Sankri Village: Gateway to Govind Wildlife Sancturay, Uttarakhand, India.
It was an Usual Saturday Morning. I woke up with an unusual excitement and butterflies in my Stomach once the morning blues left my consciousness. It was time to pack my bags and head to Mumbai Airport. We were four friends from Mumbai who has signed up for the Kedarkantha trek in December, given to understand that’s it’s the most beautiful winter treks amongst those in Uttarkhand. So like Pro-trekkers with our trekking bags on our backs, we headed to the Airport to catch a connecting flight to Dehradun via Delhi.
It takes about 4.5 hours to reach Dehradun Airport from Mumbai. Our scheduled pick-up for heading towards Sankri was not until the next morning. So leaving the Hustle-Bustle of the city we decided to spend the rest of the day and following night in the wonderful town of Rishikesh. Rishikesh is about 30 mins drive from Dehradun Airport. A beautiful serene and quaint town surrounded by Yoga and Meditation centres everywhere, and a German Bakery on almost every corner of the block. We walked down to The Laxman Jhula which was just about 20 mins from our Guest house and were fortunate to get a chance to witness the Ganga Aarti.
After taking the blessing of the divine we headed towards the Guest house to catch up on our sleep. Early next morning we began our adventure towards Kedarkantha. The first Stop was Sankri which is about 7-8 hours drive from Dehradun and Hrishikesh. The winding roads running through lush Pine forests,rivers like Yamuna and Tons flowing alongside and fresh mountain breeze brushing your skin is an experience from Nature’s Masterpieces. Sankri is a Paradise for Trekkers. This village has picturesque views, markets and homestay options which gives an experience and insight into the Garhwali culture. Sankri is also the last entry road point to Govind Balabh Pant Wildlife Sanctuary.
We started our accent from Sankri the next early morning. The hike was pretty easy and the climb was going to be for 5-6 hours to Kedarkantha Meadow campsite. The journey from the Pine and Oak forest encounters a few interesting interactions with the locals. You will come across shephards grazing their sheep, females from nearby villages carrying Hay for their daily activities and children hoping around. The locals will more than welcome asmall talk to enlighten you about their culture and lifestyle. This trail at point has some interesting tea stops and some small bridges crossing over fresh water streams. For someone who never tried to drink the fresh mineral rich water of the mountains has really not tasted Nature in its purest form.
Just another spectacular sunrise
You will cross a small lake called Juda Talab enroute the campsite at Kedarkantha Meadows that has an unending skyline and spectacular Sunset views. As the Sun dives deeper away from the sight, the sky changes colours from stunning yellows to oranges and crimson reds at times. Its wonderful to watch nature paint an interesting live canvas right in front of your eyes. As the evening advances towards moonlit darkness, the weather starts to drop considerably during winters. We could experience a hail storm and snowfall during December month. The night temperatures were close to freezing , however our sleeping bags did a great job at keeping us warm inside our tents.
View from the Kedarkantha Peak
The next morning was the climb we most awaited. The finale to Kedarkantha Peak which is at an altitude of 3810 m. The literal meaning of the word Kedarkantha is “Shiva’s Throat”. On the Peak while it snows , your inner childemerges and the play is on. You can slide, throw snowballs and once tired just simply sit and gaze at the mesmerising Himalayas that surround you with whats seems like an infinite lineup of snowclad mountain peaks creating an illusionary experience of being on the clouds. It seems so surreal that your heart will not want to get back from here. Having soaked in the glory of this peak we proceed to decent to our campsite. Its time to treat your belly with some warm fresh made Khichdi as you mind still lingers in the memory of the experience you just had making you long for more.
Posted by: Meenakshi Chauhan
Meenakshi is an Architect based out of Mumbai. Meenakshi likes to define herself as an avid traveller and Backpacker, a writer and an Artist at heart. She is passionate about exploring different countries and cultures.