A legend has that Lord Shiva was meditating in Kedarkantha when he heard a cow mooing nearby. It was an indication of human population so the Lord decided to disappear from Kedarkantha and reappear in Kedarnath. Since then Lord Shiva is worshiped as Kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of the region and Kedarnath gained its importance as one of the Char Dhams.
Today, it is one of the most spectacular and magnificent trekking spots located in the ‘Govind Wildlife Sanctuary’ at a height of 12,500 feet. The trek to Kedarkantha starts from Sankri village in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It takes 4 days to reach the summit and come back to the Sankri village. Sankri is the last point from where you can get road connectivity; there are no roads beyond Sankri.
I am a pahadi by birth and I’ve spent my childhood days in the kumaon region of Uttarakhand. I’m from Pithoragarh which is a beautiful hill station. I’ve had always wanted to take my friends to the hills but it never worked out for all of us. This time I suggested Shantanu and Aakash to join me on a trek in Uttarakhand. I got in touch with Rishabh from Thrillophilia and he helped me a lot. Rishabh works at Thrillophilia and he’s a travel consultant. He’s an amazing guy who’s always ready to help. This trip was possible only because of him.
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So after endless discussions, we finalized Kedarkantha summit as our trekking target. It was then followed by a series of adventures and amazing experiences which resulted in so many beautiful memories and everlasting friendships.
DAY 1: April 2, 2017
We started from Dehradun around 8 in the morning. We were a group of eleven people, namely Shantanu, Siddharth, Aakash, Rohit, Arun, Gayatri, Diamond, Monika, Sandeep, Pawan and I, Mohit. Raghu was our Trek Leader and Pushkar was our cook. He is a graduate from the Uttarkashi Mountaineering Institute and believe me he is a real professional and amazing guy. We reached Mussoorie an hour later and then Kempty around 11 AM. We took a break and had some snacks at Kempty and then resumed our journey. The road trip to Sankri village is absolutely breathtaking. There are some wonderful views along the way. Being a
We reached Mussoorie an hour later and then Kempty around 11 AM. We took a break and had some snacks at Kempty and then resumed our journey. The road trip to Sankri village is absolutely breathtaking. There are some wonderful views along the way. Being a pahadi, I can certainly say that it is one of the best road trips I’ve ever experienced in the hills. We crossed Mussoorie, Kempty, Nainbagh, Naugaon and
The road trip to Sankri village is absolutely breathtaking. There are some wonderful views along the way. Being a pahadi, I can certainly say that it is one of the best road trips I’ve ever experienced in the hills. We crossed Mussoorie, Kempty, Nainbagh, Naugaon and Purola along the way. We reached our first destination Sankri around seven in the evening. The trek was scheduled to start the following day, so the trek leader briefed us after the dinner. All of us fell in a sound sleep after that and were truly overwhelmed by the thrill and excitement of the upcoming trek.
DAY 2: April 3, 2017
That day all of us became early risers because of the excitement, took a bath as soon as possible and then had some breakfast. That was the moment that we wanted to seize forever so we started taking some pictures and then all of us assembled outside our hotel.
We began our most awaited trek at 9 in the morning. Our first base camp was Juda Ka Talab located at the height of 10,500 feet. This was the longest part of the trek which involved most of the trekking. I was carrying a backpack of around 15 Kgs and it was the heaviest due to my poor backpacking skills. We were climbing higher and higher and I was able to feel the chilling winds. I was trekking in a T-shirt so I pulled out the jacket from my bag.
It was not too long when we reached our checkpoint which was located in a Bugyal. We had some omelet and bread buns there and then rested for a while. After that, we resumed our trek. We reached our first base camp around 2:30 PM. That’s where we learned to pitch a tent and pitched 4 tents after that.
In the evening we started taking some pictures around the mesmerizing view at Juda ka Talab, played some games and then returned to our tents.
As the night approached it began to get darker, so we started collecting some woods to light up a camp fire which was going to keep us warm in the chilling, windy night.
