Kedarkantha loosely translates to "Lord Shiva's Throat." It is a mountain 20 kilometres from Sankri village that stands tall at 12,500 feet. A tradition dates back to the Mahabharata period, when the Pandavas sought Lord Shiva's blessings following the Kurukshetra conflict. Lord Shiva declined to meet them and instead guided himself as a buffalo. One of the Pandavas, Bheem, observed something peculiar amid the buffalo herd and refused to allow the disguised buffalo pass. This resulted in a brawl between the two. The buffalo is reported to have been torn apart by Bheem, and the Pandavas are said to have constructed temples wherever bits of his body landed. His neck allegedly collapsed at Kedarkantha. Lord Shiva is also said to have meditated in Kedarkantha, although his profound, tranquil concentration was frequently disrupted by the livestock and surrounding animals. This is why he travelled to Kedarnath.
Day 1: Dehradun to Sankri
Distance covered: 188 km
All the trekkers arrive Dehradun, and we journey together from Dehradun to Sankri early in the morning by road, as a part of the Kedarkantha trekking package. It takes us 7-8 hours of an absolutely delightful drive, during which we witness the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary as well as the rejuvenating Tons river that flows through it. If you’re lucky, you even get to see some of the sanctuary’s precious animals! After an exciting drive through the alpine landscape, we reach and check into a hotel at Sankri village. We spend some time enjoying the evening in the village, drinking in the idyllic scenery. Dinner is served, and it is now that the trek leader will give you a briefing for the next day. We shall now rest for the big day!
Day 2: Sankri to Juda-ka-Talab
Distance covered: 4 km.
Today marks your first day of trekking. After a wholesome breakfast, we make our way out of Sankri village and start the steep climb up the hill to Juda-ka-Talab. We have 4 kilometers to cover. The climb is steep since the lake is located at a height of 9,100 feet. The path uphill is an image painted in the warm colors of fallen maple and pine leaves. A few bridges that penetrate the dense forests await us. The scenery is irresistible and worth every step of the way, dotted with hares, langoors, and other such beautiful, harmless fauna. The sound of nearby streams wafts in and out of your ears as we make our way to the lake, along with the crisp sound of leaves under your feet.
We also witness some heart-warming scenes of rural life in this region. Women with firewood and men taking their cattle out to graze, all against the backdrop of the breathtaking landscape. Juda ka Talab is a vision of wonder under the clear, blue sky. Trekkers can take their time to relish the vegetation and scenery.
A lovely lunch is provided to the trekkers, followed by some group activities to keep up the morale and spirit. A delicious dinner awaits the adventurers too! We will be camping here for the night, under a blanket of stars.
Day 3: Juda-ka-Talab to Kedarkantha Base Camp
Distance covered: 8 km.
Excitement is building up as we start our trek towards the Kedarkantha base camp. After breakfast, we begin our 4 km-long journey. The trail, though steep in some patches, is not difficult to follow. The route to the Kedarkantha base camp is dotted with small lakes and the land is far away from any sort of pollution or human disturbance. The trail snakes through oak-laden forests, wide meadows, and more evidence of remote life. You know you are close to the base camp when you see the arch of the Swargarohini, Bandarpoonch, Ranglana, and Kala Nag ranges before you. Here, a piping hot lunch will be provided. The evening will be peppered with fun experiences like group games or an acclimatization walk to familiarize yourself with the area and the terrain. Afterward, the trekkers can rest while enjoying some evening snacks and soup. The rest of the evening is mostly free. Dinner will be served early as the trek begins tomorrow!
The night ahead is going to be the trek’s most memorable one. You will watch the galaxy unravel its wonders to you on the canvas of the sky, creating an unforgettable picture that no camera can do justice to. Take a moment to remember it. The temperature at the Kedarkantha base camp may drop very low at night. Make sure you have enough layers on to keep yourself warm.
Day 4: Kedarkantha Base Camp to Kedarkantha Peak; Descent to Hargaon Camp.
Distance covered: 5 km.
Today, we shall cover the Kedarkantha peak, and climb 1,250 feet higher than the base. Afterward, we shall descend from the peak to Hargaon village, once again. The trek ahead is moderately difficult, but with a little bit of determination, we will be able to cover the distance in 6-7 hours. Today, we commence at the early hours of 2 or 3 am so that we can witness the glorious sunrise at the Kedarkantha peak.
After breakfast and a lovely feast of the sunrise, we commence. We first make our way through a few more thick patches of oak trees. The trail is mostly simple and facilitates enjoying the route uphill. It only gets slightly difficult as we get closer to the peak.
As we reach the Kedarkantha peak, along with the grand view, we are greeted with a small shrine of rocks, which is considered to be holy by the locals. The energy radiating from this religious space is something that entrances one and all. The view from the top, however, is what captivates you the most. Thirteen peaks (name of the peaks, I will do it) of the Himalayas all bask together in the glory of the sun. We make a brief stop here. All this beauty deserves some admiration.
Our descent is a beautiful route crossing many frozen streams and more wildlife and flora. We stop for lunch at the Kedarkantha base camp and have quality conversations about the wonderful views we have been blessed with. Afterward, we make our way downhill steadily to the Hargaon base camp. Here, we set up tents for the night, light up some campfires, and spend some quality time having dinner with our fellow trekking buddies before retiring to bed.
Day 5: Hargaon Camp to Dehradun
Although there is a sharp drop in our altitude today (8,900 to 6,400 feet), the trek from the Hargaon Base Camp to Sankri is relatively simple and takes only a little over four hours. It is time to say goodbye to the base camp, but with a lot of memories in your heart and tonnes of trekking experience under your belt. Through endless pathways full of oak and maple, we witness the phenomenal view of Har Ki Dun. It is wondrous how nature’s splendor has been spread across for us like a picture to see. This is one of the greatest achievements of the universe.
We make our final journey to Dehradun via road, over a 7-8 hour stretch, including breaks for food and refreshments. It is the same alpine road that you crossed on your way uphill, but you feel changed and content after such a wholesome experience. By late evening, we are back in Dehradun. Trekkers looking to travel on Day 6 itself can be dropped at the bus stand or the railway station, as required. Anyone wanting to spend the night in the cozy city of Doon can make their bookings accordingly. For this time, our journey ends here with lots of happy memories.
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