Akshay Tritiya falling sometime in the end of April or early May signals the start of the Char Dham yatra season in Uttarakhand. Kedarnath Yatra by Helicopter Pilgrims gathers in lakhs to undertake the yatra covering Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath. Kedarnath is the abode of Shiva, home to one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. It is perhaps the toughest part of the Char Dham yatra in Uttarakhand.
Located at a height of 3583 meters on the banks of the Mandakini River in the Garhwal range of Himalayas, Kedarnath is associated with Pandavas who, in their quest to seek forgiveness from Lord Shiva, pursued him in the Himalayas. He did not wish to grant pardon for the sin of killing kinsmen and hid, turning himself into a bull and then splitting himself into parts with the hump remaining at Kedarnath. The hump is represented by a triangular rock in the Garbhagriha of this ancient temple. However, the lingam is the main item of worship, supposedly a self-appeared one. The temple halls have carvings of the Pandavas, Lord Krishna, and Nandi. The temple opens on Akshay Tritiya and closes on Kartik Purnima and the idol is brought down to the winter residence at Ukhimath.
Kedarnath is located at a great height and can be reached only by traversing winding and steeply inclines path. The last motorable stage is Gauri Kund and that was washed away by the 2013 floods and subsequently restored. An alternative approach is from Sonprayag or Sitapur. In any case, it is an arduous journey of 13 to 18 km that one can undertake on foot. It takes all day. There are options for a pony ride and palanquin ride. If you do not wish to spend a lot of time and undergo physical hardship then you have the option of Kedarnath yatra by helicopter offered by a number of aviation companies.
Helicopter Kedarnath Yatra
A number of aviation companies offer helicopter yatra to Chardham destinations. shiva bhaktas may prefer to undertake a pilgrimage only to Kedarnath in which case only Kedarnath helicopter yatra can be undertaken. These helicopter services operate on a daily basis during the pilgrimage season and majority of them operate between Phata near Augustmuni and Kedarnath. There are other locations on the flight such as Sersi and Sitapur. It is also possible to charter helicopters directly from Delhi to Kedarnath. However, in the former case, pilgrims have to make their own arrangements to reach Phata by road. It is also possible to find helicopter services starting from Dehradun to Phata and onwards to Kedarnath but most of them include Badrinath as well. The flights usually take off between 6 AM to 10 AM. Those who wish for a night halt can get on board helicopters departing between 10 AM to 12 Noon. Travel time to Kedarnath is down to only 45 minutes or an hour compared to an entire day when one travels by surface.
The Advantages of Kedarnath Helicopter Yatra
- When you choose to fly the time to reach Kedarnath is cut down to an hour or so and it is safe, comfortable and convenient when you are in a helicopter that lands close to the temple site.
- The aerial view is simply stunning, something you just cannot get when you travel by road.
- You are protected from the elements to some degree as you are safely ensconced inside the helicopter.
- It may be expensive but consider the overall expenses involved in surface travel and you will find that the difference is not much.
- For those who do not have much time at their disposal or for those who are infirm or aged, helicopter Kedarnath yatra is the best solution.
- Helicopter Kedarnath Yatras enjoy the privilege of priority darshan on payment of extra charges.
Points to Keep in Mind
- Pilgrims need to be in good health and those with respiratory issues should have medication and a bottle of oxygen their pack.
- Carry only a small handbag with essentials and leave your main luggage behind. Pack some medicines and a bottle of water.
- You have to arrive at the helipad at Phata at least an hour before the helicopter lifts off.
- A biometric medical check is required and this can be done at the helipad but it is better to undergo this beforehand and have a certificate ready at the time of boarding.
- The flight may be delayed or even canceled due to inclement weather so be prepared for this eventuality.
While traditionalists and those who wish to enjoy the scenic beauties of Uttarakhand may prefer the surface mode of travel, modern pilgrims will find that Kedarnath yatra by helicopter is of an entirely different and enjoyable kind.
Uttarakhand government has approved the tender of two more companies who are willing to offer their services from the Sersi helipad and they will start their service from the 27th of May 2020. Crystal Aviation and Heritage Aviation Pvt. Ltd. are those two companies who will give a strong competition to other heli operators. Another biggest update for the pilgrims is that now they can book their helicopter tickets for Kedarnath by logging on GMVN’s website too, so do the bookings online and save your time and energy.