After that, we played some fun games around the campfire, had our dinner, followed by some more games and then went to sleep.
DAY 3 April 4, 2017
Rising early was becoming a schedule as all of us got up early around 6:30 a.m. again but we missed the sunrise that day due to an overcast sky. Some of us were unable to sleep properly partially due to extreme cold and partially due to the barking noise of our dire wolves. All of our trek mates were Game of Thrones fans and we started calling the dogs who were accompanying us as our dire wolves.
Our cook prepared some pasta for the breakfast and after that, we continued our trek to the Kedarkantha base camp which was our destination for the day. As the height increased, we witnessed some snowfall on our way.I took out my gloves from the bag and we all started playing with the snow. The sky started getting clearer and soon we reached our base camp. This time the base camp was located at an even more beautiful natural setting. There were huge snowy mountains that surrounded us from all the sides and the surreal beauty of nature was enough to make us forget all our tiredness.
We started sliding down a slope covered with snow and throwing snowballs at each other. After that, we pitched our tents and had some lunch. As the sun was shining and the weather was awesome, I took a nap outside the tent for a while and Shantanu & Siddharth were sitting on top of a wooden hut. Soon Monika asked us for a game of cards and the four of us started playing UNO and Bluff which was real fun. Later we were joined by others and the game continued till the evening.
After that, we decided to play cricket. It was an amazing experience to play cricket at the height of 11,000 feet. We won first two games, lost the other three games but managed to win the last one. It was at this point that it started to drizzle and we tried lighting some fire but failed miserably. Then we decided to move back to our tents. The real adventure had just begun.
It kept on raining for the next three hours and the temperature was getting unbearably colder. We had our dinner inside the cook’s tent. After that, Aakash and I moved to Shantanu’s and Siddharth’s tent waiting for the rain to stop. Shantanu went outside the tent sometime later and called all of us outside to see the clear sky. All the clouds had disappeared and the sky was clear now. We felt much relieved after seeing the clear sky and moved back to our respective tents to get some sleep.
We were at Kedarkantha base camp and we were planning to start our trek at 3 in the morning but our sleep got disturbed at 1 AM due to heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in the nearby hills. It was a terrifying experience. It felt like our tents would get blown away due to high-speed winds. The clouds were lightening all around us; that was the moment when we felt like we were in real danger. I was waiting for the night to end hoping that the thunderstorm might stop after the dawn.
Day 4 April 5, 2017
It was 7 in the morning when I went to Raghu and he told us that we were not starting the trek until 9 a.m. We were going to wait till 9 and if the rain stops then we would continue the trek to the summit. Our plan was to reach the summit and come back to the base camp on the same day.
The rain slowed down and we began the trek at around 9 in the morning. We had to put on at least 5-6 layers of clothes just to beat the snow and we were wearing our raincoats over that. For the first time, we were starting our trek with our raincoats on. I grabbed my walking stick and we started climbing higher and higher. Nothing was visible beyond 20 meters. There was snow all around. After a while, we started experiencing a snowstorm. Then we reached a checkpoint near an old wooden bridge where we had to decide whether to move forward or to return back from the same place.
All of us decided to move forward and reach the summit. There was a place where we had to climb a steep hill all covered with snow. It was very slippery and there was a deep ditch on the other side. But Raghu was there to help us all. My shoes were not in a very good shape to help me climb the cliff. But soon all of us were able to make it across the hill. Then we crossed an old wooden bridge and soon we reached a place where there was a resting point similar to a canteen.
At that point, the snowstorm was at its peak and we were unable to see anything beyond ten meters. We sat beside the fire inside the old canteen and ordered some tea and omelet. We rested there for a while and then went outside to play in the snow. There were some epic snow battles played with snowballs and walking sticks. It was real fun to play when the temperature is close to minus 10 degrees. Soon we resumed the trek and were able to reach the summit despite the bad weather. It was impossible to stay at the summit in the middle of a snowstorm so we started moving back to our basecamp.
