First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes

Tripoto
12th Jan 2018
Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

#BestofTravel

Two years back, I was bored in my small cubicle, surrounded by workload, which made no sense to me. This is the benefit of being a fresher and joining a crucial project, as people tend to think that you know nothing and in reality, you really do know nothing. So, here I was, trying to figure out how to do this small implementation and voila! It hits me. I have been in office for more than the required time limit, and I can just...leave. No one can stop me. I anyway don't get paid that much, and I've been doing all this extra hard work for what? Pennies? Screw that, I'm going home.

But... There was only one thing that stopped me from leaving. Not my manager, duh. Not my inner conscious, don't have one. It was....*Drum rolls..* Traffic Jams! Ta-dah! So yeah, my office is in Kormangala, and irrespective of where your office is in Bangalore, if it's the peak hour, I would suggest you to just sit back, rest, and leave once it's 9ish. Less traffic , less headache, less tension and you can reach home in a jiffy. Also, your manager would be impressed by the extra hours you have submitted in your Prime Sheet. For people wondering what a Prime sheet is, it's a very common occurrence word in the world of IT, or to be specific, Bosch. It's like a spreadsheet, where in you enter your Clock in Time and out Time, and this sheet is available to your manager. You are entitled to complete the 9.25 hours mandatory.

If you've been following me, you'll know the deal with me and my conscious. So, few people used to be scared of their managers and enter the correct hours. Me, on the other hand, would scribble in whatever hour seems nice on paper. It's unethical, but who cares. I used to hate my job! So yeah, sorry for diverting away from the topic. I was at my work, trying to figure out, how to pass time, and be a bit more productive, and then I stumbled upon this website, www.indiahikes.com. It was intriguing. I went through the treks they had to offer, and boy! They all were so beautiful!! But this one trek got to my attention. Kedarkantha Trek. It was an easy trek, Snowy, high altitude, and affordable. Only catch, it was for 6 days. I had no leaves remaining. Shit...

Two years went past by. Lots of stuff happened in these two years, I left my job, started travelling, and writing. It sounds all dreamy and unpractical, but that's what happens when you get annoyed by the whole IT industry and it's repetitive nature. Luckily, I had my parents to support me through all this. Love you! :*

One fine day, while I was sitting at home, contemplating on my life and where it's headed, I get a mail from Tripoto. I had taken part in a contest, #takemetohimalayas, and they offered me a trek from Indiahikes to Kedarkantha. I was really ecstatic after reading that mail. It was applicable till December 2018. I clearly don't have patience to wait till then. I proceeded to book the earliest dates, as I really wanted to do this trek in winter. It sure had few risks. It was a high altitude trek, 12,500 feet, winter season, so the temperature would go down to -11 degrees. I didn't want to die alone. So I convinced my friend to join me on this trek. Smart much?

Day 1

Pit stop 1: Chandigarh

We started off from Bangalore and met at Chandigarh. If you are wondering why Chandigarh, then you clearly have never been to this beautiful, no traffic jam city! Clean roads, trees everywhere, no noise pollution, what more can one ask for?

We reached Chandigarh by 9th of January. Thought of doing the required shopping before we head out for our winter trek. You need a Rucksack (40 Lt and above), trekking shoes, fleece jackets, etc.

Tip 1: Before you go on a trek, visit Decathlon. Go to their store, tell them about your trek, and they will prepare you! It's not that expensive as well.

If you are a foodie, then please for the love of god, visit Punjab. My friend, who's name is Abhilasha, had never had those Chaats, Tikki, Butter Chicken, and the local street food. Watching her in amazement was something that I loved! We went to Rock Garden, and Sukhna Lake, because why not. Well, Chandigarh and things to do there can be a seperate blog all together. So, I’ll stop for now. Let's start our journey to the mighty Himalayas.

Rock Garden, Chandigarh

Photo of Chandigarh, India by Shivang Kapoor

We booked our tickets on redbus from Chandigarh.

Fun Fact: There's only one Volvo Semi Sleeper bus leaving from Chandigarh, (Sector 43, bus stop number 38), to Dehradun, that leaves by 6.30 am, and arrives at Dehradun by 11. Rest of the buses are local, which leaves every 2 hours. Will not recommend it for people with motion sickness.

