Satopanth lake trek is one of the legendary treks in north India. Many people believed that it was the last journey route of the Pandava, the warriors of the Mahabharata. Our journey began at Haridwar. End of July in 2011, we reached Haridwar and enjoyed the sacred land. The holy Ganges was decorated to enchant our mind with its dignity. The famous Harkipori energized our soul for the next journey to Satopanth lake.
Though it was rainy season and most of the people avoid trek at that time, I had a different plan. I wanted to cover the famous valley of flowers and Hemkund Sahib in a returning way. We were seven people. In the next day morning, we started our journey and reached Joshimath in the evening. There was the fear of a landslide in the rainy season. Still, God was with us, and after reaching Joshimath, we started mental preparation for the next day journey.
In the morning, the sky was cloudy. It was showering a bit. We had a healthy breakfast and began to move on for Satopanth lake trek. It was a little challenging to walk with the heavy raincoat. So umbrella was the only savior. We started moving through the bank of Alokananda. We had to cross the half of Alokananda mountain on the route. In the cloudy weather, that famous mountain was not visible enough. There was another glacier, meeting at Alokananda. That glacier is the route to Gomukh within 5 to 6 days.
Alokananda river was created from the Alokananda glacier. The trail was full of stone, ice, and soil. We heard the sharp sound of the water. After a little advance, we understood the reason. There were thousands of water-fall from the Nealkanth mountain. All the noise together made the roar. As per the legend, Bheem died here without water, and angry Arjuna created this waterfall.
In front of me, there were five massive waterfalls. As depicted in the legends, they were called – Pravash, Pushkar, Gaya, Naimish, and Kurukshetra. The stream had a high current. It was challenging to cross the river alone. We caught hand-in-hand to cross the creek. After proceeding a little, the trail was like a razor-edged ridge. It seemed to be a gigantic skeleton rib of an ancient animal. In both sides, the gorge was 300-400 ft deep. The route was slippery and being a little careless could invite a massive accident.
We reached at Chakratirtha at 4.00 pm. We were surprised when we found that we have covered only 8 km since the morning. The trail was really difficult for us. In Chakratirtho, we found a beautiful round shaped garden, carpeted with fresh grass and flowers. The strange part was that there were marks all over. As per the legendary story, Sri Krishna left his Sudarshan Chakra here. The view was awesome. Suddenly we found a black, hairy and healthy dog. The guide said that they are protecting their sheep from the leopard.
In the night, we went to sleep, but suddenly we waked up in the midnight by a thunder-like sound. The guide said that it was an avalanche. God! We went back to sleep with a little tension.
In the morning, the weather was very bright. Out of the tent, the scenery was mind-blowing. All the assembled natural beauty of the mountain, small lake, lush green meadows and a beautiful fountain took our breath. Today we have decided to stay at Chakratirtha. It is not allowed to pitch the tent near Satopanth lake. Only because of the pollution we create everywhere. We started climbing on the green trail. Left side Neelkanth and Balakun mountain on the right side looked picturesque. The height was 14500 feet. Some part of the path was quite challenging. The loose rocks on the trail were sometimes risky to step in. If you lose control, you will be in the river. On the way, we meet a saint who lived in the cave of a mountain. The guide said after climbing a little, we could come across the long-waited Satopanth lake.
The final view was amazing on Satopanth lake. Both sides, there are two glaciers – Saraswati and Swargarohini. The beauty was dream-like. You seem to be lost in the world far away from your familiar one. The mesmerizing ambiance was hypnotic. After that, we returned to the base. All we have is the ever-lasting memories of an unforgettable experience.
Santopanth Lake trek is not a long distance trek. From Badrinath, it was 29 km, but the trail is not easy. The height is 15100 feet.