Satopanth Tal - The Glacial Lake of Divinity

Satopanth Tal is a crystal clear green water, the triangular lake at an elevation of 4600 metres above sea level and is adorned in the midst of the snow-shrouded peaks. Satopanth Tal is a high altitude lake located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and near to Badrinath Shrine. The lake considered sacred by the local people of Mana village, which is base camp village for Satopanth Lake. Apart from religious significance Satopanth also become a famous trekking and camping site of Uttarakhand. 

Satopanth lake is situated on the elevation of 4,600 metres (15,100 ft) above sea level and nestled amidst panoramic scenery of snow capped peaks. The trail to the lake rewards trekkers with abundant natural beauty in the form of snow-clad peaks, verdant hills covered with pine and oak trees,gushing rivulets and streams. Satopanth remains frozen during from October to May.

Trekkers can start their journey from beautiful frontier village Mana, 3 Km ahead of Badrinath. This virgin trail has lot of scenic view on the way. You can see spots like Vasundhara Fall, Laxmivan, Dhano Glacier and The back face of Mt. Nilkantha en route to Satopanth Lake.

How to reach Satopanth Lake

The nearest railhead to Satopanth Lake is Rishikesh, which is 320 kms from here. You can reach Rishikesh from anywhere of India further you can hire cab or take shared taxi or buses from Rishikesh towards Badrinath via NH-58. 

Mana is a last village, which connects through roads and base camp for Satopanth Lake trek that is about 18 kms. The distance from Badrinath to Satopant is 22 kms.  Might be you have to split your journey in two part one day from Rishikesh to Joshimath and next day Joshimath to Mana due to some gate system (There is a time distributes for vehicles while travelling Joshimath to Mana and you can't drive after last gate exceed towards Badrinath, vice versa) between Joshimath and Mana.

Places during journey: Rishikesh - Srinagar - Rudraprayag - Karanaprayag - Joshimath - Badrinath - Mana - Laxmivan - Satopanth Lake

Mythology of Satopanth Lake

According to the Hindu legends, the Tridevas or the three devas, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha (Shiva) mediated on the corners of this lake. It is believed that during every Ekadashi the trinities take a holy dip in the water of Satopanth Lake. The Hindus believe that taking a bath in the Saptopanth Lake on the 11th day of the solar and lunar fortnights is considered to be auspicious.

Locals also believe that some special type of birds are found here, which pick up the pollutants of the lake and thus keeping the lake clean. These birds are not found anywhere else. The local belief is that they are the Gandharvas perdue, who guards the lake against evils.

Why you should gear yourself up for the venerated Satopanth lake trek?

The pea-green Satopanth Lake is celebrated for its holiness and mysticism which tempts many avid travellers to gear up for commencing the Satopanth Tal trek. The virgin trail leading to Satopanth can be easily accessed by crossing Lakshmi Van and Chakratirtha. The Hindus believe that Goddess Lakshmi and her husband Narayan indulged in a penance at Lakshmi Van and Chakratirtha. 

There is an interesting story behind the indent created at Chakratirtha which states that Narayan once kept his Sudarshana Chakra on the valley and due to its weight the valley got its round shaped meadow surrounding the lofty mountains. This rewarding trek will offer you unobstructed view of the snow crested Chaukhamba and many other peaks. You will have euphoric spiritual as well as mental bliss while reaching at this lake. 

Suggested Trek Itinerary for Satopanth Tal 

Day 01: Rishikesh-Badrinath
Early morning catch the bus to Badrinath from Rishikesh and have lunch en-route. On reaching Badrinath, pay obeisance at the Badrinath temple and take the blessings of the deity. Check it at a hotel, have dinner and overnight stay. 

Day 02: Badrinath-Lakshmi Van
Post breakfast, check out from the hotel and commence a short 3 km trek to Mana (you can take local taxi as well), the last village of India on the Indo-Tibetan border. After getting your permits checked, make your advancement towards the Vasundhara Falls. After crossing the Saraswati temple from Mana, the gradient of the trek will become steeper. Walk in harmony with the mighty Alakananda River, flowing below. 