If we look back then it can be found that earlier only 5 aviation companies were allowed to fly their charters to Kedarnath but now the number has been raised up to 7 and these heli operators will start their service from different helipads about which will be informed in the same article.
Note: You will soon be updated with the price list of the helicopter tickets for Kedarnath Yatra 2020.
Despite being located on an extreme altitude (almost 3584 meters above the sea level), Kedarnath is one of the most sought and visited Dhams in Char Dham Circuit. However, if we check the data of last some years then we can conclude that the discovery of helicopter services has become a boon for the pilgrims and especially for those who are unable to cover the challenging and physical taxing trekking trail.
Helicopter services have made it easy to access Kedarnath Dham for everyone irrespective of how busy schedules they have. Nowadays, many of the pilgrims opt for helicopter journeys rather than taking the long and tiring road journey and thousands of devotees prefer this mode of transfer to visit this eminent shrine of Lord Shiva.
UCADA (Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority) releases an order to submit tenders for getting the authority to start their helicopter services and the companies who are interested in sending their tenders to participate in it. Finally, the companies whose tender gets selected become authorized to start their aviation services for this holy Yatra for a particular period of time and are limited to a particular region too.
Approved Aviation Companies for 2019 helicopter services to Kedarnath
1- Aryan Aviation
The most leading aviation company that provides impeccable helicopter services to the customers covering Kedarnath Dham. This non-scheduled and professionally managed helicopter company has been managed and promoted by an ex-service pilot who has been serving in the aviation field for the last 15 years. The pilgrims opting for the service of Aryan aviation fly via 5 seaters Eurocopter AS350B3 and also one 5 seater Bell 407 helicopter from Narayankoti near Guptkashi.
- Commences from: Narayankoti near Guptkashi (you are requested to contact Aryan Aviation for other recent updates).
- Of helicopter service: to be updated very soon.
- Address: 7, Koldongri CHS, Sahar Road, Andheri East, Mumbai-400099.
2- Pawan Hans
One of the most regular helicopter service provider for Kedarnath Dham, Pawan Hans uses 6-seater Ecureuil B3 helicopter/ Bell 407 that commences its flight from Phata. Pawan Hans has been awarded the order of flying their charters from Phata for Kedarnath Yatra 2019. The rates of the helicopter tickets will be updated soon however from the previous year rates, one can get an idea of the ticket rates.
- Kedarnath– Phata- INR 4798 per person
- Kedarnath– INR 2399 per person
- Phata– INR 2399 per person
- Starts from– Phata
- Address: Pawan Hans Limited, C-14, sector- 1, Noida, Uttar Pradesh- 201301
3- Himalayan Heli
One of the most trusted and the reputed aviation companies that have been offering its services for many years and it had also been awarded the tender to offer their helicopter services in the year 2015 also at BizAv India at the sidelines of Bangalore Air India Show 2015.
- Day and next day return: INR 4950 (Sersi- Kedarnath- Sersi)
- Way ticket: INR 2470 (Sersi- Kedarnath or Kedarnath- Sersi)
- Originate from: Sersi
- The charge for Kedarnath: INR 4950 per person
- Office Address: Himalayan Heli Services Private Ltd., 7, Local Shopping Center, Madangiri, New Delhi-110062, India.
4- UT Air India
Registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956, UT Air India is a renowned private limited company that has been headquartered in New Delhi. Being an ISO 9001:2015 certified, aviation company, it ensures its passengers with the safest and the most maintained aerial journeys. It is a subsidiary of UT Air Aviation, JSC, Russia, the major helicopter operating company in the world and this subsidiary in India promotes its business in foreign countries.
- Kedarnath– Phata: INR 4798 per person
- Kedarnath– INR 2399 per passenger
- Phata– INR 2399 per passenger
- Originates from: Phata
- Services for Kedarnath: INR 4798 per person
- Office Address: UT Air India, office no.2, 24 Ferozshah Road, New Delhi-110001
5- Arrow AirCraft
If you are looking for integrity, safety, and efficiency for Kedarnath Yatra then Arrow Air Craft is the most preferred choice for you. Witness the charming, alarming, and the mesmerizing views of the Himalayas from a height and reach Kedarnath Dham easily and safely with this aviation company. One of the most leading aircraft companies, Arrow Air Craft operates its services in five different segments viz. Aircraft Management, Aircraft Sales, Aircraft Charters, Jet Aviation MRO Services, and Char Dham Yatra.
