Bio-metric: it’s free of cost and is not a reservation for you at temple. No need for online registration. At Haridwar, I got it done in 5 minutes. No queues. Nobody asked us for the card during the entire journey. Though at Kedarnath, they asked after completing our journey and de-registered due to insurance attached with it. I had done online registration as well but seems it is waste of money.
- If you are going by a commercial vehicle of any other state, then you need to pay (a) road tax (b) Acquire Green Certificate.
Without Green Certificate, you cannot proceed or will face lots of issues with police check posts. The driver of commercial vehicle must have license for Hill.
- Process to obtain Green Certificate is little long. Hence try to get it at Haridwar on very first day. We landed up at Dehradoon and wasted 5 hours to close the formality with broker’s help.
- Start your day early to avoid mad rush in temples as well as on roads. With June nearing, crowd should go down.
- AMS (Accute mountain Sickness): Consult your doctor before beginning journey. There are few homeopathic medicines (Coca 30, 200), which helps in fighting AMS. Alternatively, please carry Camphor (kapoor) as well in a small air tight box.
- Be sufficiently hydrated while ascending the trek and keep drinking water with Glucose and Frooti.
- For trekking, i felt it was easy to climb with baby steps at lower pace. 🙂 You can decide your own physical strength and pace.
- Try getting a mobile SIM of BSNL, as it would work in mountains. Other carriers do not work mostly at high altitudes.
My experience with Yamunotri:
- Usually people stay at Barkot. Which is around 30-40km from Yamunotri. One should start at 5 or before to avoid traffic on road as well as when trekking to temple.
- Darshans is not managed well. No queues. 🙁 . If you are ok to spend money then pandit will help you with pooja etc.
- While trekking (both ways), pay attention to pony/palki etc. The ponies/palki would hit if you don’t give way.
- Keep raincoats with you. Usually, it would drizzle or rain in 2nd half of the day.
- From Yamunotri to Gangotri, there is a place called Shivgufa. You may visit if you have time (e.g. people staying at Uttarkashi can visit this place but people staying further at Harshil and Gangotri may skip due to their longer journey).
My experience with Gangotri:
- Peace of mind – No ponies. No Palkis. 🙂 One has to walk for a km or less.
- Go for Vishesh pooja. A slip of 750/- for approximately 6 persons. Else during peak hours you may have to queue up for 2 hours as well. 750 bucks is worth the time you spend inside temple and offer prayers.
- Before onwards journey, one can visit Harshil, if time permits.
My experience with Kedarnath ji:
- Frankly speaking – Not good from trekking perspective. Not a good trek for pedestrians due to heavy presence of ponies and the way these ponies are operated.
- Trek is steeper than Yamunotri.
- Start very early at Sonprayag. I was stuck at Sonprayag for couple of hours for a ride to Gaurikund. This is 5 km journey by local transport (Marshal or Sumo). Your vehicle will be stopped at Sonprayag. From parking you will have to walk 900 meters to reach the point where you can board the local transport.
- It usually rains in second half. So be ready for it. Go for raincoats (20 rs). A very thin polythene, but serves purpose. You should wear shoes which can dry quickly. Else it becomes nightmare to get them dry and cleaned.
- Carry extra clothes, if you are trekking and plan to stay overnight.
- GVMN accommodation is good. I stayed in bunk beds and stay was comfortable. Geyser was available for hot water 🙂
- Queue up at temple around 4 am to get Darshans by six am. And you can start trekking back.
- If you want to do Vishesh pooja, then get the receipt in evening itself for next day (overnight post 1200 am and before 5 am). I didn’t go for that and preferred to pay Pitthoo wala instead, who carried our baggage.
- Keep drinking water and glucose while trekking in either direction. Frooti was alternative for me.
- We took 8.5 hours to ascend and 6.5 hours to descend.
- With pony, one can complete darshan in a day and come back. But you will have start day early.
- There are around 10+ helicopter companies operating in this region. All seem to be fully booked as of now. Be ready for additional 2100 per pax in case of helicopter travel.
- I didn’t explore but seems few had gone for one side journey through helicopter.
- For helicopter package, go early and come back early. With weather changes, helicopters can be stopped any time and one may get stranded at Kedarnath ji.