Do Dham Yatra: Useful Tips to Visit Kedarnath & Badrinath
How many days it takes to Do Dham Yatra?
This article provides handy tips to pilgrims thinking to visit both Kedarnath and Badrinath. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Jamunotri as part of Chardham Yatra. However, majority of tourists prefer to limit their journey to Kedarnath and Badrinath due to religious significance of these as important places of pilgrimage. It takes about 7-8 days time to visit both the places and some other nearby popular tourist spots. Planning requires to take care of few major components of this journey viz., timings of visit, Online Darshan booking, hotel booking, hiring of vehicle and helicopter booking. All these aspects are discussed in detail below.
What is the best time to visit ?
Trip to Kedarnath and Badrinath is considered a difficult one due to challenges offered by weather since journey to these places is performed during the period beginning from April to the end of October. Roads crossing the hilly terrains are exposed to landslides and road blocks are common during the rainy season (July to August). Hence, time window to visit these places is very short. May to June and September to October is the best time to visit both Badrinath and Kedarnath. Planning journey based on weather forecasts for these places is always a wise decision.
Delhi - Haridwar - Guptkashi - Phata - Kedarnath - Joshimath (Via Chofta) - Badrinath - Haridwar - Delhi
Details are given below.
How to book online Darshan tickets?
Darshan tickets to both places may also be booked online. Tourists have to stand in long ques at Haridwar or at some other place to register themselves since there is a great rush of tourists during the peak season. These tickets may be booked paying rupees fifty for one person at Chardham Yatra website of Uttrakhand Tourism Board. The pilgrim must carry the electronic reservation slip print out. In case the pilgrim does not carry the slip, at least the mobile confirmation message must be shown to the authorities when requested for the same.
How to reach Kedarnath & Badrinath?
One can reach Haridwar either by road or by train. Onward journey to both Kedarnath and Badrinath has to be performed either by a bus, car or helicopter only. Depending on the budget, one can travel by one of the means of travel. Uttrakhand tourism offers tour packages to Do Dham or Char Dham yatra. However, government employees planning to avail LTC should hire taxis operated by Uttrakhand tourism which offers tour packages comprising vehicle and hotel booking. Hence, charges for vehicle booking are reimbursable and Uttrakhand Tourism Corporation provides separate bills for both vehicle and accommodation. Accommodation charges are non-reimbursable to govt. employees and they have to pay these charges from their own pockets. An ideal group from economy point of view will consist of 4 people since this number of people are easily accommodated in a four-seater vehicle and also two rooms are sufficient in a hotel to accommodate them. Average cost for hiring a four-seater vehicle comes around Rs. 3200/- per day and vehicles are easily available for hiring in Haridwar. One may book cars online also but needs to clarify from the site whether vehicle will use air conditioner or not since majority of drivers refuse to use ACs in the hilly areas on the alibi of hilly roads. Drivers often demand extra charges for such facilities.
How to book a helicopter ticket?
Government owned and private helicopters fly between Kedarnath and nearby places such as Guptkashi or Phata. Generally, helicopter services start operations in the last week of April after opening of temple’s doors. One has to book online Helicopter tickets either from Pawanhans website or from other sites of privately owned helicopters. Pawanhans charges Rs. 6700/- per person from Phata to Kedarnath and back. Extra money (Rs. 150/- per kg) is charged if weight of a person exceeds 80 kg. Helicopter charges have to be paid by the government employees from their own budget as account section of government offices most likely make objections on reimbursement of chopper tickets.
How to book accomodation?
It is always better to book hotels about 15 days to one month in advance due to great rush of pilgrims during the peak season. Online hotel booking is considered economic than on the spot booking. One may book hotels of one’s choice based on the amenities provided.
Tips: One should take care of the following things while taking up journey to Badrinath and Kedarnath from Haridwar.
- Book online darshan tickets before proceeding
- Book hotels and helicopter online before leaving
- Vehicle may be hired either through online booking or on the spot hiring
- Bargain for AC functionality in the car during the trip
- Bargain for extra charges for visiting places (Auly & Chofta) not included in your original itinerary
- Take warm clothes for Kedarnath and Badrinath since rains there may bring down the temperature
- Prefer to plan journey between April-June (best time to visit)