For centuries, Himalayas has been a spot of fascination and wonder for both travelers and tourists. The perennial snow that remains in these peaks provide a sight for the tourists and adventure for the travelers. The high mountains, the vast valleys, the undulating terrains, the freezing temperatures , the pine trees and snow are signature characteristics of an Himalayan range.
Well out of the many many climbed peaks in the Himalayas, Kedarkantha is one which arguably is the easiest. Due to its name one might think it as something that lies in the vicinity of Kedarnath, but these are actually 91.3 kms apart and thus far away. Kedarkantha is one of the best treks to take if you are a beginner and you love snow and mountains.
Though it is said to be the easiest winter trek, you might very well disagree with that. Due to the temperature which reaches a minimum of -17 to -21 degrees and strong winds that blows can chill your bone to the spine. The toughness lies in the temperature only otherwise everything else is well sorted. There are good camping sites, nice trails to follow and one would often come across different tea stalls providing tea, coffee and Maggi at a fairly raised price.
Journey starts from Dehradun. The buses are available from the Old ISBT,near the Dehradun Railway Station. There are three buses which leave Dehradun for Sankri (Trek starts from Sankri).
Bus timings are : 5.30 am , 7.30 am and 8.15 am. It usually takes 10 to 11 hours to reach Sankri from Dehradun.
The journey from Dehradun to Sankri is very scenic as it goes through the Garhwal Himalayas. The buses go the following way- Dehradun >Vikasnagar > Dampta > Naugaon > Purola > Mori > Netwar > Sankri.
Distance covered : 180 kilometer (approx)
Fare charged : 290 / person
Following the River Tons - the largest tributary of the Yamuna, it reaches Sankri at around 4.30 pm , 6.30 pm and 7.15 pm respectively.
Before you reach Sankri, there will be a place in Netwar where you need to take permission for your trekking activities in Govind Wildlife Sanctuary. KEDARKANTHA is located in this very Wildlife Sanctuary. Thus the cost is ₹1200 for three days camping and trekking activities.
On reaching Sankri, you would be welcomed by high mountains of the Har ki Doon ranges. There you can stay the night in the Govt. GMVN - Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited. The GMVN cost Rs 640 per day if you reserve it from before. It is a bargain because they provide 5 beds and 24*7 running water. GMVN are hard to get so it is advisable to book it beforehand. You can book it here www.gmvnl.in
Other accommodation include hotels and lodges are generally in a higher price range. No surprises there !
You can take your meal in the nearby dhabas where the prices are a bit high considering the altitude of the place Sankri (1920 metres).
If you are short of some equipment and accessories like the gaiters, poncho, trek pants, tents and sleeping bags then it can be taken on rent from Sankri but because of the huge demand of these items, it is more advisable to rent it from Dehradun itself.
Day 1 of Trek :
First day starts as early as 7 am. Wherever you stay in Sankri, it would take a 15 mins walk to the base of the hill from where the ascend starts.
Before you start the ascend you need to show the permission letter (taken from Netwar) to the authorities present there.
The ascend is easy to moderate. You will find it difficult if you are carrying heavy bags. It is a long ascend through the jungle. It usually takes 4 to 5 hours to reach Juda ka talav. ( First day campsite)
One can easily complete it within 4 to 5 hours if he/she is an active ascend-er. There are two tea stalls on the way to Juda ka Talav. It is hectic on the first day of the trek. One should not worry about it, the body gets accustomed as the trek progresses. The lemon tea at these tea stalls are a complete rejuvenator. It takes away all the tiredness.
It is only at the second tea stall to the Juda ka Talav that one will find the first sight of snow. That is of course very refreshing in itself.
On reaching there you can host your tent and collect woods from the nearby trees if you need a campfire or to cook foods. ( If you are with any Travel or Tour or Trekking companies then you will not be allowed to create a fire)
Distance To Cover : 4 Km (Trek starting point > Juda ka Talav)
Day 2 of Trek :
This day trek will take you to the base camp from where you will get the first glimpse of the Kedarkantha peak. This day trek is hardly 2 to 3 hours walking with moderate ascend. Some people reach base camp on the first day itself without staying at Juda ka Talav. So you can possibly get an idea about the distance. It is short and possibly the most easiest day of the trek.