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5 Things You Must Know Before Planning a Trek to Kedarkantha

The Himalayas offer an exquisite experience of the Kedarkantha mountain peak waiting with open arms and a beautiful cascade of snow spread across for all beginners as well as seasoned trekkers. Kedarkantha is one of the rare mountains that are trekkable right in the middle of winter with a view so splendid that’ll be etched into your memory forever! Situated in Uttarakhand, the Kedarkantha trek comes with the risk (read: adventure) of wild animals as it is situated in the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park in Uttarakhand. The summit climb of this mountain is widely talked about and is rightly so because of the experience it offers. The entire trail of the trek is surrounded by scintillating views of the himalayas, serene lakes and is filled with oak and pine trees. With barely any signal and just the magic of nature around, you will find yourself breathing new life and the beautiful panoramic views will leave you at a loss of words.

That being said, here are the 5 things you must know before you trek Kedarkantha:

  1. History of Kedarkantha
    Understanding the history and mythology of a place will only make your trek 10x better. A Trishul, weapon of Lord Shiva, stands erect on the peak and locals believe that it protects the valley as well as the residents. Legend goes that Lord Shiva had taken refuge from the Pandavas in his bull avatar and meditated on the valley. In the Mahabharata, it is said that he fled to Kedarnath after his meditation was interrupted. Every peak of the Himalayas has a folklore attached to it and it only adds to the sense of accomplishment you feel when you’re up there, watching everything under you as time goes by.

  2. Height and distance
    Surrounded by the Western Garhwal of Uttarkashi district, the entire trek can take up to 6 days including the travel from Dehradun / Delhi. The trek starts at the base camp, Sankri, which is situated at 6400 ft. Sankri offers a 360 degree view of the mountains which makes
    Kedarkantha trekking even more interesting. The summit point is at a high altitude of 12500 ft and is an entire stretch of 25kms. The journey upto the base camp offers a scenic view through villages, touching upon the lives of locals.

 

  1. Best time to trek
    As mentioned earlier, Kedarkantha is one of the rare mountains that are open for a trek in the winters. However, the trek can be done all year long but is highly recommended from December - April as the entire trail receives the perfect amount of snowfall and provides a wholesome experience at a height of 12500ft.

  2. Reaching Base Camp
    To begin the trek at Sankri, you need to plan how to get there. With multiple options available, you may plan according to your convenience and make the best of it. Here are a few ways to get to Sankri, the basecamp:
    - From any part of India, travel to Dehradun via flight, train or a bus.
    - The journey to Sankri is a drive that is 198 kilometres long and  would approximately take about 10- 12 hours.
    - There are public buses from Dehradun to Sankri that start at 5 am and are quite feasible if you’re comfortable doing long hours in a bus.
    - If you miss the direct buses, there are connecting buses that you can take until Hanol and then hire a taxi / take a shared jeep or another bus to reach the Basecamp.


  3. Accommodation, Food and Permits for the trek

    Once you start your trek from Sankri, the only places you’d be staying are designated campsites (given that you are travelling with a trekking company) or would have to set up your own tents when you wish to halt and rest.
    As for the food, the trek trail does not have any restaurants or shops, only tea stalls that offer maggi and other snacks. This, however, cannot be completely relied on as they may be closed. Opting for a package that covers food and accommodation is the safest way to trek for first timers whereas if you wish to trek by yourself, the necessary supplies need to be carried with you.
    Kedarkantha trekking requires a permit as well as a designated guide who is registered with the forest department to ensure safety and help you get the best experience by staying on track and away from any possibility of danger. A guide costs approximately 1000 INR and the permit is at 50 INR/ day. 


Apart from being prepared with the points mentioned above, here’s a list of things to keep in mind while trekking the mighty peak of Kedarkantha:

- Homestays in Sankri will sort out your accommodation while giving you a taste of the culture and feel of the livelihood of the locals.

- Carry a first aid kit - sanitisers, bandages, antiseptics, tablets and other basic things to be prepared in case of any emergency.

- Carry T-shirts, trekking pants, a windproof jacket and a raincoat to keep yourself warm amidst the snow. Do not forget to carry sweaters, scarfs, socks and gloves to keep the cold from you.

- There is no internet connection except for a bleak BSNL line at the basecamp. Say goodbye to your online social life and commence your beautiful journey!

- Remember to carry cash from Dehradun itself. Stay hydrated, pack light and be ready for the experience of a lifetime!


To conclude, here’s a small itinerary of the trek to give you a little insight to what’s in store:

Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Sankri Base Camp (198kms)
Day 2: Trek to Juda ka Talab ( 5km trek, halt at 9100 ft)
Day 3: Trek from Juda ka Talab to Kedarkantha Base Camp (4 km trek, 11250 ft)
Day 4:  Trek from Kedarkantha Base Camp to Kedarkantha Peak and then to Hargaon (6kms, 12500ft to 8900ft)
Day 5: Trek from Hargaon to Sankri (6kms, 6500ft)
Day 6: Back to Dehradun

Quite exciting, huh? Plan your trek and pack your bags, today! 

Unsh Maria

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Student, aspiring content creator

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