Embellished with spellbound natural beauty, the great Himalayan Ranges are one of the largest and most important abode of places for pilgrimage in India. Due to these places, this mountain range has earned a holy, almost charismatic importance in Indian culture.
On one side, when the religious significance of these places attracts Indians, on the other side, there are manifold more that get attracted to them because of their magical, enchanting natural surroundings.
Gaurikund is a holy place of this kind. It is one of the major spots to visit on the way to Kedarnath – one of the very important pilgrimage places. Gaurikund is a lake (‘Kund’ in Hindi means lake) with hot water springs within. It is situated at the height of 1982 meters above the sea level. It is the base camp for trek to Kedarnath Temple in Uttaranchal, India. It is 28 kilometres from Ukhimath, and 6 kilometres from Sonprayag. However, after the floods of 2013, the Kund is not the way it was earlier. Now there is only one small stream of hot water where the actual Kund used to be. However, the place is being restored by the government.
There are many mythical stories about Gaurikund. It is said to be the place where Gauri, i.e. Goddess Parvati performed yogic exercises and penance to win Lord Shiva’s love. Right now there is a temple of the Goddess at that spot. There is also another story related to the Kund. It says that the Goddess Parvati was taking bath once at this spot, and her son, Lord Ganesha was guarding the door. At that time Lord Shiva came and tried to enter the Kund, and Lord Ganesha stopped him. Furious as Lord Shiva was with the gesture, he cut down Lord Ganesha’s head. When Parvati came to know about this, she demanded her son’s life back. It was this place where Lord Shiva then fixed a baby elephant’s head over the body of Lord Ganesh, and brought him back to life.
Apart from Sonprayag and Ukhimath, there are some other places to visit around Gaurikund. Triyuginarayan is 17 kilometres from Gaurikund. This places is said to be the one where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married.
Chopta is known as mini Switzerland of Uttaranchal. It has developed a lot in recent years as a popular vacation spot. It is 70 kilometres from Gaurikund.
One of the holiest Hindu temples of India, the temple of Lord Shiva – Kedarnath temple itself is only 16 kilometres away from Gaurikund.
Kedarnath wildlife sanctuary is amongst the world’s richest bio-reservoirs. It is altogether a different sort of place where people rush to, not with religious purposes, but for an utter joy of witnessing nature at its best. It is 14 kilometres away from Gaurikund, rich with deep forests and an abode of Uttaranchal’s state animal the kastura of musk deer.
There are many other temples like the Khetrapal temple, Mahishasur Mardini temple, Hanuman temple around the place.
There are good hotels of all budgets in or around Gaurikund. Some of them are Bhavani Tourist Complex, a 1-star hotel, GMVN Gaurikund tourist rest house, Guptakashi chardham camp etc. Guptakashi, which is located near Ukhimath, is having 3-star rating. Hotel Priyadarshini Syalsaur is 46 kilometres from Gaurikund, in Syalsaur, on Kedarnath road. Any of these could be a suitable option for those who want to visit Gaurikund and nearby places.
Gaurikund is comparatively quiet and comfortable place to stay when one is on the trip to Kedarnath. The Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport which is 224 kilometres. Gaurikund is connected with it by good roads, and taxis for Gaurikund are available there easily. Nearest railway-station is Hrishikesh, 202 kilometres from Gaurikund. From there also taxis to Gaurikund can be hired. Gaurikund is on national highway 109 which connects Rudraprayag with Kedarnath.
The starting point of the trek to Kedarnath, Gaurikund occupies great importance, in the journey to the Lord Shiva’s abode. The celebrated place of Goddess Parvati, it is a beautiful spot, loaded with natural beauty on the bank of river Vasuki Ganga.