KedarKantha Trek- The Ultimate Guide

Kedarkantha_Fearure_Image

Overview

The trek which I am going to present today tops the list of Best Winter Treks in the Country.
Kedarkantha which is quite famous among the beginner trekkers, starts from the Sankri Village in Uttarakhand.  This famous quote “The Best view comes after the Hardest Climb” doesn’t apply on Kedarkantha trek. If you wish to walk in heavy snow, high mountains and magnificent camping sites, that too, without any prior experience then this trek definitely is the ultimate choice.

Kedarkantha is located at an altitude of 3810 meters and the total trek distance is around 23 Kilometers. The degree of difficulty of this trek lies between Easy to Moderate depending upon the level of your fitness. So its an ideal trek for the beginners to have a glimpse of the alluring nature. You can witness the 360 degree panaromic view of upto 12 majestic Himalayan peaks from the summit.  If the weather is clear, you will be able to clearly see the Swargarohini Peaks which are also considered to be the Crown of Gharwal. This Kedarkantha region lies in the famous Govind Wildlife Sanctuary which includes lofty Mountains like SwargaRohini, BandarPoonch and The BlackPeak.

This trek attracts the trekkers mainly in winters because it is covered under the thick layers of snow during this time of the year and in turn provides the trekkers a chance to camp near the famous lake  “Juda Ka Talab”. This captivating lake comes in between the trail to summit. Being a beginner’s trek this trail attracts lots and lots of trekkers every year and taking into consideration accommodation options are very good at the Base camp. On the other hand if you are a nature seeker then the months of summer, May till the last week of June, are the best time for you to visit this place .


As we all know that Himalayas are known to be the residence of Lord Shiva and every other Himalayan Peak has a story linked to him. Similarly, Kedarkantha too has a legend which is related to Lord Shiva. The literal meaning of Kedarkantha is “Throat of Shiva”.  

It is believed that after the great Mahabharata war, on which one of the major Epics of Ancient India is based, Pandavas (the five brothers) went to Himalayas for penanace. After the long time spent in atonement, the Pandavas yearned for much needed blessings of Lord Shiva. But Lord Shiva did not want to be accessible to them as he wanted to test them for their worthiness. So for this reason, even after the humble solicitations, persistent prayers and unyielding invocations by Pandavas, Shiva didn’t appear to absolve and bestow the blessings on them. Hence Pandavas went to visit him at his abode in Himalayas, but he somehow kept avoiding them. Pandavas frantically started searching for him on Himalayas and when they finally found Lord Shiva, he disguised himself as a buffalo and got mixed with the herd grazing closeby. The Pandvas got confused and couldnot locate Lord Shiva disguised as Buffalo.Then Bheem one of the Pandva brothers devised a strategy and stood on the two rocks with legs wide open. Meanwhile other Pandava brothers made each buffalo in the herd to pass under him. The disguised buffalo refused to pass which lead to the fight between Bheem and the Buffalo. In this fight, Buffalo was ripped apart into pieces by Bheem and the places where those pieces fell, temples were made by Pandvas to worship the Lord Shiva. So, kedarkantha is the the place where the throat appeared.
Other than Kedarkantha, following are the major Shiva temples:

  • Kalpeshwar: Hair of Lord Shiva,
  • Rudranath: Face of Lord Shiva
  • Tungnath: Arms of lord Shiva
  • Madhyamaheshwar: Navel of Lord Shiva
  • Kedarnath: Back of Lord Shiva.

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How To Reach Kedarkantha

Kedarkantha Range
Kedarkantha Range

Sankri is the starting point of the trek. It is 450 Kilometers from Delhi and it takes around 13-14 hours to reach here depending upon the traffic and road conditions. It is not an advisable option to reach this place in a one go from Delhi as the journey is long and it can turn out to be a hectic one, specially for those who are driving by their own vehicle.