- To day timings: 6 am to 6 pm
- Of trips in one day: almost 20 trips a day
- Of the helicopter: Bell 407
- Capacity: 6 passengers at a time
- Trip time: approx. 7 minutes (one-way trip)
- Kedarnath– Guptkashi: INR 8550 per person
- Kedarnath– INR 4275 per passenger and vice-versa
- Originates from: Guptkashi
- Office Address: Arrow Air Crafts, 503, G+5 building, Opp. Terminal 1C, Domestic Airport, New Delhi-1100037, India
Other helicopter operators that had offered their service for Kedarnath Yatra in past years
1- Heritage Aviation
One of the fastest emerging aviation companies of Uttarakhand, Heritage Aviation is famous for offering incredible services to its passengers for Kedarnath Yatra too.
- Originates from: Dehradun
- Of helicopter package: varies as per the requirement of the traveler
- Address: Heritage Aviation Pvt. Ltd., SU 22, 23, 24, Bhikaji Cama Bhavan, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi- 1100091, India.
2- SAR Aviation
It is amongst one of those companies that provide both Char Dham Yatra and Ek Dham Yatra including Kedarnath by helicopter services. If you are looking for a sophisticated and comfortable aerial journey then SAR is the best choice for your travel. The best thing about this aviation company is that is registered and approved by DGCA, Govt. of India for offering its non-scheduled air transport service.
- Originates from: Sahashtradhara helipad, Dehradun
- Cost for Kedarnath service: to be updated very soon
- Address: 401, G+5 building, IGI Airport, New Delhi- 1100037
3- Trans Bharat Aviation
This aviation company also provides its services from Sersi and Guptkashi helipad towards Kedarnath and it takes almost 8-10 minutes to cover the distance between these segments.
- Originates from: Guptkashi and Sersi
- Address: 8/23, Ground Floor, Mehram Nagar, Opp. Domestic IGI Airport, New Delhi-110037
4- Thumby Aviation
By Gp Captain KNG Nair, an Indian Air Force veteran with a high experience in the aviation sector.
- Address: Thumby Aviation Pvt. Ltd., Juhu Old Airport, Near Nanavati Hospital, SV Road, Vile Parle West Mumbai-400045, India
Other Aviation companies- Premair, Summit Aviation, Indo Copters, Bajaj Aviation, Bolt Aircraft Sales and Charters, Apex Aviation.
Several en-route Kedarnath for helicopter Services
1- Sirsi Helipad for Kedarnath Helicopter Service
- Distance from Kedarnath– 23 kilometers
- Time taken to reach the shrine via chopper– 11 minutes
- Ticket price: INR 2470per person for a one-way ticket
- Location: Sirsi Village, almost 7 km from Phata
- Altitude: 6500 feet
- Accommodation: Budget-friendly as well as deluxe rooms facility is available at Sirsi itself or you can also accommodate yourself in any of the nearby villages like Phata, Guptkashi, Sonprayag, and Rampur.
Established at a distance of almost 11 minutes from Kedarnath, Sirsi is the nearest helipad to Kedarnath Dham. This quaint hamlet in Uttarakhand was inaugurated by Wangchuk Shamshu and Mr. Harsh Vardhan Sharma in the year 2002.
2- Phata helipad for Kedarnath helicopter service
- Distance from Kedarnath– 31 km
- Time taken to reach Kedarnath via Chopper– 9 minutes
- Ticket price: INR 2399 per person one-way ticket
- First flight timing– 6:30 am
- Location: 14 km from Guptkashi
- Altitude: 4921 feet
- Accommodation: Budget-friendly hotels and deluxe rooms and the best facilities at Phata itself and the other nearby locations like Guptkashi.
It takes almost 9 minutes to reach Kedarnath from Phata and you can book these helicopter tickets either online or offline mode and Phata is one of the busiest helipads for Kedarnath because of its location. There are several aviation companies that offer their fly services from this particular helipad.
3- Guptkashi helipad for Kedarnath helicopter service
- Distance from Kedarnath: 46 km
- Time taken to reach Kedarnath via Chopper: approx. 15 minutes
- Ticket Price: INR 4275 one-way ticket
- First flight of the day– 6:30 in the morning
- Location: Narayankoti
- Altitude: approx. 4800 feet
- Accommodation: Being a major stopover of Kedarnath, Guptkashi boasts of several hotels including budget-friendly hotels to deluxe resorts.