Day 2

Pit Stop 2: Dehradun

We left our place at 5 am, for Dehradun. Ticket cost: 600rs. It's winter time, and the temperature at Chandigarh was dangling between single and double digits. It was bloody cold, trust me! Five layers of clothing and yet I was shivering like a leaf. There was a moment when the driver stopped in between and opened the door. Boy! I had to run to my bag, wear another layer of socks and trousers. We reached Dehradun around 11 am. We spoke to few locals and they suggested we go to Paltan Baazar and find a room. Thing is, Dehradun Bus stop is a bit far off from the main city. So one can either take the shared auto, or catch a taxi/cab. We did the former one, costed us 50rs. On reaching the main bazaar, we found this hotel, that seemed interesting and cheap. 3 days, 2 nights, costed us 1200 rs. Hotel Shiv Kripa. Paltan bazaar is crazy! You get everything here! EVERYTHING! We went a bit bonkers here. It's really close to the railway station though. Walking distance.

There were few hiccups with the trekking shoe rentals. It's a long story. Meet me in person and I'll let you know. :)

So, Indiahikes has a really good process. They had booked cabs for us from Dehradun, till Naitwar. Naitwar is the place where you will start your trek from. Only issue being that the cabs weren't the AC comfortable cabs I expected. It was a tempo traveler.

Bus stopped in some point on our way to Gainchwan Gaon for lunch.

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

Tip: Go to the bus stand and ask them about the local bus leaving to Naitwar, or Sankri. Local Bus fare is 350 rs.

The cabs costed us 1000 each. That was bonkers. But we had no choice. We went ahead with it. Rendezvous point was the railway station. We woke up early, and headed to that place by 6ish. That's where we met our trek group. We had spoken a few times over the whatsapp group, but getting to meet all of them in person was exciting. Some were solo, some were with their partners, best friends, sisters, and two people from Dubai! There were few people from Bangalore as well! We started off from the railway station around 7ish. Next stop: Gainchwan Gaon.

Tip: If you are going through Indiahikes, the spelling of Netwar is Naitwar. So, if you want to check the place out on maps, search for," Netwar".

Roads are a bit horrible, as it's not really a highway. But... But the scenic beauty and the view that one gets to see on their way to Netwar is something straight from heaven! You will be driving next to Tons River for quite some time. Have you ever seen a crystal clear river? I haven't. You could shoot your wedding here, or a movie, or anything that screams for some natural beauty.

Tall Oak Trees, on our way to the next destination

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Roads are really curvy. People with motion sickness, beware!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor
Day 3

Pit Stop 3: Gainchwan Gaon

This is where we had our briefing sessions. Also, see the rooms in the background, that's for girls. It's a mini palace.

Photo of Gainchwan Gaon, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

We reached the base, Gainchwan Gaon. Altitude: 5,600 ft, Time taken: 8 – 9 hours drive from Dehradun. We roamed around this quiet village and be enchanted by the sound of the Rupin river.

We had our briefing session, which was followed by a medical card being issued to all. This was a bit exciting for me, as they said that we'll need to carry this card everywhere, and they will be checking on our oximeter and bp reading from time to time.

Day 1, Gainchwan Gaon. We stayed here for a night. 5,600 ft

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

An important point to add here. You cannot take bath here. You'll fall sick otherwise. Water is super duper ultra cold here. Washing hands post dinner was traumatizing. A month back, I had gone for triund trek. What we got for dinner was maggie, dal and chawal. So, being under the same assumption, I was expecting maggie for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Boy was I surprised! What we got for dinner was Matar (Peas) and Paneer (Cottage Cheese), Mixed Veg, Hot Rotis, rice, Jalebi, and hot water to drink. I wasn't prepared for this. None of us were. Special kudos to Indiahikes and their cooking crew!

View from our rooms.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

It was the month of Jan, and the temperature just didn't feel like climbing on top. Single digits, and 3 layers went hand in hand, and god bless you, if you decided to wash your hands. Girls were given a mini palace, with a nice view. Boys were put in a shed. Sexist much?

