Kedarkantha is one of India’s best winter hikes. It is one of the rare Himalayan hikes still available in winter. The Trek Kedarkantha offers a unique experience for those looking to start their journey into the Himalayas and even experienced trekkers looking for a quick getaway in the middle of the winter.
The Kedarkantha Trek offers an unforgettable mix of challenges, adventures, and beautiful views, with trails dotted with large oak and pine forests, wide-open green wetlands, calm lakes, perfect campings, and panoramic views of the majestic Himalayan Peaks.
Kedarkantha Trek – You need to know everything
The Kedarkantha trek starts at a height of 6,000 meters from the picturesque village of Sankri in Uttarakhand. The Kedarkantha Route takes you through dense pine and oak tree forest, frozen lakes, and snow-capping routes to the Kedakantha peak, 12.500 feet elevation. with panoramic views of snow-cached peaks nearly all across the trail. The whole trek takes about 4 days from Sankri and back, except for extra days from Dehradun and further afield.
Mythology of Kedarkantha
Kedarkantha is no different from most destinations in Uttarakhand that are covered in mythologic references. The most popular mention of the place comes from the Mahabarata, who claims that Kedarkantha is a place where Lord Shiva sought refuge from the Pandavas in his bull avatar and was refugees in the valley, but later fled to Kedarnath when he was disrupted by the locals. The Lord Shiva Trishul, built at its summit, is also thought to protect the valley and its peoples.
Best Time to do the Kedarkantha Trek
Although the Kedarkantha Trek is available throughout the year, one of the few Himalayan Treks available during the winter season, and therefore the best way for hikers is to experience not only the snowy landscapes of the Kedarkantha but also trekking on crackling snow between December and the end of April. The Kedarkantha route is not too challenging with only the right amount of snow and without extreme temperature changes and therefore suitable for even first-time riders.
Dehradun to Sankri Base Camp
Let Dehradun get out of this small, quiet village of natural beauty early in the morning (6 AM) and go to Sankri in the evening. This will also allow you plenty of time to prepare yourself last minute, and rest before the next day begins.
Sankri to Juda Ka Talab
The photo-perfect Juda Ka Talab site is situated about 5 km from the base camp via green meadows and thick pine and oak forests. As the name implies, Juda Ka Talab is a serene frozen lake, once a pair of lakes but now a single.
Juda ka Talab to Kedarkantha Base Camp
A 4 km trek from Juda Ka Talab, which was originally located at 11.150 meters above the ground, initially opening up to thick pine forests, opens up to high mountain views. The surrounding snow-covered peaks such as Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag, and England can be seen in panoramic surroundings, among others. From here also you can see the Kedarkantha peak.
Camp at Kedarkantha Base to Hargaon Kedarkantha
The top of Kedarkantha is about two hours from the basic camp, marked by a Trishul pointing to the sky, and can be reached via several routes. It is recommended that you begin the trek early in the morning (as early as 3 am) to catch the sunrise (usually around 7 am) from the top of the mountain. While the trail begins with a gradual climb as we get closer to the top, with almost a few degrees of pitching, the trail becomes more challenging.
The top offers 360 degrees views of the surrounding Himalayas, including Gangotri, Yamunotri, Chanshil Pass, and Kinnaur Kailash, apart from the breathtaking sunrise. Go back down from the top to the base camp of Kedarkantha and down to the camp of Hargaon.
A steep, paved road from Hargaon to Sankri takes relatively less time because of its descent. Also along the way you get a magnificent view of the Har Ki Dun Valley. When you come back to Sankri, either you may decide to spend the rest of the day in Sankri, or you may go back to Dehradun by your private transport or by cabs to visit the beautiful Himalayan village the same day.