Time Required : 5 days
Entry Fee : INR 7000 - INR 9000
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Situated in the lap of mountains of the Tons River Valley, Kedarkanth is a stunning place offering an easy, classic trek. It is a lovely ridge peak accessible throughout the year with plethora of rewarding adventures.
Lying in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, Kedarkantha peak is covered with snow during winters presenting a breathtaking sight. The trek to this peak also gives you an opportunity to explore the exotic flora and fauna of the protected area of Govind National Park. The summit is perched at an altitude of 3850 m, from where you can witness the sun soaked peaks of Ranglana, Banderpooch, black and Swargarohini. The place is perfect for those seeking light adventure accompanied by scenic beauty.
Rail: One can reach Dehradun by an overnight train from Delhi, which runs regularly. The best option is the special A/C train between the two stations. You will reach Dehradun at 5.40 am. From there onwards take a taxi or a bus to cover a distance of 185 kms till Sankri which will take about 5 hours.
Road: The total distance from Delhi to Sankri is almost 440 Km which can be covered in approximately 9 hours. You can either directly drive to Sankri or take a bus to Dehradun and drive further till Sankri by local vehicle.
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Approx trekking distance (Both sides) : 36 km
Base Camp : Sankri
Difficulty : Easy Gradient
Highest point of trek : 12,500 ft
Minimum Duration of Trip : 7 days
Nearest Airport : Dehradun
Nearest Railhead : 190 km
Region : Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand
Snow : The place is covered under a thick layer of snow between December last week and mid April. However, make sure you begin your trek at the higher altitudes when the snow is hard enough for trekking.
Starting point of trek : Sankri
Day 1 : Base camp (Dehradun) to Sankri
Distance: 220 km , Duration: 10-11 hours
Leave Dehradun and reach Sankri, a rustic small village. You will find the accommodation there in form of GMVN guest house up the road. The village comprises of some shops and dhabas. Most of the trekkers reach Sankri by evening, just in time to get a glimpse of sun set amid the Great Himalayan mountain ranges. The highlight of the evening, however, is the gleaming peaks of Swargarohini standing tall beyond the ridges of Sankri.
Day 2 : Explore Sankri and Trek to Juda Talab
Distance: 4 km , Duration: 4-5 hours
After breakfast, begin your trek towards Juda Ka Tala. Take the road towards the extension of Sankri Village known as Sor. Traverse the village and you will notice a wide curve. Take the trail towards your right next to the stream that ascends sharply, leading to Kedarkantha. The path will take you to the pine forest and after a walk of 10 minutes you will climb sharply up, till a ridge is reached. Once reached, the track evens out and broadens for the rest of the day. An hour into the trek will lead you to a small wooden bridge towards right. Soon you will also notice a cement bridge overa dry stream (water only during monsoon). Now, you are about a quarter of your way till Juda Ka Talab. From here on, the climb keeps increasing gradually under the cover of the tree. You will on and off may hear the gushing of flowing stream, but will not be visible to you. Walk for another fifteen minutes and you will see a last and one of the biggest wooden bridges. You will also see the stream of water, which is your last water point till Juda Ka Talab i.e. for another 2.5 hours, so better stock up the water here. Continue your trek onto the left instead of going over the bridge; you will clearly see the diversion. From now on, you will begin to feel the mysticism of the Kedarkantha. The trek will take you ahead through various distinct terrains, from mysterious dense forests and brown carpet of pine and maple to thick oak and pine forests, often serving home to shy Himalayan Langurs, Martens and Boars as the altitude increases gradually. At an altitude of about 8,100 ft, you are about half way to the Juda Ka Talab. As you come closer, the sight you will behold of stunning Juda Ka Talab is a treat to your eyes. The campsite is situated nearby bounded by trees and mountain slopes, ideal for pitching your tents.
Day 3 : Juda Talab to Kedar Kanth Base
Distance: 4 km , Duration: 4 hours
The path from Juda Ka Talab towards your next destination is clearly visible and pretty straight forward. The trek ascends towards a ridge at the edge of the lake. The altitude starts increasing as you take a sharp left from the ridge leading into a dense pine forest. Make sure you do not take the path going ahead and down, it is for shepherds leading to Sankri. Stick to the trail and soon you will reach a ridge in half an hour, gaining an altitude of 800 ft above Juda Ka Talab. Finally the ridge takes form of a plain adorned with oaks. Keep going along the track and in another half an hour you will find a way to a meadow with three log huts, first of several shepherd huts on the trail. A sharp ascend through oaks and yet another meadow will appear in another half an hour. With an extremely striking scene, you can take a break and enjoy the surroundings beauty. A thousand feet away lay the Kedarkantha base campsite. The spot perched at a height of 10,400 ft is the first one to witness the snow in winters. A short walk up the trail into the shades of oaks leading to a vast clearing and another shepherdÕs hut comes into the view. However, the view you left behind will amaze you with its immensely exquisite beauty of snow ranges bounding Kedarkantha summit. Rest for a while and continue walking along the trail to reach the clump of dry oak forest. Soon you will reach the Kedarkantha campsite and another shepherdÕs hut. The scenic beauty around you at this point is unmatched with beautiful peaks of Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag and Ranglana standing with great charm. Pitch the tent here and enjoy the wonders of nature visible in the inky sky at night.
Day 4 : Kedar Kanth Meadows to Kedar Kanth Peak; Descend to Hargaon Camp
Distance: 6 km , Duration: 6-7 hours
Begin Day Four early with a beautiful sunrise from the Kedarkantha meadows; itÕs definitely worth getting out of your sleeping bags. You can clearly see the Kedarkantha peak from the site and you will find several trails leading up the peak. However, the best way get up there will be to take on the northern ridge of the Kedarkantha summit temple, which is few feet short of the summit. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. Five minutes into the climb from the shrine will take you to the summit, while an hour and half from the Kedarkantha base campsite. The summit is adorned with stones arranged in a square with a Trishul pointing towards the sky. You will also find the remains of dried coconut and dried incense sticks symbolizing the faith of locals for the summit. Apart from being devotedly revered, the summit also offers a 360 degree view of the other impressive snow clad ranges of Uttarakhand. Make sure you ask your guide to show you the Gangotri and Yamunotri ranges. Getting back to the camp involves a different route that the one used while coming up, through southern ridge of Kedarkantha. Reach Kedarkantha base camp, where you can rest for a while and then get going towards Hargaon. There are two trails that can be taken to reach the campsite. However, no matter which one you opt for, both trails are dotted with spectacular scenic beauty adorned with oaks, pines and frozen streams. As you continue trudging along the track, the trail gets deftly beautiful with mystic pine forests; at this time you are about to reach the Hargaon clearing in almost hour and half.
Day 5 : Hargaon Camp to Sankri
Distance: 6 km , Duration: 4 hours
The Hargaon Camp site is yet another place to pitch your tents but with extreme beauty around. The place has plenty of firewood you can use to light a campfire. Now itÕs time to get back to Sankri; the trail being clearly marked by stones and well paved manner. The path will take you through several pine forests and streams where you can refill your water bottles. Har Ki Dun valley, lovely apple orchard accompanied by potato and cauliflower farms and farmer huts adorns your way towards your final destination. On the whole the experience will be absolutely exhilarating. It will take you about three hours to emerge thousand feet above Sankri through the various high altitude cultivations. Once you reach the Sankri, ask for the direction of GMVN guest house which lies to the left of the sharp detour from the main trail.
Day 6 : Drive from Sankri to Dehradun
ItÕs time to drive back to Dehradun and then finally reach to Sankri.