Maximum Altitude: 15,485 ft
Duration: 7 days
High altitude lakes have always raised curiosity in our minds. Their beauty, tranquility and sometimes the myths behind their origins have lured us. The likes of Pangong, Chandratal, Gurudongamr and even Great Lakes of Kashmir come to mind when thinking about emerald lakes perched on mountains. But today I’ll tell you about a one of a kind beautiful glacial lake sitting in the Gangotri region of Uttarakhand. Kedartal or Shiva’s lake is a hidden gem and not a lot of people know about it. And those who do can’t wait to witness this marvel. Just look at the pictures and tell me you don’t want to sit by the lake side in the lap of nature.
The trek starts from Gangotri, a Hindu pilgrimage site. This is a difficult trek, and you realize this from Day 1. The trail is extremely remote. The path is steep and filled with boulders making the terrain a little tricky. The altitude gain also makes it challenging as your body tries to acclimatize. You need to be prepared physically and mentally for the trek.
But the green meadows and the thundering sound of Kedar Ganga accompany you for most of the parts. When you are tired, the shade from tall birch trees provide relief. And that constant realization of being in this mesmerizing place keeps you going. As you walk, every turn will bring you a magical moment you’d want to capture.
There is no human habitation in the region but several mountain wildlife species such as the Blue Sheep, Goral, and the famous Himalayan Black Bear can be sighted on the trek. The snow covered mountain peaks serve as the perfect backdrop. The proximity with magnificent peaks and the view this trek offers will make you believe in magic.
The sense of achievement on reaching the lake cannot be described in words. It feels surreal to complete such a difficult terrain. Lying in front of your eyes is Kedartal. The lake is regarded to be the gift from Lord Shiva to Ganges, as a token of blessings, for she reached the earth. It changes colour depending on the weather. It can look blue, emerald or gray but it is always serene and mesmerizing. Kedartal sits amidst the famous and big mountains of our country. Mt Thalaysagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin, Mt Gangotri rise in front of your campsite. This is something you cannot describe in words. This is magic!
Best Time to Visit
If you want to experience snow, then May-June are the best months to trek. The lake is also partially frozen during these months. However, the trek is more challenging due to snow. The months of September and October are best for majestic mountain views. The landscape is also more colorful after the monsoons.
How to Reach
Gangotri is a 10-12 hours drive from Dehradun.
Click here to read about Dayara Bugyal, another beautiful trek in Uttarakhand!