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Old 6th March 2017, 20:08   #1
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Default Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

Satopanth Trek


This is the concluding part of a two trek combined sojourn, wherein the first segment dealt with the trek to Mandini Valley and beyond in order to see the flowering of the alpine flowering plants which are rare and not seen outside the Himalayan Region in the Garhwal segment during peak monsoon. The concluding segment deals with a trek to the Lake of Truth: Satopanth, deep in the Trans Himalayan Region of Uttarakhand.

2. I pick up from the last post where I and my team had arrived safely post completing the Mandini Sojourn at Rudraprayag; confluence town of two of India’s holy rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini and were now focused on the next part of the trek which would begin ahead of Badrinath Ji .

3. The next day was spent in travelling as we boarded the state transport bus and finally reached Joshimath at 1400 hrs crossing significant towns like Karnaprayag , Nandaprayag , Pipal koti . At Joshimath we boarded a local max trekker for the holy town of Badrinath which we would be reaching by 1630 hrs. The route of Joshimath to Badrinath is all unstable with heavy landslide activity at Lambagad followed by few more locations and two very significant water crossings. The max trekker, an old horse on this route managed all these quite dexterously with the driver knowing fully the tricks of the trade. He had been waiting for his turn to take on passengers since three days now as per the roster that is maintained at Joshimath, however with poor influx of tourists it had been a long wait and in this particular case it was of three days. The capacity of passengers was 14 and he charged 160/- from each for the trip.

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The sangam @Rudraprayag

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4. So my second visit to Badridhaam and what a change from the previous occasion, no rush of people or vehicles. Hotels were empty, shopkeepers idle. I checked in to the same place where had stayed last time and after an hour or so spent sitting on the hotel parapet wall watching grown up guys playing cricket i decided to walk down to the temple. There was no rush at Badrinathji, I moved inside the main temple and sat for some time right out there. After paying my respects to badrinath ji wandered outside and sat down at an enclosure where there was a discourse on Gita happening. The entire atmosphere was serene and unhurried unlike last time where you just had moments in front of the main shrine before being told to move out. I realised that peak monsoon time is one of the best time to visit these places if one wishes to see the main shrine and feel the occasion in a correct manner.

5. At around 6 in evening Umeid and me went for a walk till Mana village which was 4 kms away and it was a good exercise to loosen the stiff muscles. By the time we returned it was night and i bade good night to my team as i walked back to my hotel.

Last edited by swsumit : 6th March 2017 at 20:31.
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Old 6th March 2017, 20:27   #2
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

The next day morning by around 0830 hrs we were off, we chose to skirt the temple and travel on opposite side of mana village and our first checkpoint was Mata Moorti temple , who was the mother of lord Nar & Narayan. The weather was simply great with sun shining blue sky and the path was definitely much simpler compared to what we had come through the last few days and hence we made good progress walking alongside the raging Alaknanda . We reached Laxmi ban without much fuss by 1130 hrs thus covering a distance of 11 kms. The fog bank was soon visible on the horizon and the tents were rigged up especially the kitchen tent and the team set about preparing lunch. Laxmiban is right opposite the Banglung Glacier which emerges from the opposite Himalayan peaks. This place has spiritual significance owing to the departure of Lady Draupadi from her mortal body. Also one finds bhoj bhasa tress whose leaves were uses by sage Vyasa to pen down the Ramayana.


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THE 300 FT MYSTICAL VASUDHARA FALLS



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BANGLUNG GLACIER



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MATA MOORTI TEMPLE



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7. By late afternoon it started drizzling with heavy fog banks all around. We were hemmed on all sides by towering mountains hence maybe the high density of fog. Dinner was served by 2030 hrs and thereafter we went to sleep.


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Old 6th March 2017, 20:52   #3
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

The next day woke up to misty skies and fog, readied myself for the day ahead, the target was Sahasradhara. By 0800 hrs we were off and our first way point was Bhandar around two km away opposite to which lay the Bhagirathi kharak glacier. It is said that the Bhagirathi peaks are visible from here but all was seen were swirling fog banks and the Alaknanda flowing nearby. The sun did make a brief appearance at around 0930 hrs but there was hardly any impact, meanwhile we kept climbing for today we would be gaining heights. By 1020 hrs we reached the start of Sahasradhara as well as the originating visual point of Alaknanda river from the Satopanth glacier which was massive and lay to my right. We could hear the thunderous noise of various falls to the left for the meaning of Sahasradhara means a thousand falls but everything was covered in deep fog. We picked our way kept moving ahead and by 1130 hrs reached our campsite covering a distance of 06 kms since morning. It is said that Lord Nakul and Sahdev left their mortal bodies out here and departed earth for ever. The decision was made to push on for there was fog all around and we were not comfortable to stay in a low lying area.

