Mesmerizing Kedarkantha -Bhumi Chotalia

Mesmerizing Kedarkantha

Kedarkantha will be one of the closest trek to my heart as it was one of the trek in my bucket list. I would love to share my experience that how did my dream trek go.

The trek starts from Dehradun , you need to reach Dehradun from your respective city. From Dehradun we started our journey to Sankri which is 187 Km away via road. We took a small break at Mussoorie , we had our breakfast near Kempty falls . The journey from Dehradun to Mussorrie is amazing , you will see a lot of beautiful mountains around, the sky is clear , the air is polluted free , you get a different vibe while travelling to such mountain roads, you feel like staying there staring at the mountains and the scenery all day long , you are never going to get full. Heading towards our journey from Mussorrie to Purola  is 54 km away from Sankri. We took a short lunch break . Purola would be your last stop to withdraw money and also would be the last stop where you will receive any network.

After having lunch at the Purola ,we began our journey  to Sankri  which  is 54 km. Sankri  was our first base for Kedarkantha trek. We reached at a small guest house. Got freshen up and had our evening snacks. Kedar Kantha, for  sure it’s  not a leisure trek , where  you would get all the facilities. You need to stay in dorm tents, you will get good hot meal for sure. So a total thrill and adventurous  experience. If it is your first snow or winter trek experience then trust me you are going to love it.  You will be so mesmerised and inspired with this trek that you would want to go on another adventure very soon. So, after reaching  Sankri  all the members got instructions from there itself that you need to leave your comfort zone at your respective city, because this is a trek not a sightseeing tour. You will get all rental trekking gears from Sankri  it self like gaiters ,crampons ,trekking  polls et cetera.

These gears are much needed in late December or January or else it is not much needed. So we were 22 members all of them came from different city. Some from Surat some from Bangalore some from Kolhapur and many other different places. Interacting and knowing new people is some different kind of experience. After giving all the instructions we had our dinner and people were advised to eat as much as they can for energy and take a good walk for digestion .

Quick Note: If anyone wants to keep extra luggage at Sankri they can , they do not need to carry whole luggage at the top just some extra socks and jackets , warm clothes and a bottle of water is fine.

So next day we headed to our first camp site that is Juda Ka Talab. The history behind Juda Ka Talab he is basically said  that there are two Talab is merging together so it is known as Juda Ka Talab.

Quick Note: Sankri to Juda Ka Talab is 5km .Your water bottle should always be filled do not drink much water while trekking and if you are resting then stand and take deep breaths never sit and relax.

We started around 10 AM and reached  Juda Ka Talab campsite at approx. 2 PM. Our campsite was 15 minutes away from Juda Ka Talab.

The trek from Sankri to Juda Ka Talab is phase 1 . The whole trail is not too steep but a good experience for beginner trekkers. After reaching campsite we had our hot meal and relaxed for some time .In winter the sun sets very soon around 6 PM ,so by 7 you will feel like it’s 10 PM. We had a dinner  by 7:30 PM. There were other members who were making their vlogs of their first winter trek as to keep their nostalgia. The sky was so clear, the stars looked so beautiful, the sky was filled with stars like the glitters are sprinkled on it , it looked damn beautiful. If you want bonfire that its for sure you need to find woods  by yourself . So ,we headed up to our tents by 9:30 PM. You get sleeping bags to keep yourself warm. The next day we had our breakfast and headed to Kedar Kantha base camp which was phase 2, and from Juda Ka Talab to Kedar Kantha-based camp is another approx. 5 km we took a break at Juda Ka Talab clicked photographs had some fun, created memories. The journey from Juda Ka Talab to Kedar Kantha base camp is much steeper.  We took  short breaks at the tea stalls which were coming over the route. We reached at our base camp at lunchtime around 2 PM had our lunch, played around snow.

