I got out of the railway station, and into one of my favorite mountains town, Dehradoon. The chilly December wind made the atmosphere feel more serene than it actually was supposed to.
I sat down on the footpath with a warm, extra sweet hot cup of chai and sipped it down as I waited for the taxi that was supposed to take me to Sankri, a small mountain village with minimal survival amenities but excessive tranquil and also, the starting point for my trek to the Kedarkantha summit.
Nestled deep within the Garhwal Himalayas, The drive from Doon to Sankri is a long and tiring 10-hour gala which though stiffens your back, is a total treat to the eyes. It is one of the most beautiful drives in Uttrakhand and I wasn’t tempted to doze off for even a few minutes; not until I reached Sankri anyway.
The trek usually takes four days to complete but I intended on doing it in two as I also had plans to trek to the Harki Dun valley which originates from the same village. After watching the sunset from a little too beautiful spot, I came back to my room, wrote a ritual entry in my diary that I do before every trek and dozed off.
At exactly five in the morning, there was a knock on my door which meant I had to get going and so, after having a filling breakfast and chai, I started walking with a rucksack on my back.
The trail was lined up with rhododendron and fringed with pine trees. It took me four hours of steep trekking to reach JudaKaTalab which however not for me, was the first campsite for the trek. The pond was frozen and the entire campsite was buried in snow. The view was to kill for and the cold, to die for.
I stopped, sat down on a plastic sheet I had bought with me and had an energy bar while allowing the bright white to fill my soul. After twenty minutes of lying down in the powder like snow, I got up, ready to hike up till the base camp. It took me another 2 hours to reach the summit base camp.
With all the snow at the base camp and the beautiful cliffed meadow, I now knew why Kedarkantha was one of the most sought-after winter treks. I pitched my tent put on some layers, got out of the tent and glanced up at the summit; it’s going to be beautiful, I thought to myself as a swarm of yellow butterflies flew past me.
I woke up at fifteen past three in the night, made myself a small portion of porridge, donned my head torch, crampons and a day bag with a few fruits, energy bars and a bottle of water and started walking closer to the summit.
The sun started rising at five in the morning and beamed brilliantly across the snow-capped peak shooting warmth inside an otherwise shivering me. Warmer, I picked up speed and summit the oh so beautiful peak at 11 a.m. The peak was right in the middle of a panoramic three sixty degrees view of the mighty Himalayas. I could feel the divinity gripping me from all the sides as I sat there, spellbound.
I had seen more beautiful views and summited mightier peaks, but Kedarkantha top had something different about it. Something that cannot be put into words but can only be felt. Until now, it remains on my list of favorite treks and I’m positive it will always be listed there. Go, climb that peak and know for yourself, what I am trying to explain here. Sometimes, it the tiniest of treks, that change your entire life; the tiniest of treks, that give you something you will hold onto, forever!
OshankSoni – An investment banker by profession he left his job to travel the world and now, in his own words, chasing the sun is his full-time job. He has traversed 4 countries, covered the Indian coast on the bike, jumped in frozen rivers and has summited all the famous high altitude Indian treks. Read more on: www.Trekmunk.com and www.InsaneTraveller.com