Trail from Mana towards Satopanth
 Sujit Chatterjee
Trail from Mana towards Satopanth

After a couple of hours, the surging sound of the water plunging from a height will suddenly hit your ears. On walking closer to the sound, the sight of Vasundhara Fall will come into your eyes. This cascading waterfall has medicinal properties and has been scientifically proved. Absorb the beauty of the waterfall and start treading through the thick birch forests of Laxmi Van. Walk 4 km further on the moraines and you’ll come across your campsite at Laxmi Van.

Day 03: Lamxi Van-Chakratirtha
Capture the beautiful sunrise view and gear up for today’s trek. This is a short yet scenic trek which will cross the Satopanth Valley. The well-marked trail is dotted with the green patches amidst the vast terminal moraines of Dhano Glacier. On the way, you can see the colourful alpine flowers blooming in the valley, after which the glorious view of the three benevolent peaks of Bhagirathi will first appear at the Satopanth Valley. Gradually climb the steep ridge of Sahastradhara to Chakratirtha camping grounds. On reaching the campsite, roll on the ground and gaze at the glaring west face of Mount Neelkanth.

Enroute Laxmi Van
 Sujit Chatterjee
Enroute Laxmi Van

Day 04:  Chakratirtha-Satopanth-Chakratirtha
Unzip your tents early morning, to have a tempting view of Chaukhamba in the centre, Neelkanth, Satopanth and Parvati Peaks on your left and Balakun on your right. Sip a cup of tea, while getting drenched in the enigmatic aura of the colossal hills.

Neelkantha parvat en-route Chakratirtha
 Sujit Chatterjee
Neelkantha parvat en-route Chakratirtha

Now get ready to meander through the puzzling maze of boulders and moraines. You may also hear the perpetual tumbling sound of the avalanches throughout the valley. This is a tricky stretch so be patient while crossing it. In the last 2 km trek, you may have to deal with a couple of steep slopes and walk over the loose soil scattered over the glacial moraines. On reaching the top of the ridge, you will see the first sight of the triangular shaped, Satopanth Lake.

The breath-taking views from the emerald lake will sweep you off your feet. You can also see a saint known as Mauni Baba who resides near the lake and has stopped talking from a very long time. There is a common belief that he can live on only sun and air if food is unavailable. After spending some time here, start descending to Chakratirtha campsite. The 5 km return trek to Chakratirtha can be completed in a couple of hours.

 Sujit Chatterjee
Satopanth lake picture

Day 05: Chakratirtha-Mana-Badrinath
Wake up to the chirps of the playful birds, post breakfast pack your tent to start descending all the way down to Mana village. Follow the same trail that you took for reaching Chakratirtha from Mana. This 15 km trek can be completed in 5-6 hours. On reaching Mana, take the taxi ride to Badrinath, check in at a hotel and have an overnight stay there.

Day 06:  Badrinath-Rishikesh
After having a nutritious and healthy breakfast, check out from the hotel and leave for Rishikesh. 

  • Trek to Satopanth Tal is moderately difficult and hence requires the trekkers to be physically fit. Cardio-vascular exercises like running, swimming could be practiced to improve stamina.
  • It is recommended that to take the service of experience guide or trekking company for Satopanth Tal trek. You can also check Satopanth Trek packages from eUttaranchal as well.
  • During the monsoons months (July-August), it is better to check with weather and road conditions with the local authorities and tour operators before travelling to the destination.
  • Best time to visit Satopanth Tal is during the months of May, June, September and October. Nearest railhead is at Rishikesh while the nearest airport is situated at Dehradun.

What is Satopanth Lake famous for?

Satopanth Lake is famous among tourist as Trekking.

Satopanth Lake is recommended destination for Foreigners, Groups, Solo.

Satopanth Lake is popular destination for following activities/ interests - Adventure, Lakes, Trekking.

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