Among the Panch Kedar in Garhwal Himalayas, Kedarnath occupies the top position and is visited by almost all the visitors to Garhwal, by trekking 14 km from Gaurikund. The next in the pecking order would be Tungnth, a trek of 4 km starting from scenic place Chopta. Kalpeshwar, an easy walk of 2 km from village Urgam is not taken by many. However trekking lovers relish most, the trek to Madmaheshwar and Rudranath. Three and half days trek for each these destinations leaves one with varied experience, trekking in the height ranging from 6,000’ to 14,000’. Having recently visited these two destinations in May/June, an info blog will be useful for many who are contemplating to visit these places in future.
1. Time to visit: Mid May to end September is the time to visit Madmaheshwar. Early summer means a lot of snow on the Himalayan peaks, good climate ( climate can abruptly change from sunshine to rain within minutes ). The July/August means a lot of wild flower decked valley, but plenty of rains as well. In September, the rain eases, but most of the Himalayan peaks will be barren of snow. The pick is yours. Personally I prefer early summer in Mid May/ Mid June.
2. Starting Point: The trek starts from Uniana about 20 km by road from Ukhiamth. The 3 km asphalt road between Uniana to Ranshi is under construction and may be available from 2012 early summer. In that scenario it is better to stay for the night at Ranshi before commencing the trek. Ranshi is an excellent destination with good amenities, excellent guest houses, restaurants etc.
3. The destinations on the way to Madmaheshwar: Uniana – Ranshi – Gaundar – Bantoli - Khatara Khal – Nanu Chatty – Kun Chatty – Madmaheshwar. This trek takes two full days, the night halt is generally at Bantoli.
4. The lodging enroute : Kailash Lodge at Gaundar, Vishwa lodge at Bantoli, Temple Committee guest house at Madmaheshwar. The rates vary from Rs. 200/- to Rs. 400/- per day. Kailash lodge and Vishwas lodge offer attached bath. Temple committee guest house offers common toilet facilities.
5. The stuff one needs to carry:
Footwear : Trekking shoe or sports shoe or floater depending on one’s choice. A raincoat or poncho or windcheater without lining during trek for protection against rain is necessary. Early mornings and evenings are very cold and one needs woolens. A torch light is a must, the source of power is solar, good enough for one lamp. No sleeping bag is necessary. The beddings are reasonably clean. If you are finicky about cleanliness, then can carry a sleeping bag as well.
6. On return trek from Madmaheshwar, one generally stays at Gaundar at Kailash lodge. There is another nameless and cheaper lodge at the same place.
7. The condition of trek route: Excellent broad trek route stone paved or mud track, right upto Madmaheshwar. Those who have done Kedar trek will be more happy because of none existence of ponies and palkis enroute. So the road is all yours.
8. Food enroute: Mostly vegetarian. At Ranshi bazaar one can have eggs. Even dhabas at Gaundar and Bantoli may offer eggs. The food otherwise is mostly rice, chapatti, dal and potato curry at other destinations.
9. Total trekking distance onward and return trek to Madmaheshwar : 36 kms. In three and a half days one can complete the same.
10. Generally guide is not necessary. Porters taking the bags will show the route. Even one without porter will be able to do it.
1. Time to visit: Mid May to End September is the time to visit. Early summer means a lot of snow on the Himalayan peaks, good climate ( climate can abruptly change from sunshine to rain within minutes ). The July/August means a lot of wild flower decked valley, but plenty of rain as well. In September, the rain eases out, but most of the Himalayan peaks will be barren of snow. The pick is yours. Personally I prefer early summer in Mid May/ Mid June time.
2. Starting Point : There are two starting points
a) Mandal about 20 – 25 km from Ukhimath.
b) Sagar 5 km from Mandal
a) Mandal to Rudranath trek route is almost continuous ascent with practically no amenities on the way in early summer. It is recommended only for hard core trekkers.
b) Sagar to Rudranth trek is not so difficult, with a combination of ascent in beginning and descent at the end. Amenities though not as good as on Madmaheshwar trek. Normal lay trekkers will prefer this route while on onward journey to Rudranth.
3. The destinations on the way to Rudranth : Sagar – Pung Bhugyal – Liti Bhugyal – Panar Bhugyal - Pitridhar – Panch Ganga – Rudranath. This will take two full days
4. The return trek from Rudranth :
a) One can retrace the same path one has taken on onward trek from Sagar.
b) One can take a different route, which is mostly downward trek, Rudranth – panch Ganga – Naola Pass – Hamsa Bhugyal – Anusuya – Mandal. This return trek, which ever route one selects, will take one and half days.
5. The lodging enroute : Chatty at Panar Bhugyal, Chatty at Rudranth. Lodge at Anusuya. Chatties at Panar and Rudranth are bare rooms sans any furniture, one solar powered lamp, straw spread on floor, no bath or water pipeline. Lodge at Anusya with beddings, and a common toilet, common bathroom, water pipeline on ground level. Cost Rs. 150/- to Rs 200/- per day including dinner. Anything more like breakfast will be extra.
6. The stuff one needs to carry: Footwear : Trekking shoe or sports shoe or floater depending on one’s choice. A raincoat or poncho or windcheater without lining during trek for protection against rain is necessary. Early mornings and evenings are very cold and one needs woolens. A torch light is a must, the power is solar good enough for one lamp. Sleeping bag necessary. The beddings provided at chatties are not reasonably clean. If you do not care then don’t carry a sleeping bag. At least I found it very useful.
7. The condition of trek route: Every trekker will love it. All broad roads, stone paved or mud track, Return trek reaching Mandal is still better, walking on Bhugyal, grassy mud track most of the time.
8. Food enroute : Vegetarian food, rice, chapatti, dal, potato curry. If you are lucky, you might get a few vegetables like karela, dudhi at Rudranth chatty. It all depends on chattywalla.
9. Total trekking distance onward and return : 36 km. Duration three and half days.
10. Guide or porters will be necessary if one does onward trek through Mandal – Rudranth route. But trek through Sagar to Rudranth, one can manage without guide. We had Sagar to Rudranth as onward trek; Rudranth to Mandal in return trek. We had two porter who served as guides as well.
11. Rudranath trek routes as following: