Beginning near the main bridge just before town, a paved pathway crosses the Mandakini to the left of the valley and ends 4km north at the Chorabari Glacier (1–2hr) At its edge lies Chorabari Tal, a lake also known as Gandhi Sarovar as some of the Mahatma’s ashes were scattered here. The source of the Mandakini lies around 800m before the lake, emerging from a hole in the moraine on extremely suspect ground. An alternative route to the lake begins from the small bridge just behind the temple, across which the main track may be reached after a scramble up the rough boulder-strewn moraine.

Another walk is to the ancient shrine of Bhairava, visible from Kedarnath’s main temple and just under 1km to the east of town. It is connected by another well-marked path running diagonally along the hillside, and surrounded with fluttering prayer flags. A cliff known as Bhairava Jhamp rises nearby, said to be where fanatical pilgrims used to leap to their deaths in hopes of instant liberation – until the British banned the practice in the nineteenth century.

A longer, more difficult path (consider hiring a guide in Kedarnath) leads from near the GMVN Tourist Bungalow to Vakuki Tal (4135m), 9km away (4–5hr). Set in a desolate high mountain valley surrounded by the snow-clad Chaukhamba peaks, the little lake is crystal clear.

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