It had been quite some while since I had trekked across the Sar Pass with my wife Anusha and my friend (also the trek leader) Monil Jhaveri in the month of May.
While walking across this little slice of heaven in Himachal Pradesh, we heard Monil speak of the Kedarkantha peak in Uttarakhand. It left both of us so fascinated that as soon as we reached back our home in Mumbai after the trek, we booked our tickets to head there next!
Fast forward to December 2018, myself and Anusha joined Monil and seven other enthusiastic individuals in New Delhi – all excited to welcome 2019 in the middle of the stunning vistas of the Garhwal Himalaya!
As our train to Dehradun started chugging along the tracks, our hearts were filled with excitement of facing a new challenge and conquering a new peak.
Now that we are back from our little adventure, we are still in awe of the experience we had! Read on to find what made the Kedarkantha trek so special and memorable for us.
Dehradun to Sankri
Sankri, a small village in the Uttarkashi district, serves as the base village for the Kedarkantha trek.
The journey from Dehradun to Sankri took us around 12 hours, but the sublime beauty of the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand kept us spellbound! The Yamuna river was our companion in the journey till Nagaon. Once the Yamuna had left our side, soon we found the Supin river meandering along with us!
Taking Up a New Challenge
As we reached Sankri, we realized that the temperature had hit the zero mark. Getting adjusted to such low temperature was a daunting task for the Mumbaikars that we were, but this was just the beginning.
The temperature took more plunges as we went up higher on the Kedarkantha trail. After a certain point, halting in between to catch our breath was not an option, because the sub-zero temperatures meant we need to keep walking to save ourselves from freezing!
But looking back at the experience, we now feel a wee bit proud for pushing ourselves to a new limit.
The Snowy Trail
Yes, it was a bit difficult to adapt to plummeting temperature, but as we started off from Sankri, we were delighted to see snow scattered all around us. Watching the flakes of snow falling at the Pusla camp was a memorable experience in itself.
The Path Full of Surprises
It is difficult to decide what more captivated me more, the beautiful journey or the satisfaction of making it to the summit! The trail is enchanting right from the beginning. When we reached a frozen Juda ka Talaab after starting the trek from Sankri, we wondered, if the beginning is so beautiful, surely more surreal surprises laid ahead of us!
The View of Garhwal Himalaya From the Summit
As our trek lead had promised us, we witnessed a 360 degree view of the Himalaya from the summit – and it made our every effort worth the climb! Words fall short to describe what I felt as I stood on the Kedarkantha Summit on 28th December 2018 – perhaps many avid trekkers would agree with me that neither words nor pictures can do any justice to the grandeur of the Himalaya!
The Fantastic Arrangements and Hospitality
While hard core mountaineers are used to roughing it out in extreme climatic conditions, I would like to specially mention that our trek leader Monil and his local support team had ensured fantastic arrangements for their participants – even at a difficult terrain and altitude.
The comforts of the participants, some of whom were experiencing such low temperatures for the first time in their lives – were given the utmost priority. We were also amazed by the hospitality of the Garhwali locals we met all along our journey.
The Fun and Frolic at Kedarkantha
Sure, a trek on the snow clad Himalaya is an arduous task, especially for city dwellers like us. But difficult doesn’t always mean grim and boring! Our entire trek was sprinkled with many moments of fun and joy – making a snow man, sliding down the snow from the Kedarkantha summit – we surely had a gala time on top on the world!
Celebrating Summit with Cake
And then came the icing on the cake – While bracing ourselves for saying goodbye to 2018 from Kedarkantha, me and Anusha were mentally prepared to spend our holiday soaked in the raw beauty of nature. But we got way more than we expected. For instance, that we shall be cutting a cake at the Kedarkantha base camp after the summit, was a big surprise for us!
Unforgettable Memories and New Friends
New friendships and treasure trove of memories – Apart from the exquisite beauty of the Himalayan peaks, the infectious energy of our fellow trekkers, the motivation given by our trek leaders and the bonding we developed over the trek was a lot more than we could have asked for.
Rishikesh River Rafting
The experience of making it to the Kedarkantha summit was thrilling in itself, but our adventure was not yet over! After our descent, we drove to Rishikesh for the new year eve.
The name Rishikesh itself is synonymous with white water rafting, which Monil had arranged for us with Red Chilli Adventures. Maneuvering the rapids of the Ganges and taking dips in its icy cold water once again took our adrenaline levels several notches up- and this is how we started off 2019 with a bang!
Once again, I would like to thank the trek leaders and our fellow trekkers for sharing their zeal and motivation that helped me reach the summit – having made this journey with you all, me and Anusha feel immensely satisfied. And indeed, the entire Kedarkantha trek experience will linger in our memories for a long time to come.
Not just we were left mesmerized by the beauty of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges, we realized how tiny and perishable we are in front of these majestic mountains.
As I contemplate about this journey and close my eyes, the view of the snow-capped Himalaya flashes before my eyes. And then I realize, that walking on the Himalaya is more than an adventure. It is a meditation, a soul search…perhaps it is as much a journey inward as it is outward!