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Kedarkantha Trek with IndiaHikes

Interested to know more about Trekking in India? Then you have landed at the right place. Today’s post is about our first Himalayan trek we did this winter and our experiences with INDIAHIKES . To begin with, the trek we chose to do was Kedarkantha which stands 12,500 ft high. We chose Kedarkantha trek because it is apt for  novice trekkers  like us who have absolutely no prior hiking experience. Also, we have https://indiahikes.com/heard from many that this particular trek has the prettiest campsites which looks dreamy and surreal. So, After seeing all the pictures of Kedarkantha floating around in the internet, we were super sure that we want to do this but the only question was- Which season? Summer or winter . It was very hard to choose one of these because the scenery is equally stunning in both seasons. We gave it a lot of thought and then decided to do the winter trek. Ever since we booked our tickets, we were thrilled because we were going to have a White New Year. We both have always wanted to visit Kashmir after seeing Mani Ratnam’s evergreen hit movie Roja. But looks like Kashmir has to wait, maybe someday. But nevertheless we got to see Kedarkantha which is no less. On a lighter note, we always wondered why the tourism board of India says #Incredibleindia and now we get it! India is unmatched beauty. Dont believe us? Read on and you will see the beauty in the pictures that follow ..

Trek Details

  • The duration of the trek -6 days
  • Highest Altitude – 12,500 feet
  •  Level of difficulty is Easy during Summer and Moderate during harsh winters.
  • The average temperature in   the day is -9 ° C during the day and 0 ° C -6 ° C during night time. And During Winters 8-15 ° C in the day time and Night time falling to -7 ° C
  • Vehicle fare details for Dehradun to Sankri –  Rs 5,500 / – one way per vehicle (Sumo type) (5-6 seater) Rs 9,000 / – one way (Time Traveler) (10-12 seater)
Kedarkantha trek route  
Day 1: Dehradun to Sankri All the trek participants were asked to arrive at Dehradun railway station by 6.30 AM. Vehicles that were arranged by IndiaHikes awaited us just outside the station. And as soon as our vehicle was full, we left for Sankri, which was our first stop over for the trek. Whilst starting the journey, we were 7 strangers in the tempo traveler. And as days whizzed by, we became good friends. The drive to Sankri was really scenic and you will surely love every bit of the journey for the views. The whole 10 hour journey was a great experience for us as we made our way through the hypnotic pine trees and glistening lakes. We stopped for breakfast at Mussorie and all of us digged into some piping hot maggi noodles and lemon tea after which we covered several tiny villages of Naugaon, Purola (access to last ATM and phone connections), Mori and Naitwar before hitting our final destination – Sankri. For most parts of the drive, I was looking out of the window and enjoying the cool wind hitting hard on my face! The air was so fresh and pure. For a city girl like me, its easy to tell! We reached Sankri just in time for sun down. Upon arrival, we were allotted our rooms in which we were freshened up after which we were served some hot snacks and chai. Sankri, is a small village in Uttarakhand that houses 250 locals and is about 13 Kms inside the Govind Wild Life Sanctuary. The village has BSNL mobile phone connections that works intermittently. Since we would be staying in tents the following nights, we made good use of the electricity we got here and charged our power banks, cameras and phones. We had a small briefing by the IndiaHikes Team on how to pack our bags for the trek and the general ground rules which we must follow. And just before we were served dinner, our team leader did our health check ups. They did these check ups before every single meal on each and every day! Yes you read that right. And if at any point of time, the oxygen / pressure reading was not satisfactory then chances are very high that you are asked to return to the basecamp or to the nearest campsite. I was very impressed to see the precautions they took for all of us. Another important thing, Alcohol is strictly prohibited during the whole 6 days which I think is very good because alcohol is really hazardous at high altitudes. After the delicious dinner, we retired to bed early as we knew we were going to have a real long day the next morning .
kedarkanta trek

  kedarkanta trek sankri

Day 2: Sankri (6450ft) – Lake of Juda (9150ft)