Day 3,Everyone got instructions about next days summit trek as we were going to start the trek around early morning 3 Am . People who had difficulty in walking they got crampons ,those are, micro spikes and gators to protect themselves and a trekking  pole which was almost carried by everyone. All the members slept early, as we had to wake up around 2 AM. Instructors taught them how to wear gaiters and crampons. Because it would be really difficult to show them in the early morning. Early morning by 3 AM we all got a breakfast. After having breakfast we headed to top of the summit.

You don’t need to carry whole luggage to the summit ,just your water bottle is fine . This is the toughest part of the whole trek because it is the steepest part. It is around 4 km from Kedar Kantha base camp to the summit. We started at midnight at around 3 AM.I reached around 7:30 AM. The best part of trekking at night is that you just keep walking you do not get tired so easily while going on summit. Try wearing good 3 to 4 layers, as it is going to be cold and windy at the top. You will feel hot while walking but once you reach the top you won’t regret, wearing those 3 to 4 layers. It becomes more and more steeper when you are about to reach the top . The sun was rising at the moment i reached the top  .The experience ,the view is just magical  .The red colour, which is Shaded all over the sky ,The red rays of the sun touching the mountains it is so beautiful you just would want to sit there peacefully and look at the sun rising. Not only sunrise but sunset also has its own different vibe and tenderness

The peak was Crowded with a lot of people. As it was still too cold we left there by 9:30 AM. The trail of going back to the campsite was from a different route. We were just sliding ourselves on snow and coming down, it was so much fun or I would say “it was snow much fun”. We came down to our campsite ,relaxed had our lunch. All the members  shared a lot of memories together. After lunch we headed down to Juda Ka talab  campsite . Hargaon campsite was closed.

Fact it is much difficult to trek down rather than climbing , it is so much slippery you need to go carefully or else you would fall on ice and harm yourself. There were tea stalls in between where we took a break So it was the last night with this bunch of crazy people together. The best part of this trek was that there was no network , so people had  gathered  together and know each other .Share thoughts ,shared their experiences . Last night we sat on bonfire together and everyone shared their experiences. Members who had breathing problems even they had completed the trek.

Quick note: So if you have a breathing problem carry camphor it helps a lot in breathing

It was almost everyone’s first trek and they enjoyed a lot took a big bag of memories . Next day we had our breakfast and moved down to Sankri, in between our crazy people had Pahari dance .While coming down we reached around 11-11:30 at our first base camp. Then headed down to Dehradun . It was a crazy and unforgettable experience of my life I would suggest to anyone who is wanting to go for a winter trek or Kedar Kantha trek, do not quit or think it is difficult you can do the whole trek. Trust me it is so would you would never regret doing this trek.

“Experience everything, vibe at every place in life! Cheers to mountains! and cheers to AAWARA ADVENTURES”


Auli, Uttarakhand: Expect the Unexpected in the Lap of Himalayas – thetheiffyexplorer

Auli, Uttarakhand: Expect the Unexpected in the Lap of Himalayas 

Urgam Valley to Joshimath

I took shared sumo from Urgam Valley to return to Joshimath. It costs about 80 INR to cover 29 kilometres.

From Delhi, one can catch an overnight bus till Rishikesh, then a shared taxi or another bus till Joshimath.

The homestay where I was supposed to stay in, was located a few kilometres above the main Joshimath market, somewhere in between Auli and Joshimath and on the way to Manoti village on Parsari road. My homestay owner, Rana ji came to pick me and some groceries too.

Mountain View Abode Homestay

I was about to stay at this piece of heaven near Auli in a village called Ravigram or Manauti Auli. Mountain View Abode, a 400-yr old wooden property looked charming being surrounded by all these giant mountains, which were completely covered with fresh snow that fell a week before my arrival.

Mountain View Abode homestay which also comes under NotOnMap homestay revival initiative has 4 rooms. The cottage-looking like stay can host up to about 10 travellers and is made in traditional stone and mud style of construction.

My happiness knew no bounds. I could feel it. Seeing the snowy mountain tops and heavily clouded skies, snowfall could have happened anytime. The weather turned pretty cold and I took all my winter clothes out that I got with me from Delhi.