This was the most difficult part as climbing up is always easier than going down when there’s snow all around. I slipped in the snow many times and if it was not for Raghu, I would have slipped down the cliff on our way back to the basecamp.
Besides the adventure part, there were many slides along the way. Slides are like fast travel points to take you from one place to another and they are just awesome and truly thrilling. As we came closer to our base camp, the snowfall stopped but the rain continued. My raincoat became useless after a while and soon we reached our base camp. Most of our clothes were wet and the following night was going to be really hard in the extreme cold.
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It was raining since the evening and it continued till the morning. There was a massive thunderstorm and around 1 a.m. and when the rain slowed down, Shantanu stepped outside his tent and informed all of us about the snowfall in our basecamp. My tent started collapsing due to the weight of the snow so I was hitting the walls of the tent from inside to save the tent. Aakash was in deep sleep and I don’t think he had any clue what was going on around us. After an hour, strong winds started pulling our tent to the opposite side of the Kedarkantha peak. I was once told by Raghu during the trek that winds are more dangerous than rains in the higher altitudes as they can damage the tents. I was pushing against the walls of my tent from inside in a desperate attempt to save the tent. I woke up Aakash and now both of us were doing the same. Somehow we manage to spend the entire night without getting hurt and the next day we had to return back to Sankri via Hargaon basecamp.
After an hour, strong winds started pulling our tent to the opposite side of the Kedarkantha peak. I was once told by Raghu during the trek that winds are more dangerous than rains in the higher altitudes as they can damage the tents. I was pushing against the walls of my tent from inside in a desperate attempt to save the tent. I woke up Aakash and now both of us were doing the same. Somehow we manage to spend the entire night without getting hurt and the next day we had to return back to Sankri via Hargaon basecamp.
I was once told by Raghu during the trek that winds are more dangerous than rains in the higher altitudes as they can damage the tents. I was pushing against the walls of my tent from inside in a desperate attempt to save the tent. I woke up Aakash and now both of us were doing the same. Somehow we manage to spend the entire night without getting hurt and the next day we had to return back to Sankri via Hargaon basecamp.
Day 5 April 6, 2017
Although none of us really wanted to eat anything, we had our breakfast around 8:30 a.m. All of us just wanted to leave that. Although none of us really wanted to eat anything, we had our breakfast around 8:30 a.m. All of us just wanted to leave that base camp as soon as possible. We started the trek half an hour after finishing our breakfast. We had lost our dire wolves somewhere along the way(they started following some other trekkers at the Juda ka Talab base camp site as they offered them some delicious food. They returned back to Sankri from Juda ka Talab itself. I felt cheated.) We started the trek and Amit was leading us. Amit was our local guide and was quite familiar with the place. He took us downhill via multiple shortcuts and we reached Hargaon basecamp within an hour.
They returned back to Sankri from Juda ka Talab itself. I felt cheated.) We started the trek and Amit were leading us. Amit was our local guide and was quite familiar with the place. He took us downhill via multiple shortcuts and we reached Hargaon basecamp within an hour.
It was still raining heavily but resting wasn’t an option for us. We kept moving, slipped many times, helped each other and finally Sankri was just half an hour away.
It just got more adventurous when it started raining heavily again and we were stuck in a hailstorm. I took cover behind a huge tree against a wall and started moving again when it slowed down. Soon the road to Sankri was visible from above. I felt supercharged again and started moving towards it with the help of my walking stick. Finally Aakash and Shantanu also joined me and soon we realised that our little adventure trek had come to an end. We rushed towards our hotel room and rested for a while after having our lunch.
Later in the night, we partied really hard till 11:30 and then all of us went to bed with mixed emotions of both gaiety and some blues. We had blues because our incredible trek had ended and felt elated obviously because we did it and gained an experience of the lifetime. With all these experiences and emotions we started our journey to Dehradun at 8 a.m. on the following day.
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