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Shiv Parvati Range @Chakratheerth


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sahashradhara approaches


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Monochrome : The Trekker in Orange



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the Mystical Shasradhara


9. So we continued and by now the rains had come but still we moved on crossing various streams as we made our way to Chakratheerth situated three kms ahead. We reached campsite at Chakratheerth by 1300 hrs and made a halt for the day. The rains had stopped and that helped in rigging up our tents and settling for the day. The weather was definitely cold as we were at 3600 mts above sea level; in the late afternoon Umeid and i went back a km to do some photography thus passing the early evening hours. Nothing much was planned for the day. My take on the trek on the basis of the two days is to do this trek in September for the viewer will be treated to all the great Himalayan peaks in all their glory and will be able to appreciate the surrounding places in a much better manner. August is a definite damper view the trek is strenuous with the monsoons beating down and the fog banks swirling all around.

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The Alakhnanda meanders picking up speed

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Birth of the Alakhnanda


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Play of shadows


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Satopanth : The Lake of Truth-satopanth-2016-127-sahshradhara-1.jpg  

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Old 7th March 2017, 10:20   #4
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

Wow! Wow! Wow! 5 stars to you

This one was in my bucket list, having visited Mana many times.

Mythology tells there are living organisms in Satopanth lake, which seems to be the immortality of Yudishtir. Please throw some light on it. Did you find those tiny red living beings in the water??

Also, there seems another myth that the lake will not be visible at certain times of the year, did you tend to listen to any such topics from the trek team??

Do let us know more.


Wow! Really nice, that we could see the beauty through your lens

Last edited by laluks : 7th March 2017 at 10:21.
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Old 7th March 2017, 11:53   #5
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

That is a lovely travelogue. Thanks a lot for sharing. Just went **sigh** after seeing the pictures. Beautifully shot. A sight for sore eyes.

What kind of preparation and planning is needed for such treks. Can you elaborate a little?
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Old 7th March 2017, 13:21   #6
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

Beauty. That's some gorgeous pictures you have posted. The picture titled "The Mystical Sahasradhara" is teh best one for me. It looks like a shot from the imaginary falls shown in the movie Bahubali
Must have been a really wonderful feeling there. Congratulation for completing the trek and thanks for bringing us these wonderful images swsumit.
We saw the imagesthrumylenses. How about an image of your lenses?
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Old 7th March 2017, 13:26   #7
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

Absolutely mind blowing travelouge.....
You have an amazing eye for clicking pictures.
Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences
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Old 7th March 2017, 14:46   #8
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

The next day morning the rains had stopped and we were ready to proceed ahead with the destination being Satopanth Lake. The route involved primarily walking on boulder ridden glacial terrain. Anyways as we trekked i could gear the various glaciers that surrounded us breaking intermittently or maybe it was the part of the mountains that was breaking off, i am not sure for all i could hear was the sound but the fog covered all visuals. Slowly by 1100 hrs i had my glimpse of the acclaimed Satopanth, the lake of truth. The campsite was rigged up and there were few mendicants who were staying there till winter, having built small caves using the big boulders as support.

11. The triangular lake situated at a height of 15100 feet , religiously significant emanated an aura of peace and tranquility. Legend had it that Trinity bathe in this lake on the occasion of Ekadashi. There is a small shrine dedicated to Lord Rudra which is maintained by the mendicants who stay here six months of a year as the lake remains under snow for most of the winter months.

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The Elusive Satopanth


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The three corners where the Trimoorti bathe on Ekadashi


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The treacherous route to Satopanth , the entire area is a deadly mix of glacial ice, rocks and debris constantly on the move

11. The lake was truly magnificent even in the mist and i could see that the water level had reduced, Umeid and i did an entire circumference of the lake while the weather held and after that we just sat near the lake looking at the green waters. Post lunch the rains started and i could discern that they were not going to stop till the night. Had polite conversations with few of the mendicants over a cup of tea talking about the concept of Dharma. Overall it was a soothing time spent out here away from the rigors of civilization. Tomorrow i was terminating my onward journey to Swaragarohini and rather starting the return leg. The weather was just not conducive and i had no hopes of seeing the elusive glacier with its steps up close among the mist, hence the decision to return back.
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Satopanth : The Lake of Truth-satopanth-2016-107-satopanth-1.jpg  


