Kedarkantha Trek

Tripoto
2nd Apr 2017
Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Day 1

Something exciting about mountains is they always call you back ! They push you out of your comfort zone. Kedarkantha is one the best winter treks packed with scenic beauties of lush green forests, meadows, snow covered peaks, trails and pretty campsites giving terrific views of famous mountain ranges. The highlight of the trek is undoubtedly sunsets against the backdrop of impressive snow-capped mountains.

The trek starts from Sankri Village , which is located in Uttarkashi District of Uttarakhand. It is a small village which serves as the base for several treks like Kedarkantha, Har Ki Dun is around 180 Kms from Dehradun and takes around 7 to 8 Hours passing via Mussorie, Kempty, Mori and Purola. We started from Dehradun at 8 in the morning and reached their by 6 in the evening .

Somewhere on our way to Sankri

Photo of Nain Gaon, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Sankri Village

Next day we got up early morning to see the beautiful sunrise of the mountains.

Day 2

Getting ready

Photo of Sankri, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Sankri Village lies in Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Sanctuary

Photo of Sankri, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Start of the trek from Sankri Village

Photo of Sankri, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Sunrise at Sankri Village

Photo of Sankri, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Trek from Sankri to Juda ka Talab

We started our trek at 9 . Juda ka Talab was the first campsite situated at an altitude of 9,000 fts. It takes 4-5 hrs to reach Juda ka Talab. It's a remote lake tucked in the impressiveness of the meadows lined with Pine and Oak trees and snow covered peaks changing scenes with every change in light making it a perfect camping site.

Magnificent view of Harki doon ranges

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

On the way to Juda ka Talab

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Panoramic view of Juda ka Talab

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Maggie point on our way

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

We reached the campsite around 2 pm. We were tired as hell but still full with energy. We had a delicious lunch and then pitched our tents. We lit the campfire in the evening and played dumb charades till dinner. After dinner we retired for the night.

Stretching out

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Pitching our tents

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Just before dinner

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Group selfie at Juda ka Talab

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Campfire in the evening

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Playing dumb charades

Photo of Juda Ka Talab, Supin Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Next day we got up at 4 in the morning for the sunrise, but due to overcast sky we were not able to see the beautiful view. We had a heavy breakfast and then we prepared for the day ahead. We had to move to the next campsite that was Kedarkantha base

Day 3

Mornings are often beautiful in the mountains

Photo of Juda Ka Talab, Supin Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Getting ready for the breakfast

Photo of Juda Ka Talab, Supin Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Waiting for the sunrise from inside our tent

Photo of Juda Ka Talab, Supin Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Trek from Juda ka Talaab to Kedarkantha Base

Kedarkantha Base is situated at an altitude of 10,000 ft. and it takes around 5-6 hours to reach the site. This is one of the finest stretches on this trail as the natural beauty is unbelievable and promises to leave behind an unforgettable memory. Trek through forest heavily occupied by pine and oak trees that give these mountains its distinct charm. The forest trail was lined with patches of snow and walking in snow kept our energy and spirits high.

Snow Trails

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

The campsite was surrounded by snow from all the sides. We rested for a while and played with the snow before reaching the camps.

Campsite

Photo of Kedarkantha Bace Camp, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Approaching the campsite

Photo of Kedarkantha Bace Camp, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Resting before approaching the campsite

Photo of Kedarkantha Bace Camp, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

One group pic with the whole group

Photo of Kedarkantha Bace Camp, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Playing in snow

Photo of Kedarkantha Bace Camp, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

On the left hand side was the beautiful Kedarkantha Peak visible from the base camp. Kedarkantha peak has a stone sheeted Shiva shrine at the peak. The villagers of Sankri believe that the shrine protects them and keeps the rivers of the Himalayas flowing. Particularly ironic considering the story goes that this was supposed to be the original Kedarnath temple but Shiva, who disguised himself as a buffalo to hide from the Pandavas was disturbed by village men, so he fled to the present ‘Kedarnath’ area.

Kedarkantha peak visible from the base camp

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

For the rest of the day we played cards, cricket and wandered in the surroundings.

Chilling in the sun .

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Cricket at 10,000 fts

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

It started raining in the evening. Weather conditions at Kedarkantha change face from easy to harsh at its random will. We were far away from civilisation , sitting in the midst of forest all alone, staring at the massive peaks, startled by the freshness, beauty of the mountains. Mountains teach us a lot. Loneliness is a problem of the cities because in the mountains you feel as if you are the centre of the universe. Wind, rain, storm, lightning; no matter what you battle with, nature will have been there first and it will live there, every single day. Surviving with minimum necessities tells us that the problems that we face in our daily lives are just so timid. With these endless thoughts in mind we went inside our tents as the weather was becoming bad outside.

