Under this magnificent sky were rows upon rows of mountains, most flaunting their perpetual snowcaps, others peppered with snow, but many – barren and stark. Together they made the landscape look heavenly. The moment was powerful enough to cut out the surrounding noises, and embrace me in an absolute calmness. In that moment there existed a stillness and a rhythm which made the world around me stunningly enchanting and inside me, absolutely quiet.
Deep inside the serene Govind Wildlife Sanctuary of Uttarakhand, Kedarkantha is one of the most charming winter treks in the majestic Himalayas of India. The trail is gorgeous with a variety of landscapes that includes thick pine forests, frozen and semi frozen lakes, pretty meadows that are frequented by shepherds in summer, and as you climb high – thick snowy slopes – some you can sledge down too. The snowy slopes inside the forests, higher up, are so lovely – I caught myself secretly thinking what if I could make a little igloo and stay that winter.
Standing atop the Kedarkantha peak at this crack of dawn, I shivered in the subzero temperature. Trekking through the night in the silver of the moonlight, walking over hardened snow, slightly slippery at times, I now stood here – at the summit awaiting the magical sunrise at Kedarkantha. Though the sun was making its entrance, the bone-chilling cold was going nowhere. It took me a few minutes and lots of efforts to feel and move my frozen fingers to click this picture.
Atop, there’s a tiny shelter made of stones, where believers offer prayers. Filled with gratitude, I bowed to the mighty mountains, and silently thanked the universe for being kind and welcoming me to stand here.
It was the last day of the calendar year of 2017. Soon, the sun was up, its rays like a magic wand – brightening up everything they touched. The morning colours started to fade slowly, and the mountain wind become just a little less cold. Unseen to my eyes some snow around me was melting. Still freezing, I stood watching all around me – an old something melt into a beautiful new something.