Thanks to Indiahikes, and their demo on how to pack your bags, tie your shoelaces, things to take and how to layer during the trek, we didn't waste much time and were up and ready to start by 8.30 am. Also, to the foodies out there, we had Rava Idli, Sambhar, Chai, and sandwiches for the trek. On a personal note, I had the pre-travel jitters just before we could start off with the trek. The thought of trekking for 6 kms, in this cold winter was something I wasn't sure my body will be ready for.

Being a doggo lover, coming across these fluffy cute dogs is just a dream come true for me! They are really friendly and soo fluffy!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

And these fluffy little things! Only if I could take them back home. :(

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Because of the low temperature in morning, one usually assumes to wear more number of layers, before starting the trek. But that’s not the case. On your day 1, you have to wear max 2 layers. It starts to get hot as you are trekking up, thanks to the sun, and the exertion that your body is going through.

On our way, we crossed a few villages, creeped out a few locals, got judged by a few as well. Well, they were used to the cold. I wasn't. Also, imagine yourself, trekking up, panting for breath, stopping every few meters for water and then you see this local, who casually covers the same distance in a jiffy. You will, for sure be intimidated. I was intimidated by my fellow trekkers, toh yeh locals kya cheez.

Baa Baa black sheep, have you any wool?

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Yes Sir! Yes Sir! Three bags full!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

One for my master, one for my slave

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

One for the little boy, who lives down the lane

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Our first mooh dikhayi of snow capped mountains

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Elders of the village.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

So an interesting thing about building wooden houses, when a family is building one, everyone from the village will gather around, and help them get logs from mountains and build the house. These houses are really warm during harsh winters, and cold during summers.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Most of the families lives depend mainly on their cattle. One sheep can go on sale for up to a lakh. Each cattle is insured by govt. So in case, anything happens to the herd, or the whole herd dies due to some epidemic, they can get the insurance money from the govt.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Few hours go past by, and every step seems like a struggle. We finally reached a dhaba, and had omelette maggie. After few minutes of rest, we started again. Now, by this time, my body had one question. Why? I am among the laziest animal you will ever come across, who loves his natural habitat of comfy bed, laptop, coffee and movies. What does an animal do when he’s trekking in a dense forest? Whines! Yes, he whines. Since, we were reaching 7,800 feet, your body tends to get tired, because of the low atmospheric pressure and your body not getting enough oxygen. It was really hard for people who came from sea shores.

We were still amidst the lush green forest, waiting to see some hint of snow.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

1st day climb is the hardest. As you will be walking close to 7-8 kms, with steep climbs at every corner

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Taking breaks became a hobby for me. Every 5 meters, I used stop, wonder why I'm doing this, make weird noises, and then plop for a while.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

By 2.30 pm, we finally reached the base camp. I couldn’t feel my legs, and the last thing I wanted to do was some exercise. But, boy did it help! After stretching, we proceeded towards the welcome drink, and lunch. Kadi Chawal, and Halwa for lunch. Temperature: 5-8 degrees. Tummy full.

Every step we took, the horizon kept getting more and more beautiful! When I look back, all this still feels like a dream.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

So, the weird part of this whole trek was, not the cold, but the washrooms. I have never done my deed in a dry toilet. We did buy toilet roll, in case nature calls. But, I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of paper, and no water. As you see in the picture, these are the dry toilets. There were rules, how to shout, “excuse me”, out loud, so that you don’t get a surprise to see inside, always go with a pee buddy, and once you are done with the deed, use the soil in the bucket and cover it up. Ta-dah. Potty training done.

We spent most of our afternoon getting to know everyone. I am really bad with names, so comedy ensues. Later that evening, we decided to gather around and play few games inside the dinner tent, you know the classic, Dumb Charades. It got dark pretty fast, and as soon as we stepped outside the dinner tent, something was different. It was dark. Pitch dark. All we had to do was, look up. YES! The sky was lit with millions of stars! You get to see only few hundred stars, when you are in the city, thanks to all the light pollution. But here, my goodness! You could get an existential crisis! Going to quote a line from my favourite comic,

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor
Day 4

I have loved the Stars too fondly to be feared of Night

Photo of Kedarkantha Base Camp, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

More the merrier.

