Char Dham Yatra 2024
Char Dham 2024

Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek

Sahastra Tal Referred to as Shastru Tal or Sahastra Tal

In the midst of the gorgeous Garhwal Himalayas, the Sahastra Tal is situated on the western end of the Khatling glacier. At an altitude of nearly 4560 metres, the Sahastra Tal is one of the largest lakes in the Garhwal division of Himalayas. The word ‘Sahastra’ meaning ‘a thousand’ in Sanskrit, It is also the modification of the local Garhwali word ‘Sahasyu’ which means seven. The topmost and the largest lake on the Bhilangana side is referred to as Darshan tal. The other seven being – Pari tal, Arjuna tal, Bhimtal, Draupadi tal, Gaumukhi tal (or Vishnu tal) and Lam tal.

The Sahastra Tal gets its unique name from the numerous lakes that are found in this region, describing this area as “Lake district of Garhwal ”. This lake lies on the border of Uttarkashi and Tehri district of Garhwal and is situated a few miles away from Kalyani. The Brahma Kamals are one of the major attractions. One can also view the glaciers of Jogin group, Kirti Stambh and Meru glacier. The lake is located on either side of the glacier which acts as the source of river Bhilangna.

This trail runs northerly between Bhagirathi valley in the west and Bhilangna valley in the east. Bal Ganga River, a tributary of river Ganga also flows near this lake. You may also meet semi-nomadic Van Gujjars around Kush Kalyan area. On the north of this lake, there is a high ridge called the Kush Kalyan Plateau which is surrounded by various other small lakes on both sides. The lake is situated at the top of this ridge.

Khatling Glacier

Khatling is a lateral glacier at the source of river Bhilangana with Sahastratal at the west and Masartal at the east. It is located in district Tehri Garhwal of Uttarakhand. Around the glacier there is a thick snow capped of Himalayan peaks which is known as the Jogin group at an Altitude of 6466m, Kirti Stambh (6902m) Sphetic Pristwar (6905m), Barte Kauter (6579m) and Meru. Gangi is the last village beyond which there are no facilities of any kind. The sight of the khatling glacier is most spectacular and alluring. From here Masartal is 7 kms. The route further goes up to Vasuki Tal and from there to Kedarnath.

This trek passes through small villages and hamlets of Garhwal. After reaching the Bhilangana valley, you can easily find a number of spots suited for your camping. Surrounded by snow-clad mountains, Khatling Glacier stands tall at an elevation of 3,900 m at an extremely picturesque location. You will trek till a point known as “Zero Point”. You can choose to go beyond this point and explore the glacier but you will need at least 2 days to complete a thorough tour of the glacier.

Mythology and History of the Sahastra Lake

According to legend a king performed a ritual on the shores of this lake by offering a thousand (Sahastra) Brahma Kamal flowers to Lord Vishnu.

Considering the myths, the river Bhilangana has been a divine soul, who tried to tempt Shiva. However, she didn’t succeed and she had been cursed to flow in a liquid form. The river is named after her, for that reason. Even the valley is also named after her. Beyond this Puranic myth, you will also come across some of the local myths.

The lake is considered to be very auspicious by the locals and so they carry out an annual ritual by carrying their deity on their shoulders through this lake. Another local fable related to this lake is that once a king, after performing a ritual in this lake, offered a thousand sahastra flowers to lord Vishnu. The local people, who are really friendly, will tell you the stories in their own way. You will love interacting with them and will feel awesome to find their belief in those myths.

About the Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek

Sahastra Tal is also a popular trek in Uttarakhand. The walk starts from Bhagirathi valley following a climb to Sila village, the last on the route. From here another climb takes you to Gairi. This is a temporary summer-monsoon settlement, Chhaini in local dialect. High Himalayan ranges and peaks including Bandarpunch, Black Peak/Kalanag, Jaonli, Srikanth, Draupadi Ka Danda along with Gangotri range. During monsoon the route blooms with thousands of Brahma Kamal and Fen Kamal. Sahastra Tal trek is also known as “the lake of the gods”.

The trek starts from Kush Kalyani. From there reach Parital and visit the first lake in the trip. You will have to reach the Khatling Glacier, after covering all the lakes, putting Kalyani beside. This part of the trek is the most difficult one, and you will have to cover a 3 kilometre distance from Tambakund. The three lakes, Vasuki Tal, Masar Tal and Sahasratal will be covered here and if you have plans to reach Kedarnath, starting fresh from Vasuki Tal.

Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek Route Details

The drive begins from Haridwar to reach Bhatwari, at a height of 5000 ft. The trek begins with descending from Bhatwari to Malla following the Uttarkashi– Gangotri road for 45 mins. Malla is a tiny village and surrounds the Bhagirathi River on both sides. After crossing the bridge over the river we reach the last village called Silla. After crossing a hike for 4- 5 hours will take us to the campsite called Gairi, the only place having water after Silla and a cattle ground for farmers in monsoon and summers. Climb further for 3 hours to reach Chuli La pass. The Kush Kalyan top is near the camping ground.

The total trekking distance for this day is 12 km which can easily be covered in 6 hours. On our fourth day, as we climb further up, the tree coverage area starts to reduce and the meadows become more prominent. We descend for a while and then climb till we reach Bhowani Bugyal, from this place our destination is just 2 hours away. After we have crossed the pass we will descend to reach our camping site.

The distance covered by us is 12 km and will take around 6- 7 hours. To a trail which is above Kyarki campsite you will find this place covered with flowers, mainly Brahma kamal and Fen kamal. After trekking further for a while, you will be able to see small and medium lakes starting to form like Kokuli Tal and Lamb Tal. The total distance is around 6 km and can take somewhere around 4-5 hours. On reaching our destination for the day we will rest at our camps.

The climb to the Sahastra Tal from here will initially be easy but would turn from easy to moderate at the later stages.The ridge is called Kokuli Dhar and the view from the top is amazing. The climb to the ridge will not be more than an hour, usually, we can clearly see the Sahastra peak from here but if it gets covered with clouds then the visibility of this peak becomes difficult. From this point, we move on to Dhoni Tal, which is a medium shaped lake. After this we climb the rocky trail to reach Sahastra Tal, the lake is huge and has crystal clear waters. After spending an hour or two we will be returning back to our camps.

In the morning trek to Kalyani from there trek to Kharsoli via Biroda. From Tambakunda trek 3 kms trek to Khatling Glacier then return trek to Tambakund for an overnight camp. Masar Tal is a high altitude lake from there trek to Vasuki Tal via Mayali pass (5400 mts) Painya Tal and Teental with packed lunch. This is a crystal clear pearl set in an unrivalled setting, the Vasuki Tal Lake. From here the Vasuki Ganga starts which mingles with the Mandakini at Sonprayag. In the morning, trek down to Kedarnath. After breakfast trek down to Gaurikund. As per religious texts Goddess Parvati meditated here for a considerable time to win a consort in Lord Shiva, Gauri is another name of Parvati. Also a famous temple of Gauri is at Gaurikund. Further drive to Rudraprayag.

Suggested Itinerary

Delhi – Dehradun – Uttarkashi – Bhatwari – Malla Village – Gairi – Kush Kalyan – Kyarki Bugyal – pari Tal – Lamb Tal – Sahastra Tal – Kalyani – Kharsoli – Tambakund – Chowki – Khatling glacier – Masar tal – Mayali pass Vasuki Tal – Kedarnath – Gauri Kund – Rudraprayag- Rishikesh – Delhi.

Alternate Route : An alternate trek, the Ghuttu – Sahastra Tal trek can be made from Reeh.

How to Reach Bhatwari (Base Camp)

Bhatwari which is 30 Km ahead of Uttarkashi town. The base camp is Bhatwari for this trek. You will have to reach Dehradun from where we will pick you up and take you to the base camp.

How To Reach Sahastra Tal Trek Pick Up Point

By Air : Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, it is just 40 km away from the city. Daily flights from New Delhi are available to this airport.

By Train : Dehradun railway station. Overnight trains hail from Delhi to Dehradun at regular intervals. People often prefer railways over airways because with trains you get to see the landscape in its full glory, it is also cheaper and you will definitely enjoy your way till Dehradun.

By Road : Regular bus service is available from Delhi ISBT Kashmere Gate which plies government buses that are safe and you can rely on them more than the private buses.

Best Time to Visit

Best time to travel to Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek is in the summers (May – June) and Post Monsoon (September – October).

Summer : The weather of Khatling Sahastra Trek remains salubrious and pleasing during summers. The Himalayas are distinctly visible and the cool breeze adds charm to the vacation. Carry woollens with you.

Post Monsoon : Serenity and solitude are at its best during post monsoon at Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek. The region is blessed with snowfall during winters and the accommodation options also remain few. But you can see the best of Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek during post monsoon as it looks like Heaven on earth.

Best Places to Visit During Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek

Bhatwari : Bhatwari is a small town situated at 1,218mts above sea level in the northern region of Uttarkashi district. It lies on the route to sacred Gangotri Dham. Bhatwari is popular for its numerous trekking routes. Bhatwari is a scenic hamlet situated at an elevation of 1,218mts above sea level in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state. It is located 28kms from Uttarkashi.

