PROLOGUE

A month down and I still feel like it was only yesterday that I was puffing and panting to scale the summit of Kedharkanta. A peak situated in the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary in the state of Uttarakhand, northern India. I am delayed by a month because my thoughts were running in circles on how the Kedharkanta adventure should be presented. So in parts , little by little, experience the experience!

It was the 26th of February.It was the time when I was in the realm of awe which was driven by the juxtaposition of elegance, beauty, and nature. Hailing from the southern part of the country, it was only natural that each blade of grass, each flake of snow, every new word of the language spoken by the locals was fascinating.

At 12500 feet, for starters, this was just a perfect setting, with all of the internet claiming the trek to be easy. Kedharkanta is adjacent to the little village of Sankri. The distance from Sankri to the peak is roughly about 13 kilometers. Tracks are made through continuous footsteps on the thoroughfare. The villagers of Sankri believe that the shrine at the peak protects them and keeps the rivers of the Himalayas flowing (Some believe that!). A twist, considering the story which reads that this was supposed to be the original Kedarnath temple, but Shiva, who disguised himself as a buffalo to conceal himself from the Pandavas ( ancient heroes in Hindu mythology) was disturbed by village men, moved to the present day Kedarnath.

One of the locals told us that the snow gods had been kind enough to show some white heaven on Earth. Snow hit the ground on 22nd February. We were elated. Fair enough. Our plan, as it seemed was a good one and that we would be trekking on the ice was one that made me shiver even before the actual shivering started.

As mentioned in my earlier post, the route was Delhi- Dehradun – Sankri. Nanda Devi Express, a train from Delhi to Dehradun brought us to Dehradun railway station at round 5:00 AM in the morning.To get to Sankri, we had to take a bus from Dehradun; capital city of Uttarakhand. A rough ride that! Scenic, however, but rough. We left for Sankri at around 8:30 in the morning and after countless bends and a small stop in between for lunch ( we thought it was our snack time, to be honest ) reached the place at 5:00 in the evening. Occasionally, we would have our heart’s in our mouths, where it would look like the tires of the bus were touching the edge of the cliff where the road ends. Regardless, thanks to the driver (who was outstanding in maneuvering the vehicle in tight spots) we reached, not only with confidence in the drivers, but with supplemented anxiety filled with an air of excitement. Oh, we had arrived. Kedharkanta was just a peak away. Oh the adventure had just begun….

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