So popular is the six-hour Kedarnath trek on the yatra trail that the path up from Gaurikund is being slowly stripped of its vegetation, used for fuel and to feed the ponies that carry wealthier pilgrims. The large pony track that climbs from Gaurikund is dotted with chai shops, traversing the hillside through the disappearing forests to the village of Rambara, 7km up and halfway to Kedarnath. An untidy heap of cafés and resthouses, Rambara also signals the end of the tree line. Several conspicuous short cuts scar the hillside as the track rises steeply to Garur Chatti before levelling off just 1km short of Kedarnath. Suddenly, rounding a corner, you come face to face with the incredible south face of the peak of Kedarnath (6940m) at the end of the valley, with the temple town dwarfed beneath it in the distance.

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