Kedarkantha is a mountain peak of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, India. Its elevation is 12,500 ft. Kedarkantha is located within Govind Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarkashi district. The climb to the peak of Kedarkantha starts from a small village called Sankri. There are a total of 13 peaks of the Himalayan range visible from the Kedarkantha peak. The Kedarkantha trek usually takes 5-6 days. It is quite popular due to the trail’s easy accessibility throughout the year. It is considered easy to moderately difficult, making it suitable for beginners. In summer, the Kedarkantha trek takes climbers through green meadows and pine and oak forests. In winters, the heavy snowfall received in the area makes it a beautiful winter trek.
Arrive early at Dehradun railway station (6:30am) and drive to Sankri (transportation included) which will take approximately 9 to 10 hours. The drive from Dehradun to Sankri is a beautiful one. The route passes through Mussoorie- the “Queen of the Hills” and many mesmerizing views and drive goes along hugging the mountain side and you see the forests and valleys of Garhwal below you. Breakfast and Lunch will be on the way at a roadside inn, exclusive of charges.
Though the tour starts from Dehradun but the trekking trip commences from Sankri only. Having an early start after a healthy breakfast at the hotel it’s a journey straight towards Juda Ka Talab which is based at an altitude of 9100 feet. It’s a 4km trekking journey and the approximate time for reaching the same is around 5 hours. The journey begins by moving out of Sankri village through an extension called Sor. Once the village is crossed the road takes a wide curve and climbs sharply. Moving along the stream this is the road that moves towards the Kedarkantha. The initial climb would be climbing several bridges through dense forest trees and thick carpet of maple and pine leaves all brown in colour. It’s an exquisite vision and a pictorial view that leaves all mesmerized. The trail is wide and one can hear the sounds of running streams all through but may not be in view till much further. • On the way one can view remote villages where women and kids are found carrying bundles of wooden logs, wooden sticks and dry leaves to utilize them for household cooking and setting up night fire. While crunching the dried maple and oak leaves on the way up one can also view Himalayan Languor’s swinging from one branch of trees to another. Though they are somewhat a shy animal it’s difficult to have a gallant view of them as they move quickly from the vision’s range. Apart from this, boars, martens and hares can also be spotted in this region. The scenario however changes a lot in the summer months when the luscious meadows remain verdant green with hilly flowers of unique kind. Crossing few streams and continuing through the trail and rising sharp through dense oaks one can reach the beautiful pictorial spot of Jadu Ka Talab which can never be missed by any trekker due to its sharp contrasting and unique beauty.
The intoxicating journey continues day where the trekkers are destined to trek towards Kedarkantha base which lies at an altitude of 11, 250 feet. The distance from Jadu Ka Talab to this destination is about 4kms and in a moderate speed it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the place. After having the morning breakfast set out for the next journey where the trail is somewhat straight forward and quite visible? The track again begins through dense forests of pine and oak trees only and through steep ridge and much more dense areas. In this trail one will come across many shepherd huts in open meadows which are equally delightful to see. At an altitude of about 10,400 feet one can visualize traces of snow in and around the track only if it is the winter months trekking. With winding roads meandering through dry oak forests, stretched meadows and through lanes around shepherd huts the trail continues to Kedarkantha Base. In the midst one can take a long break to reenergize the body and get the enthralling view of natural extravaganza in the area. Just before reaching the Kedarkantha Base one can enjoy the fascinating views of arc shaped range of snow clapped mountains comprising of Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag and Ranglana standing out proudly showcasing their beauty. After reaching the base, set up the tent in a preferred selected place which is open and one can enjoy a clear view of the night sky. However, it is advisable to be based in close group rather than in much scattered way in the dark. The evening sky is equally beautiful with glowing stars and shining planets ornamenting the sun. As the night grows the sight becomes more charming with the Milky way stretching from one end to the other, the dense network of stars and glistening peak of the mountain all come together to provide an awe-striking view that remains imprinted in mind. However, in such a height it is possible to cold waves so proper woollens should be carried for protection. Overnight sleep at the tent.
