With an altitude of about 4,100 metres, the Kedarkantha mountain peak in the Garhwal Himalayas forms the heart of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.
Situated inside the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in the district of Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand, the Kedarkantha peak has emerged to be one of the most famous trekking destinations in the country in the recent years and has its admirers from all over the world.
Each year, a significant number of trekkers and mountaineers visit the Kedarkantha trek in search of serenity and solitude in the mountains, and the jaw dropping views of the mountains and valleys that come along.
When it comes to the reason behind the popularity of this trek, there are ample causes to it. First of all, the Kedarkantha peak is best known for its jaw dropping scenic beauty.
The peak offers stunning views to a total of 13 Garhwal Himalayan peaks. These include the magnificent Swargarohini peaks, Bandarpoonch, Black Peak and the Ranglana peak in the Yamunotri and Gangotri ranges of the Himalayas.
The Kedarkantha trek will lead one through numerous valleys and forests of pine and oak, along with breathtaking views of the snow laden mountains and the Garhwal Himalayan villages nestled among the mountains.
The Kedarkantha trek starts from a small village called Sankri at an altitude of about 1.950 metres in the Uttarkashi district, which is at a distance of about 200 kms from Dehradun.
The Sankri village also happens to be the pick up point for a number of other Himalayan treks, namely the Baraadsar lake trek, Har ki Dun trek, Dev Kyara trek, Rupin pass trek etc. to name a few.
The Sankri village has its own charm and appeal to trekkers, be it the natural beauty or the tourist spots, like the Someshwar Mahadev temple. One can also opt for bird watching and mountain biking in this place.
The Kedarkantha trek will take one through the lush green meadows and mountain valleys, thick forests of pine, oak and deodar, numerous streams and rivers, and the remote Garhwal villages in the lap of the magnificent mountains.
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Adding to the appeal of the climb is the rich variety of flora and fauna of the region. One gets to have a close acquaintance with the wildlife and natural habitat in the Himalayas, and it makes this trek all the way more special.
Another reason behind the huge popularity of this trek is the gradual elevation, making it accessible for both amateur and experienced trekkers and mountaineers.
An easy to moderate trek in terms of difficulty, it poses some challenges before trekkers in the form of steep and narrow terrains, but they can be easily traversed with a little bit of help and guidance by professionals.
As one approaches the summit, the trek becomes a little more difficult and the ascents steeper, but the breathtaking views at the summit definitely compensate for all the physical exhaustion and fatigue.
Another special feature of the Kedarkantha trek is that it can be visited almost throughout the year, except the monsoon months of July to September, when the roads become slippery and inaccessible due to frequent landslides.
Especially when most of the Himalayan treks become inaccessible in the winters, one can still visit the Kedarkantha trek and relish the ravishing views of the snow laden mountains and grasslands.
While the winters offer stunning views of the snow covered mountains and valleys, one gets to witness the picturesque valleys and forests with blooming flowers during the summers and autumns.
It is generally visited mostly during the winter months of December to April, when most of the other Himalayan treks become unreachable. Each season has its own impact on the terrains and adjacent landscape.
Despite the challenges it imposes before trekkers and mountaineers, the Kedarkantha trek is one of the most famous treks in the country.
The individuality and distinctive nature of the mountains and valleys all along the trek is what separates it from the other treks, and is definitely a sheer delight for nature lovers.
A popular choice among the many treks in the state, the Kedarkantha trek ought to be on every trekker’s bucket list, and what nature offers in return for traversing the difficult terrains is simply once in a lifetime experience.