Malla Village : Malla village is located in Yamkeshwar tehsil of Garhwal district in Uttarakhand, India. Malla is a tiny village and surrounds the Bhagirathi River on both sides. After we’ve crossed the bridge over the river we will reach the last village called Silla. Malla serves as the base camp for Khatling Glacier trek and you begin your trek from here. The trek begins after crossing a bridge above the Bhagirathi River.

Gairi Camp : Gairi Camp lies ahead of the village and is encompassed with dense forests and snow-clad mountains. On your way, you’ll come across cattle grazers, small huts, and beautiful wild flora and fauna.

Pari Tal : It is the first lake of the journey. The long trail goes through meadows, dense forests, and several ridges. According to legend, during Satyug, fairies would try to please the gods when they wandered through this area. Hence, the name Parital, where Pari means fairy and Tal means lake. The serene lake is surrounded by a mesmerising environment that makes for an ideal campsite.

Kush Kalyan : Kush Kalyan is located at an elevation of 3,141 m, Kush Kalyan is an alpine meadow that offers an unparalleled view of Jaonli’s Peak (6,632 m), Kalanag (6,387 m), Bandarpunch (6,316 m), and other peaks of Bandarpunch Range. The trek to Kush Kalyan starts from Malla Village in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. There are two routes that you can choose for descending from Kush Kalyan valley. One goes through Belak Village and the other goes through Pinswar Village.

Laamb Tal : Impressive view of Gangotri III peak or Jaonli peak 6632m in front to the north before reaching this lake. Now descend steep for a few minutes and gradually to Lamba tal Lake 45 minutes. From Lamba tal it’s a steep 2 hrs climb to Sahastra tal lake at 4559 m.

Tambakund : The trekking distance from Tambakund to Khatling glacier is 3 km. You will walk across the river bank and over the wooden bridge made by the shepherds and ascent towards the beautiful blooming meadow of Chowki. Chowki is a meadow full of life where you will see shepherds with their sheep, lush green grasses, and various wildflowers including the renowned Bhramakamal. After spending some time taking in and exploring the surrounding areas of the glacier, you will return to Tambakund. You can choose to camp either at Chowki or Tambakund.

Masar Tal : Small in size and colossal in beauty, the Masar Tal is a pristine lake, located on the eastern side of the snowy Khatling glacier. Nestled at an elevation of 4135 m, the lake can be reached by walking for 6 km from Chauki. The picturesque Masar Tal is cocooned in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. It is perched at an astounding elevation of 3000 metres above sea level. This lake is located below the Masar Top and on the left flank of Doodhganga Bamak (W), en route Mayali Pass.

Vasuki Tal : Vasuki Tal is a high glacial lake situated at an impressive altitude of 14,200 feet above sea level in Kedarnath Dham of Uttarakhand. It is located at an elevation of 3553 metres. The Vasuki Tal, which is approximately 5 kilometres up from Kedarnath in the district of Rudraprayag, is at a high altitude. The entire Vasuki lake is outlined with the unique and beautiful Himalayan flowers known as Brahma Kamal. As per Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu had descended onto the earthly realm into this lake for a holy bath during the auspicious festival of Raksha Bandhan.

Kedarnath : Kedarnath is one of the Char Dham, renowned as the most sacred pilgrimage in India, in Uttarakhand and the most important dham among Panch Kedar situated in Rudraprayag district of Garhwal region. This holy site is placed in a divine environment that is Uttarakhand, also referred to as Devbhoomi, amid lush green forests, snow clad peaks and rivers. Kedarnath Temple (more than 1000 years old temple) is the most revered shrine of Hindu deity Lord Shiva. The Shiva Temple which is a popular Hindu shrine and pilgrimage, attracts devotees from all over the world.

Rudraprayag : Named after Lord Shiva’s Rudra avatar (incarnation), Rudraprayag is an ancient holy town situated at the confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers, at a distance of 34 km from Srinagar in the Garhwal region. It is perched at an average elevation of 895 metres about 2,936 feet above sea level. Rudraprayag marks the fourth confluence of the five between Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers.

Guptkashi : Guptakashi is located at an elevation of 1,319 metres (4,327 ft) in Garhwal Himalayas of Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand. The name Gupt Kashi means “Hidden Benares,” and the town’s sacred identity plays on its identity with the more famous pilgrimage site. The temple town is located on the way to the Kedarnath, one of the Chota Char Dham and Panch Kedars.

Gaurikund : Gaurikund is the commencement point of the 16 kms to the sacred shrine of Kedarnath. It is situated at an elevation of 1,982 mts above sea level. The place is named after Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva and a temple Gauri is also situated here. While on a visit to Kedarnath one has to take the permission of the Nehru Institute of mountaineering from their base at Gaurikund. Gaurikund temple is a temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati, also known as Gauri. According to myths and legends, this is the place where Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva did penance involving ascetic and yoga practices to win over Shiva’s heart.

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