Kedarkantha Trek Day 01

CONTINUED FROM  - Dehradun To Sankri

Day 01 - 27-Dec-2021

Route - Sankri Village to Juda Ka Talab

Distance - 5 KM (4/5h)

I woke up at around 7AM. Outside, the mountains were partially covered in snow. I had my morning tea and got ready for the journey ahead. We were beginning our trek!

My previous trek to Ali-Bedni Bugyal was amazing. I was so impressed by the trek that I wanted to return back to the Himalayas. This is exactly what I always feared. I knew that once I begin my treks in the Himalayas, there was no stopping. 

When school closed for Christmas vacation, I decided to head up north again. I chose the trekking organisation Himalaya trekkers (HT) again because I had had a great experience with them last time. 

HT coordinates with the team and guides from a remote location. At the base village, we meet up with the local experts who guide us on the trek. This makes the trek even more exciting as the local guides know the terrain and the area much better. They are also lenient towards the trekkers. Some other groups are a bit like Army camps, with strict rules. 

HT also limits the team to 15 trekkers. And if there are more than 8 people in the trek, they appoint a second guide. This is very important because, large groups are difficult to handle by one person. As we saw with many big groups, the guides could not manage it effectively. Slow walkers found themselves alone, asking descending trekkers for information related to their base camp. Moreover, in such teams, sub-groups are formed, thus preventing you from knowing everyone. The tents too could be shared by many people. For these reasons, I would highly recommend HT. Their rates are comparable with the other good trek organisers. We were a total of 11 - 9 trekkers and 2 guides. 

Our guides for the trek were - Chandrapkash and Liber singh Chauhan. Prakash introduced us to Chauhan ji who was going to guide us from the front. He had just returned from another trek called Har Ki Dun. 

At around 10 AM, we began our 4-day Kedarkantha trek. As soon as we reached the beginning of the trail, we were stuck in a traffic jam. There were supposedly about 3000 trekkers climbing on that day. 

When I was booking this trek, HT organisers had recommended me to move my trek by a week. They had warned me that it was going to be crowded during year-end. But, I had no choice. Also, I was sure that I have reached a state where I could easily ignore the crowd and manage to enjoy myself.  And that is exactly what I did.

Though there were a lot of people, we kept moving. As the trail opened up to the forest, Chauhan ji deviated from the main trail and took shortcuts to escape the crowd. 

As soon as we began the trek, we were welcomed by beautiful views of the mountains - Specially Swargarohini. Swargarohini is believed to be the mountain which the Pandavas (From Mahabharatha) climbed, intending to reach the Heaven. Of course, only the eldest of them managed to do so. 

As we climbed higher, we reached the part of the trail that was covered in snow. With the rising sun, the snow was beginning to melt, and melting snow meant danger. Slight negligence could cause a slip. I luckily had two trekking poles to support myself and my Quechua trekking shoe has been a faithful friend since 4 years. 

On the way, there are a few dhabas set up by the villagers. They serve Maggie, bun-omelet, coffee and tea. We chose not to stop anywhere. It was difficult to walk due to the slippery snow and it took double the time. We had a long way to cover before lunch. Additionally, Chauhan Ji was in some kind of a hurry. If someone in the team stopped for rest, he would scream - "Chaloooo" (Let's go!). As some of us ignored his call, he grumbled. After a while, that word became an inside joke among us.

Prakash was accompanying Nitin. Nitin is overweight and he walked slowly. He had offloaded his bag so that he could walk easily. If you feel that you cannot carry your backpack, you can offload it on to a mule for a nominal fee. Despite the hardships Nitin faced, he stayed dedicated and determined to complete this journey, which I thought was commendable. 

It was good to see that the trekking groups had chosen to camp at a different location around Juda ka talab. That meant, the crowd was only limited to the trail. For example our camp was situated 2Km away from Juda ka talab. We took a deviation to reach our campsite. 

Due to the crowd, the trekking organisers could not setup a moving camp. Normally, the kitchen and the tents are also moving with the trekkers along the trail. The mules carry them and the tents setup in advance before we reach the campsite for the day. Here, it was impossible to do so. Therefore, some of the groups had joined together and setup their respective camps at the two campsites. For example, Himalaya trekkers, along with some other agencies had set up their tents near Juda ka talab, while their other collaborators had setup the tents at Kedarkantha Base camp. They shared them among themselves. 