By Bus

Talking about public transport there are plenty of options available to reach this village from Delhi. However it is suggested to complete this journey in Two phases, 1st being the Delhi-Dehradun and 2nd being the Dehradun-Sankri.

The frequency of Buses is quite high between Delhi and Dehradun and one can easily get the Uttarakhand state transport buses from ISBT Kashmere Gate. However, an overnight journey to Dehradun is the best option. You can easily book a Volvo from Uttarakhand state transport Coporation which would cost you between 500- 800 INR. If you opt to go by Local bus then you should board the Dehradun AC express train which departs at around 21:15 from Nizamuddin Railway Station and reaches Dehradun by 4:55 in the morning. This way you can easily board the 7:00 am local bus to Sankri after a proper rest. It takes around 6 hours to reach Dehradun from Delhi depending upon the traffic

The bus frequency between Dehradun and Sankri is not so high, infact there are only couple of buses available on daily basis between the two destinations. Departure timing for two local buses are 5 am and 7 am and you can board these buses from Prince Chowk , Dehradun. It takes around 10 hours to reach this vilage from Dehradun via Mussoorie, Barkot, Purola, Mori, Netwar, Motwat.
If by any chance you miss these direct buses to Sankri, you can board a bus from Dehradun to Purola and from Purola you can take a shared taxi or local bus for your destination. Although the journey would get a little hectic and time consuming but yet this alternative is always an option.

By Train

Being the capital of Uttarakhand there are several trains available from Delhi to Dehradun. The nearest railway station to Sankri is Dehradun railway station which is around 196 Kilometers. Again from Dehradun you have only two major options to reach which are either to board a Local bus or to hire a Shared/Private Taxi. Prices for shared taxis can be anywhere between 700- 1200 INR.

 By Air

The nearest airport to Sankri Village is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun which is around 200 Kilometers. After reaching Dehradun the way to reach destination village remains the same as mentioned in the Bus and Train options. Till Dehradun, good numbers of flights are available from different parts of the country. Obviously this option is little costly in comparison to other mode of transports but at the same time it is less time consuming too. The basic fare for the flights between Delhi and Dehradun start at the rate of 3500 INR.


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Brief Itinerary

Note: This trek Itinerary is only from Sankri Village (Starting point) to Sankri village (ending Point) and does not include the motorable route to this village.
Number of days you are going to spend during the trek depends upon the trekking experience, agility, weather, age and physical strength. Based on these features the trek can be completed either in two or three days. However, I’ll be suggesting you the three day trek route which is mostly followed by the trekkers.

Day-1 (Sankri to Kedarkantha Basecamp)

Sankri Village
Sankri Village
Image Source: https://www.euttaranchal.com

The trail for the trek starts from Sankri which is located at an altitude of 1950 meters. The total distance of the 1st day trek is around 9 kilometers. The first half covers the distance till “Juda Ka Talab” which is located at an altitude of 9100 ft and the other half covers the distance till the “Kedarkantha Base Camp” which is located at an altitude of 11200 ft.
In initial stage of the trek you would come across several bridges through dense forest trees. The trail is wide and you would get to see many of the small and remote villages along the way.  

After continuing through the trail for more than a half day, you would see a sharp rise in the trail though the dense oaks. That’s the point where for the first time you would have a glimpse at the beautiful semi-frozen lake called “Juda ka Taal”. If you are leaving by early morning then it would take you around 3-4 hours to reach the lake depending upon your stamina. This is an ideal sight to have a short blissful rest and enjoy the nature’s treat before commencing the other half of the journey. If you wish to add one more day in your trip then camping at “Juda ka Talab” can be an ideal decision to make. One can go for a nature’s walk or can click the great pictures of night sky along with the Lake.

Juda Ka Talab
Juda Ka Talab


After having a refreshing rest at the lake and filled with energy continue your further journey to the kedarkantha base camp.
The base Camp is around 4 Kilometers away from the lake and it would take you another 3 hours to reach there at an average pace of walking. As this is a well known winter trek of India and mostly is done in winter, so the further you move towards the base camp the more it gets steeper, colder and slippery, obviously because of the snow.

