Char Dham Yatra 2024
Char Dham 2024

Satopanth Tal Trek

The Divine Lake – Satopanth

The literal meaning of the word Satopanth is the path of truth. Satopanth Lake has three corners and each corner of Satopanth Lake is named after the divine Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. The lake is considered sacred by the local people of Mana village, which is the base camp village for Satopanth Lake trek. This lake is situated at an elevation of 4600 metres above sea level in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Satopanth Tal is 25 km from Badrinath shrine and about 4 km from Chakratirth on the base of legendary Neelkanth Peak.

Apart from the religious significance, Satopanth has also become one of the popular treks in Uttarakhand. This glacier trek offers majestic views of the Himalayas.

About Satopanth Glacier and Bhagirath – Kharak Glacier

The Satopanth and Bhagirath Kharak glaciers are located at the head of the Alaknanda valley in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The eastern slopes of the Chaukhamba group of peaks feed ice into these glaciers. The towering peaks ranging from 5,288 to 7,068 metres are covered with snow in winter. The two glaciers are separated by a linear ridge. Both glaciers have a tortuous course, as their paths are blocked by a series of outcrops. The ablation zones of both glaciers are covered by a thick layer of debris and their funnels are located at an altitude of 3858 m and 3796 m.

The Alaknanda River originates from the Satopanth Glacier and meets the Uttar Ganga upstream at Alkapuri. At Mana, the Alaknanda meets the Saraswati River and flows further into the Badrinath basin. On the route of these glaciers is the enchanting Vasudhara Fall. Satopanth is also known or written as Satopanth Lake, Satopanth Tal, Satopanth Tal, Satopanth Lake trek, Satopanth Glacier trek. It is sometimes also known as Satopanth – Swargarohini Trek.

Mythology About Satopanth Trek

According to Hindu legends and mythology, the Tridevas or three devas, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva) meditated on the corners of this lake. It is believed that during every Ekadashi, the trio takes a sacred dip in the water of the Satopanth lake. Hindus believe that bathing in the Satopanth lake on the 11th day of the solar and lunar fortnights is considered auspicious. Locals also believe that there are some special species of birds that collect dirt from the lake and thus keep the lake clean. These birds are found nowhere else. Local belief is that they are the Gandharva perdus who guard the lake from evil.

Hindus believe that Goddess Lakshmi and her husband Narayan performed penance at Lakshmi Van and Chakratirtha. There is an interesting story behind the bullet created in the Chakratirtha which says that Narayan once held his sudarshan chakra in the valley and due to its weight the valley got a round shaped meadow surrounding the lofty mountains.

Satopanth Trek Route

Rishikesh – Badrinath – Lakshmi Van – Chakratirtha – Satopanth – Chakratirtha – Mana – Badrinath – Rishikesh

About Satopanth Trek

From Badrinath, start a short 3 km trek to Mana (you can also take a local taxi), India’s last village on the Indo-Tibetan border. After checking your permits, proceed towards Vasudhara Falls After crossing the Saraswati temple from Mana, the incline of the trek becomes steeper. A walk in harmony with the mighty Alakananda River that flows beneath. After a few hours, you will see the Vasudhara Fall. Walk 4 km further up the moraines and you will come across your campsite at Laxmi Van.

The well-marked trail is dotted with patches of green amid the vast terminal moraines of the Dhano Glacier. The three benevolent peaks of the Bhagirathi make their first appearance in the Satopanth Valley. We gradually climbed the steep Sahastradhara ridge to the Chakratirtha camp. After arriving at the camp, roll on the ground and gaze at the dazzling western face of the Neelkanth mountain. Early morning will give you an incredible view of Chaukhamba in the centre, Neelkanth, Satopanth and Parvati Peaks on your left and Balakun on your right. In the last 2 km of the trek, you may have to deal with some steep slopes and walk on loose soil scattered over glacial moraines. As you reach the top of the ridge, you will see the first glimpse of the triangular shape, Satopanth Lake.

You can also see a saint known as Mauni Baba who resides near the lake and stopped speaking for a very long time. It is generally believed that it can live in the sun and air alone if food is not available. After spending some time here, start your descent to Chakratirtha Camp. The 5 km return trek to Chakratirtha can be completed in a couple of hours. From there, start descending all the way down to Mana Village. Follow the same path you took to reach Chakratirtha from Mana. This 15 km trek can be completed in 5-6 hours. After reaching Mana, take a taxi to Badrinath, check into a hotel and spend the night there.

Best Time to Visit/Trek

The best visiting season for Badrinath is summer months from May to November with May to June being the most crowded months when the pilgrim rush is at its peak and September to October being ideal for a more relaxed spiritual journey. Due to heavy rainfall in the area, visitors may face difficulty reaching the temple during monsoon season (late June to Aug). Badrinath temple is closed during winters for 6 months. You can visit the shrine during these festivals for more enriched experienced:

  1. Badri Kedar Festival : This eight day festival is celebrated in Badrinath and Kedarnath in the month of June. In the festival artists from across India are invited to showcase their art.
  2. Mata Murti ka Mela : It is celebrated on Bhavan Dwadashi. In the festival devotees sing holy songs, dance and worship Shri Badrinath’s mother Ma Murti.
  3. Janmashtami : Janmashtami is celebrated very vibrantly in Badrinath. Devotees gather and celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna.

Best time to travel to Satopanth Lake Trek is in the summers in the month of May and June and Post monsoon (September – October). The Satopanth Lake is covered by dense snow from September end to mid-May and sometimes at the end of June. The normal summer temperature remains around 12 °C in the day and 7 °C to -5 °C at night, while the winter temperature may drop to even -25 °C in the day and -36 °C in the night. The best time to trek Satopanth Lake is from July to September.