Photo of Kedarkantha Base Camp, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

This was the exact thought that was going through my mind. We decided to lie down on the grass, and just stare at the beautiful sight that got us all together! I really missed my Nikon. This was for the first time, that I had to leave them back home, as I had promised to myself, that for one trip, I will go enjoy, live in the moment, and capture each and every details in memories, that I can then share with everyone, in near future to come. So, that’s what I did. I did pester few people who had their cameras along, so that we could take those long exposures! :D

Next morning, we woke up at 6 am and had to leave by 8 am. Important tip coming up.

Tip: There’s something called as offloading your bags. So what happens here is that they will take your luggage, and it would be sent to the next campsite on the mules. It costs you 1k. We didn’t opt for offloading, since we wanted to save up on every penny. Opt for offloading if,

a) you have a really heavy backpack,

b) you have shoulder and back issues,

c) you have trust issues with your bags,

d) you got ego issues with taking help from the mules

On this day, we were promised snow. After an hour of walking, we saw this patch of snow. It was WHITE! White and Soft!! It’s like holding clouds in your palms, but you can eat them! We spent half and hour here, because we couldn’t get over this! Few hours into the trek, and there was snow, EVERYWHERE! Let the pictures speak for themselves.

I am on the bottom corner left. Was really tired of walking, and wanted to sleep. Expression explains it all.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

We spent almost an hour at this serene snowy paradise. Our trek leader kept telling us that you'll find more of it on your way ahead, but we couldn't resist! We could finally make snow balls!

We saw Snow for the first time.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

There's Snow place like Home ;)

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

We spent almost half an hour at this spot. We couldn't get enough of all the snow.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Now we start trekking amidst all the snow and tall Oak trees.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Yeh haseen waadiyan, yeh khula aasmaan.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

After 5 hours of trekking through snow, we finally made it to Pukhrola! It's also known as the KK Base camp.

Day 5

Pit Stop 4: Pukhrola

KK base camp was among the most beautiful sight that I had seen till date! It is on an open meadow with snow peaks all around. You can see where exactly Uttrakhand ends, and Himachal Pradesh starts. You see the white peaks, that’s Himachal. You see that pass? That’s Rupin pass.

The expression speaks for the feeling we all were going through! We finally were at high altitude!

Photo of Pukhrora, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

Sun doob rha hai.

Photo of Pukhrora, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

As soon as we used to reach a camp, we were supposed to do warm up, and exercise. Boy, it sure helps a lot!

Photo of Pukhrora, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

We had Rajma Chawal that afternoon. Wow! Like Wow! It’s close to 0 Degrees, and here I am, having Rajma Chawal, while having this majestic mountain view ahead of me, and also, I am surrounded by snow. I guess this is what heaven feels like. Not like I would ever know how it feels. People who know me, can explain why there’s a place reserved in hell, right next to Satan, for me. 0:)

Log Pose!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Tip: If it’s day time, please don’t go into the tents to catch a nap. Because it’s at that high altitude, tents get weirdly warm from the inside. The heat radiates, and you will end up with fever and a bad headache. We learnt it the hard way.

Sunset, at KK base camp, was B-E-A-UTIFUL! As soon as the darkness crept in, so did the bitter cold. Temperature dropped down to minus. Thankfully, they arranged for an anghithi for all of us. For people who are wondering what an anghithi is, it’s a metal box, where you place coal and wood, and use it for cooking, or in our case, warming up our body. If it wasn’t for this, we would have certainly been one with the almighty god.

We made it! In spite of all the health issues, was really proud that she was able to make it till here!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Our trek leader, Mr. Satej, and us.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Only few more meters to go. There's a flag you can see from base. If you zoom in, you can see it too. That's the summit.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

We reached here by 2 pm. All we had to now, was Chill!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Those are our tents. In the background, you can see Himachal Pradesh, and the start of Himalayan range

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Our Guide, Mr. Subhash Bhai!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Friend's are like Snow Flakes. If you pee on them, they disappear.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

You want a new dp? Head out to the mountains.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Things I would like to do before I die, Snow Board over a mountain.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Tame each and every corner

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

And look this cool whilst doing it.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Or even close

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

If you would like to cheer someone up, take them to the mountains.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

The snow is sparkling like a million little suns

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor
Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Sunsets and Silhouettes.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Right after sunset, our trek leader, Satej asked us if we would like to see the sunrise from the summit tomorrow. I knew where he was going with this, so I hesitated. Everyone said Hell Yeah! So for this to happen, you had to get up at 3 am and leave for the summit by 4am. Dinner was served by 6.30 pm, and we were off to bed by 7pm. But the most interesting part of the trek happened now! For dinner, we got Hot gulabjamuns!! GULABJAMUN! It’s minus outside and we are getting hot gulabjamun here. Holy hell! Once we were done hogging on the delicious dinner, we had to get back to bed.