As you get near and near to base camp you would witness the clearer view of the mighty peaks like, SwarghaRohini, BandarPoonch and Kaala Naag. The night Sky is even clearer from here in comparison to “Juda ka Talab” and as the night grows you can see a clear view of the Milky Way. The camp site area is quite large and one can setup the camp according to the preferable view.

Day-2 (Base Camp- Kedarkantha Summit- Hargaon Camp)

Kedarkantha Summit
Kedarkantha Summit

On this day of your trip you are destined to hike to the one of the most beautiful peaks in the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary. If you wish to witness the magical sunrise from the Kedarkantha Peak then you should leave your respective camps around 4 in the morning. Today’s total distance, both way trek, is hardly around 6 kilometers so you can easily cover the distance even if you start late. Peak is around 1.5 to 2 kilometers away from the base camp. It is not important now to follow the main trail as you can follow several shortcut trails to the peak, however the main trail is advisable as it rises evenly throughout the distance.

At the top you would see a small, yet beautiful temple of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The 360 panoramic view of the mighty and snow covered peaks of Uttarakhand are beyond heaven. You can relax there for some time and just enjoy the enchanting landscape provided by the nature. Get some pictures and panoramic shots of the mesmerizing scenic views and start to descend towards the final stop of the day which is Hargaon Camp site.
Again the trail will start to pass amongst Dense Oak forests and Pine trees and after descending for about 4 Kilometers you’ll reach your campsite of the day. Hargaon is a beautiful, small quaint location. It is located at an altitude of 8900 ft.

Day-3 (Hargaon to Sankri)

Hargaon Campsite
Camp Site

Today is the final day of the trek and there is no time constraint to wake up early in the morning. The descend trail from Hargaon campsite to Sankri Village is around 6 Kilometers and it would take upto 4 hours to reach down if you walk at the moderate speed.  The best part about this trail is the ridge which gives a majestic view of Har ki Doon Valley. This point is a quite picturesque location. There is nothing much to do on this day except for the exploration that you do after reaching the Sankri village. You can also buy some local items from the village as a souvenir.


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Best time to Visit Kedarkantha

Snow at Kedarkantha
Snow at Kedarkantha Trail

To be exact any season except for the Rainy season is the best time to visit this paradise. It totally depends upon your mindset that what views you wish to see while you are here. However, this is the best winter trek for those who are beginners to trekking. Snow starts to get settle near mid December and stays till last week of April. Now that if you wish to walk in heavy snow, camp In the white winter land near the semi frozen lake then may be the first month of the year can be the right choice for you to go to Kedarkantha. Average temperature during winters here is around -10° C.
If you are planning to go on this trek in Summers then maybe the ideal month can be May or September. The average temperature lies between 8-10° C during day time.  


About

Hi, I am Karan and I love writing about isolated destinations. My life revolves around the change in Longitude. I drink Room Temperature Water and Smoke only Oxygen. I believe that Vacation Calories don't count so think less and Travel More. I am on a mission to travel the world and this Bio pretty much Sums Up my Life!

3 Comments

  • EmaratForex June 25, 2019 at 4:12 am Reply

    After trekking for 4-5 hours at moderate speed you reach Sankri, Since, you started the trek early in the morning, you’ll have a plenty of time to stroll around the villages in Sankri and explore the area. At Sankri, we’ll stay at Meraki Homestay.

  • VINIT GARG July 19, 2019 at 10:36 am Reply

    Pls suggest guide contact.if You have any.Thanks

    • Karan Sharma July 20, 2019 at 7:18 pm Reply

      Right Now I won’t be able to provide you with the contact numbers of the Guides because of their preoccupation. But you can still visit Sankri village and hire the local villagers there who also serve a guides.

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