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Satopanth Tal

By Abhijit Chatterjee [spaces:0][spaces:0]

Though this road starts from Badrinath, vehicle can move up to Mana village which is 3km away from Badrinath. Mana is the last Indian village in this area. As it is border area between  China and   India  there are many military and ITBP camps. From Mana metal road is available up to Ghastoli and you can go towards Kalindi Khal via this road. The other road will lead you to Basudhara with Alakananda river on your left side. This stretch is commutable by common travelers. You have to take the third one which goes down and crosses river Alakananda. Now you will get the river on your right side.

1st day                First you will see a temple and then the path goes through a stretch of agricultural land. After a walk of good two hours you will reach wide grassland. Yes, it is Ghastoli. You can see beautiful Basudhara fall on the other side of Alakanada. During post monsoon season one should keep lot of water with him as water crisis very common at this stretch. You will reach Lakhsmiban, surrounded by some birch trees, after crossing this grassland. Height of Lakhsmiban is 12,000ft.

2nd day ( Lakhsmiban Bandhar-Chakratirth ) 

                Start early in the morning. Walk just about 2km and you are at Bandhar. A nice small camping site. You can find a cave also there, where 3 to 4 persons can take shelter in emergency. On the other side of Alakananda you will find Bhanaglung glacier. It is the originating point of Alakananda. This place is commonly known as Alakapuri. Besides Bhanglung glacier, there are some more glaciers which also contribute to Alakananda.

                From now on the path is full of boulders and gains height noticeably. After some good walk you will reach Sahasradhara. On the right side Bhagirath glacier is visible down below. Your path goes over the narrow ridge of that glacier. This part of the journey is definitely risky. On the right side, behind the glacier is Balkun peak. On the left side Narayan peak and behind you is Neelkanth.

                After negotiating steep height through the boulder covered path you will reach Neelkangh base camp. Now Neelkangh peak is in front of you! Chakrateertha is not far away. After crossing some more boulder covered slope you will be at Chakrateertha. Here you will find some caves of different sizes. These can accommodate good number of people as night shelter. At 15,000ft, surrounded by splendid Choukhamba, Balkun and Neelkanth peaks, the atmosphere is simply superb. All days fatigues will disappear at this nice place.

3rd day (Chakrateertha to Satopanth Tal - 5km)

                On this day you will face the real tough journey. The path goes straight upwards almost like a wall. Definitely it will make your pace slow but one hour trek will bring you to the top of the glacial wall. Here you can rest a while though cold wind will welcome you. Now go down about 100 ft over loose rocks .Cross the glacier covered with rocks of many sizes and shapes diagonally very carefully.  Then climb again to the top of the glacial wall. And see that bluish-green water reservoir .almost triangular shape! It is your Satopanth Tal. You have reached at last.

                There is a concrete hut with low roof. You can pitch your tent there. You will find some caves where Sadhus live. From Satopanth, you can see Swargarohini with Choukhamba by its side. Balakun peak also visible clearly.

                One can visit Suryatal and Chandratal (Not in Lahul and Spiti) from here within a day.

                On your way back start early so you can reach Bandhar by afternoon. Next day go to Badrinath and your journey ends.

Note: Tent, ration and experienced guide is necessary for this journey.

            Permission from D.F.O Joshimath is mandatory for this journey.