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Kedarkantha Trek Introduction

Kedarkantha Trek Introduction

The mountain peak Kedarkantha is a part of the Himalayas, which is at an altitude of 12,500 feet (3,800 meter) and in the Uttarkashi District of Uttarakhand in India. Its parent range is the Garhwal in Himalaya. It is located within the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarkashi District. At the summit, one can have inspiring view of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kinner Kailash and other ranges of Himachal.

The Folklore Story

The story of Kedarkantha as told by the guides and local villagers narrates like this. Lord Shiva disguised himself as a cow, who wanted to hide from the Pancha Pandavas, was looking for an appropriate place to meditate. While on his search for that, he found this place where he started his meditation. But after some time, he happened to hear another cow and realized that it is not the best place as the presence of cow indicates people living in the nearby area, which may interrupt his meditation.

The name Kedarkantha literally means the “Throat (Kantha) of Shiva (Lord Shiva)”. Pancha Pandavas wanted to gain boon from Lord Shiva and they were searching for him desperately. Bheema noticed a few cows and bulls around and he was sure that Lord Shiva was one among them but could not identify correctly. He then suggested that his brothers make the cows and bulls pass under his legs which he kept wide apart for them to pass through. Only one of them was hesitant and so identified that it was the Lord Shiva himself. Pancha Pandavas caught hold of the cow and during the struggle to tame her, the head (Kantha) got separated from the body and the place known as Kedarkantha. The place where the body fell is known as Kedarnath which finally Lord Shiva chose his place for meditation. There is a shrine of Lord Shiva at the peak of Kedarkantha and there are many mystical stories related to that. For the villagers, Lord Shiva protects them, and all their prayers are accepted.

Some of the other Peaks visible from Kedarkantha are Swargarohini (at 6252 meter) which consists of four peaks 1 to 4, Kalang (6387 meter) and Bandarpoonch (6316 meter). Kalang is also called as “The Black Peak” and Bandarpoonch as “Tail of Monkey” – suggesting the tail of Hanuman. Swargarohini is called as the pathway to heaven, which was followed by the Pandavas. Except Yudhishtira the elder one, none of the other four brothers could make it to the top of this peak and Yudhishtira was believed to have reached heaven in human form.

Kedarkantha Trek

Kedarkantha is a winter (snow) trek and the best time to go for it would be between November and mid-March. It is advised to avoid the period June to September during the monsoon season. Summer, between April and June are also good for Kedarkantha trek but you will miss the snow. February and March may find difficult due to possibility of heavy snow fall. You may not be able to go to the peak during heavy snow fall.

There are many Trek operators both professional and amateur. Always go with the professional ones even though it may cost you little more than the others. The help and support you get from the professional ones are way different, which you need if you are a beginner or if you are not familiar with the winter treks.

Travel Options – (Delhi – Dehradun – Delhi)

 To reach Dehradun one can opt Air, Rail or Road transport from Delhi. For Air Travel between Delhi and Dehradun, the Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is the closest one. You can have a Timetable and details of Trains from the Indian Railways website if you prefer to travel by Train to Dehradun. For those who would like to travel by Road, there are Public Transport Buses available from Delhi to Dehradun. The trek starts from Sankri which is a very small but beautiful village which is at an altitude of 2000 meters. Trekkers normally travel from Dehradun to Sankri via Mussoorie by Tempo Traveller or by HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) public buses. It is about seven to eight hours of drive and this is the first day of the trek. From there, until you come back to the Sankri base camp all by walk. The up and down trip is about 6 days and you will enjoy the picturesque Uttarakhand during your trek.

Weather Conditions

Between December and mid-March the region will receive good snowfall. Weather is mostly clear in the daytime with pleasant and warm. Temperature ranges from 12 to 17 degree centigrade. Evenings will be quite cold. Trekkers need to be protected with proper winter clothes. Evening Temperature can be -3 to 5 degree centigrade. Nights will see around -8 to 0 degree centigrade. However it cannot be predicted always as chances are there for sudden changes.

Essentials for the Trek

The tour operators would recommend a list of essentials while booking with them. Never ignore them as they know better than anyone else what is needed and what is not. You need to be properly equipped for this adventure trip. Right kind of personal gear is a must for mountain or adventure trek and that should be your priority. You may be able to buy one-off things from the shops in Sankri even if you miss something, but it is always better to be equipped to avoid any last-minute disappointment. It is very important if you are trekking Kedarkantha during winter.

