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Satopanth Tal -The Glacial lake which is around 25kms from Badrinath, could be reached after a arduous trek crossing Lakshmivan and Chakratirtha. Natural Caves along the path are used as the night shelter.
Area: Garhwal Himalayas
Duration: 7N/8 Days
Altitude: 4330 mts/14203 ft
Grade: Moderate to tough
Located amid the hulking high snowcapped peaks at an elevation of 4,600 meters, the Satopanth Lake is one of the high altitude lakes in the Indian Himalayan region that is often dubbed as the lake of divinity. Hindus believe that Lord Brahma, Mahesh and Vishnu used to take bath in the pristine water of the lake on this auspicious day and hence the Satopanth Lake is considered as one of the sacred lakes in the Garhwal Himalayan region. Every year thousands of pilgrims undertake the journey to reach the vicinity of Satopanth Lake to take a holy dip in the water in the belief that it will wash away their sins. The trek to Satopanth Lake passes through several small streams, villages, alpine meadows and thick forest and once you step at a mighty altitude, you embark upon the dangerous glaciated tracks. The journey is as beautiful as it is adventurous. One can capture the surreal silver horizon formed by the snowcapped peaks of the legendary Nilkantha, Swargarohini flank, Balakun and Narayan Parbat. Thus the Satopanth Lake trek pulls in several backpackers, trekkers and explorers from all over the world and takes back home some of the beautiful to horrendous moments of lifetime.
The journey to Satopanth Lake commences from Mana village, which is approximately 3 kilometers up from Badrinath at 3,300 meters. Badrinath is one of the Hindu pilgrimage sites popular for hosting a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The trail from Mana leads to Vasudhara via Bheem Bridge. The major attractions on this journey are the Indo-Mongolian tribe set up at Mana village and Vasudhara falls. The trek to Satopanth continues to head towards Laxmi Van en route a dense forest and thereafter the track snakes to the vicinity of Satopanth Lake. The trek downhill to Badrinath follows the same route and thereafter the trekking tour to Satopanth Lake leads to Rishikesh.
According to Hindu mythology, Satopanth Tal is on the route taken by the Panch Pandavas on their Swarga Yatra. At various places their name remains as a memorial of this sacred journey. At the starting point at Mana, 3 km away from Badrinath, is the natural rock bridge, Bhima Pul. Here, Bhima is believed to have made the bridge over the river Saraswati so Draupadi could cross. At Lakshmi Ban, Draupadi is believed to have breathed her last. In the austere barren landscape at an altitude of 12600 feet, strewn with huge boulders, bhuj plants grow in the small patch of Lakshmi Ban. At Bandhar, it is said that Yudhishthir's thirst was quenched by the baan or arrow shot by Arjun which caused a stream of water to gush forth from the very Earth. At Bhimbar, the rock pillar commemorates Bhima's release from earthly life. At Chakratirtha the great yogi and warrior, Arjun gave up his body. Ahead, only Yudhishthir with his dog, who was indeed Dharma Raja himself, went in his mortal form, negotiating dangerous glaciers and hidden crevasses. At Satopanth Tal, the celestial rath or vehicle received him .
Inspired by this ancient heritage and the lofty Himalayas, the playground of the Gods, our trekking club, undertook this sacred yatra. There was Sukamal Ray, 55, the most experienced trekker, a school teacher by profession and hence called Sir by all. Of equal age, was Bhabani Ranjan Ray, known as Bhabani da, an amateur photographer par excellence who loves the interior Himalayas. His wife, Avery Ray, Boudi, some 40 years of age, has a cheerful positive presence, and has accompanied him on all treks since they got married. Abhijit Chatterjee, called Bilas Da, also 40, is in the insurance business. An able trekker and decisive team leader he is a regular trekking partner of Sir. Indrajit Banerjee, 33 is in the furniture business. A keen trekker, he is a rational decision-maker and cool-tempered. Soumitra Bhattacharya, 31 works for Emami Pvt. Ltd and is enthralled by the Himalayas. The final twosome, is my wife, Bananai, 27, who was on her first trek, courageous and with firm faith, and I, Sumit Chatterjee, 33, working for Texmaco Limited. Apart from a natural affinity with the Himalayas, where I return at every opportunity, I am keenly interested in documenting my travels.
Delhi - Haridwar (By Train) - Rishikesh (24 kms/40 mins) After Early Breakfast Drive From Haridwar to Joshimath. Night stay at Lodge.
Rishikesh - Joshimath (270 kms/8-9 hrs) Next Day Drive from Joshimath to Badrinath , one of the famous dham of Hindu Religion. Visit Badrinath Night Stay at Badrinath
Joshimath - Badrinath (45 kms/ 2 hrs) On Day three we will Star our Trek towards Bandhar, in the midst you will see Mana the Last Indian Village before Tibet Border. there is a Waterfall Called Vasudhara, which is known as a holy waterfall which will wash your sins according to the Hindi Scriptures.
Badrinath - Mana - (3 kms drive/20 mins) - Vasudhara (5 kms/2 hrs) The trail was through bolder zones. You will cross the Sahasra Dhara and the Neelkanth Base Camp on our way. Specifically, there is no trail, you just have to make your own way with the Guide. You will see the Alakapuri glacier, which is the source of Alakananda river.
Vasudhara - Laxmi Van - Satopanth (7 kms/4-5 hrs) You will see Som Kund and the Snow Fall on Swargrohini
Laxmi Van - Vasudhara fall - Mana - Badrinath Now We will Trek Back to Mana then Drive back to Badrinath , Night stay at Badrinath.
Badrinath - Rishikesh (265 kms/9 hrs)
Rishikesh - Haridwar - Delhi