At a towering elevation of 3,800 meters, Kedarkantha is a majestic peak located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kedarkantha is one of the most popular treks in Uttarakhand due to its relative ease of access and gradual inclination. Infact, many trek experts recommend Kedarkantha trek to the amateurs and novice trekkers as it is one of the easiest treks for beginners. Being at an elevation, Kedarkantha receives snowfall in plentiful and is one of the best winter treks in Uttarakhand which offer mesmerizing view of the Himalayan skyline. Peaks such as Thalaysagar, Swargarohini, Kalanag and Banderpunch etc. are clearly visible in winter.
Kedarkantha – Lord Shiva’s retreat
Any article on famous tourist destination in Uttarakhand is incomplete without the mention of its mythological connotations associated with the place. Tourist attractions in Devbhumi Uttarakhand are smeared in mythological connotations and Kedarkantha is no different. According to Mahabharata, Lord Shiva disguised as Nandi wandered to Kedarkantha in order to hide from the Pandavas. It is thought to be the first Kedarnath site chosen by Lord. However, local dwellers disturbed Shiva and he consequently moved from there to the present location of Kedarnath shrine.
The Kedarkantha Weather
The winter season at Kedarkantha is quite serene which witness a good amount of snowfall. The days in winter are generally cool while the nights are cold with mercury dipping to -2 degrees at Sankri base camp and -5 degrees at Kedarkantha summit. Although, summer season is forgiving - with days being warm and nights cool. The night temperature at Sankri remains at a comfortable 10 degrees to 5 degrees.
The Ideal Kedarkantha Itinerary
For novice and amateurs who are new to the world of Himalayan trekking, Kedarkantha serves as an ideal trek to start with. The duration as well as the altitude at Kedarkantha is just perfect for new trekkers to get the feeling of being on a Himalayan peak without any serious altitude sickness. The majestic panoramic view of the gorgeous Himalayan peaks from the Kedarkantha summit only instills a flaming desire in you to get as close as possible to those sky-kissed peaks. Since the base camp at Sankri is well connected, Kedarkantha peak is one of the most popular treks in Uttarakhand.
Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Sankri
The 200-km drive from Dehradun to Sankri is a long and arduous one. Since it takes around 10-12 hours to reach Sankri, it is highly recommendable to leave Dehradun at the break of dawn. The route to Sankri meanders along the Yamuna River and then Tons river later on. Once you reach Purola the Himalayan peaks slowly starts to reveal them. The untouched natural beauty all around you is sight to behold. You’ll reach Sankri as the sun sets below the horizon. Enjoy a cup of hot tea as the crimson hue fills the sky. Sankri is the base camp for Kedarkantha trek. One can find homestay accommodation and lodges at Sankri throughout the year.
Day 2: Sankri to Juda ka Talab
The trek to Kedarkantha commences from Sankri towards Juda ka Talab which is a 5-km trek and would take around 5-6 hours to complete. The trail meanders through the pine, oak and deodar forests and as you start to gain altitude the change in vegetation starts to appear. Few lush green meadows along with popular ‘Fallen Trunk’ meadow come along the way. After 5-6 hours once reaches Juda Ka Talab campsite which is actually a small high altitude pond in the middle of a forest. Having gained a considerable amount of altitude on the first day of trek, it is essential to acclimatize ourselves by spending some time at that height before moving higher. Stay in camps for the night.
Day 3: Juda ka Talab – Kedarkantha Base camp
The 4-km trek from Juda ka Talab to Kedarkantha base camp is an adventurous one. One just has to follow the well-trodden path along the ridge. As you incher closer to the base camp, the splendid view of the majestic snow capped Himalayan ranges with significant peaks like Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag clearly visible from the vantage. Once you reach the summit base camp, just try to soak in the serenity that envelops the place. The summit attempt will take place tomorrow.
Day 4: Kedarkantha Base camp – summit – Kedarkantha base camp
The first hour of the trek towards summit passes through dense an oak forest which starts to recede as we move further up. During the winter season, the slopes of Kedarkantha peak are expected to be snow covered. Proper winter clothing such as a warm jacket and waterproof gloves are recommended. The point where trail gets icy and slushy, crampons can come handy. Once you reach the summit, the 360 degree panoramic view of the blissful Himalayas awaits you. Soak in the moment for a while and then head back towards the base camp.
Day 5: Kedarkantha base camp to Sankri (via Hargoan)
Post breakfast; move downhill towards Sankri via an alternative route that passes through Hargaon campsite. The majestic Har ki Dun valley is clearly visible from that vantage. One you reach Sankri, take a rest if you are really tired or try to walk to the Saur village which is situated quite close to the Sankri village,- just 5 minute walk. Take ample rest as the next day will involve a 200-km drive from Sankri back to Dehradun.
In conclusion, Kedarkantha should be the first trek in your bucket list that you must cross off. It is an ideal trek for beginners in Uttarakhand considering all aspects of Himalayan trekking that offers a small teaser of what all beauty lays in the Himalayas for those who dare.
For more information about Kedarkantha Trek: https://www.euttaranchal.com/tourism/kedarkantha.php