Mamta Ji, Ranaji’s wife, prepared a few cups of tea on her mud stove for us to relish. The couple is jovial and makes you feel instantly at home. They both love to interact with travellers. And Ranaji is a Kishore Kumar fan. I was given local wine the first night with his favourite songs and a bonfire to seek comfort.

A delicious breakfast was being prepared the next morning. They asked me to eat well because we were to depart for an important work-related hike. I was told that they needed kerosene oil for the coming days and it’s better to stock up since the weather looked unpredictable.

A thin trail took us a little above the homestay to another home, Ranaji’s neighbour. We made a quick stop in between to see the village temple. Our steps synced with Ranaji’s stories of how mercilessly it has snowed this year. I was made aware of how we are just 30 minutes below Auli.

Upon reaching, we quickly filled the 5-litre canister with kerosene oil, had a little tea with a small chat and instantly everyone saw my mood swing. Suddenly I felt like going even higher, up to Auli. I don’t know, what made me change my mind, I suppose it was the weather or maybe I just wanted to take the risk and experience what it felt like getting stuck in a storm. Whatever it was, it just thrilled me from inside-out.

“If only I could live here forever”

A little above the village I was staying at, one of India’s best ski destination is Uttarakhand’s winter wonderland seemed to call a snow-loving person like me.

The Untouched Trail to Auli

I then took an untouched trail to Auli. Trying to reach before the sunset in my newly bought yet cheap rubber shoes, I managed to reach the top in 30 minutes, not to forget with the help of a wooden stick that Rana ji handed me at the last moment and the rubber shoes that Nitin ji from my last homestay in Joshimath, advised me to buy.

On a white carpet, looking at the gorgeous snow-clad mountains, under heavy clouds which were about to fall and just not being able to believe the surroundings, I was in awe, with a gaping mouth and wide eyes, heart full, my day was made there and then, even before reaching the skiing slopes of Auli. I was surrounded by the peaks of Mt Nanda Devi Kamet, Mana Parwat, Dunagiri, Beethartoli, Nilkanth, Hathi Parbat, Ghori Parbat and Nar Parbat.

And I never even planned to be in Auli. Yet again my most impromptu plan etched something amazing in my memory.

Auli is located at an altitude of 2800 metres above sea level.

One can enjoy the views of the Himalayas from an even higher location by experiencing the chair-lift which charges about 500 INR per person. There were ski and snowboarding instructors present on the spot. I could see many newcomers falling hard and thinking about how much of the sport they can learn in an hour. The instructors charge 800 INR for 1-hour training.

There is this Hanuman temple here which is known as the resting point of Lord Hanuman when he came to the Himalayas to procure Sanjeevani, and provides a stunning of the mountains and the valley below. My rubber shoes proved to be the most helpful while climbing the frozen stairs of the temple. My newly made friend followed me everywhere, I treated him with biscuits in the end.

Auli hosted the first South Asian winter games in 2011. November to February is the best time to visit Auli. The world’s highest man-made lake is also said to be existing in Auli.

How to reach Auli?

By road one can travel from Delhi to Dehradun/Rishikesh/ Haridwar via private or government buses. There onwards, Joshimath is 16 kilometres away and can be reached via shared taxis or local buses. Then private or shared jeeps to Auli can be hired. A 5-kilometre trek can also be undertaken from Joshimath till Auli. The climb is via a staircase that takes you from Joshimath market till the Auli temple.

I hiked for a kilometre from my homestay till Auli, instead.


The trip ended on such a happy jubilant note that till date while narrating this story to you, I can’t contain myself from beaming ear to ear. This 12-day long trip to Uttarakhand has restored my faith in something most of us tend to forget.

Aren’t the happiest moments are found in the simplest of the things?

The simple homestays and even simpler owners served me like their family member, everything felt just complete right there. This is travel.

Travel to experience! Travel to live and re-live moments!