Kedarkantha trek is a challenging hike in Uttarakhand adjacent to Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and ideal for novices. At 3810 metres above sea level, the summit provides breathtaking 360-degree views of famous Himalayan peaks, including the Yamunotri and Gangotri range’ Swargarohini, Bandarpoonch, Black Peak, and Ranglana.
This 5-day trip, which covers a distance of over 20 kilometres, is appropriate for beginners because of the short distances that must be done each day. The walk starts at Sankri village, the beginning point for several hikes around Uttarakhand. The hike provides a view of rhododendrons, meadows, and the tranquil rivers passing by. This hike in the lap of nature is a must-do.
The dense pine forests and snow make it the perfect winter trek of India. The thick layer of snow engulfs your legs and thrills your soul to keep moving forward. The view from the peak is also extremely gorgeous.
The place got its name from the story of Lord Shiva. It is said that the famous Kedarnath Temple was supposed to be built here. The construction had started when the makers heard the howl of an animal. An animal howl is considered a bad omen in Hinduism, and the construction was abandoned. The Shiva idol was sculpted until his ‘kantha’ or neck, hence the name ‘Kedarkantha’.
The Juda ka Talab near the peak also has a similar story. It is said that Juda ka Talab was formed when Lord Shiva opened the locks of his hair, and water flowed from them.
One of the factors contributing to this hike’s popularity is the ascent to the peak. The paths of the trail contain all the intricacies and difficulties of a summit experience but on a smaller scale. They begin in the early morning in chilly temperatures, with flashlights lighting the route beneath a breaking dawn.
The walk starts at Sankri village, the beginning point for several hikes around Uttarakhand. From there, you walk to the Juda ka Talab and set up camp for an amazing night with an amazing view.
The ascent becomes more difficult as you approach the 4 km distant Kedarkantha Base Camp the following day. Along the journey, several clearings are accessible from the trail’s thick oak woodlands.
Watch for the diverse wildlife, which includes Rhododendron trees, Chir Pine, Black Eagles, Golden Eagles, and more. Beautiful 180-degree views of steep snow-capped hills, including Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, and Kala Nag, may be enjoyed from the Base Camp. From here, the snow-covered peak is also visible, regularly glowing brighter.
The next day’s climb to the peak is an exciting one. The journey’s hardest part is the winter’s steep rise, howling winds, and below-freezing temperatures. The holistic experience it provides hikers makes this trip deserving of the title of the best snow trek in India. This hike includes camping next to a beautiful high-altitude lake, tall oak and pine trees, and breathtaking snow-laden vistas.
Kedarkantha Trek Distance
The complete hike is 20 kilometres long and takes about 5 days. You start from the Sankri village and hike to Juda ka Talab. From there, you trek to the Kedarkantha peak.
Kedarkantha Trek Height
The peak is at an altitude of 3,810 metres, giving you a panoramic view of the mountains once you reach there. The climb is also gradual and easy for everyone to do.
The average temperature here remains around 20 degrees. During summer, the temperature fluctuates between 6 to 15 degrees. In winter, it may go as little as -7 degrees. Carrying warm and comfy clothes, windcheaters, and raincoats is advisable.
Kedarkantha Trek Route
Most Kedarkantha trek packages start the hike from Dehradun. You can reach Sankri from Dehradun by cab or public transport. Sankri is the base for starting this amazing hike. From there, walk to Juda ka Talab Lake. From Juda ka Talab, you will move towards the base camp. To return from the journey, you will walk to Hargaon and from Hargaon to Sankri. There are several hiking trails in Kedarkantha and three exit points for the trek: Sankri, Kotgaon, and Gaichawan Gaon.
Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary
The hike is 5-6 days long, and you will find many camps there to stay if you’re booking a Kedarkantha trek package. If you’re going alone, you can bring your tent and food to set up at night. Excursions include food, tents and other charges as well.