Night sky was exactly like this, but imagine a few million more.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Now, the fascinating thing was, at night, the temperature drops down to -10 degrees. So, the moment we woke up at 2.30 am, it was COLD! Like fuck cold!! Changing back to our trek pants was a terror! And the best part, the nature called. So, washing your hands, at this temperature was not easy. I couldn’t feel my fingers, and by this time, I was too scared to talk about my toes.

As soon as I woke up at 3 am, I reached out for my gloves, and caps. As I looked top, the sky seemed so bright! Millions and Millions of these tiny dots, spread across the night sky. And we were supposed to trek under them. Holy WOW!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

We started by 4 am, and boy, was it cold. So, I was wearing,

1. T-Shirt

2. Fleece Jacket

3. Another Fleece Jacket

4. Thick Hoodie

5. Jacket

6. One track pant

7. Another track pant

8. One pair of socks

9. Another pair of woolen socks

10. One Bandana (as to cover my ears)

11. Woolen monkey cap

12. Woolen Hat

13. One muffler

14. Another Muffler

15. Snow Gloves

Yeah. That’s pretty much it. A bit too much?

The moment we started trekking, it got so cold that we couldn’t feel our fingers and toes. Guide kept telling us to keep moving our toes and fingers, as that helps with the better circulation of blood. Every time we stopped for water break, my toes and fingers used to go numb. I, accidently dropped some water on my beard and muffler. At our next water break, I noticed that they had been turned into ice. ICE! I had ice on my face. I was Ice Beard. (PJ is my forte) Water inside plastic bottles had been turned into solid ice as well.

He counts the stars and calls them all by name

Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

Look at the stars, Look how they shine for you

Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

And everything you do, Yeah they were all yellow

Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor
Day 6

Pit Stop 5: KEDARKANTHA SUMMIT

We reached the summit by 6.50 am. We did freak out in between as it got bright enough for us to switch off the torch lights, and we were scared that we will miss out on the sunrise. As soon as we reached the top, it got really cold, but everything went numb once we saw the view. It was marvelous, flabbergasting and quite a heavenly view!! We found a small place, amidst the rocks, which would make sure that we are safe from the himalayan winds. The mountains were lit up. The sunrise was about to happen in another few minutes. Our trek leader knew about the timings, so we did some random countdowns. The horizon was dancing in all it’s red glory, snow capped himalayan peaks started to come out in all its glory and shine.

Sunrise in 3...

And the lord said, let there be light.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

2....

And there was light

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

1...

And a bit more of that light we spoke about earlier

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Spreading light across the plains and plateaus

Yeh haseen waadiyaan, yeh khula aasmaan

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

You remember, how back in school, we used to draw this one scenery, with two mountains, and sun rising in between those two peaks, yeah. We saw that in real life. Our guide was like, you’ll know when the sun will rise. I was like, it’s just a sunrise. It’s just going to get bright, right? No. We kept staring in between the bright spot, wondering when the sunrise will happen, and then for a brief period in time, everything became silent, and this one ray of light hit us. You’ll be wondering, what BS. But you have to see it to believe it. The sunrise had started. People were running about clicking pictures, recording videos. Where was I? Next to my partner, held her hand, and wished her Good Morning, and thanks for being here. We just wanted to enjoy everything, and not get in the flow of clicking pictures. It was a sight to behold! Within seconds, sun was out in all its glory.

Palat.. Palat... Palat...