Therefore, at our campsite, apart from 9 of us, there were about 50 other trekkers. Which wasn’t that bad actually. 

As soon as we got to the camp, we threw our bags and walked into the dining hall. It was 3 PM already and we were famished. Hot rice and ragda dhal were served. After that delicious meal, we got into our allocated tents. I was sharing the tent with Piyush, Abhishek and Nitin. 

We had a light snowfall that afternoon. The weather hinted at a cold night to come. While you are trekking, your body stays warm. But as soon as you reach the campsite, the cold hits you. You have to dress up accordingly. 

I had two pants - A thermal and a trekking pant. Four layers of clothings covered my upper body. I added one more at the tent. One pair of socks wasn’t enough anymore, I had to add another layer to keep my feet warm. Mufflers, caps and gloves, all had to come out of the bag.

Generally, we are asked not to sleep during the day. This would lead to a sleepless night in the tent. So, after relaxing a bit, some of us stepped out for a short walk around the campsite. 

After dinner, having nothing much to do, we went back to our respective tents and retired for the day. At around midnight, when I woke up to relieve myself, I witnessed a magical sight up in the sky. This photo tries to capture a tiny percentage of that magic. 

It was terribly cold outside, so I could not spend a lot of time there and had to rush back to the tent. I noticed that the inside of the tent was wet at some parts. The side of my bag that was touching the tent had ice flakes on it. Something was wrong with the insulation, but there was nothing we could do about it at that time. So, I forced myself into the sleeping bag, curled up and went back to sleep. 

Continued Here - Kedarkantha Trek Day 02


  1. Thanks for the wonderful trekkelogue. And, for the information about HT. Will remember that when I visit India. You said melting snow is danger. I am very well aware of that. We lived in Salt Lake City for 5 years where it snows 7 months in a year.

    I was wondering if 10 strangers meet and trek along and stay in tents – won’t there be a friction among them sometimes or a discipline problem! Have you experienced/witnessed that? Just curious.

    1. Thank You SG. Please do. If you need more info, feel free to contact me on the same. If you come down to Bangalore, I would be happy to take you on a trek myself in the state.

      Oh Nice, You have lived in Utah...I have lived in Colorado Springs, which witnesses blizzards in April. I understand that one needs a lot of focus during snow, specially while driving. I have had my share of adventures. :-)

      To be honest, If you are with regular trekkers, it is a very different vibe. Trekking teaches us to be flexible and allows you adapt to difficult situations. Most people who come there, genuinely care for the nature and are very supportive to fellow trekkers. So, No, it's mostly been a pleasant experience.

      Having said that, I have seen some trekkers have issues with the organisers because something did not go as per plan. Well, regular trekkers understand such discomforts due to unexpected reasons. In fact, I enjoy such unexpected events. One can't expect everything to go as per plan while in the remote mountains or forests. But some first time trekkers, with a typical tourist mentality, are often found to make a fuss about little discomforts.

      Also, I have noted that traveling with strangers is much easier than traveling with people you already know. People are always kind to one another as they get to know each other. :-) There is a shared team spirit that emerges. I shall talk about that in the posts to come. On the other hand, at times, I have been a bit upset about the behaviours of some fo my friends for acting like cry babies about silly things or being disrespectful to people around or to the nature itself. But I think I have learnt a way to communicate it to people in such a way that they are neither seriously offended, nor willing to repeat it.

  2. Bonjour,

    Je suis émerveillée par l'ensemble de votre récit accompagné de magnifiques photos ! Je ne serais pas capable de vivre une telle expérience, bien que mon envie soit là ! Je crains terriblement le froid et lorsque je vous lis j'ai déjà froid pour vous ! Lorsque je vous les petites tentes dans la neige... brrr ! Je vous admire ! Merci pour ce très très beau reportage...
    Gros bisous de mon petit coin de bord de mer dans le sud de la France ! puisse-t-il vous réchauffer !

    1. Bonjour et Merci Martin Alison,

      Je peux le comprendre parce que je viens de côte aussi. C'est peut-être, la raison que les montagnes m'attirent toujours. Cependant, le froid, c'est terrible. Je me suis débrouillé quand même.

  3. What an amazing experience this must have been. And, such gorgeous pictures. Especially the second.

    Also, thank you for sharing info about HT. Very useful to have a first person's perspective.

    Happy trekking!

    1. Thank you Rakesh. Yes, it was a great experience indeed.

  4. Great blog ajeya Rao. Keep going up


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