The high altitude glacial lake situated on the western side of Kedarnath Mandhakini bank was our prime trekking destination during our recent Dho Dham Yatra. As per hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu takes bath here during Rakshabandan. Also there is a myth that Lord Brahma was born here from brahma kamalam, a flower that is seen here in the month of July. And the lake is situated in the abode of Lord Shiva. That sparked interest in us to trek the high altitude spritual lake.
The Vasukiganga river, a tributary of Mandhakini river originates from this glacial lake. The lake, situated at the height of 14200 feet is frozen for nearly seven months in a year. The lake appears like an emerald amidst rocky mountains in the months between June to October.
The ten hours trek covers 16 kms stretch up/down with moderate difficulty level and reaches maximum altitude of 16000 feet. As usual we started our trek late by 7.40 am after finishing our breakfast. The trek starts from Kedarnath (12000 feet) with initial gentle ascend between two water cascades and then reaches a flat grass surface. We took nearly one hour to finish trekking this fold.
Here our trek guide insisted us to take rest for some time and we did. There are four mountain folds one has to trek to reach the lake. We filled our water bottles with water from ice cold spring nearby our resting place since there is no water facility above this mark. The moment we climbed higher altitude, the nature turned into an unbelievable new ambience.
We started our next ascend after resting, this time our guide insisted us to trek slowly without exhausting since one has to climb to the height of 16000 feet and more to reach the top of the second mountain fold. We were all excited about trekking in very high altitude. At times when we felt tired glucose bolts and sip of water came to rescue. Sipping water was not that easy as it was too cold to take it in mouth and drink. The terrain was full of grass and zig-zag paths. When we reached the maximum height we could see snow patches on the grass path. From the top aerial view of kedar dham was breathtaking.
After reaching that maximum height, one can sight panoramic view of snow clad peaks almost on all sides. We took some snaps using our cell phone cameras and we all cherished to know that we have finished climbing the second fold. It was 1.00 pm then and lunch time voiced our guide. We told him that we would take after reaching the lake region.
Then we took u turn and started walking in the third fold which looked very gentle like a golf ground. From the third fold onwards we missed the sight of kedar dham and we felt as if we walk in a new kind of ambience. We finished that stretch by running fast and reached a final rocky terrain with boulders of all sizes. Jumping and leaping from boulder to boulder we reached a new spectacular valley full of rocks. Our guide was standing 100 meters in front of us on a big rock and told that we reached the lake. We jumped and walked fast to him with curiosity to sight the lake.
The moment we reached that spot we saw the heavenly emerald lake surrounded by browny mountain terrain. We were overwhelmed with joy that we forgot our hunger. It was a fangled feel there that we kept quiet watching for few minutes. We took plenty of photos from there.
It was 2.30 pm then and our guide told us to return after finishing some bread. We were little upset that we were not having enough time to climb further down and retrace. We realized our mistake in starting the trek late by 8 am.
Another one hour would have sufficed our need. Our senior professor was little upset about not able to fetch water from lake. Our guide promised us that he would fetch water for us. So we walked back without him and during return we experienced snow fall after 3.00 pm. Initially it was like ash dust and later turned into asterisk shaped flowers. It was an amazing experience for all of us.
By 4 pm our guide joined us and gave the bottle filled with vasukital water. He asked us to walk down little faster so that we could reach kedar base by 6 pm. After hectic down-hill walk we reached mandakini banks safe by 6.30 pm. It was dark then we somehow managed to come to main path of temple. It has been a memorable high altitude trek for all of us that will certainly linger in our hearts forever.
VTC Trek Members: Prof. S. Elango, Prof. S. Baskaran and Prof Vivekanandan. Trek Guide Mr Santhosh Rana of Govind Ghat
Date : 11.10.2016