The KEDARNATH Wildlife Sanctuary famously known as the KEDARNATH musk deer or KEDARNATH VANYA JEEV PRABHA is spread over CHAMOLI and RUDRAPRAYAG districts of UTTARAKHAND. It was named after the famous Hindu temple of KEDARNATHA which lies outside the northern border of the sanctuary.
The KEDARNATH sanctuary sprawls over an area of 975 square km and is the largest protected area in the western Himalayas. It works for conserving the endangered Himalayan Musk Deer and was also nicknamed after it. This naturally abundant sanctuary is perched at an elevation of 1,160 metres above sea level near PHATA, to 7,068 metres above sea level at the CHAUKHAMBA peak.
The KEDARNATH Wildlife Sanctuary is equipped with mild temperature forests. While the higher and upper regions possess the sub-alpine and alpine coniferous forests. At the high altitude, you will see the lush green meadows enveloping the entire region.
At KEDARNATH Wildlife Sanctuary you can spot varied animal species such as the yellow-throated Marten, leopard, jackal, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, leopard, wild boar, the Himalayan musk deer, the ROYAL Mountain Vole, the red giant flying squirrel, the BOULENGERS keel back and the Himalayan pit viper. The KEDARNATH Wildlife Sanctuary is also a bird watcher’s paradise as birds are found in a larger quantity here.
1.KEDARNATH TEMPLE -
KEDARNATH is one of the holiest Hindu pilgrims of India with Lord Shiva as its residing deity. This holy site is situated perched at an elevation of 3,584mts above sea level in the foot of imposing snow bound Himalayan peaks. Mythology says that PANDAVAS wanted to wash their sins they committed during the great war of Mahabharata by killing their own brothers, so they wished to meet Lord Shiva. Shiva was angry with them and he didn’t want to bless them with his presence so Lord Shiva converted himself into a big bull and dug himself under the ground.
The places where the body parts were founded were named as KEDARS. The hump of the bull was found here. The temple was built by ADI SHANKARACHARYA in the early 8th century. The temple is one of the 12 JYOTIRLINGAS of India and the main temple of PANCH KEDAR.
2.CHORABARI TAL –
Situated at an elevation of 3 kms ahead of KEDARNATH in the mouth of CHORABARI BAMAK Glacier. CHORABARI Tal is a beautiful lake. It is also known as Gandhi SAROVAR. The trek is easy but be careful while crossing the waterfall in between. CHORABARI Tal is a pristine lake which shows the reflections of the gigantic Himalayan peaks. 3.GAURIKUND -
GAURIKUND is situated 66kms from RUDRAPRAYAG. The place also has natural thermal springs. GAURIKUND is the commencement point of the trek of 14kms to the sacred shrine of KEDARNATH. It is believed that Lord Shiva accepted to marry PARVATI at this place and married her in TRIJUGINARAYAN. The place offers vivid greenery with VASUKI Ganga flowing from below the place is named after Goddess PARVATI, wife of Lord Shiva and a temple GAURI is also situated here.
4.VASUKI TAL -
VASUKI Tal can be reached by a 7km moderate trek from KEDARNATH. The lake is located at an altitude of 4,150mts above sea level surrounded by Himalayan peaks casting their shadows on the crystal clear water of VASUKI Tal. 5.SHANKARACHARYA SAMADHI –
ADI SHANKARACHARYA was a saint and a great scholar who established four sacred DHAMS in India and after that he went to his Samadhi at an early age of 32.
KEDARNATH Wildlife Sanctuary is popular destination for following activities/ interests –
1.National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
By Air: The Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport to KEDARNATH Wildlife Sanctuary.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is located at RISHIKESH about 227 km from the sanctuary.
By Road: KEDARNATH Wildlife Sanctuary covers some parts of CHAMOLI and RUDRAPRAYAG districts which can be easily accessible from any part of the country. To reach KEDARNATH Sanctuary take NH 58 and follow the state highway to CHOPTA.