Treks Uttarakhand

Kedartal Shiva’s Lake

Written by Abhishek Negi

The mesmerizing glacial lake – Kedartal is situated in the Garhwal region at a height of 4,912 meters (16,116 ft) offers the enchanting sights of the Himalayas and challenges the trekkers passing through the Himalayan birch forests. The lake also called Shiva’s lake and is 17kms from Gangotri which is the starting point of the trek. This Trek is one of the less explored trails and only famous among regular trekkers. But for those who are looking for some challenging trek, this is it.

The best time to do the Kedartal trek is the months of May, June, September, and October. The trek can be completed in 6 days starting from Gangotri which is a Hindu pilgrimage site and one of the four sites in the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage circuit.

We started our journey from Dehradun in the morning, it takes 10-12 hours (258kms) to reach Gangotri via road which is at an altitude of 3064 meters (10,055 ft). After reaching Gangotri, we checked in to our hotels and relaxed for a while and after that, we went for Ganga Aarti. You can also explore the dense forests around. We made our final check on our backpack as we were planning to start our trek the next day.

Next Morning, we have started our journey to Bhoj Kharak after breakfast, which is about 8 kms away at an altitude of 12,450 ft (3,780m) and takes around 4 to 5 hours mix of easy and steep trek. The terrain is rocky on most of the parts. 

After Crossing the bridge over Bhagirathi River , the trail passes through the dazzling forests along with a mix vegetation zone of fir & bhoj trees, The spider wall was one of the major challenges which we have faced but altogether it was a great experience and first sight of captivating mountain Thalaysagar which is considered as one of the most beautiful mountain peaks in the world.

After reaching to our campsite we pitched our tents and had hot snacks and experienced splendid view from the campsite.  

In the morning after a short briefing, we started our trek which is for 5 kms, it takes around 6 to 7 hours to reach at the altitude of 14,001 ft (4,267m).

The terrain has uniform ascents and descents, but this day was the easiest day in all of our 6 days. We got to see the snow-covered peak Bhrigupanth and Thalayasagar.  We passed through Kedar Ganga river,Gila Pahar, and big bugyals to reach the Kedar Kharak campsite, In my opinion, this campsite was the best ever campsite I have ever experienced as, here you will be surrounded by many beautiful peaks and during night if you are lucky then this is heaven for stargazing and it is also a paradise for capturing start trails.

Kedar Kharak is also visited by animals such as blue sheep and other birds as well we have witnessed a bunch of blue sheep grazing near our campsite. We spent our night under the blanket of stars and get ourselves prepared for the next morning which is the summit day.

Today was the day for which we all were waiting for last 2 days and we woke up early in the morning and we prayed to God to make our summit day worth and bless us with good weather.

The Trek is for 8kms, taking 8 hours at altitude 16,116 ft (4,912 m) and back to 14,000 ft (4,267 m). To reach Kedar Tal we have to walk for 5 kms and this was the toughest part of the whole trek as we all were gaining altitude and it was becoming difficult to cope up with less oxygen but after hours of walking and some highly motivating mountaineering stories, we were able to do it. 

Some were in tears of joy and some were proud of themselves and it was totally a mix of emotions after reaching the summit from Kedar Kharak which has glaciers covered with moraines. The trek emerges with the Kedar Bamak Glacier which is an amusing sight. The view of snow-covered Thalaysagar peak and frozen Kedartal was Breathtaking.

Later, trek back to Kedar Kharak was also a challenge as all of our energy was already consumed and in mountaineering, it is said that the climb is only successful when you reach the place from where you have started, so now, it is the time to go back to our campsite and celebrate our success. 

The next day we have to walk for many hours and in my opinion, was the most difficult part although it was all descendant we all have to be careful as major accidents happened in mountains during descend time only.

We have to Trek for 11 km for 8-9 hours back to altitude 10,055 ft (3,064 m). Trekking back to the rocky trail and reaching Gangotri and today was the celebration day so we all went for dinner and celebrated our successful summit and shared our views on how the experience was. Everyone was emotional as now everyone has to go back to their daily routine life.

The next day early morning we began our drive back from Gangotri to Dehradun which is a 12-11 hours’ drive (258kms) and enjoying the feeling of accomplishment of being a wraveler!

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Abhishek Negi

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