Saturday, September 30, 2017

Trek to Satopanth Lake - In Pandavas' Foot Steps - September 2017 : Part-1

The year 2016 was a 'dry year' for me insofar as trekking was concerned. There was no trekking plan in offing for 2017 as well. In July 2017, my trekking companion, K Srinivasan (KS) sent a mail suggesting me to plan for a trek any time between the second half of September and the first half of October 2017. I had in my mind for many years one of the treks in Uttarakhand - Satopanth Lake because of its association with Pandavas' last journey to haven. I talked to Sohan Bisht (Sonu), our Joshimath based trekking guide since 2010 for his suggestions for the trek. And what a coincidence! He also suggested Satopanth Lake trek during the second half of September 2017 when he had a free slot to join us as the Guide for the trek. Accordingly, a tentative schedule of the trek was prepared as under:


Day & Date
Destination
Time
Mode of Travel
Distance
14/09/2017
(Thursday)
15/09/2017
(Friday)
   -do-

Leave: Lokmanya T T

Reach: Haridwar

Haridwar to Rishikesh
O7:55

13:00

1 hour
}12171 Haridwar }A C Express
}

Taxi




24 kms
Stay in Rishikesh on 15/09/2017 at Bharat Bhoomi (1 day)
16/09/2017
(Saturday)
Rishikesh to Joshimath (1890m)
9 hours
Bus/Taxi
280 kms
Stay in Joshimath on16/09/2017 (1 day)
17/09/2017
(Sunday)
Joshimath to Badrinath (3100m)
In the afternoon, a short acclimatisation trek to Charan Paduka.
2 hours

3 hours
Jeep

Trek
44 kms

3+3 kms
Stay in Badrinath on 17/09/2017 (1 day)
18/09/2017
(Monday)
Badrinath to Laxmivan (3300m)
7 hours
Trek
10 kms
19/09/2017
(Tuesday)
Laxmivan to Chakrateerth (3800m)
7 hours
Trek
10 kms
20/09/2017
(Wednesday)
Chakrateerth to Satopanth Lake (4400m)
7 hours
Trek
5 kms
21/09/2017
(Thursday)
Satopanth Lake to Surajkund (4500m)
5 hours
Trek
6 kms
22/09/2017
(Friday)
Surajkund to Swargrohini steps (4600m) & back to Satopanth Lake
7 hours
Trek
5+5 kms
23/09/2017
(Saturday)
Satopanth to Laxmivan
7 hours
Trek
15 kms
24/09/2017
(Sunday)
Laxmivan to Badrinath
Badrinath to Joshimath
5 hours
2 hours
Trek
Jeep
10 kms
44 kms
Stay in Joshimath on 24/09/2017 (1 day)
25/09/2017
(Monday)
Joshimath to Haridwar

Taxi
280 kms
Stay in Haridwar on 25 & 26/09/2017 (including one buffer day)
27/09/2017
(Wednesday)

28/09/2017
(Thursday)
Leave: Haridwar
Reach: New Delhi
Leave: New Delhi
Reach: Borivali
06:22
11:15
16:25
07:27
}12056 Jana
}Shatabdi Express
}12952 Rajdhani }Express


We incorporated trek to Suraj Kund and Swargarohini as per the  suggestion of our guide, which would be undertaken based on the time and our  physical fitness after reaching Satopanth Lake. 

The actual trek itinerary turned out to be as under due to problems with  my calf and thigh muscles during the onward trek and two days of continuous rains during the return trek:

Day & Date
Destination
Time
Mode of Travel
Distance
14/09/2017
(Thursday)
15/09/2017
(Friday)
   -do-

Leave: Lokmanya T T

Reach: Haridwar

Haridwar to Rishikesh
12:00

19:30

1 hour
}12171 Haridwar
}A C Express
}

Taxi
Train was late by nearly 7 hours.
24 kms
Stay in Rishikesh on 15/09/2017 at Bharat Bhoomi (1 day)
16/09/2017
(Saturday)
Rishikesh to Joshimath (1890m)
Joshimath to Parsari village
 8 hours
1 hour
Jeep
Alto
280 kms
 10 kms
Stay in Sonu’s house in Parsari on 16/09/2017 (1 day)
17/09/2017
(Sunday)
Parsari to Badrinath (3100m)
In the afternoon, a short acclimatisation trek to Charan Paduka.
2 hours

3 hours
Jeep

Trek
44 kms

3+3 kms
Stay in Badrinath on 17/09/2017 (1 day)
18/09/2017
(Monday)
Badrinath to Chamtoli (3460m)
6 hours
Trek
9 kms
19/09/2017
(Tuesday)
Chamtoli to Sahashtradhara (3875m)
7 hours
Trek
8 kms
20/09/2017
(Wednesday)
Sahashtradhara to Chakrateerth
3 hours
Trek
3 kms
21/09/2017
(Thursday)
Chakrateerth to Satopanth (4230m)
5 hours
Trek
5 kms
22/09/2017
(Friday)
Satopanth to Bandhar  (3910m)
 5 hours
Trek
8 kms
23/09/2017
(Saturday)
At Bandhar due to continuous rains.