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Palati!!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Few minutes later, our trek leader told everyone to gather around. He just asked us to close our eyes as we were going to do some meditation. Lot of people hesitated, as why would you close your eyes, when you have the best sunrise of your lifetime right in front of your eyes!? He persisted, and we all followed his advice. He said, “Now go back in time, when you thought about this trek for the first time. Now fast forward to when you finally got about to book the tickets, and decided to be a part of this wonderful journey. Now, trace your thoughts, and the feeling, that you had before you started on this trek. Go back to the moment you reached Dehradun and met your trek group, then the evening, when you reached the starting point. Now, in these past two days, you walked a lot, you put your body to this unimaginable stress, that it wasn’t expecting. Last night's dinner, and the cold, the stars and friends, waking up at 3 am, in minus degree and trekking up this mountain, all of that, all of these 3-4 months of preparation, was for this. This right here, is what you all worked so hard for! Now open your eyes, and behold the KEDARKANTHA SUMMIT!

If I wanted to pick a pose, this is what I would have gone for.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

We spent 1 hour, 20 minutes on the summit. We learnt of all the peaks, and their stories behind it. There was this Swargarohini peak, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swargarohini), which is famous for being the resting point of the 4 Pandavas. You get to see various peaks, mainly – Bandar punch, Kalanag, Har Ki dhun, Swarga-rohini, Yamunotri range, Dhauladhar range, Chansil Pass, Rupin valley, Har ki Dun valley. Some of the other peaks you see include Jaonti, Gangotri, Draupadi ka Danda and Jorkanden.

You see that big rock in middle, we were sitting behind it, trying to save ourselves from the Himalayan Winds.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Few seconds before the Sunrise..

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

The valley swept in dense fog, around 7 am, giving a magical feeling.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

This is exactly the sunrise, what I used to draw back in school.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor
Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Imagine yourself, sitting on a rock, facing this view, and just wondering, Why was I tensed in the first place.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

We sit here, closer to the almighty god, letting the good vibes in, surrounded with people whom we love, enjoying every second that we can.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

KEDARKANTHA PEAK, The History, the name literally means the throat of lord Shiva (Kedar refers to Lord Shiva and Kantha means Throat) “He is the DESTROYER of the universe only to recreate it, Lord Shiva.” . The belief says that it was supposed to be the original Kedarnath temple but Lord Shiva, who disguised himself as a cow hiding from the Pandavas was disturbed during meditation by village men, cows (Lord Shiva) mooed and disappeared to the present Kedarnath.

WE DID IT!!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Descend is always the easiest part, but not when you have to walk on ice! As the snow had just set in a few weeks prior to our trek, it had turned into ice. Those damn spikes aren’t useful here, as you tend to keep slipping. We all slipped at some point or the other. The secret is to not walk on ice. Find your own path, and then jump down the snow, like little rabbits. But make sure you jump sideways, as if you land on a rock, you can still maintain balance. One person had twisted her leg whilst doing such a thing. Doing this is scary, but is more fun! :)

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Best part of this trek, was climbing down in snow. I’ve trekked quite a bit, but it was always over rocks. This, this was entirely different. You could SLIDE DOWN! Sliding down was so much fun, and the best part was, it was fast! And you couldn’t get hurt. :D

Chalo, chale ghar ko.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Our technical guide, had gotten his skateboard along, and was going down to the KK base camp, by using his skates. To put this in perspective, it would take us 30-40 minutes for us to reach the base, and for him, just mere 5-10 minutes! That’s it!! He was good! But I’ll leave snowboarding checklist for some other time.

We soon got tired, as rather than just walking down, we were running. We played in snow, as the most difficult part was over, and all that was left for us to do was reach the next campsite and sleep. Let the pictures do some talking now.

That's Shivrohini 1,2,3,4

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Broken bridges can be repaired, but never to be relied on again.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Tip: An important tip here. On the summit day, make sure you layer yourself properly, and also, offload your backpacks. It helps a lot!

