Kedarkantha – My summer escape to the most popular winter trek of India.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” This is a famous quote by Ibn Battuta that I strongly believe in. Traveling is more than a hobby, and mountains have always been a calling, especially amid the Mighty Himalayas.
This is why when someone recommended the Kedar Kantha trek with Mountainiax, I immediately looked them up and set up a summer trek. Kedar Kantha has been on my horizon for a long time due to its fame as the most popular winter trek. It is situated in the upper region of Uttarakhand, which is known for its raw appeal. A vibrant mix of plants and trees, colors, animals, and the rustic, quaint way of life is what drags people to the region. Visitors are treated with changing varieties of trees, landscapes, views, weather, snow, and so much more!
On to Sankri (Day 1 – Sankri)
The first stop was Dehradun, from where we began our journey to Sankri, through a scenic 200km drive to reach Sankri by evening. Sankri is a quaint little village nestled in the beautiful lap of nature deep in the mountains. But on the other side, it is the start of 11 of the best trekking experiences in India, located at 6,400 feet, in the bounds of Govind wildlife sanctuary.
A delight for nature lovers, Sankri treated me with lush greens, the scents of nature, and peace for my senses. Greenery all around and the calm wind made me forget everything else. A comfortable room was waiting, and despite being tired, I left to explore the beautiful village. I met with the guides, exchanged a little paperwork, and learned more about the area and the trek. We were told more about the trek, weather conditions, what to expect, and cleared my questions.
Trek to Kedarkantha Base Camp (Day 2 – Sankri to Kedarkantha Base camp)
Finally, my journey to Kedarkantha began with the first trek the next morning, after a much-needed rest. The first leg up, Juda ka Talab began after a wholesome and hearty breakfast that I enjoyed with a mesmerizing sunrise. The lake is set at around 9,100 feet, about 4km from the starting point in Sankri. It began with walking beside a small stream, and then the path turned into a dense Maple and Pine forest. I soaked my eyes into the beauty that small hamlets and high-altitude bridges had to offer.
Clear lake waters, distant peaks, green trees are enough to instantly wash you over with a serene feel, and this is what Juda ka Talab gave me. It took around 4 hours to complete this leg, and the lunch arrangements were already made. I settled down and got myself ready for the rest stop picnic with fun, laughter, and stories, at a campsite, with a delicious meal, all set up in the middle of picturesque nowhere, beside a calming lake with an unbelievable sky filling my heart with joy.
We quickly began the rest of the trek to the base camp, which is set at 11,250 feet and took another 2 hours to complete. This part was simple, as it was more level and was through a marked trail.
My eyes had a feast on the views from this trek. I was lost in the surroundings, full of dense trees, lush meadows with small huts scattered. But the best part was the striking views. I looked up and saw the imposing peak of Kedarkantha.
Upon reaching the campsite, I was tired yet shocked by the calm and serene environment. It was set in a grassy meadow and felt like heaven on Earth. After settling down in the tent, I gazed at the mesmerizing peaks on the horizon, piercing through the deep blue skies. The sun rays pierced through overcast clouds, filling my views with golden beauty. This made me whole in a different sense, giving me an answer to why I came here.
I sat down with the guides from Mountainiax to understand directions, take advice, and chat about the local area. They gave out many tips, such as taking slow, relaxed breaths, staying adequately hydrated, etc. We were told to be careful about keeping ourselves well-rested and be prepared for the trek ahead. I retired to my tent, lost in thoughts, having won my soul over by the mountains. A complete delight, this trek had given me excitement about the adventure, bliss from the mesmerizing beauty, a lively feeling through the surroundings that were calm yet alive.
Kedar Kantha base to summit and back
The following day was pitch dark, as I woke up early and excited for the finale. I rallied behind the guides as we all set out to accomplish “Mission Kedar Kantha.” The peak is at a dizzying height of 12,500 feet, and the trek is gradual initially, becoming steeper halfway through. Led by the guides, we set out, listening to the mellow voices of the forest and trickling waters from a nearby stream.
As the forest ended, I could see the first signs of sunlight. I stopped right there, feeling like I had entered another world. I was spellbound by the breath-taking beauty of the view, blue skies above and faraway peaks. After returning to my senses, I finished the rather tiring journey to the top, only to be rewarded. What I felt upon reaching the top can only be described as being on top of the world. I set my carry-on aside to stretch my body and soak in the heavenly views.
True to the reputation, the mountains spoke to me and made me dive into their tranquil vibe and soak in the peace as much as I wanted. The summit point offered mesmerizing landscape of Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag Peak and many other peaks of Garhwal Himalayas.
After achieving this magical feat, I set down for the next leg, back downwards to the base camp. It was a pretty easy way down the cozy hamlet nestled deep into the mountains.
Back to Sankri from Kedarkantha base camp
The following day, I set out for the last part. Going back to Sankri was another enchanting experience as we saw in another light all the beauty the mountains had to offer. We strutted through patches of dense mountain forests and meadow clearings with streams gurgling by the side.
We ended the final trek down in Sankri, where we took our time exploring the village, the local culture, and cuisine.
Sankri to Dehradun
The last morning of the trip was another treat to the eyes as we rose with the mellow sunrise and a cloudy day. But on we went, after another delicious breakfast and tea, leaving for the final drive back to Dehradun, still going back through the trip. Upon reaching Dehradun, I thanked the guides and the team and left with the beautiful memories of the journey back to Delhi.
Overall, I would like to say that climbing a mountain is never an effortless job. You may feel tired more often, or you may face some other difficulties as well. But the best part of making this trip, undoubtedly, was Mountainiax. The team has lovely people, and everyone from the drivers to the guides has been excellent. They ensured my comfort, I knew what to expect, and I was fully equipped and prepared. They spoke to me and others as if they were age-old friends, supporting me throughout the trek.