If you are a newbie in the world of trekking then you might have heard or got suggestions from your trekker friends to go for the Kedarkantha Trek in Uttarakhand. They are not wrong. You must pay heed to their advice and book a Kedarkanth trek at once. There is every reason in the trekking book that makes Kedarkantha a trek too hard to miss.
About Kedarkantha Trek
The Kedarkantha Trek is a trekking trail to the mountain peak of Kedarkantha which is 12,500 feet tall. Present inside the Govind Wildlife National, Uttarkashi district, it can be easily said to be the most popular trek in Uttarakhand. Rookies and professional trekkers alike flock to this trail to experience the Himalayan scenery and the vivid flora and fauna in it. Given that it’s a summit climb, it makes it more exciting for beginners who want to venture into mountain climbing in the future.
Although the oneway trek itself from Sankri village to the peak of Kedarkantha is about 9km, acclimatization and visiting nearby landmarks like Juda ka Talaab and the return journey will make the overall trek about 23km in distance.
Maximum altitude: 3,812m or 12,500ft
Trek distance: 23km
No. of days: 6-7
Difficulty level: Easy
Reasons to do
You should also know that Kedarkantha has been bestowed with the title “The Queen of Winter Treks in India”. This title cannot go to any other trek as Kedarkantha offers the following reasons:
- As it is rightfully called, it gives the best views of Himalayan peaks and is mesmerizing in all the seasons
- The ability to satisfy both beginners and experienced trekkers. As it is not that technical in nature, this trek is easy on beginners as well as during winters the ante is upped due to the presence of snow thus making it challenging for advanced and experienced trekkers.
- Unbeatable view of the Himalayas: As mountain ranges in the Uttarkashi region receive more snowfall, this region becomes quite a beautiful site during winter. The Himalayas become so much more beautiful after it snows but nevertheless, it is equally enchanting during spring and summer as well with lush green meadows and pine trees.
- Knee-deep snowfall
- The lovely Sankri village and its rich heritage: This village is about 300 years old and is loaded with many mythologies and tales. The people are so humble and amicable here. It turns into a Swiss village-like during winter, covered with snow, and looks stunning.
- A frozen lake (Juda ka Talab)
- Ski and zipline: These are the recent additions to the village of Sankri which have started attracting many tourists from India and afar. Do give these an attempt.
This trek usually starts from Sankri village which is about 200km from Dehradun and around 150km from Mussoorie. If you would like to avoid the crowd then you can opt to trek from Kotgaon instead of Sankri village which is much quieter and also offers better views. However, if you still prefer to choose Sankri then it is still a win-win as Sankri is an enchanting little village that becomes even more beautiful during winters.
While you acclimatize in Sankri village you can do so in homestays that are in partnership with the hiking company you choose. Staying over along with home-cooked food will give you a taste of the local hospitality. You can also witness their heritage homes and temples.
Juda Ka Talab
From Sankri you will trek to the Juda ka Talab lake which has mythical significance and is a treat to the eyes in both the summer and winter seasons. Come winter and the lake freezes and you can actually take a walk on it. There are many mythical stories associated with this lake. One goes like this – Once, Lord Shiva came to this place to meditate. Upon meditating he felt thirsty. So, he cut one strand of his hair and threw it on the ground and that became the now Juda ka Talaab lake. That is why the name Juda ka Talab as ‘Juda’ means hair bun and ‘Talaab’ means lake. You will be camping near this lake overnight.
Kedarkantha Base Camp
After Juda ka Talab, the next day you will hike 4km to the Kedarkantha base camp. It will take you around 3 hours. It is at an altitude of 11,250ft. When you walk towards Kedarkanth base camp, you will see more lakes here and there. The base camp gives you a view of the summit as well as mountains such as Bandarpoonch, Black Peak Kala Naag, and others.
To view the summit at sunrise in its brilliance, you will have to leave from base camp at 2 am but it will be so worth it! From this vantage point, you will be able to soothe your eyes with the Bandarpoonch, Black Peak or Kalanaag, and Swargarohini mountain peaks as well as the Kinner Kailash Gangotri, and Yamunotri ranges. The return journey follows the same path. On your way back you can also zip-line and ski in the Sankri village.
One good fact is that due to its popularity, this trek is crowded especially during winter. But, this does not act as a deterrent to this trek as every year more and more trekkers join it.