a bridge and pass through the narrow bazaar streets of Devprayag to reach Prayag.

Wow!! It was definitely one of the most wonderful moments of my life when I saw the Sangam.  The Alaknanda is the one flowing on the left in shades of blue and one on the right is Bhagirathi in the shades of green. The two meets to form the delightful Ganga in shade of emerald .


It is considered as the connected base for many destinations in uttrakhand and it makes this town little bit crowdy.we spent 3 utterblast days here.I will prefer you to go in tourist guest house ,administrated by GMVN,which are the subsidiaries of UK tourism.prices are affordable and warm hospitality.non- veg restruants are hard to find here! There is a beautiful ghat near this guest house you can pass the good time here .temperature is quite warm here.


It is settled on the banks of Alaknanda river .13 km away from shrinagar.we went there around 8 pm and seriously its not a good time to visit this place and i find it little bit scary as no one was there that time and it was dark everywhere.dhari devi is considered to be the guardian deity of Uttarakhand and is revered as the protector of the char dham.her shrine is one of 108 shanti sthal in India, as numbered by Srimad Devi bhagwat.

literally no one was in a mood to go back to dehradun.we didn't have any inclination to reach Kedarnath shrine.but when heart wonder aimlessly,who knows what is there in the future :)


To spend peaceful days in himalayas you neither need particular destination nor much money.The river was flowing quietly along the road,on the opposite bank of river there were small villages.The mountain with dense forests, enhancing the surrounding beauty.i looked at the calm ,serene flow of river and thinking about the kedarnath tragedy.Roads were pretty nice sometimes dangerous too.

Near this patrol pump ,we met with a nepali family,their kids showed us the way to the river.we removed our shoes and put our feet into cold water of river,it has taken our all tiredness.Finally, our journey came to an end and we reached Guptkashi. It is possible to start the trek from Sonprayag also, but it adds 5 kms extra in the trekking distance and the route between Sonprayag and Gaurikund is not so attractive.

These days, people are very crazy for the helicopter rides to Kedarnath Shrine. Most of the helicopter service providers (3-4) are based at Phata, a small peaceful town at the distance of 15 kms ahead of Guptkashi. since , the helipad at Kedarnath is very closed to the temple, it is possible to visit the temple and then again ride back to Phata within 2-3 hours.

Anyway, we were not interested in a helicopter ride, but a trek. From helicopter town of Phata to sonprayag there was huge traffic ,as we were on bikes so it was more convenient for us to come out of this traffic. we reached to another town, Sitapur, that has a lot of options to stay overnight. At the end of Sitapur town, a huge construction of an ashram or something similar is ongoing on the river bed. The scale of construction is a clear proof that we did not learn enough from the tragedy of Kedarnath. The primary reason of that catastrophic flood was the uncontrolled tapping of the mountains

Sonprayag is the last important town before starting of the trek, where you can find a decent accommodation. Few budget accommodations are also available at Gaurikund. A large-scale construction is ongoing near the bus stand at Sonprayag also. Construction of a lot of shops are taking place in a huge building. The human need is more important than anything else, and the fragile ecological system is at the stake like everywhere else.

A View of Sonprayag

Prayag means the confluence of rivers in the mythology. At Sonprayag, the Mandakini River meets with the Vasukiganga River, the confluence point is approx 200 meters away from the town. Many people stop at the confluence of both rivers to offer their prayers, however, Sonprayag is not a part of the holy Panch Prayag (Five Prayag) journey in Uttarakhand.

There is a registration counter at Sonprayag, where every tourist has to register before moving further to the trek. To conduct the whole Char Dham Yatra in a controlled manner, the registration of the pilgrims became mandatory after the flood of 2013. However, if you forget to register at Sonprayag, there is no harm. The registration counters are also available at Gaurikund and then at the last, just before the Kedarnath Shrine. Nobody is allowed to cross the last registration post near the Kedarnath Temple without the mandatory registration. Most of the pilgrims who ride a helicopter, register at the last registration post only. The online registration is all possible at the nominal charge of Rs 50.


The small narrow stream flows slowly down the road. It is hard to believe that the stream known as Mandakini River was so fierce seven years ago that it washed away a part of civilisation overnight. The other side of the road is daunted by the fragile rocks of the mountains. The stone shootings and the landslides are very common in this area. It took us 15-20 minutes to cover the journey between Sonprayag and Gaurikund.

Mandakini River flowing between Sonprayag and Gaurikund

Gaurikund is a small village situated on the bank of Mandakini River. It is the starting point of the trek to Kedarnath Temple. So, we moved further on the trekking route. While trekking to the Kedarnath shrine, you are supposed to cross the different checkpoints by a particular time to continue further on the trekking route.

The trekking route is approx 20 kms long from Gaurikund to Kedarnath Temple. The route is covered by few stops where you can get a decent accommodation as well as the foods. Running drinking water is also available through the pipelines all along the way. The route is completely changed and renovated, emergency measures are there in place, a large settlement has been swept away, a new settlement is popping out, a lot has been changed between Gaurikund and Kedarnath in last years. The faith is still powerful to overcome all the difficulties of this journey and despite of the tragic memories, thousands of pilgrims still visit this revered holy shrine every year. The sign of the disaster is still visible on the dwellers of this holy town.

It was only 5 am when we reached Gaurikund, so we decided to move further on the trekking trail. The trekking trail of Kedarnath was a pleasant surprise. I could not believe for a while. I never imagined of finding such a developed path for the trek. It was a wide, perfectly laid down path going up for 12 kms all the way to the temple, just like you find on the trekking route to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple.

Broken Houses Near Kedarnath Temple

The main temple of Lord Shiva at Kedarnath was miraculously safe during the flood. When the flood water of Gandhi Sarovar carrying large chunks of moraines moved downwards with the stone boulders, a big boulder tumbled down and stop just behind the temple. The large boulder diverted the path of water from the both sides of the temple and thus the temple remains intact. That big boulder is very sacred now and pilgrims started praying here also. Kedarnath TempleThe traces of Gandhi Sarovar were visible from the backyard of the temple, but that lake was almost destroyed during the flood, so there was no point to visit that side.

Aftr attending the evening aarti, we commenced the return journey to Gaurikund. The beautiful landscapes of the journey route were already captured by the camera, so no specific thought was there in the mind. Many people on the upward journey was more interested to know about the remaining distance, so the only task pending with us was to give them a little bit of courage and inform them about the remaining distance. After taking few occasional breaks during the downward journey, we returned to Gaurikund in 4 hours. Luckily, a shared jeep was available directly to Guptkashi. we reached Guptkashi well in time to continue our onward jorney to shrinagar. This way, we completed an impromptu trip to Kedarnath Dham. Most of the time during the journey, I kept comparing the current situation at Kedarnath in view of the flood disaster. Within 7 years of the calamity, many things changed rapidly on the trekking route to Kedarnath. Few new settlements have been developed and few older one became the part of the memory. The pilgrimage to Kedarnath would be still in the shadow of the flood disaster for next 2-3 years. Perhaps, when the trekking route and nearby areas would become more developed in the coming years, the terror of that fateful night would be slowly fade away from the memories and then the people would stop looking for the stories from the past.

Thank you for reading .hope this blog will help you in planning your trip to kedarnath :)

Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma
Photo of Off the cuff trip to kedarnath. by Akanksha Sharma