Our next camp site Munaila. And boy, was it beautiful!! All the campsites on this trek had something unique about them. Surrounded by tall oak trees on all sides, with a view of Himachal Pradesh Himalayan range, and snow all around. There was a sense of sadness, as the trek was coming to an end. I had no clue of how these 3 days just went past by. All of this seemed a bit surreal to me. A week back, I was at home, watching movies and playing games, and here I am, on a high altitude trek, amidst Himalayas.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Our evening was spent sharing stories, learning more about one another, playing cards. An interesting thing that our trek leader said was, “I’ve seen a lot of couples who come on such treks. It either gets them really close, or drifts them apart. I’ve seen people meet for the first time on the trek, and get married a year later. A trek gets really demanding, and you either have to take care of your partner, stay around and make sure he/she is in no harms, or you just get annoyed and leave. So, if one wants to test his relationship out, go on a trek together.”

Taking care of this fool throughout was troublesome, but I loved doing that. It’s a different experience, to travel with someone you know well enough that you’ll always be their pee buddy. I am a man who hates PDA’s and being all emotional, but this trip changed me a bit. Well, good for her! :D

I couldn't stop smiling. So much snow! Much Wow!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

A Creep enters.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Pit Stop 6: Jula-ka-talab

The next day, we trekked down to Jula-ka-talab. It’s a combination of two lakes, hence the name. The best part of the whole trek was skipping ice over the frozen lake. Check out the videos, and you’ll see the noobness in all its glory!

Frozen lake

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Look ma, I'm jesus now.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor
Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

I found a good ice piece, that I could throw later over the lake

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

She was impressed by my find.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Us.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

I found a better one! Let the world see! Lion king in making here boys.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Candid me.

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Dogoo Love

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor

Hariyaali

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor
Day 7

Final Pit Stop: Sankri

We went to Sankri guest house, where we had our debriefing. And since this woman was pestering me from days, we went to the market, to have momos. They were brilliant! We had like 3 plates of momos, and the thought of the trek being over slowly started to creep in.

Final tips for the dreamers out there:

There’s a clock room at the base camp. Make sure you carry only the essentials. It’s fine if you wear just one layer of clothes throughout those 5 days. No one’s going to judge you. Also, people who are coming from far off, they can leave their luggage here. So no worries about that.

Must things to take, that we should have, but didn’t:

Headlamp. We didn’t. Thought phone torch would be enough. Boy we were wrong. Your phone battery drains at an exponential rate in cold temperature. So, you HAVE to carry a headlamp.

Things you can skip:

Sweaters. Rather, buy the fleece jackets from Decathlon. It costs like 299 rs, but it’s worth it. Easy to fold, and light, and is really warm!

Chappals. You don’t need them on your trek. Trust me.

Alcohol and cigarettes. Don’t even bother with this. It’s cold. So rum will help notion is just stupid! Drinking alcohol will warm your outside, but your inner temperature still goes down, which is completely opposite of what you want. Also, your lungs are working on limited oxygen content that you are providing them with. Smoking is just going to get them pissed off. So don’t even bother.

I named him brownie. Who's a good dog? He is! He is!

Photo of Sankri, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

Aaj main upar, aasman niche.

Photo of Sankri, Uttarakhand, India by Shivang Kapoor

On closing notes, I would like to add this, trekking changes you. Every trek will teach you something new. It will make you appreciate the small little things that you take for granted, like that hot water in your bathroom, or the online ordering of food, because you are too lazy to walk to the kitchen and cook something, or even the warm blanket you are in right now. When you are deprived of all this, and made to live on basic needs, that's when you realize the simplicity of life! If you are depressed or tensed, I urge you to go visit the mountains. Just take a break, pack the needful and go explore! Stay at someone's house, not a hotel, learn their ways. You'll soon understand why people up there are the happiest, unlike us city folks. Frankly speaking, mountains are calling, isn't just some fancy catchphrase to promote some brand. If you get the call, go give them a visit. I can accompany you if you like! :D

Special thanks to everyone, who had to bear with me on the trek, and for these wonderful pictures!! Thanks a lot!! <3

Also, if anyone comes down to Bangalore, and would like to plan some trip in-around the city, then feel free to hit me up! =^_^=

Shivang Kapoor Signing off!

Peace Out!!

Photo of First High Altitude trek to Kedarkantha (12,500 feet) by IndiaHikes by Shivang Kapoor
2 Comment(s)
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Good work
Thu 03 08 18, 23:47 · Reply · Report
Good to see you wrote Blog on KK Trek. It's fascinating Shivang. Liked it
Wed 03 07 18, 01:12 · Reply · Report