Maximum Altitude: 16332 ft
Duration: 8 days
The high altitude alpine lakes are what dreams are made of. There is no dearth of crystal clear lakes in the Himalayas and today we are bringing Vasuki Lake to you.
The high altitude lake Vasuki Tal is a trekker’s paradise. This high altitude trek in the Gangotri National Park takes you to touching distance of the most iconic peaks of the Indian Himalayas – Shivling, Bhagirathi, Meru, Satopanth, Manda, Chautrangi, Chandra etc.
The trek involves crossing many glaciers and boulders and that makes this trek really thrilling and different from other treks. The trail of Vasuki Tal Trek goes through Gaumukh – the source of mighty river Ganga and Tapovan – the gorgeous alpine meadow of religious significance for Hindus. Since this trek is still less explored, it gives the trekkers a unique chance of experiencing nature at its best.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this trek has some of the most spectacular campsites in the Garhwal Himalaya, each of them offering views of moutnains towering over 2000m above you.
Click here to read about Digar La Trek in Ladakh!
Day 1: Gangotri to Chirbasa (11761 ft)- 9 km
In Chirbasa there are pine trees all around so it is named “Chirbasa” meaning of Chir is Pine. You have to go through a market and from that trail, you will come to a forest area and when you enter there you will have some majestic views of snow covered peaks. They look mesmerizing as you get the front view of mountains. Today’s trek is an easy one as you have to walk on the leveled trail. Cross a bridge over a stream and after few minutes a valley unfolds which looks beautiful and picture-perfect.
After crossing ridges and going through dense pine forest, you will come across many boulders. Walk carefully on that path so you don’t get slipped because of the rocks, continue walking on the same trail to reach Chirbasa. The campsite is surrounded by pine trees and Bhagirathi river flows nearby. From here you can have a glance at Gaumukh glacier and Bhagirathi group of peaks.
Day 2: Chirbasa to Bhojbasa (12761 feet) – 5 km
From Chirbasa, you’ll trek further to Bhojbasa. The trek is going to be moderate for the day. The terrain, after Chirbasa, becomes really desolate and barren. In fact, it has been referred to as Arctic Tundra by many trekkers. The entire trail passes through a dense forest till Bhojbasa.
The peaks glitter in front of you as you go higher. Mt. Shivling and Bhagirathi group of peaks look like as if they are calling you. You can spot Saints on the way in caves who live permanently here. There is a small temple and a potential campsite near the river. A good place to camp for the day. Excellent sunset on Bhagirathi group of peaks to delight you in the evening.
Day 3: Bhojbasa to Tapovan (7 km) (6/7 hours) (14202 feet)
Early in the morning enjoy the panoramic view of Bhagirathi group of peaks. After breakfast trek to Gomukh the source of the Ganges. Gomukh is where the water of Ganga trickles down from the glaciers. The sages called it ‘Gomukh’ because, in the distant past, it probably appeared like a cow’s mouth. The trail takes you through the boulder zone, then you have to climb Gangotri glacier. Iit needs to be traversed carefully with safety, because the trails are not clear. The views get magnificent and welcome you.
Explore the area and trek to Tapovan, one of the finest high altitude alpine meadows in the area. The trek from Gomukh to Tapovan is ascent steep, and as you climb, the view of the surrounding peaks becomes clearer. Tapovan known for its beautiful meadows that encircle the base camp of the Shivling peak, is a very pleasant spot with a large meadow complete with bubbling streams, wildflowers, and campsites. Herds of Bharal (blue mountain goats) are a common sight from here on mountain ridges. On the far side of the glacier the Bhagirathi I, II, III provide an equally impressive backdrop. Set your tents and enjoy spending night in the middle of a meadow.
Day 4: Tapovan to Nandanvan (14345 feet) – 8 km
The route from Tapovan leads from the upper section of the meadow till down and onto the glacier. Traversing the Gangotri glacier isn’t easy as there is thick ice for which you will need ice ax and trekking equipment. It has some associated challenges, as it gets slippery and the rocks fall from above so you need to be aware and very careful.
The glacier walk is very slippery and a slight lack of concentration would be dangerous. Huge crevasses gaped here and there. After walking for about a kilometer there is a vertical ascent. Big rocks en route offer grips and footholds but many of them are deceptive too. The campsite is a beautiful meadow of Nandanvan with amazing views of Mt. Kedar Dome and Mt. Shivling.
Day 5: Nandanvan to Vasuki Tal (16332 feet) – 6 km
The trail to Vasuki Tal from Nandanvan is rocky and ascend is going to be a long one. You may get tired but the terrain isn’t difficult.
It is very cold here in winters and around this heavenly lake, Brahma Kamal grows in abundance. Vasuki Tal is the base camp of Mt. Vasuki and Mt. Satopanth, the environment is serene here as very few people visit this place because of its altitude.
It is said that Lord Vishnu took bath in this Lake and it is named “Vasuki Tal” because it resembles snake Vasuki of Lord Shiva which made it sacred. The sight of Chaturangi glacier is beguiling.
This Lake is in an idyllic setting as the views are heart-warming, it freezes in winters. Set your camp near this place and enjoy spending night in untouched surrounding.
Day 6: Vasuki Tal to Nandanvan
Start descending early so that you can reach on time in good weather conditions before it changes. The trekking route of the campsite is the same, retrace your steps. Have lunch at your campsite and have a glance of views sipping evening tea.
Day 7: Nandanvan to Bhojbasa
The morning view of Nandanvan looks mesmerizing and the sun shines over peaks making them look alluring. While descending to Bhojbasa stop at Gomukh. Bhojbasa was your campsite while goig up. Enjoy the clear views from this campsite. Relax for the night in tents.
Day 8: Bhojbasa to Gangotri
Today trek back to Gangotri, the holy city. The descent is easy and one can reach Gangotri in 6-7 hours. You can use this day to visit the holy town of Gangotri which is one of the most famous and sacred destinations for Hindus, all over the world.
Best Time To Visit
This place can be visited and trekked during the summer and spring months of May to mid-June and mid-September to mid-October. Since the lake is situated on an extremely high altitude, this place experiences low temperatures during the winter months along with freezing weather conditions and even snowfall on some occasions. Trekking activity is not possible during the winter months. Trekking during rainy and winter seasons is not allowed since the entire region becomes prone to unpredictable landslides.
How to Reach
Gangotri is around 240 km from Dehradun. You can reach Dehradun by flight/train/bus and drive down to Gangotri.
Click here to read about Satopanth Lake in Uttarakhand!