24/09/2017
(Sunday)
Bandhar to Mana taxi stand
Mana to Badrinath
Badrinath to Joshimath
8 hours
30 min.
3 hours
Trek
Jeep
Jeep
 14 kms
    4 kms
  44 kms
Stay in Joshimath on 24/09/2017 at Hotel Atithi (1 day)
25/09/2017
(Monday)
Joshimath to Haridwar
12 hours
Bus
280 kms
Stay in Haridwar on 25 & 26/09/2017 at Hotel Shiv Murty
27/09/2017
(Wednesday)

28/09/2017
(Thursday)
Leave: Haridwar
Reach: New Delhi
Leave: New Delhi
Reach: Borivali
06:22
11:15
16:25
08:15
}12056 Jana
}Shatabdi Express
}12952 Rajdhani }Express


Since Both myself (72) and KS (69) are senior citizens, we had undergone our annual medical check-ups followed by  physical examination by our respective doctors who certified both of us to be fit to undertake this moderately difficult trek.

We boarded Haridwar AC Express at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. The delay of 3 hours and 30 minutes from its scheduled departure of 7.55 a.m. was already announced. Finally, the train left LTT at 12 noon. By the time the train reached Haridwar the next day, the delay was elongated to nearly 7 hours.  We reached Haridwar around 7.30 pm. We took a prepaid taxi outside Haridwar Railway station and reached Rishikesh (GMVN's Bharat Bhoomi) around 9.00 pm. We took a quick dinner and retired for the day.   

The next day, the driver of the Jeep arranged by Sonu reported  at 5.00 a.m. and we started off immediately for Joshimath. After a couple of tea breaks on the way, we reached Joshimath at around 1.30 p.m. Sonu was waiting for us with Alto car to take us to his house at Parsari village - about 10 kms from Joshimath on Joshimath-Malari road. He had already told us that we would be his guests. We had home cooked lunch and some hot pakodas for the evening tea. 

By evening, the sky was overcast and the temperature had come down from 27C to less than 20C. Sonu took us for a round of his village to show some wildflowers and birds for which he is known for his sharp eyes. He helped us in taking some of the pictures of wild flowers, the season of which was about to end. We were back to the house before the dark set in. After an early dinner, we took to the bed and had a sound sleep in the night.
Parsari village where we stayed in Sonu's house.

Me and KS busy in taking pictures in Parsari village.

Wild flowers in Parsari village.

Wild flower in Parsari village.

Cactus in Parsari village.

Wild flowers in Parsari village.

Our next day morning commenced with rain showers. After the breakfast, we segregated our luggage to be left in Joshimath/Badrinath and those taken for trek. Sonu had already obtained the DFO permit for the trek to Satopanth. In the meanwhile, Sonu had gone to Joshimath to pick up his porters, bring the Jeep to Parsari to load the equipment, provisions etc. and to take us to Badrinath. However, it took him  a long time to get the required number of porters as many of the experienced porters had already been engaged by some mountaineering expeditions in Joshimath areas as well as some high altitude trekking expeditions. Also the pilgrims to Hemkund Saheb was also in full swing. Finally, Sonu arrived with Jeep and porters at around 10.00 a.m. We commenced our journey to Badrinath immediately by which time, the weather had turned sunny.

We reached Badrinath around 12 noon. Sonu had arranged a hotel room for both of us while within the hotel premises, he had pitched  his kitchen tent in which porters were accommodated. Due to some problem with the stove, Sonu arranged lunch for all of us in a hotel. A new stove was bought by him in Badrinath as he did not want to face such a situation during the trek. So we had the dinner from the kitchen tent.
Trek Permit from DFO, Joshimath.
 
Badrinath temple with Alaknanda River

Badrinath temple.

As per plan, in the afternoon, we commenced our acclimatisation trek to Charan Paduka which is about 3 kms of gradual climb from the path left of Badrinath temple. (The path from the right of Badrinath temple goes to Mata Murty temple off Mana village). The sky was overcast and light rains were expected. Since it was an acclimatisation trek, we carried our haversacks.  

As we climbed higher, we could see the panoramic view of the Badrinath town in its entirety. On the way, we could also see few glimpses of wild flowers which were withering away with the end of the flowering season. We reached Charan Paduka in about 90 minutes. The drizzles which had already started,  turned into the medium rain showers. Mt. Neelkanth which we could have seen from Charan Paduka was completely covered in rain clouds. We started the return trek. Due to dampness of the trek path, we had to be cautious in descending. We returned to Badrinath by 6.00 p.m. Due to rains, the crowd at Badrinath temple had considerably reduced. We thought it an opportune time to take the darshan of Lord Badrinath. In less than 5 minutes, we had the darshan and prayed for the success of our trek to Satopanth Lake.
Start of the ascent to Charan Paduka behind Badrinath temple.

Wild flower on the way to Charan Paduka.

At the far end, behind the temple is Charan Paduka.

Appears to be yellow beek Bulbul.

Wild flower on the way to Charan Paduka.

We are close to Charan Paduka.

A panoramic view of Badrinath town from Charan Paduka.

Charan Paduka.

After darshan of Lord Badrinath, a picture of mine.

Badrinath temple shikara.

Badrinath temple at night.

In the night, rain had stopped. It was my desire to photograph the illuminated Badrinath temple facade in the night which led us to the Badrinath temple once again. But at this time, the crowd of pilgrims has swelled. So there was no question of taking darshan once again. We clicked a few pictures of illuminated facade of Badrinath temple and returned to our hotel room for dinner.


2 comments:

KS said...

SK .... good blog start and nice details to. Look forward to Part-2. -KS

SANDEEP PANWAR said...

सोनू का गाँव परसारी खूबसूरत लगा।
हम भी सतोपंथ जाने से पहले चरण पादुका तक टहलने गये थे। आप भी लगभग वहां ठहरे, जहाँ हम रुके थे।
पूरी यात्रा में साथ रहूँगा।
शीघ्रता से लिखते रहना।