It was New Years – January 1st 2017, and we headed to Juda Ka Talab at 7.30 AM, probably the time when the rest of India was in deep slumber after the party scenes from the New Year Eve celebrations. Since it was January, the weather was chill and pleasant. We were specifically told by our Trek leader not to layer up too much as our bodies would get heated up after the initial few minutes of the trek. As soon as we started feeling warm, we  got rid of our extra layers and marched on much more freely. It was an easy hike, but we kept stopping at several places to click some pictures and to sip on some water. Hydration at regular intervals is a must during hiking.  Somewhere around midway, we stopped at a Dhaba and had some bread omlette and chai. After the hearty meal, we were just lying on the grass waiting for everyone to be done with their snacking so that we can move ahead and guess what! It started snowing. Bit by bit, we saw tiny specks of snow and all of us began to scream in excitement. And even before we could pull out our ponchos from our bags, the intensity of snow had worsened. We were told that we should try and reach our first campsite before the weather conditions get any worse and no more photo breaks. We agreed and made our way through the snow to reach Juda Ka Talab – where two ponds came together to create some magic. It took us approximately 4 .5 hours to get here. Upon arrival, we are allocated our tents and asked to leave our bags and treat ourselves with some hot soup and lunch. Post lunch, we made our way to our respective tents and exchanged stories, played games and spent time dong what we felt like at that point of time. Jose and i were running around from tree to tree and clicked a  zillion pictures. We also managed some snowball fights which happened to be so much fun. Some dinner followed before we called it a night.  Sometime in the wee hours, i woke up with a splitting headache, numb hands and a cold body. I got out of the sleeping bag and headed out of the tent with my torch to see if i could get some medical help. As i stepped out with my torch light, i could see that  everything outside the tent  was frozen. My trekking poles looked like they were untouched for years together as they lay buried deep in the snow. I immediately called out to my trek leader Shravan who was in the opposite tent and told him that I am not feeling quite well. Within seconds he checked my oxygen and pressure readings and said that my oxygen level had suddenly dipped and I needed some medication to fix the problem. He has asked me if I have ever been on DIAMOX and that question scared me  to death. On seeing me panic, he assured me i would be fine and there was  nothing much to worry. He gave me a low dosage tablet and told me to try and get some sleep. I returned to my tent and  said a tiny prayer  thanking God for all that I have been blessed with. And the prayer was also a sign of my fear. I just wondered what if I slept and did not wake up the next day? I had all sorts of crazy thoughts running in my head before i fell asleep.

kedarkanta trek

kedarkanta trek with india hikeskedarkantha trekkedarkanta trek with indiahikeskedarkanta trek with indiahikeskedarkanta trek kedarkantha trek in winterkedarkantha trek- winterkedarkanta trek Day3- Juda ka Talab (9150ft) to KK base camp (11250ft)  –I am alive! Thank you Shravan for the timely intervention. Also I realized that a high altitude trek is only for the brave hearted. If you are weakling, you will not survive. You need to be strong. You need to have a strong mind to believe in yourself, and in your trek leader and most importantly you must be ready to let go of your fears. The reason I am stressing on this is because, there was a couple who quit the camp on this day simply because they thought they could not go any further. The wife and husband were perfectly fine and healthy but they were way too scared since it was their first high altitude trek. We all tried to persuade them to join us, but the couple was determined to head back to Sankri. So after bidding farewell to the couple, we had our breakfast and headed to the KK Base Camp. The sun was shining brightly and it was a fairly short climb of around 2.5 kms. Todays hike was very easy on our legs and we enjoyed every bit of the scenic views our eyes were treated with. The KK Base was a beauty. The bright orange tents were immersed in snow with views of tall pine trees and snow capped mountains. As we had a long day ahead, we played a few rounds of card games and antakshari with all the trek participants and it was so much fun. A while later, we were asked to gather for an acclimatization walk. Love it or hate it- but you ought to do it.

juda ka talab, kedarkanta trek

 

 

 

 

 

 

kedarkanta trek kedarkanta trek Day 4-KK base camp (11250ft) – KK Summit (12500ft) – KK base camp (11250ft) – Hargaon (8900ft)Toughest and the most challenging day of the trek has arrived. We had to wake up at 3:00 am, breakfast at 3.30 AM and leave at sharp 4 for our summit climb. Breakfast at 3.30 AM is not cool. Those who were not  comfortable with such an early breakfast had the option of packing it in their lunch boxes and that is what we did. We planned to have it whenever we feel hungry. We wore our metal spikes under our shoe soles and headed to the Summit under the guidance of our flashlights. It was pitch dark and cold. I stopped in between to hydrate myself and to eat the apple i had  dumped into my bag while i was half asleep. As soon as i took off my gloves to bite the apple, my hands froze and turned blue. It was a ridiculously cold morning and i thought its better i forsake the apple than get my hands more numb. So i walked on with an almost empty stomach and just then a Fellow trekker  passed around some nuts and chocolates which i happily grabbed and  nibbled on. The nuts gave me the energy to head on .  After several hours of walking, we witnessed one of the most awesomest sunrises ever. But we weren’t done yet. We still had some more  walking before we could say that we conquered Kedarkantha  Summit. With every step, I could feel my lips and throat turn dry. Also the trail just got steeper and steeper as we neared the summit. But with motivation from fellow trekkers, I moved on. As i am extremely scared of heights, i did not want to look behind me nor did i try taking any pictures in the breathtaking beautiful  background simply because i thought i was risking my life. The last half an hour of the trek was very difficult for me – both physically and mentally and I seriously thought game over. But with all the pushing from mister i trudged on and on. And after what it seemed like forever, we made it to the summit. 12500 feet high was no joke. We were super proud of having made it to the top and our joy knew no bounds. What a fabulous feeling after all the hard work we did. At the top, We happily clicked a lot of pictures and later took a  group picture, And gathered together to listen to our trek leader show us a number of other peaks and valleys what we could see from where we stood. It was a great spot to get that perfect panorama shot! So after the celebratory moment, we descended to the base camp where we had yummy biriyani and a short nap. A few of us were dehydrated from the merciless sun and so we had some ORS to quickly refuel ourselves. After that we took our belongings and left to  Hargaon. The return was relatively easy but there were few paths which needed some skill and judgment to make the hike a smooth process. After reaching Hargaon, we played some cricket and also got our trek leader to some pahadi dance which i happily recorded on my phone. Must admit that I fell in love with the music. It was soulful and so apt for the mountains. Since it was our last night at the tent, We all enjoyed to the fullest and made good memories. Post dinner, there was a small surprise for us. The IndiaHikes Team had  baked a cake for the whole batch just to celebrate this milestone and we were all touched by this sweet gesture.