Day 1: From Dehradun to Sankri
· To reach Sankri village, which is situated at around 2,000 m, you must travel a breathtaking 210 km journey through some of Dehradun’s most beautiful woods. It leads hikers through Govind Pashu Vihar National Park.
· The trail passes across undulating grasslands in the summer, but in the winter, it provides breathtaking vistas of the high Himalayan peaks and snow-covered woods. Hence, it is called the best winter trek of India.
· Stay the night at Sankri in a guesthouse of a hotel.
Day 2: Sankri to Juda ka Talab
Have breakfast and walk from Sankri to Juda ka Talab. It is a high-altitude lake and is magnificently beautiful. The lake is 4 kilometres away from Sankri. The view is even more splendid during winter when the lake is frozen.
· The beautiful lake and the open space surrounding it provide an excellent camping location for hikers on this route because thick trees surround them. Set up camp here for the night. You can engage in bonfire activities as well.
· You can have dinner here with your excursion. If you are by yourself, you can cook over a bonfire.
Day 3: Juda ka Talab Lake to Kedarkantha Base Camp
· Wake up and have breakfast.
· Walk for four more kilometres to the base camp. It will take you roughly 3 hours to get there if you walk at a moderate pace. The path winds up high slopes through mature oak and pine trees.
· While shepherds and their cottages may be seen dotting the terrain in the summer, it transforms into a snowy, enchanting paradise in the winter.
· The route will gradually grow steeper as you continue to ascend. You will learn several techniques for navigating snow slopes from your leader, who will also offer advice on the size of your steps.
· The view is a spectacular one from here. You can see the snow-laden mountains of Bandarpoonch, Kala Nag, Swargarohini, and Ranglana.
· You can have your lunch here and rest here.
Day 4: Kedarkantha Base to Kedarkantha Peak
You will start your hike of 6 kilometres from the base to the peak, which will take about 7 hours to complete on the night of the 3rd day.
· When you reach the summit, you will see the sunrise. It is a ravishing scene to behold. There is a Shiva-Parvati temple here that you can pray at.
· You can set up your tent here for the night or return to Sankri.
Day 5: Kedarkantha to Sankri via Hargaon
· You will move to Hargaon, which will take you four hours. From here, you will walk to Sankri.
· When you reach Sankri, your hike is complete. You can return to Dehradun from here.
Kedarkantha Trek Cost
The cost of the hike depends upon the packages you choose. Most packages range between INR 7,000 and 15,000. If you plan to buy it yourself, the cost, inclusive of tent charges, equipment for cooking and more, will amount to approximately INR 20,000. Choosing a Kedarkantha trek package is advisable, as the excursions will also have skilled trainers to guide you through the hike. They will also provide medical security.
Best Time to Do the Kedarkantha Trek
The best time for trekking to Kedarkantha Peak is from December to February, when the mountains are covered in snow. It is the best snow hike in India. It is also ideal to visit in summer to view the place’s natural beauty.
Do not go during monsoon as the weather is not suitable for trekking, and landslides are a risk factor.
Kedarkantha is an important place for Hindu devotees. The temple on the peak is made to the neck of Lord Shiva and is an important pilgrimage site. Youngsters walk this beautiful land of Lord Shiva to take in the majestic views.
Many travel agencies provide packages for the trek ranging between INR 7,000 and 15,000. You will be given facilities such as food and trekking gear. The hike starts at Sankri and takes five to six days to complete. From Sankri, the walk takes you to the amazing Juda ka Talab. It is a winter trek of India so you will have the opportunity to see this lake in its frozen state. From there, you will trek to the peak and behold the magnificent snow-capped mountains like Bandarpoonch and Kala Nag.
Kedarkantha trek is an opportunity that comes to you only once, and you should take advantage of it. It is the best winter trek of India, and you shouldn’t miss out on the amazing frozen views that you get.
Those looking for peace in Mother Nature’s lap and Lord Shiva’s heart should do this enthralling trek at least once. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to the Garhwal Himalayas to experience the serenity of this hike right away!