If you are a beginner or first-time winter trekker, then please make sure that the following items are with you. Your shop assistant will advise you otherwise that some of the items are not required but then you will realize the importance only once you are there on the trek.

  1. Shirts/T-Shirts – 2 to 3
  2. Warm Shirt/Light Micro Fleece Pullover/Full Sleeve T-Shirt – 2 or 3
  3. Water Resistant/Repellent Trekking Pants with inner lining – 2
  4. Good quality Windproof/Water Resistant outer jacket with proper hood
  5. Minimum 600 fill Power Rating Down Jacket
  6. Thick Fleece/Full Sleeve Woollen Sweater
  7. Upper and Lower Thermal Innerwear – 2
  8. Woollen Cap
  9. Inner Fleece Gloves
  10. Outer Waterproof Gloves
  11. Thick Woollen Socks as well as Regular Socks – up to 4 Pairs
  12. Optional Scarf/Muffler
  13. Waterproof Trekking/Hiking Shoes with thick sole and high ankles
  14. Camp Shoes
  15. Gaiters
  16. Raincoat
  17. Small Light Weight Towel
  18. Insulated Water Bottle and optional Hydration Pack
  19. Cap/Floppy Hat to avoid direct sunlight on your face
  20. Sunglasses with UV Protection and Antiglare coating
  21. Sturdy Trekking Pole of good quality according to the height of the Trekker
  22. Sunscreen Lotion and Lip Balm
  23. A pair of Scissor and Nail Cutter will be handy
  24. Torch/Flashlight with extra batteries – preferably headlight
  25. Medicines (Painkiller, Paracetamol, for Diarrhoea and Gastric problems, Altitude Sickness) apart from regular personal medicines
  26. Personal Toiletries (like Dry and Wet Tissue and others for personal comfort)
  27. Day Pack/Small Bag for everyday trek to keep essentials in it
  28. Rain Cover for the Bags
  29. Extra Polyethene bags to keep wet/used/dirty items in the bag
  30. Camera or Recorder with fully charged extra batteries
  31. 50/70L Rucksack of good quality

Avoid carrying any expensive items with you on trek – like jewellery, watches, electronic items. You may be housed in Swiss Tents/Alpine Tents at Base Camps for overnight stay. Sleeping can be in Sleeping Bags. So be prepared for the experience. Availability of water will reduce drastically while going up the trek. For personal hygiene you will have to depend upon only on snow and wet/dry tissues. Tents may be on single/double/triple sharing basis depending upon the operator/price.

Trekking Code of Conduct and Acclimatization

The environment and mother earth are subjected to abuse by tourists, trekkers, and the common man. This range from throwing waste and plastic bags/disposables on the trail to damaging the plants and trees just for the heck of fun. Due to this, many of the treks in the Himalayas are being closed by the authorities. Proper Waste Disposal, respecting the Local Culture, sensitivity towards Wildlife etc. are to be mandatorily followed by the trekkers. Do not leave any trace of your trekking experience in the tents as well as trekking path. Do not cause any harm to the ecology. You must be adhering to the instructions of your Trek Guide as otherwise your lives can be in danger.

Acclimatization at high altitudes is an important factor. Our body must adjust to extremely lower levels of Oxygen and reduced Air Pressure while we move up. It can be fatal in many cases if not properly taken care of. Food that you eat must never be heavy or which does not suit the local conditions.

Availability of Cash, Mobile Signal and Medicines during the Trek

A word of caution! You may not find a Bank, ATM or withdrawing cash after a certain point. The availability of signal on your Mobile Phones will also be exceedingly rare and if at all exceptionally low signal strength. Pharmacies may also be difficult. So be prepared for it and do not get disappointed during the trek but just enjoy it.

Our Trek Operators

We booked with GIO Adventures for our Trek. Our Trek Leader was Mr. Jaichand Chauhan. The meeting point with him was scheduled in front of Dehradun Railway Station at 7:00am on March 10th.

We are all set for the excitement and the journey begins.

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Kedarkantha Trek

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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1 Comment

  1. it was an awesome experience

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