February 7, 2023

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Uttarakhand: Helicopter Carrying Kedarnath Pilgrims Crashes, 6 Dead 

New Delhi: A helicopter carrying Kedarnath pilgrims from Phata crashed on Tuesday (October 18, 2022) morning. “Six people died in the helicopter crash in Phata, Uttarakhand,” said Abhinav Kumar, Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

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The chopper crashed at Garud Chatti, nearly 2 km from the Kedarnath Dham shrine and caught fire. Soon after the tragic incident, the administration team has left for relief and rescue work. A team has been dispatched to the accident spot to carry out relief operations. 

Fog and poor visibility are said to be the reason for the crash. More details are awaited.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia tweeted that the ministry is in touch with the state government and is constantly monitoring the situation. “The helicopter crash in Kedarnath is extremely unfortunate. We are in touch with the State government to ascertain the magnitude of the loss, and are constantly monitoring the situation,” Scindia said in a tweet.

Kedarnath Dham is part of the Char Dham yatra undertaken by devotees in the state of Uttarakhand. The circuit also comprises Yamunotri, Gangotri and Badrinath sites.

Which is the best way to go to kedarnath?

Kedarnath by Taxi or Private Car

If you choose to drive your own vehicle/car, make sure it has good ground clearance as there are rocks strewn all over the route. A powerful engine will make life much easier. There is parking space available at Gaurikund but due to Gate system, only shared taxis running between Gaurikund and Sonprayag get that space.

Gate System on the Way to Kedarnath

In Sonprayag, just 5 km below Gaurikund, there is fatak (gate) to make sure Buses and cars drop pilgrims at Sonprayag. Further from SonPrayag to Gaurikund shared taxis are available which runs in a sequence manner. It ensures minimum traffic snarls, but adds some time to journey. It would be advisable to park your vehicle at SonPrayag and hitch a ride to Gaurikund.

Transport in Gaurikund

Kedarnath is accessible only after a steep 18 km trek through a paved path (horses or palanquins are available for rent) from Gaurikund, which is connected by road from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and other important hill stations of the Garhwal and Kumaon regions in Uttaranchal. The charges are fixed for Horses, Dandies and Ponies if you book directly on booking counter. You can check latest Govt rates for Ponies &Palki and book from there only to get best rates.

Route to Kedarnath from Rishikesh (223 Kms)

Rishikesh → Devaprayag (70 kms) → Srinagar (35 kms) → Rudraprayag (34 kms) → Tilwara (9kms) → Agastamuni (10 kms) → Kund (15 kms) → Guptkashi (5 kms) → Phata (11 kms) → Rampur (9 kms) → SonPrayag (3 kms) → Gaurikund (5 kms) → Jungle Chatti (6 kms) → Bheembali (4 Kms) → Linchauli (3 Kms) → Kedarnath Base Camp (4 kms) → Kedarnath (1 Kms).

By Air

The nearest airport from Kedarnath is the Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun, about 239 km from Kedarnath. In fact this airport is closer to Rishikesh (approx. 16 km) and takes roughly 20-30 minutes to reach Rishikesh. From there you need to book a taxi or take a bus to reach Joshimath. Kingfisher Airlines connects Dehradun airport with New Delhi through its Kingfisher Red service leaving New Delhi airport at 11:35 and 03:20 pm and reaching Dehradun at 12:30 pm and 04:20 pm respectively.

Kedarnath by Helicopter

Kedarnath can be reached very easily via Helicopter services, which operates from various places in Uttarakhand. Some of the prominent places from where you can get Helicopter to Kedarnath are: Dehradun, Guptkashi, Sirsi and Phata.

By Train

The nearest railway stations to Kedarnath are at Rishikesh (215 kms), Haridwar (241 kms),

Dehradun (257 kms) and Kotdwar (246 kms). Rishikesh is not connected by fast trains and Kotdwar has very less number of trains. However, Haridwar railway station, 25 km from Rishikesh is better connected with New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Howrah.