The fourth day of the trek is destined to conquer the Kedarnath Peak. Today the trekkers need to hike an elevation from 11,250 feet to 12,500 feet. The schedule of the day includes hiking to Kedarkantha peak and then again descending back till Hargaon camp which is based at 8900 feet. The total journey comprises of 6kms altogether and takes about 7 hours of time in a moderate speed. Ideally it is a long day but the excitement of the journey and conquering the peak would be far greater and much more worthy in compared to the challenges that lay ahead for the visitors. The day begins early with a filling breakfast and enjoying the sunrise from the Kedarkantha meadows which is a simply amazing, pure and divine. One can bask in the first rays of the morning sun and gain as much energize possible for the day ahead. One can even visualize the beautiful peak from these meadows which elevates the excitement. The way to the top can be made through several trails but it is better to take the main trail as its keep rising at an even level. On this route, the trekkers need to again cover a few portions of oak forest but the journey through this trail is much easier and faster. Climbing through the forest till its end, one can find the Kedarkantha peak much closer. Towards the end of the trail and close to the top the trek becomes a little difficult and can be a little strenuous especially for the first-time trekkers. However, the view from the top and the amazing location is worth the effort. At the top of the peak there is a beautiful yet small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. There is a small shrine of Lord Ganesh too. The arresting 360 view of the snow-clad peaks of Uttarakhand is intoxicating and beyond words to be penned down. One can relax at the top for some time and enjoy the magical beauty of nature and then descend towards base camp by noon time. After reaching the camp take a break for lunch and refreshments. Once relaxed, set out for descending furthermore to Hargaon camp. This time again, it’s a journey back through dense oak forests, pine and maple trees, shepherd huts and frozen streams. Savouring the beauty of the location and enjoying the regular clearings, which is unique of Kedarkantha trip descend further to Horegaon campsite. On reaching the campsites set the tent and mark the end of another delightful day with dinner and overnight sleep at the tent. However, for the enthusiast’s travellers there’s option of setting up a campfire here and enjoying the night time ambience chatting and having good time with the journey friends together.
Today the schedule is marked for descending further to Sankri which descending from 8900 feet to 6400 feet. The time for descending this approximately 6 kms long trail takes about 4 hours or more at a moderate speed. The first morning sun from Horegaon campsite is the nexus of thick wood pine forest is equally beautiful. After having the breakfast, pack the backpack to descend furthermore through a more clearly marked well paved pathway, laden with small stones. Meandering through rich dense pine forests one can view the sight of streams flowing by in a slow and steady way. One can fill in water here for the rest of the track. A little further down the trail comes to a ridge from where it gives a splendid view of Har ki Dun valley or the Valley of Gods in its blissful and harmonious view. One can explore the place more and enjoy photographing the lovely valley from the distance. One can also enjoy the sights of the lovely flora and fauna and take quick snaps of the same to retain the memories of the beautiful placed captured for future. Descending a furthermore through the dense forests one can see the first signs of habitation and by evening one can reach Sankri. The last 2500 feet is filled with dense pine forests. On reaching the base, get back to the hotel and freshen up and get settled for the day. If the enthusiasm stays, one can again get out exploring the village to collect some local items to keep as a souvenir of the location. Though not many products are available here but one can always have small hand made goods, wooden toys and wooden home décor items for friends and families. Get to know the locals and know more about their lifestyle here. Life moves at a slow pace in Sankri which is home for about 120 families. Potatoes, rice and apples are the main ingredients here and people leave in wooden houses to protect from colder weather. The belief in religion is quite strong here and regular melas or fairs are organized here with entertainment being done with folk songs and native dance. Dinner can be tasted at the dhabas based here serving local food or one can enjoy delicious North Indian and Western cuisine at the hotel premises. Overnight stay at the hotel.
The journey concludes with the 10-hour drive from Sankri to Dehradun. Breakfast and Lunch will be on the way at a roadside inn, exclusive of charges. Reaching time at Dehradun station will be 6pm, suitable for an overnight journey to Delhi.