Last edited by swsumit : 7th March 2017 at 14:49.
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Old 7th March 2017, 14:50   #9
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The next morning was cloudy and the fog bank had partially covered the lake but the stillness of the water was so loud , sometimes i feel that the proverb “ silence speaks loudest” is actually understood in places like these . It was a Monday morning and the Ekadashi of Saavan was as per my team most auspicious hence after a quick dip in the lake , we were off by 0700 hrs on the return leg. The distance we covered very well indeed and at the ridge of Chakratheerth we did see the sun break the fog cover to offer us a glimpse of the mighty mountain ranges otherwise the mist swirled all around all the time. Sahasradhara was reached by 1100 hrs and after a quick tea break we were off with a target to reach vasudhara ahead of even laxminban and set up camp out there, the same was reached by 1600 hrs with the last km in pouring rain. However, the team set up the tent quickly and we finished for the day.
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Old 7th March 2017, 14:54   #10
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The entire day and night it rained and the following morning too the drizzle continued but we were determined to reach Joshimath today and for that we had to reach Badrinath first. The same was accomplished by 1000 hrs and we got a shared Tata Spacio Cab to Joshimath by 1300 hrs. However, it looked like there were other plans set in store for us for as we neared Lambhagad, a location notorious for streams running on the road as well as rock fall immediately after the stream. We could see a car stuck right in the rock fall area. It seemed that the rock fall had boxed the car and hence it was now stuck, the occupants had abandoned the vehicle and rushed to safety as the rock fall continued while the rains opened up . After waiting for 30 min the decision was made to hike into the adjoining mountain slope and circumvent the rock fall area arriving on the other side. So once again the equipment was unloaded and loaded onto the shoulders and we set off in the pouring rain for what i hoped was the final part of the trek. It took us an hour but finally we circumvented the rock fall area and arrived on the other side where we picked up a taxi again which dropped us at joshimath. The evening was spent rearranging the backpack and drying some clothes, just relaxing by walking on paved paths for a change, the magnitude of what I had seen and accomplished in the two treks back to back was yet to sink in but the experience had definitely given me something more that had been added to the core of what I am . The next day morning boarded the early morning bus for Haridwar which saw the culmination of a magnificent trek and experience.

Foot Note : The twin treks of Mandini and Satopanth were accomplished in core monsoon duration and had their own inherent risks and calculations . The services of a trustworthy guide and a team is most essential as in the monsoons even locals venture very few in to these areas. However having said that , the experience that touched the core of my heart to wander in these areas as new life was growing on account of the monsoons is something that can never be seen or understood at any other time of the year.
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Old 7th March 2017, 15:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Wow! Wow! Wow! 5 stars to you

This one was in my bucket list, having visited Mana many times.

Mythology tells there are living organisms in Satopanth lake, which seems to be the immortality of Yudishtir. Please throw some light on it. Did you find those tiny red living beings in the water??

Also, there seems another myth that the lake will not be visible at certain times of the year, did you tend to listen to any such topics from the trek team??

Do let us know more.


Wow! Really nice, that we could see the beauty through your lens
There could be something in the middle of the lake , however at the banks not much life is visible . There are birds out there which constantly circle the lake however they do not swoop down to pick anything from the lake so maybe there are no fishes out there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
That is a lovely travelogue. Thanks a lot for sharing. Just went **sigh** after seeing the pictures. Beautifully shot. A sight for sore eyes.

What kind of preparation and planning is needed for such treks. Can you elaborate a little?
From the prepapration point of view following steps i undertook

1. literature preparation and familiarization of the route, places and various mountain peaks.

2. detailed discussion with the guide with respect to the trek duration each day and source of water availability.

3. preparation to counter the elements of weather in respect of clothing and camp articles.

4. fitness levels and medication kits.

5. Safe drinking water arrangement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
Beauty. That's some gorgeous pictures you have posted. The picture titled "The Mystical Sahasradhara" is teh best one for me. It looks like a shot from the imaginary falls shown in the movie Bahubali
Must have been a really wonderful feeling there. Congratulation for completing the trek and thanks for bringing us these wonderful images swsumit.
We saw the imagesthrumylenses. How about an image of your lenses?
thank you .

i used a combination of lenses and camera bodies , for each category of pic demanded a specific need. Will try to post a pic of the gear .
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Old 7th March 2017, 19:16   #12
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

What a beautiful set of pictures - just amazing. Lovely photography.

Rating your log a well deserved 5 stars!

Regards,
Saket.
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Old 8th March 2017, 13:12   #13
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

Amazing travelogue. It's great to read about all such places though the experience of t-bhp members.
Pictures justify the true beauty of the place. Awesome photography.
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Old 8th March 2017, 19:43   #14
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Default Re: Satopanth : The Lake of Truth

Amazing Travelogue, glued to this thread! Deserves more than 5 stars
Brilliant images, thanks for sharing

Can you also share some details to help us in planning such trips ? Nearest place to reach by Bus/Train, etc ?, Contacts, places to stay, number of days, best time to visit, etc ?
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