Being well-connected with other parts of the state, Guptkashi is one of the most preferred staying options if you are visiting Kedarnath Dham and it takes almost 15 minutes to reach the holy shrine of Lord Shiva from this helipad. There is a proper arrangement of medical facilities for needy ones and it also has multiple hotels.
4- Sitapur Helipad for Kedarnath helicopter service
- Distance from Kedarnath: 22 km
- Time taken to reach Kedarnath Temple via Chopper: approx. 5 to 7 minutes
- Ticket price: it is 4000+ for a one-way ticket for one person
- First flight timing: 6:30 am
- Location: 7 km from Gaurikund
- Accommodation: budget-friendly hotels, as well as deluxe resorts, are also present here itself but one can accommodate himself/ herself at other nearby destinations too including Guptkashi, Sonprayag, and Phata
Located almost 26 km away from Guptkashi, Sitapur is another nearest helipad from where you board the chopper to reach Kedarnath Shrine. Likewise, other helicopter operators and helipads, Sitapur helipad is also available online and offline both and it takes almost 5 to 7 minutes to reach Kedarnath from this helipad.
5- Augustmuni Helipad for Kedarnath helicopter service
- Distance from Kedarnath: 70 km
- Time taken to reach Kedarnath via chopper: between 15 to 20 minutes
- Ticket price: around 4500 per person for a one-way ticket
- First flight timing– 6:30 am
- Location: the playground near Augustmuni Police Station
- Altitude: 3280 feet
- Accommodation: one can accommodate himself/ herself at Augustmuni itself or if they want then go for stay in Rudraprayag.
One of the most popular helipads is established on the left side of Rudraprayag- Kedarnath highway near Augustmuni police station. Located almost 160 km ahead of Rishikesh, the helipad starts its first chopper at 6:30 in the morning. Previously, Pawan Hans used to operate its helicopter services from this helipad and now the chopper that flies from here is a 5-seater Bell 407 helicopter that takes almost 45 minutes to complete a round trip.
6- Dehradun to Kedarnath Helicopter service
- Distance from Kedarnath: 266 km
- Time taken to reach Kedarnath via Chopper: varies as per package halts
- Ticket price: INR 70,000 for Complete Char Dham package
- First flight timing– 6:30 am
- Location: Sahastradhara helipad, Dehradun
- Altitude: 2175 feet
- Accommodation: one can find budget-friendly hotels as well as deluxe places to stay in Dehradun.
If you want to book a direct helicopter journey for Kedarnath then it is available but is very economical as the distance between the segments is more. Many aviation companies start their helicopter services from this helipad.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Ans– Yes, there are several aviation companies offering this service.
Ans– the packages are available both online and offline that you can grab at different rates. Check out the official portals of aviation companies but be informed that you cannot check the names of the firms as the tenders have not been passed yet.
Ans– Guptkashi, Augustmuni, Phata, Sirsi, Sitapur, and Dehradun are the places that boast of helipads from where you can board the helicopter for Kedarnath.
Ans- Sahastradhara Helipad at Dehradun is the only helipad that is established closer to the airport and the railway station.
Ans– Chopper Ticket, a valid ID Proof including Aadhar Card, PAN Card, Driving License, etc. are the documents you need to carry along with you.
Ans– it is not fair to state the exact price as fluctuations are found in the package rates.
Ans– none of the passengers are allowed to carry more than 5 kg weight and if you do so then you will be asked to leave your extra baggage in the cloakroom itself.
Ans– yes, if they are less than 2 years of age and if they have completed their 2 years and 1 day on the day of travel then he/she will be charged with the ticket.
Ans– it’s usually 2 hours which may change as per the rules of the aviation company. Being a crowded destination, it takes normally 2 hours so this is the minimum time that a company offers to its clients.
Ans– Not so far and it takes almost 15 minutes of walk to reach the shrine.
Ans– it hardly takes 5 to 7 minutes and it varies according to the helipad from where your journey commences.
Ans– it ranges between INR 7000 and 8000 per passenger.
Ans– Yes, you are free to use your gadgets.
Ans– Yes, there is a provision of the opting one-way helicopter ride.
Ans– Yes, you will have to pay this debt if in case the flight gets canceled due to natural calamities like bad weather conditions. Also, the refund policies vary and you need to discuss this policy with your company prior to your ticket booking.
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