Satopanth lake is a glacial lake in Uttarakhand, India, located in the midst of snow-capped peaks at an altitude of 4,400 meters (14,400 feet) above sea-level. The lake is considered to be of religious significance to the local people; residents of Mana village throw the ashes of the dead in the lake. Many people believe that the Trimoortis, viz, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, take bathe in the lake on an auspicious day. Certain species of birds are found here, which pick up the pollutants of the lake and thus keep the lake clean. These birds are not found anywhere. The local belief is that they are the Gandharvas disguised, who guard the lake against evils.
Geologically this is a glacial corrie lake. The alkapuri glacier is huge and a lot of corrie lakes are formed and this one is the biggest. The waters of the lake are held by the vast boulders and lateral moraines of the glacier. The beauty of this trek is that it starts at 3300m (the altitude of badrinath) and continues alongside the Alaknanda River until the alkapuri glacier. The junction of the 2 glaciers is a magnificent sight. The peaks of neelkanth, balakun and Satopanth give company throughout the trek. The camping locations on this trek are devoid of any trees and are beautiful alpine meadows. There are numerous waterfalls along the way which make the walk a pleasant sight.
We begin the day early and drive to Joshimath via Devprayag, Rudraprayag. One can see Devprayag (confluence of Alaknanda & Bhagirathi.) on the way. The Holy River Ganges starts from here. We reach Badrinath by evening and spend the night in a guest house.
In the morning visit Badrinath temple and later after breakfast drive a short distance to Mana village (Last village of the border). From here we will trek to Vasudhara falls via Bheem Bridge with packed lunch. Mana Village – 3 km from Badrinath, this is the last village of India on the Indo-Tibetan border. The Indo-Mongolian tribe set up this village. A population of 200 people lives here. Tourists come in plenty to this quaint village. Bheem Bridge – A short distance from Mana Village a natural bridge made of a huge boulder, over the river Saraswathi is seen. The story goes that Bheem; one of the Pandava brothers put it there. The view of this extraordinary bridge and the din of the flowing river make this place interesting. Vasudhara falls – 5 km after Bheem Bridge this astonishingly high waterfall is very attractive. The most interesting aspect about this place is that all the water here becomes vapour and vanishes into the atmosphere. The view looks like the Ganges is descending from the sky.
In the morning after breakfast we trek to Laxmi Van (2 kms). This is a small meadow with pastures for goat and sheep to graze. It has a few caves where gujjars stay with their flock of animals. After lunch we further trek to Chakrateerth meadow which is just 3 kms away from the lake. This is a beautiful camping ground with green grass all around and towering peaks surrounding you. At night one may also hear the glacial ice breaking away into a thunderous sound.
The trek from Chakrateerth meadow to the lake is very strenuous on the knees and is entirely over glacial debris. Walking over huge boulder and stones can take a toll on the knees but the calm and placid waters of the lake are a rewarding sight. Satopanth Lake is 18 km from Mana Village amidst the difficult areas of Himalayas. The water in the lake is very calm. On the banks of this lake are innumerable lotus flowers. We head back to our camp site and trek back to Laxmi van.
In the morning trek back to Mana village and then drive 3 kms to Badrinath with pack lunch. One can also take the alternate route to reach Badrinath directly. Upon arrival at Badrinath check in to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Early in the morning drive to Haridwar via Rudraprayag & Devprayag.