kedarkanta trek - sunrisekedarkanta trek kedarkanta trek - summitkedarkanta trek kedarkanta trek - snow

Day 5 – Hargaon (8900ft) -Sankri (6400ft) –

With every approaching step, the snow patches started disappearing and we started getting closer to civilization. On our three hour hike back to Sankri, we saw a couple of children from the villages who waved at us and started conversations in English. They were extremely friendly and had such beautiful smiles and looked content with whatever little they had. Seeing these tiny tots so happy did ring bell in our inner minds about how a simple lifestyle can be so gratifying. I fell in love with Sankri that I never felt like returning home. Upon arrival, we finally bathed! Yes after 5 long days we had access to hot water baths and toilets. We spent the rest of the evening just chit chatting and recalling our summit climb experiences. Just before dinner, we were given our participation certificates and we were also asked to share our experiences with each other. With all the hiking, I was sort of exhausted and fell asleep early to be woken up with a yummy birthday cake freshly baked by the IndiaHikes Team once again! Apparently Jose told the team that it was my birthday and they all got together and made a grand entry into my room at sharp 12 whilst I was in deep sleep. I was so touched by the whole team and I must say it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had

kedarkanta trek with IndiaHikeskedarkanta trek IndiaHikeskedarkanta trek

Day 6 – Sankri- Dehradun

Time for farewells and those emotional scenes. With a heavy heart, we embarked our 10 hour journey to Doon.

kedarkanta trek

 

 

Came as strangers and left as friends. I think this is the beauty of travel. It has the power to connect like minded people, and it gives you life experiences. As i write this post, i am already dreaming of my next hike with IndiaHikes. I would highly recommend the Kedarkantha trek with IndiaHikes to anyone who wishes to have a himalayan experience.

Why do we recommend the Kedarkantha trek with IndiaHikes?

  • Great team of experienced and skillful  trek leaders
  • Highly safe and top quality trekking gears and equipments
  • Mouthwatering food
  • Budget friendly treks
  • Top notch camping experience

How to reach IndiaHikes?

Get in touch with them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/indiahikes/

Instagram –  https://www.instagram.com/indiahikes/

Disclaimer– This is not a sponsored post. It is just our personal opinion and review of my experience with IndiaHikes

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Maria Matthews
    August 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Wow, I am very impressed by the bravery and adventurous spirit you both showed. The pictures were beautiful and I think you should have each got a celebration cake, after completing the trek.

    • Reply
      Josestraveltales
      August 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Thanks Maria for the lovely words 🙂 Means a lot! And yes we did have a BIG celebration soon after the trek. 🙂

  • Reply
    blondieaka
    August 23, 2017 at 5:30 am

    Wow that looks amazing and certainly a greate xperience ..not for the fainhearted…Thank you for the follow 🙂

    • Reply
      Josestraveltales
      August 23, 2017 at 6:09 am

      Thanks so much! The hike was a brilliant experience 🙂 And we are so happy to have found ur blog…brilliant writing out there! Keep blogging 🙂

      • Reply
        blondieaka
        August 23, 2017 at 6:12 am

        Thank you…likewise I followed you on twitter and shared 🙂

        • Reply
          Josestraveltales
          August 23, 2017 at 6:13 am

          Means so much to us 🙂 Will definitely follow u back too on twitter 🙂 Thanks a bunch again 🙂

          • blondieaka
            August 23, 2017 at 6:19 am

            You are welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    Steps Together
    September 6, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Wow.. gorgeous photos.. very nice post

    • Reply
      Josestraveltales
      September 11, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Thank u so much 🙂 So glad u liked them 🙂

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