It was raining heavily in mountain ranges in front of us and it was approaching us. Freaky !!

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

We were wishing the sky to be clear after midnight so that we could start our ascent to the Kedarkantha summit at 3 in the night. The weather in the mountains specially at top drastically changes after 12 in the noon. So we were hoping to summit the peak and come back to the base camp by 12. But the mountains had planned something different for us. The night was a dreadful night. Along with rains thunderstorm , lightning , winds added to our worries. We did not sleep the whole night hoping that the lightning dose not strike our tent or the wind dose not blow it carrying it away. The sound of falling trees made it worse.

Morning after that dreadful night

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Putting our raincoats on

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Next morning we had two options either to return from the Base camp back to Sankri Village owing to the bad weather conditions or to take the high road and start our ascent to the peak . We took the second option. Pushing ourself to our limits and learning how far we can go is both humbling and inspiring. Once we experience the natural endorphins that our body produces during physical challenges, we might find them addictive; they are nature’s own drug. Again somethings only mountains can make us experience. We started the trek from base camp at 9 when finally the rain stopped.

Trek from Kedarkantha Base to Kedarkantha Summit

Day 4

It was just half an hour into walking that it started raining again but since we were moving upwards and the temperature was dropping below zero the rain turned into snowfall. It was like our wish had come true. No matter how hard the mountain is, things always get better. When things get tough, hold tight, because the next moment would be a new experience. Everything was covered in snow. I looked all around and the world seemed like an infinite patch of white. The snowstorm was at its peak and we were unable to see anything beyond ten meters. We sat beside the fire inside the old canteen and ordered some tea and omelet. We rested there for a while and then went outside to play in the snow. There were some epic snow battles played with snowballs and walking sticks. It was real fun to play when the temperature is close to minus 10 degrees .

Playing in the snow

Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Inside the canteen having tea and egg

Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Canteen's menu card :P

Photo of Kedarkantha Peak, Singtur Range, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Its often said that the best views come after the hardest climb

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

After taking a short pause at the canteen we moved ahead towards the summit. The winds were becoming more and more strong as we came closer to the summit.

KEDARKANTHA PEAK- 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.”

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

On the summit we are surrounded by mountain ranges and valleys. We saw Dhauladhar range, Chansil Pass, Rupin valley, Har ki Dun valley. Swargarohini also comes into view along with Bandarpoonch and Kalanag. Some of the other peaks visible included Jaonti, Gangotri, Draupadi ka Danda and Jorkanden. Some of these peaks were not visible due to dense cloud cover. We stayed at the peak for around 10 mins. I always had doubts regarding Hindu mythology, whether everything is a story or not, but after summiting Kedarkantha these doubts were destroyed , my ego , false self confidence everything was destroyed . There lies a power which controls the fate of everything around us , the power which can be felt, which is much larger than our existence , beyond our understanding. Its the power of creation and destruction which needs to be cherished . With a sense of pride we started our descent . We reached the base camp by 3 in the noon.

Campfire inside the hut

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

Since everything outside was wet , we had to setup the campfire inside that hut

Photo of Kedarkantha Trek by Shantanu Srivastava

It was still raining so we headed back to our tents and spent the night. It snowed that night at the base camp.

Day 5

Trek from Kedarkantha Base camp to Sankri via Hargaon

We started early in the morning with our raincoats on . This route to Sankri was a different one and passed through Hargaon. The path through the jungle had become more slippery due to the rainfall making it more difficult. Adding to the difficulty rainfall converted into hailstorm . We had to take shelter under the trees.

Photo of Hargaon, Uttar Pradesh, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Hargaon, Uttar Pradesh, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Hargaon, Uttar Pradesh, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Hargaon, Uttar Pradesh, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Hargaon, Uttar Pradesh, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Hargaon, Uttar Pradesh, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Hargaon, Uttar Pradesh, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Day 6

It added a delay of 1 hour and we reached Sankri by 2:30 in the noon. After a quick lunch we just rushed into our hotel rooms and jumped straight into our beds. It was told to us that the whole Uttarkashi District was put on high alert due to bad weather conditions. The news gave us goosebumps. The feeling of accomplishment grew much more inside each of us. In the evening we organised a small party in our hotel to celebrate the end of our successful trek . We stayed the night in the hotel and started for Dehradun early morning next day.

P.S. Some people and special friends without whom our trek wont have been possible .

Amit , a 16 year old boy from Sankri village who was our local guide

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava

Local Dogs which accompanied us all the way from Sankri to the summit

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava
Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Shantanu Srivastava
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