A trek asks a lot of you.
You have to leave your comforts of home, spend a little bit, arrange leave from work, push your body to new limits and mentally encourage yourself to keep moving. But why?
Something we spend this much time and energy on must be something special. There must be some phenomenal moment when you realize fully just how worth it all of that was.
What does the sacrifice of your bed and the burn in your thighs actually get you?
The answer is a lot, actually, something I realized fully on my Kedartal trek.
These are my 3 favorites.
You won't find another trek start point like it. Gangotri’s holy significance makes it literally the stuff of legends.
The opportunity to pass through this town on your way to Kedar Tal’s trail should not be taken for granted, but embraced.
(Read what makes Gangotri the world’s greatest trailhead, here.)
The quaint town is filled with exciting markets, a beautiful, centuries-old temple where a famous aarti is held nightly, hidden ashrams and caves, lush walks through pine forest and peaceful Sadhus roaming about. Just a chance to come and visit here for the day would be enough- it will truly revitalize your soul if you'll let it- but the trailhead is just, well, the beginning.
Kedar Tal truly holds a treasure to behold when you finally reach that high-altitude lake.
It's an emerald-green hue, reflecting the massive snow-capped peaks that surround you like a bowl. The frozen glacier from which the Kedar Gunga spans the valley with its frosty curves and rolls. Never will you see a sky so blue, snow so dazzling white or a lake so regal.
And that's just one day. The rest of the trek rewards its travelers with walks through dense birch forest, color splashes of rhodondendrons, waterfalls, a thundering high-altitude river and panoramic meadows. Mother Nature is sharing her sweetest creations with you.
Remoteness & Pristine Condition
The mountain territory Kedar Tal is found in has particularly stringent rules on who can enter, how permissions are obtained and limits on pack animals.
That's a very good thing.
Why, you ask?
Well think about it- while Bikat can effectively receive permissions for all participants, the usual challenges provided by this strict system drastically reduce the number of trekkers entering the route.
Further logistic roadblocks to hiking this area include a ban on pack animals- and again the number of trekkers here decreases.
This puts Kedar Tal in a league of its own. While other popular trekking routes are heavily trafficked, Kedar Tal remains vastly unexplored and as a result, absolutely pristine.
Imagine the last time you were somewhere where you could leave behind all traces of humanity.
Kedar Tal is untouched, lush and flourishing because of the way it's been protected- and you can rarely say the same for most other Himalayan treks.
So now I've shared with you what blows us away about Kedar Tal, regardless of what it took to reach the top.
But don't take it from me - go see for yourself.
I promise you'll agree.
This article was originally written by Cambria Sawyer on 02-06-2017.
It was edited and updated by Neeti Singhal on 5-10-2023.