Gaurikund ‘A Toy town near Sonprayag’
Gaurikund is one of the sacred Hindu pilgrim sites in Uttarakhand. It also serves as the base camp for the trek to Kedarnath Temple. The place is named Gaurikund after Shiva’s consort, Gauri and one can also see a temple dedicated to her. Gaurikund is situated at an altitude of 1,982 metres above sea level in the lap of the Garhwal Himalayas. It boasts of the hot water springs, where the devotees take a holy dip in the water before entering the temple.
About Gaurikund and its thermal springs:
Gaurikund in Rudraprayag district is seated on the banks of Mandakini River. It is situated at a distance of 28 km from Ukhimath and about 6 km from Sonprayag. The area is enveloped by lush greenery and one can behold the magnificent sight of Vasuki Ganga flowing nearby.
This quaint hamlet is named after a thermal spring which is missing here since the 2013 floods. Now a small stream of hot water can be seen at the place where the kund used to be. To visit this place, you need to take the permission of Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) from their base at Gaurikund.
Mythology related to Gaurikund:
According to the locals Gaurikund is the place where Gauri engaged in a severe penance to win Shiva as her consort and it was here that Shiva accepted his love for her. Hence, the couple was tied in a union at the Triyugi Narayan temple, located nearby.
Devotees shouldn’t miss the Sirkata Temple:
The Sirkata Temple located about half a km from Gaurikund is visited by several devotees. The history of this temple is associated with how Ganesha acquired his elephant avatar. It is said that while bathing in the kund, Goddess Parvati fashioned Ganesha from the soap suds and breathed life into him. The Goddess told Ganesha to guard the entrance until she was done bathing.
When Shiva thronged the place, Ganesha didn’t let him enter inside. The infuriated Shiva then beheaded Ganesha. Parvati who was enraged by Shiva’s immoral conduct asked him to revive the boy. Shiva then placed the head of wandering elephant on the body of Ganesha. The little boy was brought back to life and was blessed that he’ll be worshipped in his unique elephant avatar.
Best Time to Visit:
The ideal time to visit Gaurikund is from May-June and from Sept-Nov.
How to reach Gaurikund:
Gaurikund can be easily reached by taking a shared taxi from Sonprayag about 6 km away. Taxi services are provided from 5 am to 9 am at a minimal fare of Rs. 20 per head. Lodging services are also available in Gaurikund. It is advised to take shelter at Gaurikund if you want to commence the 16 km trek to Kedarnath temple. You’ll find the nearest railhead at Rishikesh and the closest air connectivity at Jolly Grant in Dehradun.