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”

Leh Ladakh Travel Guide

A First-timer’s Guide to Leh

If Ladakh is paradise, Leh is your stairway to heaven.

The barren beauty of Ladakh in India with snow-capped peaks and the clean azure sky has continued to attract the intrepid travelers. The scenic destination has maintained to cast its spell since the region was opened to tourists in the 1970s. Since then, Ladakh has become a favorite haunt for trekking and mountaineering enthusiasts. The rugged terrain and the majestic mountains around, make an exotic cocktail for an adventure lover. But before you decide to fly away to the land of Buddhist monasteries and brave people, here’s everything that you need to know. It is imperative to understand that you need at least a week to acclimatize and enjoy your tour to Ladakh.

Plan a trip to the land of bluer-than-blue lakes and stark grey mountains with this quick guide:

Getting to Leh
You can fly to Leh from major Indian cities via Delhi (there’s also a 4am direct flight from Mumbai), but much of the time you save will be spent acclimatising to the altitude. Your other option is to drive, and there are two ways of getting there:

  1. From Srinagar (415km): The Srinagar–Leh road is open from the first week of May till December, depending on snowfall. The roads are well maintained, the ascent is gradual—chances of mountain sickness considerably reduce—and there are beautiful villages on the way. Perfect for families with elder members and children. You can stop overnight at either Dras or Kargil, which are 140km and 200km from Srinagar respectively.
  2. From Manali (482km): This high-altitude road is snowed under for most part of the year. It opens around the first week of June and remains motorable till October. The climb here is steep, the roads crumbly, and landslides are a real threat. Try this if you’re looking for adventure. Travellers usually halt overnight at Jispa, about 140km from Manali.

It is also possible to drive from Srinagar to Leh in a day. But you will need a very early start, an experienced driver and plenty of energy to sit through the drive. Certainly not the best way to arrive in Leh. The most recommended way to travel: drive in, fly out.

Local transport
Taxis can be booked through the hotel or a travel agent, and they charge as per the destination. The Leh main market also has a taxi stand—solo travellers can opt for shared taxis, which are cheaper and can be paid for on a per-person basis. Vehicles for overnight trips cost about 20% more than day trips. For reference, a day trip from Leh to Thiksey, Shey and Hemis monasteries and the Druk Padma Karpo School—of 3 Idiots fame—will cover a distance of approximately 100km and cost Rs2,500 for a Mahindra Xylo and Rs2,800 for a Toyota Innova. Most people don’t, but in case you want air conditioning, it costs Rs7/km in addition to the aforementioned prices.

Many of Ladakh’s top attractions are a day trip away from Leh, which is why it makes sense to camp here. Predictably, the town gets swamped in peak season and places are sold out months in advance. These are the ones to book:

  • The Grand Dragon Ladakh is centrally heated and has solar-powered rooms with views of the Stok Kangri mountains. (Doubles from Rs11,600)
  • The 45-room Hotel Shangrila is minutes away from the airport and has a Tibetan-inspired restaurant that serves Ladakhi food. (Doubles from Rs6,500)
  • A short walk from Leh town, Mahey Retreat has rooms overlooking sprawling gardens that grow most of the produce used by the restaurant. (Doubles from Rs4,600)
  • The family-run Mogol Hotel has friendly staff and 19 spacious rooms with views of the mountains. (Doubles from Rs4,500)
  • Backpackers and solo travellers can opt for Shaolin Guest House on Sankar road (starting Rs800 per person) and Zik Zik Guest House on Karzoo lane (+91-94191 79357; doubles from Rs1,000), which are homely, comfortable and easy on the pocket.

Eat here
Most restaurants are open throughout the tourist season and are great for people-watching or meeting locals. Settle down with a hot cup of cappuccino at Jeevan Café (+91-9419129157), which also has a small library on the first floor—ask for their pizza and lasagne. Lunch at the value-for-money Summer Harvest restaurant in Changspa and try their hearty thukpa (noodle soup), or walk up to the tavern-like Bon Appetit for a meal with a view—they make great chocolate momos. For a taste of Tibetan cuisine, try Tibetan Kitchen on Fort Road (tip: get a table outside) or the quaint Amdo Café in the main market, which serves steaming momos and thenthuk (noodle soup). Stop by Pumpernickel German Bakery on Zangsti road for fresh bread, cakes and cookies. Don’t forget to visit the charming Lala’s Café, which is housed in a restored Ladakhi house and serves butter tea. Lamayuru Restaurant on Fort Road is great for vegetarians and is the place to go when you’re craving Indian food. Check out our complete list of Leh’s best eats here.


Good to know

  1. Carry government-issued photo-identity proof—driving licence, Aadhaar card, PAN card, etc., which come handy at checkpoints and in case permits are required.
  2. Plastic bags are banned in Ladakh, so make sure you carry biodegradable/paper bags.
  3. The weather is unpredictable: it’s usually windy and can go from pleasant to chilly very quickly. Wear layers instead of bulky warmers to stay comfortable at all times.
  4. Keep in mind that most establishments in Ladakh are shut during the off season i.e. the time when roads are closed.
  5. Carry waterproof luggage; this will ensure that the contents of your bag remain dry in case it rains unexpectedly or you need to drive through water.
  6. Remember to take spare batteries for your camera, as the altitude and cold will drain them out quicker.
  7. When travelling around Leh, it’s best to avoid alcohol; drink water instead. Breathing in dry air drains the moisture from the lungs, so make sure you consume at least 4–5 litres to stay hydrated.
  8. If you’re the one at the wheel, it’s important to know that driving here is different from driving anywhere else. It’s a constant mental and physical test, and covering more than 50km a day is a challenge for anybody who’s not a seasoned driver. Don’t push yourself more than you need to. Kshitij adds, “If something goes wrong, you’ll fall 1,000ft into the valley.” Take it slow and easy, and enjoy the scenery.
  9. Prepaid SIM cards don’t work well in Leh, but postpaid do (Airtel, Aircel and BSNL are your best options). The main market in Leh city also has multiple STD booths.
  10. Most importantly, don’t try to do too much in too little time. Ladakh is not a place that you see in a hurry.


Do’s and Don’t

The following are some travel tips, do’s and dont’s to keep in mind during Ladakh trip.


• Check the weather conditions before you travel.

• Carry plenty of water to stay hydrated as this is very important at high altitudes.

• Remember to pack the right clothes when you are travelling to Ladakh. Cotton wear, woollens, thermals, sturdy walking shoes and sunglasses.

• Remember to pack extra batteries for your camera and mobile phone as electricity can be a problem.

• Wear appropriate clothes when you are visiting Buddhist monasteries.


• Avoid carrying plastic bags as these are banned in Ladakh.

• Don’t take photographs of monks without taking their permission first.