Coming from a house that took every holiday season as an opportunity for an offbeat adventure, travel has always been in my blood. I'm from Gurgaon, so road tripping and trekking in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh was common ever since I was a young girl.
Even after my marriage, the travel bug hadn't left me. I'd drag my husband along on my trips, but everything changed after I had my twins. It was difficult enough to juggle between my business, home and babies, so travelling took a backseat. For years, our holidays were spent either at our parents' places or at a comfortable resort, and it obviously left me longing for more.
As someone whose love affair with adventure dates back to her childhood, I wanted my children to see the world just as I did. And so, when they turned 11, I decided to recreate my first adventure with them – the snowy Kedarkantha trek.
When my husband and I broke the news to our kids, I was filled with joy to see the same gleam in their eyes as mine! The days leading up to the trek flew by quickly and it was time for us to set forth on our adventure. I had read many travelogues on travelling with kids and even spoken to my parents about their experience with little me, so I was ready with an extensive packing list, tonnes of excitement and a smidge of nervousness as we left for Dehradun, hoping that my kids would love the experience just as much as I had.
The trek operator was waiting for us at the station and we were driven to the start point in Sankri. Exhausted from an early morning of travelling, my kids fell asleep on the gorgeous ride while my husband and I admired what was only a precursor to the beauty we were about to witness on our Kedarkantha trek. 8 hours, a lunch break and a few chats with the operator later, we arrived at the guesthouse that would be our home for the night.
We began our trek to the first pitstop, the frozen Juda ka Talab, right after breakfast. My kids were buzzing with energy and simply watching them jump about and play in the snow was enough to recharge us and our fellow amused trekkers. The guide, too, was elated to have little kids join the trek, and was constantly feeding them tales and local legends as we made our way to the lake. The 4-hour trek through thick forests and snowy landscapes was tiring, so resting in our tents surrounded by gorgeous Himalayan views was welcoming. We had an early dinner and caught up on some rest to ready ourselves for the next day.
We began our trek to the Kedarkantha base early next morning after a hearty breakfast. The warm, freshly cooked meals were much appreciated amid our seemingly frozen surroundings. We trekked through vast meadows that were shrouded in white snow and passed villages where my kids befriended some local children. I was glad to see them thoroughly enjoying the nature and local culture, and I had flashbacks to the faint memories I made here when I was their age. Soon, we reached the base and set up camp there, to spend the night in the shadow of our imminent challenge, the mighty Kedarkantha.
An early breakfast and an invigorating pep talk from our guide later, we began our ascent to Kedarkantha peak. We were all excited to reach the summit, and trekked for almost 3 hours to reach the top. Once there, an intense feeling of accomplishment took over us. We all cheered as we looked around at the snow-capped peaks in the distance. We clicked pictures to immortalize our feat and my twins' first ever adventure travel experience. Seeing their enthusiasm and complete lack of fuss, I was left wondering why I was apprehensive in the first place. Of course, most of it is owed to the wonderful guides, locals and fellow trekkers who kept them company and matched their childlike excitement, but I would like to believe that my travel gene has found its way to both of them! After relaxing for a while, we had our lunch and started our descent back to the base.
The next day, we traced our steps back to Sankri and bid the heaviest goodbye to the nature that welcomed us for the past few days. We were driven back to Dehradun and my kids shared a tearful farewell with the guide who showed them a whole new world that they were now in love with. Knowing how much this trek was loved by them (and myself!), I was sure this wouldn't be our last time trekking in Uttarakhand. My kids pestered my husband and I to plan our next trek as soon as possible, and, needless to say, we were convinced even before they said a word to us!
Rishikesh 360 is a custom curated experience for all those riders and explorers who have the exact kind of spirit with us, to go on an effortless e-bike ride and learn about cultures, people, rituals and history. The entourage begins from Tapovan in Rishikesh at 3 PM each day. Exclusions and inclusions mentioned below.
In this 4+ weeks experiential travel program, participants will visit and explore 16+ locations across 3 states in North India. The places included are Rajasthan (Jaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar), Delhi, Uttarakhand (Rishikesh, Parvati Valley, Mussoorie, Dhanaulti, Kasol, Chalaal, Tosh, Barkot), Uttar Pradesh (Mathura, Agra).