Satopanth in Summers : The weather of Satopanth Lake trek remains pleasant during summers. Since the sky remains clear, one has the opportunity to view the Himalayas distinctly.

Satopanth in Monsoon : During the monsoon, the area around Satopanth Lake becomes lush green. However, there are chances of road blocks due to landslides. Keep 1 day in buffer, just in case you might not be able to trek due to rainfall.

Satopanth Post Monsoon: Post monsoon is an ideal time to do the Satopanth Lake trek. One can see the best of Satopanth Lake as it blossoms with flowers and vegetation making it look like heaven on earth.

Satopanth in Winters : The entire trek route is covered with snow, the lake becomes frozen during winters. Even Badrinath (which is the base for Satopanth Trek) is closed during winters.

Best Places to Visit During Satopanth Tal Trek

Badrinath Dham : Badrinath is the only Shrine which is a part of both Chota Char Dham and India Char Dham. Badrikashram (Badrinath Temple) in the North, Rameshwaram in South, Dwarkapuri in west and Jagannathpuri in east, Badrinath Dham is one among four pilgrimage centres in four corners of India. Badrinath Temple is situated in Badrinath town and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. According to the Bhagvat Puran, Badrikashram the Supreme being (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nar & Narayan, had been undergoing great expiation since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities.

Mana Village : Just 3 km away from Badrinath, Mana is a dreamy hamlet located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is the last village at the China border of the Indian region. It’s a tradition in Mana village that localities on the closing day of the temple offer choli to the idol of Badrinath Ji. Dubbed the ‘last Indian Village’ on the Indo-Tibet Border, Mana in the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand is definitely an exciting place to visit. The place has its close proximity to the religious site of Badrinath and is situated at a short distance of about 4 km from this important pilgrimage site. Mana Village is located at an altitude of around 3219 metres and on the bank of River Saraswati.

Rishikesh : It is one of the major tourist and pilgrimage hubs in northern India, set against the backdrop of the Himalayas and with the pristine Ganga flowing through it where people from across the world arrive to offer their prayers to the holy river and in search of peace. Rishikesh is commonly referred to as the ‘yoga capital of the world’ and rightly so. The destination is abuzz with visitors, who come here to learn yoga and meditation. Rishikesh is home to numerous ashrams, some of which are internationally recognised as centres of philosophical studies, yoga and other ancient Indian traditions of wellness.

Chakratirtha : It is a campsite in Uttarakhand. Chakratirtha is situated east of Satopanth Glacier, and northeast of Satopanth Lake.

Laxmi Van is a beautiful campsite with an impressive Alkapuri glacier on the opposite side.

Srinagar : Located in the Pauri Garhwal District of Uttarakhand, this town is cradled on the pristine banks of Alaknanda River that is believed to have submerged the evil Sri Yantra (Rock) that Sri Adi Shankaracharya hurled in it. Srinagar also acts as a gateway to several religious, adventurous and offbeat destinations in Uttarakhand. It is an important point of stay during Badrinath, Kedarnath and Char Dham Yatra.

Joshimath : In the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, the sacred town of Joshimath is situated in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The two mighty rivers, the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga meet at the confluence of Vishnuprayag overlooking the town of Joshimath. And the view of Hathi Parvat and other Himalayan Peaks is mystifying.The town of Joshimath is also nicknamed as Jyotirmath and is the winter seat of Lord Badri, whose idol is brought down from Badrinath temple to Vasudeva temple at Joshimath. This holy town is revered by the Hindus for being an important pilgrimage centre of the country.

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. Rudraprayag marks the fourth confluence of the five between Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. Whole of Augustmuni & Ukhimath block and part of Pokhri & Karnaprayag block from Chamoli District, Part of Jakholi and Kirtinagar block from Tehri District and Part of Khirsu block from Pauri District. Shri Kedarnath Temple is at North, Madmaheshwar at East, Nagrasu at Southern East and Srinagar at extreme South.

Karnaprayag : It is also known as ‘The City of Karna of Mahabharata’. It is famous for connecting the Garhwal region with the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand via NH 109. Adorned at an elevation of 1451 m above the sea level in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and on the confluence of river Alaknanda and the Pindari River, Karnaprayag is one of the Panch Prayag or the ‘five confluences’ of river Alaknanda. It lies in the midst of Nandprayag and Rudraprayag. Karnprayag is also known for its high altitude markets and if you are heading to Badrinath, then Karnaprayag is an ideal place to buy the necessary things.

How To Reach Satopanth Lake Base Camp

The nearest railhead to Satopanth Lake is Rishikesh, which is 320 kms away. Mana is the last village, which connects through roads and base camp for Satopanth Lake trek that is about 18 kms. The distance from Badrinath to Satopanth is 22 kms.

By Road : Badrinath being one of the holiest places of Hindus is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand. The travellers can take the bus to Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Srinagar from ISBT, Kashmiri Gate New Delhi. Local transport to Badrinath town can be easily available from the major cities of Uttarakhand like Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Ukhimath, Srinagar, Chamoli etc.

By Rail : Rishikesh railway station situated 294 km before Badrinath on NH58, is the nearest railhead. Trains are frequent to Rishikesh and Badrinath is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. One can easily catch a bus or hire a taxi from Rishikesh, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Joshimath etc. to reach Badrinath.

By Air : The Jolly Grant airport situated at a distance of 311 km is the closest airport to Badrinath. It operates daily flights to Delhi and taxis can be easily available to Badrinath from Jolly Grant airport

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